Winters Sewing, has been providing quality sewing, upholstery & slipcover services since our founding in 1994. It is our mission to give you high quality, courteous, helpful service to meet your needs.
Stephen Winters has served as the owner of Winters Sewing since 1994. He has worked in upholstery since 1966.
Emmy Winters has helped her husband in Winters Sewing since 1996. She is also currently home schooling our 20 year old daughter and 13 year old son.
Our Children: Sarah and Joseph, are a delight.
Learning to Work
Stephen was born and raised in California. At an early age he learned to work with his hands. As he grew up he helped his parents pick fruit each year as they followed the crops from Los Angeles to Montana and then back again. Over time he learned the value of working hard work. Then, in 1966 an accident caused his dad, Mr. Winters, to change his profession to buying and selling used merchandise. Before and after school, Stephen helped in the second hand business in Madera for a few years. During this time Mr. Winters would repair/recover the threadbare upholstered furniture that came into the store. The workmanship was very amateurish, but at least the cotton wasn't showing, This laid the foundation for the next stage.
Stephen's Entry into the Upholstery Trade
When the second hand business closed, the family picked fruit for the summer to gather some money. Then Mr. Winters opened an upholstery business in Santa Rosa in 1966, having little more than an upholstery sewing machine and a few rolls of fabric. The whole family worked together in the new business. While they were learning the trade they worked mainly worked for poor people (who were appreciative to have anything on their worn-out furniture.) Through the years Stephen's skill grew; he constantly watched for better ways of doing things. It was while working there that he learned the basics about upholstery. (Since he helped deliver the furniture, he instantly saw whether the client liked it or not.)
After the business grew larger, Mr. Winters began hiring qualified upholsterers. Watching the more experienced upholsterers work helped Stephen to learn better techniques. For example, during this time that he learned how to tie hand-tied springs from Harry Gustafson? (unsure of last name), a long time upholsterer who used to tie springs in a furniture factory. During these years Stephen designed and built a number of new sofa sleepers. While the hideabed spring unit was purchased, he build the rest of the frames from the ground up.
He also spend a couple years working in a printing/copying shop that was connected to the upholstery business. He operated photocopiers, printing presses, computerized typesetting equipment, darkroom processes, folding and binding equipment, etc.
Over the years the upholstery business grew larger than an untrained businessman could handle and Mr. Winters made some big mistakes. In 1980 the recession hit and Mr. Winters' upholstery business closed.
A Change in Direction
Stephen moved with his parents and siblings to Oregon. After a few years Mr. Winters died of cancer. About the same time, Stephen had been corresponding with, and then met, his future wife, Emmy. To get to know her better, Stephen moved to Virginia for a year, where he started working with Interior decorators. After almost a year they got married and moved back to Oregon. Stephen worked with his sister for about 5 years making all types of fancy window treatments (swags, cascades, window valances and shades, cornices, etc.) for Interior decorators and drapery stores. Then Stephen and Emmy moved to west Salem in 1994 and started doing window treatments for interior decorators, as well as doing upholstery. After a couple years Stephen decided to focus mostly on upholstery and slipcovers, which he has been doing since then.
Improving One's Skill
Upholstery, as with any other trade or profession, is a continually learning process. No matter how much a professional knows, there is always more to be learned. Being part of a community of common trades people is an excellent way to continue to improve one's craft, as well as having sources to ask for help when needed. In 2003 Stephen joined the Professional Upholstery and Soft Furnishing Group at http://www.carrscorner.com/yabbse, which has been a very positive experience. At Carrscorner Stephen gets to ask for advice, as well as sharing his knowledge and experience.
In addition to that, as a service to the community at large, Stephen has put up an Upholstery Information website to help other professionals and do-it-yourselfers. He frequently writes new articles about upholstery to add to the content of the website. Many people have helped him on his journey to learn and grow at his craft. He wants to help others along the way who are also on their journies.
From 1994 to about 2002 the Winters operated their upholstery business at their home on Gerth Avenue. Then in about 2002 they moved to a new larger home at 1111 Elm Street.
At the end of 2010 They moved to Independence Oregon. In January 2011 they purchased their current home at 440 E Street in Independence, which is where their current business is located.