Oh goodness. I’ve written this post so many times in my head and when it comes right down to it, it’s hard to find the words. I’ve wanted to share my feelings about what I’ve gone through as a small business owner the past four years and so here goes. It’s a long one! I’ll try to start at the beginning.

I’ve been blogging here since – sheesh, a loooonnnnng time ago, it feels like – 2007. It wasn’t always under A Fashionable Stitch. I went under the alias, the Cupcake Goddess for many years. Wow, that seems like forever ago. When I started blogging, back in the day, I had no idea what I was really doing, what I planned to do with it or what blogging would do for me. When I finally found a focus in sewing apparel, things started picking up for me.

Show-Off-1

I loved fabric. I still do. Fabric is big for me. I love fine fabric, unusual fabric, printed fabric, textured fabric, fabric from all of the different natural fibers, fabric in all different colors, knit, woven, you name it. I just love it so much and I feel I have a natural affinity for picking good stuff. Now, don’t worry, I’ve picked my share of bad stuff, but overall there’s been more good than bad. I also had connections for superb sewing notions and tools and since I wanted to live a creative life to it’s fullest, aka making my creative passion my business I thought I would give selling notions and tools a try. Things that I use myself and I felt this would be a good thing to start with when it came to selling things under the umbrella of my magnificent obsession.

I’ve had an online store for quite a while, but I didn’t make it truly official until March 2011 (meaning I filed my business name with state and federal institutions). I had quit my day job and decided to go whole hog. And things were good. I felt good about the niche that I was filling and generally I felt like I was adding something to the conversation and that I did people a favor by having these great sewing notions and tools all in one place.

I started receiving more press and my online store and my blog were affording me some pretty grand opportunities. I really did feel great about things for a solid 3 years. During that 3 years, I had the marvelous opportunity to become the teacher of whatever class I wanted to teach at a local fabric shop called Yellow Bird Fabrics. It was absolutely wonderful. I developed some classes that really took off and this along with working one day a week at this fabric shop gave me the opportunity to become acquainted with a whole new animal – the brick and mortar store model. I still had my online shop at that time, I was teaching full-time and I was bringing home really decent money and we were able to live off of this and what my husband was making too. Seriously, it was the life. I think about that snapshot now and it actually kind of makes me a little sad. Those were some really good times and I was feeling way on top of my game.

And then, life happened. The gal who owned and operated Yellow Bird Fabrics was going to have her second baby and she started looking around at things and felt like it would be too much to run a fabric shop, work a day job and have two kiddos (under the age of 2) running around (who can blame her, right?). So she started opening up negotiations with the girls who worked for her so that she could sell her store. She approached me and we started discussing possibilities.

When we started negotiating about purchasing her business, we went through a lot of ups and downs and when all was said and done, I truly did not feel great about the decision to purchase. I had a gut feeling (mind you a very soft spoken gut feeling) that this was wrong for both of us and yet, I decided to just forge ahead anyway. I mean, who am I to listen to crazy voices in my gut or my head for that matter?? “I can do this and I am going to be successful!” I told myself over and over. From the beginning of negotiations to now, I have had nothing but trouble come from the decision to purchase that fabric store. For me, it was the wrong decision. I really feel this way deep down. Sigh…. Some harsh words to face for me, but really, it was the wrong decision for me. I feel it opened up a pandora’s box of a lot of hard, really hard problems that I’ve dealt with on both a professional and personal level that truly, almost did me in. I am amazed that I’m sitting here, writing something sane, having lived through it and come out the other side.

SJ-5

Once I took over possession of the brick and mortar shop, lots of things started going downhill. We had some ups, we did. But there were many more downs. Just when I thought I saw a little sunshine, BOOM! I was hit with one down thing after another and another and another…..and another. And the workload was unbelievable. I was working all the time! And for no take home pay!!! The business was barely sustaining itself. There were tears. I have never cried so many tears in my entire life as I did this last year. So many tears. SO MANY! And I don’t cry. This is the thing. I DON’T CRY! The frustration was so unbelievable that tears were my only refuge – it seemed a daily ritual! By December of 2014, I had had enough. I tried giving it a go with the Sewing Room and that just didn’t take. It was time to make more hard decisions and face some realities.

