The Confident Stitch

Handcrafted clothing is the epitome of enduring quality and timelessness. Sewing your own garment puts you in control of every aspect of its look and feel, from the fabrics youʼll use to the strength of the stitching. And itʼs easier than you think. My goal is to guide you with clear, professional instruction to create the wardrobe pieces that youʼll turn to first for years to come. My passion is sharing the confidence that comes with knowing each cut is done right, and each stitch is bringing you closer to crafting your next favorite garment!

Fit matters. Fit is what makes the difference between the dress you spend half the evening yanking up or down, and the dress that makes you feel elegant and polished wherever you are. Fit is the difference between bunching and gapping, and making the right impression at the right time. Womenʼs bodies are so beautifully diverse. Having the skills to determine fit and sew for your unique shape will allow you to step outside the fashion industryʼs ever-changing sizing chart and into the rewarding world of custom made, just for you.

Through The Confident Stitch Iʼll be updating you on my own sewing adventures, and offering helpful tips on how to be your own favorite fashion designer and custom tailor. As the project evolves, Iʼll be offering a customized line of sewing products and carefully curated fabrics so you can get everything you need to start your next project in one place. I look forward to keeping you posted on whatʼs happening here – in the meantime, I want to hear about what youʼre working on, and what youʼre excited to make next!


Kate McIvor

Kate 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 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 a guinea pig named Turtle.

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.

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.

Jen Grady

Jen Grady is a Sales Associate here at The Confident Stitch. She grew up in Southern California making up her own sewing patterns and hand stitching them out of repurposed sheets. Eventually her interest in sewing evolved into a desire to create clothing options for body types not typically catered to in ready-to-wear garments.

Jen attended Canada College’s Fashion Design program, graduating with a 4.0, and an emphasis on fit and small business. She went on to work independently in a wide variety of industrial, manufacturing, production, costuming and private design roles. She continues to do custom work and alterations. She’ll soon reach her 20th year of working in the industry and is always excited to help customers realize their sewing goals with tips and tricks along the way!

Meredith Baird

Meredith is our social media manager and the newest addition to our team.

An Illinois native, she moved out west in 2011 to follow her dream of living in the mountains, and never looked back.

Here at The Confident Stitch, she is able to combine her love of photography and creativity with her interest in marketing and working with local businesses!

New to sewing, she has already whipped up a few gifts for friends. We’re sure she’ll be sewing her own garments in no time!