From baby bibs and bumper sets to princess and prom dresses, Army spouse Erin Montgomery can craft a custom outfit out of almost anything.

Her home-based specialty sewing business, Sweet Pea Children's Boutique, was officially launched in January. But Montgomery, who lives on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, has been sewing for years. She started as a child with her grandmother, she said, who taught her how to use a sewing machine. "I was always interested in the process of putting things together and making pretty things," she said.

Following rave reviews of daughter Amanda's prom dress last year, Montgomery, who also works as a part-time chiropractic assistant at Avenue to Wellness in Tacoma, decided to set up shop to help supplement her income. She started a Facebook page for the burgeoning business (www.facebook.com/SweetPeaChildrensBoutique), developed business cards and built clientele through word of mouth.

The enterprise also helps Montgomery stay busy while her husband, Sgt. Michael Montgomery, is deployed to Afghanistan as a mechanic with 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne).  The couple has been married eight years and has nine children between them, though only two, daughter Amanda, 18, and son Scott, 17, are still living at home.

In addition to custom clothes and baby items like crib bumpers and diaper stackers, Montgomery also creates one-of-a-kind memory quilts. These unique quilts are made with photographs printed onto special fabric paper, which is then sewn directly into the material. Unlike with iron-on photographs, Montgomery's quilts do not fade or wash out, she said.

Montgomery offers a military discount for all of her merchandise, including 10-percent off all memory quilts. Prices on custom clothing vary depending on the material and difficulty of the design. "I don't see it as a talent," Montgomery said of her sewing skills. "It's like following any other recipe. You follow the directions and at the end you have the finished product."

For more information, visit the Sweet Pea Facebook page, call (253) 304-8181 or e-mail Montgomery at


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