As you probably know by now, everything is all closed up. I never, ever thought I would close my online store. I had loved my online store so much (I still do), but after the sad fate of my brick and mortar shop, I’ve lacked the tenacity and passion to continue on with any of it, especially when it was barely making enough to cover itself. Once everything was over for the brick and mortar in March of this year, I went right into working full-time and found that the last thing I wanted to do when I got home from work was work more. I have no idea how I used to do this back when I worked a full-time job and was trying to get my online shop up and running (this was before March 2011). It was a hard decision to face, but in order to be fair to myself, then it was time to be real about closing up everything and letting the dream go.

I was fortunate, so very fortunate, to be able to go back to a job within the same company that I worked for previous to March 2011 – when I struck out to become a burgeoning entrepreneur. I knew when this job came back into my life, it was the right decision and I feel better about it than I have felt about anything in a really long time. I feel like I’m supposed to be there and while I know I’m still going to have my fair share of challenges from all angles and facets of life, this was the next right thing for me.

I don’t plan to mention my stint as a business owner much more, if at all (though if I’ve made something from an old fabric from my shop days, I’ll mention that). I’m not sure that I will ever dabble in owning a brick and mortar again – who knows what the future will bring. But right now, I’m not ready to even think about it. I thought I would put my experience out there, especially as someone who really tried to make it in this creative sewing field of business. Other business owners will have different, hopefully much more positive experiences, but I felt mine was also valid. I have felt so deeply about everything this last year (ahem, the crying thing again). It’s been really hard to hold it back and not let the debbie downer part of my personality take over my life – though she’s still won out a lot this last year. All in all, I’m so glad it’s over. I’m so happy to be looking at the horizon of the future with a new perspective on life and a different and more exciting feeling of hope and happiness. I have so much to be grateful for and I’m so happy to be sewing – yup! That drive is not dead. I have some exciting new partnerships to mention and thrill you with and I’m sure there will be more fabric, more garments, more fitting fights and reveries and well the old suspects that were more present on this blog before all of this craziness went down. I’m just glad to still be around. Cheers!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement as all of this has unfolded. Thank you!

xx, Sunni

  • Allison - Such an emotional roller coaster you’ve been on! Sorry your experience has been a difficult one and thanks for sharing! So glad you’re now feeling “at ease”. Peace and light.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Oh, I so know the flavor of these feelings! Of course they’re valid! I went to architecture school, did the federally-monitored multi-year internship, passed the licensing exams, hung out my shingle…and realized it and I weren’t a good fit. (That was 1992 – 2008. See the value in ‘failing fast’?) Now I develop websites for large corporate America, and am MUCH happier, but the experiences I went through actively contribute to my outlook and skills, so I really can’t regret them – and the web work I do didn’t start existing until 2005, so I can’t play ‘why didn’t I study CS at the awesome tech university’. It’s a journey, right?ReplyCancel

  • Lara - I am so sorry things did not work out for you with your shop, and hopefully now that it’s gone, that will be the end of the bad feelings for a really long time to come. I am excited to see your latest sewing creations! Cheers to you and your new beginnings :)ReplyCancel

