Star of the Sea, an Edgecomb business offering antiques and custom home sewing, combines owner Kate Jackson’s love for making things and repurposing old items.
The three-room store just before the bridge to Wiscasset opened in early August with a selection of antiques at a range of prices alongside custom drapery, slipcovers, and more, though Jackson has been sewing professionally from her home studio for more than 30 years.
“I remember when I was I was little, I’d wake up and I’d be like, ‘Oh, what can I make today?’” she said. “I always have to be making something.”
Jackson, now of Whitefield, learned to sew from her mother and grandmother as a child in Yarmouth. She also worked at her family’s dry-cleaning business there, doing alterations and learning about textiles.
When her first child was born and she wanted to work at home, Jackson taught herself to sew slipcovers, and later window treatments and drapes, by reading books and taking them apart to figure out patterns. She ran one ad and didn’t run another for the next 15 years as the business grew by word of mouth.
Her services at the store range among window treatments, drapery, indoor-outdoor furniture, bedding, pillows, slipcovers, and upholstery. Star of the Sea also features pillows Jackson makes from antique textiles or repurposed fabric from unsalvageable chairs.
Preferred projects include drapery panels, roman shades, and valances. On the upholstery side, she works 90% on antiques and most from 50-200 years old.
Demand for upholstery is so high that Jackson limits her project intake, though she said she enjoys saving antique furniture. Most are so well-built that they can almost always be saved, according to Jackson, unlike newer purchases.
“At the cost of new furniture now, quality for quality, if you’re doing it, you’re much better off investing in an old piece,” she said.
The antiques portion of the business, filling most of the store, is about one-third of her own collection joined by two vendors. One, Jackson’s cousin, specializes in estate cleanouts at prices to move and the other is a retired designer with a taste for lamps, rugs, mirrors, and fine antiques.
“We have a nice mix of price points,” she said. “Anything that is pretty or useful tends to wind up here.”
In addition, Star of the Sea carries swatch books for three lines of fabric – Charlotte Fabric’s eco-friendly offerings, decorative options from Quadrille Fabrics, and linen-focused designs through RM Coco – which customers can order for home fabric and, in some cases, matching wallpaper.
With few fabric stores in the area, Jackson said she tries offer a wide enough selection for anyone to find what they are looking for.
“I like seeing the finished product,” she said of the decor work. “I like to take a plain old space and have it come together the way a client wants it. I like seeing the look on their face when things are done.”
Her mother pitches in on some stitching and makes all of the piping used.
Jackson’s personal philosophy of home decoration keeps the history of the house in perspective while having some fun decoratively, using antique items in original ways.
“You don’t need to feel like you’re living in a museum,” she said. “The people that built these old buildings, they weren’t trying to live in their past.”
Jackson and family have purchased and fully renovated several old buildings, where she said she enjoyed picking flooring, wallpaper, and finishing touches after repairing the building from the bones up.
“I guess that’s the essence of it,” she said. “I love to take something really beaten up and fix it.”
Star of the Sea is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, and by appointment on Thursday.