Aldona Bird, Columns/Opinion

Local sewing shop to have open nights

What’s your summer project? Have you contemplated learning a new craft, something to keep you busy on rainy summer evenings or days too hot to be outside?
Allow me to suggest hand work, such as sewing.
Allow me to also admit I’m a hypocrite. I love keeping my hands busy and used to never be able to sit still without a project in my hands.
Lately, despite intentions to sew while I watch movies or socialize with my family, I let my hands fall idle. I have an excuse that I think some crafters can relate to — I’m overwhelmed by the number of projects I started, and others I wanted to start.
Last week I saw a glimmer of hope of getting out of my crafting rut. Angie Miller, owner of sewing shop Stitch, in Westover, told me she’s hosting a social evening for crafters to work and hang out on the evening of July 20.
Angie plans to have these open nights once a month. We chatted about how social crafting can be fun, and she pointed out that seeing projects other people are doing and how they are going about them can be motivating in a way that pursuing a hobby in isolation might not be.
In her experience, crafters can help each other learn new techniques and problem solve.
If your problem is that you don’t yet have a project or don’t even know where to start, Stitch might be able to get you going.
“One-on-one classes are very helpful for someone just starting out,” Angie said.
Her go-to project teaching students how to use a sewing machine is a pillow case. Fabrics can be mixed and matched creatively, straight seams are great for beginners, and pillowcases can be finished in a short amount of time.
Angie said from her resources as a sewing store owner, “There are limitless ideas” for projects. She frequently teaches group classes, during which students can complete an entire project.
“The hand embroidery has been really popular,” Angie said. She also taught how to make grocery totes and many other projects, and even has plans to bring in other teachers to teach various classes.
Angie also scheduled some multi-session classes for projects that are a little more in depth but can still be completed in just a few scheduled meetings. Participants in the first such class will make a paneled Christmas tree skirt.
While she scheduled lots of classes for a variety of crafts, Angie understands interested people can’t always work them into their schedules. So she created “easier, anytime projects.” Customers can pick up kits and instructions to take home, or bring back to the shop for a little individual guidance from Angie.
“I’m starting a subscription box in July,” Angie said, showing me the package people who signed up for the mystery packages received this month: project materials tucked into a charming tin sewing box: a pinwheel pattern and instructions, necessary fabric and cute notions (pins, etc).
“It’s hard to know what everybody’s idea of trendy is,” Angie said about picking projects and classes to offer.
Self-taught, Angie started crafting and sewing when she was in high-school. She said it provided “relaxation and a creative outlet for me.”
I totally relate to that crafting motivation. I vote we all grab our works in progress and head over to this charming shop in a few weeks, to relax, create and motivate each other to start or continue sewing.