  • Crimson Needle - Thank you for writting this. Your experience is more than valid even if it didn’t end as a “success”. The world is filled with success stories of people who sacrificed, worked hard and now live there lives happy, money in pocket doing exactly what they love to do. They’re living the dream. And reading these stories are hopeful and encouraging, but we do need to hear of the other turnouts. We need to also see that if we give it full go and “lose” (although I don’t think lose would be the right word) that it isn’t because we didn’t work or try hard enough like we’re often thaught by society. That some things are out of our hands, and it can still have a good ending, just not the one you were aiming for. I personnally find stories of people putting themselves back on their feet after making the wrong decision much more impact full and inspiring. And from where I’m standing, you seem to be standing rather strong again (I hope). Good luck with everything and thank you for sharing this difficult part of your life.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Hey Sunni, I have been following your blog for years now. So sorry for all your ups & downs of life lessons. But it sounds like you have learned many things about yourself through them. Good for you. I really liked your posts about fabric type: fiber & content. I’m glad to see you have kept those blogs on your blog. I teach sewing to girls in South Carolina and now that your online fabric shop has closed, can you give direction as to where we can purchase good quality fabrics online? I am most wanting some of the wool crepe (darn that I didn’t buy some in every color when you had it available!). Thanks again for all your informational posts.
    Blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Glad you’re sorting out life in a way that works for you. Just wanted to say i LOVED your zipper class on craftsy. If you were to create more such classes i would be interested!ReplyCancel

  • Samina - Thanks for your honesty, Sunni. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out for you, but I truly admire your courage & the guts it took for you to go for this business & to share with us how it has gone. I’m glad that you’re back on track & I look forward to continuing to follow your blog & to seeing what you have coming up.ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - I appreciate your honesty and admire your outlook. I can’t wait to see what is next in your sewing adventures! xoReplyCancel

  • Tilly - Sunni, I’m so sorry that this particular project didn’t work out for you, it must feel so tough now but in time you’ll be able to put it into perspective. I’m so happy to hear that you’re feeling good in your new/old job. Owning a small business is HARD. I can’t even imagine having the overheads and pressure of a bricks and mortar on top of everything else that a business owner has to deal with. The main thing is that you gave it a shot, and it didn’t work out but you have learned so much, expanded your comfort zone and I bet you are now able to face any challenge face on :) xxxReplyCancel

  • roger - That’s capitalism for you. Round of applause and launch party when you start; kick in the teeth when it doesn’t work out. There are more small business failures than successes, but only the minority of the latter are talked about, over and over and over again. No one seems to learn.ReplyCancel

  • Judi - Thank you for all of it, Sunni! I’m sorry this has been so hard, you were very brave to even consider owning your own store. I have learned a lot from you, and hope that you will continue to blog about your sewing in the future. I miss the shop, but hopefully this can lift the fog surrounding you and you can be smiling from the inside out once again.xxxReplyCancel

  • Sophie - Thank you for sharing your experience, it is definitely as valid as any other… I really enjoy your blog and there is no doubt you’re talented!! Best of the luck with the new job :)ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - Thanks for being so honest. I’m really sorry that things didn’t work out as you hoped. It must be a nice change to be paid a regular salary again after all of that stress. Can’t wait to see what you have planned next xReplyCancel

  • Virginia at A Sewing Life - Sunni, I’m not sure if I have written this to you before (maybe, I’ve definitely thought about it). A little while after you started down the road of purchasing your bricks and mortar shop, I had an opportunity to try something similar with an independent local shop. Reading about your experiences helped me to consider the cons along with the pros and I didn’t do it, which I think was the right choice for me. You helped me to realize that it would take all of my energy and then some to own a shop, and that giving it one’s all might not be enough to counter some very daunting economic trends for such shops.

    A year after making this decision, a Joanns joined the Hancock in my town, and three other independent fabric shops went out of business. I am so glad I didn’t have to live through that experience. So, if I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: thank you so much for sharing what you’ve been through. It absolutely helped me.

