About Us

kate mcivor owner and proprietor of the confident stitchKate McIvor

The Confident Stitch began as Kate McIvor’s blog to chronicle the pleasures of combining beautiful fabrics with custom-made patterns that curve with your body. She dreamed of providing the resources needed to transform great sewing ideas into outfits and projects. 

Now she is making that dream a reality through this website, and a brick-and-mortar shop in Missoula, Montana. Kate’s mission is to create a welcoming place that uplifts and empowers women. She hopes this website will make you feel as though you have just walked into the fabric shop of your dreams.

Kate grew up in Lafayette, California. She has a bachelor’s degree in History from Wesleyan University, and a master’s degree in Public Health from Harvard University (both of which are surprisingly useful in this endeavor). She has two daughters who are in their 20’s, Charlotte and Mairin. She lives in Missoula, Montana, with her husband, Fred, three dogs and one cat.


Jane Solie Mandala

Jane is the shopkeeper, website builder, social media poster, order fulfiller, and everything elser at The Confident Stitch shop. She had sewn a “couple of things” before starting work at The Confident Stitch. She quickly jumped into the fabric and sewing world, and now she can set in a sleeve and apply a bias binding like a boss! She is even teaching classes in our lovely classroom. 

Jane grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and fell in love with Montana while working in Glacier National Park. Jane has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Montana. Jane has worked at a photography school, on a goat farm, and as a copy editor.

Jane lives in Missoula with her husband, Jason, one dog, one cat, and two guinea pigs.


bess bird

Bess Bird

Bess Bird, The Confident Stitch photographer, has single handedly taken (nearly) all the photos on the website. She also fell in love with Montana after working in Glacier National Park. Why did she travel from Wisconsin to Montana? Because one day she was leafing through old National Geographic magazines at a friend’s cabin, and Missoula was featured as a great place to live.

We are so glad Bess stumbled upon that magazine! 

Bess has a bachelor’s degree in Art from the University of Montana. She worked at Green Door Photography for a few years before she started her own eponymous business. Whenever she has time to tear herself away from photography, Bess hangs out with her little Missoula family, including a man named Fox and a yellow dog named Yellow Dog.


bonnie thompson

Bonnie Thompson

Bonnie is the true Montanan and the true seamstress here at The Confident Stitch. Born and bred in Missoula, Bonnie still owns a house in the Rattlesnake near the land her grandparents homesteaded. Bonnie started sewing professionally in 1980 for a custom sewing business in downtown Missoula. By 1987, Bonnie owned the business, which she ran for almost 20 years. She is well known in this small town as a great garment maker and tailor.

After Bonnie closed her shop, she went to New Zealand for three months, marveling at the similarities and differences between Montana and an island in the South Pacific. When she returned to Montana, Bonnie continued doing alterations out of her home, which continues to thrive.

Bonnie enjoys working at The Confident Stitch shop because she loves seeing people get excited about sewing. Sewing is her art, and fabric is her medium. Being The Confident Stitch seamstress allows Bonnie to sew for herself with beautiful fabrics, something she hasn’t done for almost 30 years. She also makes our ready-to-wear garments, and all of our window display samples.

bonnie thompson

Alyssa Kennamer

Alyssa Kennamer joined The Confident Stitch in February 2017. Alyssa grew up in Oklahoma City, and studied Studio Art at Knox College in Illinois after spending a gap year in Berlin, Germany. Since she moved to Missoula in August of 2015, she has been working at FairEnds, a company that makes caps out of tweed, waxed cotton and Liberty of London Lawn. In addition to being a great customer, she joined us for our Day of Service on Martin Luther King Day in 2017, and felt inspired to ask if we needed part-time help. Yes, please! Alyssa says she was drawn by our beautiful fabric, our mission to uplift and empower women, and her own desire to teach.


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