Meet the Craftsperson: Sarah Goldenberg
Popular Pike Place Market hat maker Sarah Goldenberg hitchhiked her way to Seattle from Washington, DC in 1978, landing in the Emerald City with just $10 worth of dimes in her pocket. But she fell in love with the city, and she’s been here ever since.
As a milliner, or hat maker, Goldenberg crafts each hat by hand, making an array of different sizes and colors to complement just about any face shape out there. She’s largely self-taught, priding herself on her ability to help customers pick out the right style and size for them.
Goldenberg says she started sewing as a way to make extra income while also running a daycare. She started selling mittens at the Fremont Sunday Market in 1990, before expanding her line up to include sweater cuffs, baby buntings and jackets, and later, hats. She opened Lid Wear in Pike Place Market’s craftsmarket in 1995.
“My aunts and my mother were all seamstresses so I knew how to sew,” says Goldenberg, who is largely self-taught. “It was grueling work. Plus I had a baby and was a single parent. I was working morning, noon, and night whenever he was asleep.”
Goldenberg uses a range of fabrics, including velvets, fleece, and a waterproof, breathable fabric for her popular line of rain hats. She also designs classic styles like flat caps and fedoras as well as custom hats. Each hat has an adjustable strap on the inside, a unique signature of her work. Every year, Goldenberg makes treks to LA, Portland, and Canada to seek out fabrics, which she brings back to Seattle to craft her hats.
As one of the longest running vendors in the craftsmarket, Goldenberg is thankful for her customers. “I enjoy my connection with the people,” she says. “My customers are the people who have formed my business. I get to try my hats on on all these different shapes and sizes and colors and faces and I can design accordingly. It makes all the effort worthwhile.”