    For you, I am truly sorry that the good early days of your sewing-related business didn’t last longer. You are so gifted and you gave so much–you are the last person who deserved such stress and disappointment. But I am glad you are moving past it and that you are happy with where you are now. All the best!ReplyCancel

  • Thewallinna - Thanks for sharing your story and your emotions. Not everybody can do such a thing publicly. I think that each experience is positive, even though some of them may end up not very good for its protagonist. You have definitely learnt lots of new things, you’ve become a stronger person and you’ve discovered so much new things about yourself (I bet!). I wish you all the best with your office job and your free time, which you can dedicate for sewing and blogging!ReplyCancel

  • Anne - Hi Sunni, you don’t know me, but I follow your blog. My name is Anne. When I became a beginner sewer I found your blog and loved it. I have learned so much from you, and am very grateful. I love your style:) I look forward to seeing more makes in the future! Blessings, Anne.ReplyCancel

  • Hélène - So, so important to listen to this little voice inside! God, that’s a good lesson. Best of luck with your new job!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - While things have not turned out the way you envisioned them, I am so proud of you for taking the risks and following your dream! So many of us don’t do that, and then we wonder, wonder, wonder… You don’t have to do that. You gave it your best shot, and the Mr. helped you chase the dream, and in the current climate it just was not meant to be. With time, I think you will begin to realize how very much you learned during this experience. Your online store will be missed. I hope you find lots of peace and contentment with your decision. You have certainly helped me a lot, so keep showing us those makes! Thanks, Sunni!!!ReplyCancel

  • K-Line - Sunni – I so appreciate your honest reflection of this time in your life. And I’m so thrilled that you decided to listen to your intuition and change paths. I’m sure the future holds many wonderful, exciting – and maybe even entrepreneurial (in a long time!) things. The world takes us in some strange directions. But finding the main road again is the substance of life.ReplyCancel

  • justine - I’ve been reading your blog since 2010 Sunni, and following your business, too. The silver lining is that you made it happen, followed a dream and tried your best. At least you won’t live with an ” I should have…” , nagging at you. Trying something you want to do and having it not work out is better than never taking the risk at all.ReplyCancel

  • Leah - Sorry that the brick and mortar turned out to be such an ordeal, you aren’t the only one who has had those problems. Kudos to you for cutting loose and going back to your old job. It is important for people to hear that being in business foe oneself is very hard and stressful. Looking forward to seeing your creative output now that that is what it is and there isn’t a price tag on every moment of your creativity. I think this is an important lesson for people- it’s not always a good idea ‘to do what you love’ as a career. There is so much more in running a business than just what you love. For many people work a good paying job and let your creativity be just that- a creative activity on the side.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Thank you for writing this post and for being so open about everything. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out for you, but I am glad that you have found/made your peace with it. You are amazing and I am sure that there are still so many great things ahead that will work out for you – and that you will feel are right for you. Wishing you nothing but the best!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Sunni, I feel for you, I really do. What a rollercoaster 4 years – the highest of the highs, the lowest of the lows. And you are brave enough to share your story, which I really appreciate, as we always hear about all these *marvelous* success stories but very little about the very real sweat, tears, pain, frustration, and plain ol’ HARD WORK that goes into entrepreneurship, even if it’s something that you love to death. I’m so glad you’re now on a path that feels right and good for where you’re at right now. I’m also glad that your love of sewing hasn’t disappeared, even through all of this. So important!

    Also, thank you for posting this as I really resonated with a number of things that you said. I’m a hobby sewer and will likely never turn it into a business, even though people sometimes ask me about it – it’s just never felt right, and sometimes it can be so hard to trust that little voice in you, even if, on some level and in some very quiet way, you really know that you should. SO thank you for sharing that.

    However, I have taken a step away from the 9-5 to write, and that’s an area where I could really relate to so many things you said. I’m currently going through a period where I just flat out DO NOT want to write ANYTHING. And this is supposed to be my ‘passion.’ It is, but sometimes you just run dry on motivation, especially if you’re a workaholic and now working for yourself (as you said in a prior post). It can be so hard to call ‘enough’!! And sometimes there’s a voice that says, “Ok you’ve done this for awhile, and now it’s time for a change” – and it can be hard to listen to that voice, because this is your PASSION for crying out loud, and yet that voice is right, and you just gotta go with it and trust that the currents will change again, at some point, with regards to the things that you absolutely, to your core, love to do.

