Judy Voss always wished she could wear Levi’s, but they didn’t fit her quite right. Then, in 2011, while looking through a sewing magazine she came across an article that caught her attention. It was all about denim-makers in the U.S. It got her thinking — and putting her skills to work — creating her own denim jeans.
Having sewed since she was 8 years old, Voss in more recent times owned a business for several years in the city of Canandaigua, Seams So Simple on Charlotte Street. Now, in a shop next to her home on Route 21, Voss is knee-deep in denim. The new venture, Finger Lakes Denim, will open its doors Saturday for an open house.
Signature Finger Lakes Denim jeans will be on sale, along with a slew of other handmade items from tote bags to dog pillows.
Voss has a machine for every detail in the jean-making process: Think flat felled seams, bartacking, button holes and rivets. She has designed her own collection of jean patterns and also does custom work. Voss recently finished a pair of jeans for a man who needed extra-big pockets, and she can cater to other requests as well. All the jeans bear her leather Finger Lakes Denim label made on a revamped 1850s drill press turned branding iron created by local metal craftsman Benji Carr.