Cleveland Heights, Ohio – El Bentivegna comes from a long line of wonderful seamstresses.
“My mom actually taught me how to sew when I was little, and my great-grandmother, her name is Evelina. That’s where the name of the business comes from. She supported herself and all six of her children on a seamstress’ salary, which seems crazy nowadays,” said Bentivina. that”.
Bentivegna studied software engineering in college and worked in the industry for many years before recently switching to sewing full time.
“I know of a kind of weird transition from software engineering to sewing but it just didn’t work for me,” Bentivina said. “My parents are probably like, oh, no!”
Bentivegna uses their own pronouns/they and defines themselves as gay, fat, and disabled.
They know firsthand how difficult it can be to find clothes that not only fit them, but look good. So they often make themselves.
Being a seamstress by nature, Bentivegna turned her talents into a business and launched Evelina Alterations just before the new year. Finding something at the intersection of creativity and social work was important to El, so their business is centered around body positivity and advertised as gay friendly.
“I work on any type of clothing for anyone, but I try to focus more on the marginalized groups that I myself am a part of. So gay, lesbian, gay, fat, plus-size and disabled people as well,” Bentivigna said. You know, their body types might not be average, or the clothes they’re trying to wear might not have been designed to fit their body type.” The group of people in our community. A person who does not advertise as gay friendly, this person will not want to bring something to him, because his safety may in fact be in danger. And I want to make sure that not only is your safety not in danger here, you are walking with open arms.”
Elisa Eamonn was one of Bentivegna’s first clients. She has scoliosis and a unique sense of style. Take part in a full-contact medieval fighting game called Dagorhir.
“The curvature of the spine is the hardest thing I’ve had in finding a tailor who understands how to fit my body and fit different shoulder heights, different rib lengths, different hip bone heights—it’s really hard,” said Aimone.
It is Bentivegna’s business that clothing suits the individual, not society’s standards. They try to be an ear of mercy to their customers.
“I’ve never been ashamed of being different or ashamed of having, you know, a weird LARP dress and floor-length gowns with dragon buttons. In the past, I was ashamed of my weirdness in other places,” said Aemon. She gets excited and enjoys the differences between people more than just being like, ‘Oh, well. Yeah. Well, I think we can do that. She genuinely enjoys the uniqueness of people.’
Bentivegna wants their business to not only have a positive impact on society, but the environment as well. They try to use sustainable practices whenever they can.
“Most of the fabrics in my business now are actually from a theater company that shut me down when I bought them, when they didn’t know what to do with it,” Bentivina said.
They encourage people to reform, not spend.
People often don’t realize that things can be fixed. In this way, just like extending the life of clothes rather than just throwing them in the trash.” “Fast fashion these days has really distorted the idea of how much clothes should cost and are so cheap and so poorly made, so often, so they fall apart. So instead of letting these things go to the garbage heap, go to the collection bins that are sent to who knows where, you can feel good about your clothes, by making some kind of cute little patch or colorful fix somewhere on the garment. “
Pentevinia said clothes are meant to make people feel cool and comfortable. Software engineer turned seamstress embraces and celebrates diversity and helps people feel good about themselves and their clothes, no matter who they are.
For more information on Evelina’s mods visit here.