    So bravo to you, and thanks for sharing honestly and deeply.

    Here’s to what comes next. And here’s to this very moment :-).ReplyCancel

  • Martha - The next big adventure awaits. Let go of the past and don’t let it hold you back from something new! You have so much support in all you do!ReplyCancel

  • Jane - Hi Sunni, thanks for sharing. I realise you probably don’t want to write or even think any more about the shop, but when you say things went wrong/downhill, is there any chance of you being more specific? Any words of advice you might have for anyone, erm, trying to do something similar? Big pitfalls? Lessons learnt besides, hmm, don’t do it?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I think one thing that should be understood is that there is a lot of myth when it comes to running your own business. I actually thought that I wouldn’t have to work as hard. Ha ha. You work so much more. So much more than just 40 hours a week. So much more than just 70 hours a week. It is your every waking breath and it absolutely has to be in order for you to survive. Additionally, you are working all the time and there is no take home pay. It’s unbelievable just how tired you begin to feel when there isn’t even a carrot dangling on the line in front you. Ugh.

      After purchasing the brick and mortar shop, I also inherited so many things that I was completely unprepared for. And there is no way that you can become prepared for it. It was an uphill, no wait downhill battle then entire way. I did a post on my blog that went behind the scenes my first month in business as a brick and mortar owner and had a really, really nasty comment left that hurt me to my core. I inherited staff that didn’t feel I was up to the challenge of running my own business and had an allegiance with the previous owner that was awkward. I had to let one gal go in the first month and I had to fire another about five months in. I had so many people telling me how I should do something, how I should run things, what fabric I should get and so on. And then when I did those things, guess who never came in? Those same people! I had hard deals with customers. I dealt with brides and their mothers on a daily basis, but yet who never came in again. I never seemed to have anything that anyone wanted. Good grief and then people would come in and tell me that this or that was ugly. Ugh, sometimes customers can be incredibly demanding and rude. I worked in the retail section of the shop every single day. Then I would try to teach a class here and there. My husband and I had marital problems and some if it stemmed from the decision to purchase this business and that was so incredibly hard. The rent on the building I was in was insane. My 2nd or 3rd month in business, I had a $700 phone bill because I switched providers and didn’t realize the previous owner was on a contract. I made deals with people that I have seriously regretted. It happens. I bought tons of fabric that never sold, until it went on sale.

      One thing you should know. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done. If you don’t market it, it won’t sell. If you don’t pay for it, no one else will. If you don’t say no, you’ll always say yes. And people these days want fabric for the price they paid for 20 or 30 years ago. They don’t want to pay boutique prices. I have to admit, it’s not just hard, it’s almost impossible if you’re not in the right place.ReplyCancel

      • Jane - Thanks Sunni. Gosh I am so glad for you that you’re out of it. My situation is a bit different but I can relate to some of it. Especially the tyre-kickers! It’s so often the ‘customers’ who are neediest who buy the least (or nothing at all). But it sounds like you dealt with some doozies. Wow. And the no takehome pay? Yeah, we’ve been addressing that, with some success. I just hope you, poor thing, can still find joy in sewing after all that! – Jane xxReplyCancel

      • Suzanne - I can see now why you are so done. Thanks for sharing the details. What a horrible experience. You must feel such a sense of freedom right now. But whatever you are doing now I think your old job must be lucky to get you back, it seems like you have a fantastic work ethic.ReplyCancel

  • mari - I am retired and I travel throughout the country all of the time. I can tell you that your experience is not unique as evidence by the fact that it is virtually impossible to find an independent fabric store that carries beautiful fabric for clothing construction. Most towns have at least one quilting fabric shop but they carry ONLY quilting fabric. It is a sad day for those of us who still like to support local businesses and to actually see and touch our fabric before purchase. I have always loved your blog and look forward to seeing what the future has to hold for you. I wish you all the best.ReplyCancel

