Liz Scarpino is one for puns.
The seamstress was born with a brachial plexus injury, where the nerves that connect her arm to her spine were pulled from their roots, leading to paralysis in her right arm. Everything she does in her shop is one-handed, which is how she came up with her business name, Single Handedly Liz, where she does custom alterations and designs.
“I like puns and I’m easygoing,” she says. “I’m an open book when it comes to my arm.”
Scarpino’s shop opened last May in Kearney, and has hit the ground running since. She recently launched her online store at singlehandedlyliz.com. She also is an advocate for those who have to live with one functioning arm—over on her Instagram, she shares one-handed hacks for tasks like painting her nails and opening jars.
Learn more about the local talent and a little bit about her Kansas City favorites.
Have you always known you’d go into the fashion industry?
I started thinking about it when I was in high school, but I just needed to figure out what I was doing. Art has always been kind of my life. I’ve always been creative, and it has always been a really good outlet for me. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to design full time or stick to the alterations part of it. So I kind of meshed it all together under my little brand and in my shop.
What kind of design work do you like doing?
I really like fabric dyeing and textiles. I did Omaha Fashion Week twice, and I hand-dyed all my own fabrics for those. My first show was by using man-made dyes, and I also did one with all-natural dyes, which was an adventure. I have also made up a couple flower girl dresses for my sister’s wedding. Other than that, I kind of just go with the flow. I make a lot of people T-shirts.
What trends are you liking now?
I really like the tie-dye thing right now, but I don’t anticipate it to last. It’s hit and it’s already kind of on its way out, I think. But I love that boho, very feminine look and flowy silhouettes.
Kansas City Favorites
Nickel & Suede
The Nickels family is just so nice and kind. They’re very down-to-earth people. And I think that really speaks to Kansas City and the Midwest in general.
Arrowhead and Kauffman
Some of my fondest memories growing up were going to games with my dad. He always had season tickets [to the Chiefs and Royals].
I grew up here, and I’ve seen businesses come and go and thrive and grow. Ginger Sue’s is a great breakfast place.