Handmade by Her: Heather Nikula, our two-needle specialist.

Stormy Kromer sewer
SK: What’s your job at Stormy Kromer?
HN:
If it’s got two rows of stitches, I did it. I do the double-needle work on the button and zipper vests, the town coat, our trousers—all the pants have two-needle pockets. It makes our clothes more durable, but there’s also art in it. Double-stitching is just more decorative.

SK: Do you have to sew everything twice, then?
HN: Nope—it’s a double-needle machine. Two side-by-side needles, two spools of thread, two sewing at the same time.

SK: How long have you been stitching for Stormy Kromer?
HN: Two years. I came back to Ironwood to be with my grandma, and I needed a job. I got the job to get a paycheck, but it turned into something I love. Now they can’t get rid of me!

SK: How do you feel knowing you’re stitching together a legend?
HN:
I think about that a lot when I’m sewing—a hundred years ago, someone was doing this same thing. People still want it, and we’re making it the same way. By hand.

SK: So how many pieces of Kromer outdoor apparel do you have?
HN:
Well, when I get one, it’s one for me and one for the boyfriend. So we have a few. I’ve got caps in pink, red/black plaid, green, black, brown and partridge plaid. All Originals. Oh, and one Ida Original. Yeah. A lot.

SK: What do you think of the new lines of clothing?
HN:
I love that we’re growing and thinking abut the kinds of things people could really use when they’re out there freezing their toots off.

SK: Why is wool the fabric to work with?
HN:
It’s warmer, and that’s what we’re looking for. You buy this cap or vest or jacket to stay warm, and it does the job.

SK: What do you do when you’re not making great Kromer gear?
HN:
I like to travel, but mostly I’m here so my grandma has someone to holler to if she needs help. She’s 87, and I take care of her.

SK: Does she have a Stormy Kromer cap?
HN: Well, I bought her one, but she’s an old-style finicky lady, and she won’t put a hat on her head. So the pink one I got for her—now it’s mine.

SK: Is there anything else you want to tell Stormy Kromer fans?
HN:
This is the most comfortable thing you can wear in five-degree weather and not be bundled up like the Abominable Snowman or that kid in The Christmas Story. It’s fashionable and comfortable. I’d own every piece of it if I could!

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