  • Kate Carvalho - Thank you so much for sharing. You are so honest and brave – it takes real strength to be vulnerable. You’ve learned so much from this painful experience and you are a greater person because of the so called wrong decisions you have made. All my love goes to you.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - What a heartfelt letter! I’ve been following your blog for a LONG time, I think right after you started as A Fashionable Stitch, so I’ve been following your ups and downs. I still looking forward to your blog posts, and am definitely looking forward to what you have to share in the future.ReplyCancel

  • Claire Kennedy - I’m sure this has been a truly trying time(s) for you. Retail can be a very vicious animal. I’ve resisted it all my life from 40 years ago when I did a pro-forma and discovered I would have to pull in thousands of dollars just to meet regulations, fees, taxes, salaries, and basic monthly expenses before I could ever take home a dime. It scared me then and still does even when people say I need a storefront. I’m an artist and I work uneven hours and they aren’t like retail hours.

    If nothing else hopefully that little voice in you has a platform now. There’s nothing like it and listening to it is the best thing you can do for yourself no matter how many well-meaning friends and family tell you otherwise. Some of my family told me not to go into the custom clothing business and 40 years later I’m still seeing clients. The little voice does not lie!!!

    Follow that dream inside. It never dies and can lead you to some glorious directions.ReplyCancel

  • Nikky Leonardos - Hi Sunni, I always browse over your blog and always felt your struggles. I am so sorry about the feelings, tears and overall process you have had to go through. As time goes on you will heal and hopefully accept this as a path you had to take. On top of all that you should be proud of doing what you did. It was hard but you did it, you gave it a go and gave your best. For that in itself you are a winner. You had a dream and you tried to make it work, so hats off to you. How many people have the ‘if only I did …’syndrome. Well you don’t, you get out there, gave it a go, and unfortunately it didn’t work out the way it should have. However you did it, and on top of all that had the courage to let go of this dream. Don’t knock yourself down, and thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Now that takes courage.ReplyCancel

  • Madame Hardy - I know they’re nearly meaningless, but big big BIG Internet hugs. I once read that when you make a bad decision, “bad” is actually an abbreviation for “Best Available Data” — you did what you could with the information you had at the time. I am sorry your dream ran aground, and I am much sorrier you worked yourself into the ground.

    I hope something wonderful happens to you soon.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Hi Sunni. I’ve been following you for awhile now – from at least the 2010-2011 era, and it makes me happy to feel like I can hear a smile in your voice again. I know the past year must have been so frustrating, and I’m sorry things didn’t take a better path, but I’m glad you’re still sewing and enjoying your new job. Best of luck!ReplyCancel

  • Stina P - Thanks for sharing – it gives really good balance to all the I-quit-my-day-job-and-now-earns-25k-a-month. And I have to say, it was brave of you to get in it, and brave of you to get out of it. I wish you all the best in the future, and really hope that it hasn’t put you off sewing and crafting – at least not in the long run! :)ReplyCancel

  • Miss J - It’s such a shame Sunni!
    You have such talent that it deserves to fly!
    I’ve seen those with far less talent than you maintain establishments that teach sewing so I am confident that’s a dream that can come round again for you.
    Please don’t forget that sine of the biggest entrepreneurs have gone through what you have.
    Most of us, including myself, never have the guts to ever try

    I am proud of you!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - I am sorry that your business didn’t work out for you Sunni! I’m sure if I lived anywhere near close, I would have bought some of your luscious fabrics! Glad you are settled in your full time job now, and wish you all the luck for the future.ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Hi Sunni, thanks for sharing this really honest post with us. I know that feeling of having the tiny voice of your gut feeling speaking, but sometimes it takes a long time to recognise it and properly hear it. And also, trying hard to make a job work, when you wonder ‘is this really for me?’. And also, all the crying and emotion – so bloody tiring! A lot of hard lessons to learn there and pretty emotionally draining. Very best of luck of luck in your new job and for the future xReplyCancel

