Joyce LeBlanc’s Childrens’ Couture
Clothes might make the man, but they can also help mold a more confident kid
England’s little Princess Charlotte and Prince George would look great in the wool coats designed and sewn by Rindge resident Joyce LeBlanc. Frankly, any child would feel like royalty sporting the fine lines and exceptional materials of these carefully constructed garments.
With a lifelong passion for sewing, LeBlanc has sewn women’s wear, wedding gowns and three-piece suits, but she came back to children’s couture, her first job out of school, when it was suggested she apply to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. As a child, she read and studied patterns like a book, constructing garments in her head. At her mother’s machine, she was soon demonstrating seamstress’ tips and tricks. Further inspiration for perfection came from a home economics teacher who espoused “You should be able to wear your garment inside out!” She attended the School of Fashion Design on Newbury Street in Boston, where pattern-making and couture details became her focus. “My Dad was an engineer, and the engineer in me was intrigued by the concept of a flat pattern becoming a garment,” says LeBlanc.
Reconnecting with her children’s patterns and using her finely honed techniques, she was quickly accepted into the League. Success at the recent Sunapee Fair was an affirmation she had gone in the right direction — seeing a small boy’s eyes light up, and parents and grandparents fall in love with her classic and timeless coats was a joyful experience.
LeBlanc accepts custom work within her line of boys’ and girls’ coats and girls’ dresses. (She just completed a navy blue and a red coat for Patriots’ player Chris Hogan’s twins.) Details can be changed and the fun linings are part of the appeal. Materials include fine wools from Dorr Mill in Newport for coats and luscious Liberty of London cotton fabric for her little girls’ dresses, and when requested, for coat linings. She often “fussy-cuts” linings and patterned material to ensure the printed images are placed nicely in linings or dresses.
Even Dick and Jane would feel special in a pea coat drawn from the timeless and classic lines depicted in their 1950s era children’s books. It’s all part of LeBlanc’s inspiration and goal — to make kids feel worthy and in the end, maybe become better adults.