  • eimear - it cannot have been easy, I have worked in retail and golly-gee, you really get to meet all sorts the other side of the counter -Years ago, I had tried self employment, didnt work out for me and then I worked full time to get cash together, since I now work part-time and which leaves me a fair amount of time to work on my own projects without worrying about money. I look forward to your future posts – the very best of luck also with your future adventures and projectsReplyCancel

  • Brooke - Sunni, I just want to leave a comment to let you know I am a big fan of yours, and even more so for writing this post. I’m a religious (Muslim) person, so this may or may not resonate with you, but I believe God tests us at the same time as He grows us. We cannot become patient people unless we are put through trying times. We cannot be emotionally strong unless we are put through emotionally taxing situations. And so on and so forth. You probably don’t even realise it yet, but you would have gained a lot through this. Time will show that to you. You also would have learnt a lot about yourself in the process.
    In the meantime, I’m so happy that I have your tailors hams, pin cushion and fabric. In the most uncreepiest of ways, I think of you whenever I use them :)ReplyCancel

  • Anne - I’m glad you’ve come through your bad experiences, to find more settled times. Good luck in the future.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - Sunni, thank you for trusting in your readers. Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors.ReplyCancel

  • Essbee - And so we shall never speak of this again. 😉

    I know exactly how you feel. My spouse and I started up a small business that we really loved and believed in (it had an environmental/social impact). The reality was that it wasn’t profitable enough to raise our very young family on, and we were at a point where, like you, it was starting to damage our physical health and our relationships, not to mention our wallets, so we sold it after three years.

    It appears to be doing fantastically now, I check in on their website a couple times a year or so and almost always shed a tear over it because I do miss certain aspects of it. I wouldn’t change anything about it though, including the sale, and you’ll feel the same in time if you don’t already. No regrets!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Sunni, I can’t even imagine how stressful the past few years have been for you! My parents are also small business owners, so I have an inkling – but a creative business is a whole nother beast of it’s own right, and takes SO MUCH out of you. I’m so happy to hear that you were able to make the decision based on what was right for you, and that you’re doing better with your new path. It’s so sad when something like that sucks the joy out of your passion, and I’m glad you got it back! Here’s hoping the next few years will make up for all the crap you’ve just been through!

    Also – I think you’re a badass, not only for taking on such a crazy endeavor and actually living through to see the other side, but also just for having the strength to openly talk about it on your blog. I don’t think most of us (myself included) would have the guts to admit the downside of things, and I really respect you for it. I think you’re awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Heather Lou - Sunni, thank you SO much for sharing your story. I can’t imagine how hard it was to write – it sounds like you’ve had a truly hellish year but I am so happy for you that you’ve righted your course and are on a new path that feels good. We’re all here for you no matter what is in store! xoReplyCancel

  • Ola Russek - It felt good to read about your experience and try to understand what you’ve been through. I hope it’ll only get better for you from now on! And that we’ll see more of the awesome stuff you sew here on the blog :)ReplyCancel

  • Diane O - So sorry to hear this….this chapter has closed and it sound like a nice run with ups and downs. Wish you the best at your new chapter. Hope you keep your blog up so we can keep in touch with you.ReplyCancel

  • Peter - I can only echo what so many other commenters have already said: you are a winner because you took on a huge challenge and saw it through to the end. There’s a saying that sometimes NOT getting what you want turns out to be the greatest gift. You don’t know what doors this experience may have opened or will open for you in the future. You have so much life ahead of you and have learned so much in a short, albeit highly stressful, period. Your talents, grace, and ingenuity will continue to take you far. Thank you for sharing this experience as you have your sewing experiences for the 5+ years I’ve been following you — since your Cupcake Goddess days!ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Thankyou for such openness and honesty. Sometimes I think the economic reality of a job within the sewing world is romanticised and glossed over when the truth is it is incredibly hard work for designers, shop owners, businesses with a small income and often very little time to pursue the very thing you love in the first place. You scratched all your itches and took risks and you survived for future adventures whatever then may be. Now you can enjoy your free sewing time again totally guilt free.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Thanks for sharing your experience! It takes a really amazing person to share a difficult experience with the rest of us, especially when things don’t turn out the way you had expected them too. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next in your sewing queue!
    xoReplyCancel

  • Jane - Oh Sunni, this is such a brave, honest post, I really feel for you. I’m so sorry your business didn’t work out, but at least you gave it a shot. You’ve come out the other side and the only way is up from now on my friend. Wishing you all the luck and happiness in the world. xxReplyCancel

  • Sharon Jester - Thanks for sharing your experience, you should be proud of your endeavors, you step out and tried, and you learn from your experience, most of us are scared to try their passion as a business, no wonders for you, you can say been their done that, and you really can appreicate where you are today, and move forward to new endeavors, with no regrets.ReplyCancel

  • Dixie - I’ve worked closely with a handful local fabrics stores and seen the struggles those owners have gone through first hand. It’s tough. You can only carry so much stock and not everyone is going to want/need/like what you carry. It’s impossible to appeal to everyone. I’ve seen three stores close in my city in the past year and a half.

    In the end, though, you got to go with what your heart is telling you and move on. I’m glad you’ve got a new job now and hopefully have more time for fun sewing!ReplyCancel

  • SewingTidbits - Dear Sunni,

    I’m not much of a commenter but I have been reading your blog(s) probably since the beginning. I never missed one of your post about your business because they were so honest and enlightening. I am sorry you went through such a hard time but at the same time grateful that you keep sharing with all of us so that we can all grow and learn with you. Congratulations on re-entering the job market successfully!ReplyCancel

  • Charlie - You’re an absolute star for posting this! How brave. I hold my hands up in total admiration and awe. Good on you xxxxxReplyCancel

  • Joen - Life does throw us a few curve balls, but I’ve learned that things happen for a reason and new doors open that you never imagined. I look forward to following along on your blog and your sewing adventures!ReplyCancel

  • StephC - Hey Sunni- It’s so hard, isn’t it? So hard to spend every waking moment pouring your life and soul into this thing, to keep on telling yourself if you could just push a little further, work a little harder, eventually everything will work out right. And for no pay. Sure, it’s not all about making money, but when the work is so hard that it’s grinding you down that way for *nothing,* it gets harder and harder to justify the work to other people… And to oneself…. (So hear you about the tears… And not being a crying person…And pretty much all of what you wrote.)

    I’m glad that you’re on a better track for you, I’m trying to find mine… I’ve always been a fan of your work, your ethic, and your vision and I wish only the best for you in the future, whatever that may be. :) *internet hugs*ReplyCancel

  • Annemieke - Hi Sunny, I SO admire your courage. Not only to speak about your troubles over the last few years, but also the fact that you did try in the first place. I have made a carreer-switch in the past that caused me a lot of problems, not to mention money and (mental) health. But I still believe I did the right thing at the time. As the french say: Il faut mieux vivre avec des revors qu’avec des regrets. Which translates to something like: It’s better to regret something you’ve done than to regret not doing something…
    I’ve learned a lot about myself in that period, and believe I’ve come out stronger. I hope you will get to look back at this period of your life with the same feeling (after you’ve given it some time…)
    Good luck!ReplyCancel

Plaid-Stash-2

We’re still gearing down the online store. If you thought you had missed everything, let me tell you, you haven’t. I added a bunch of goodies over the weekend and there’s still some more things to sort through and get up online (which I’ll be doing tomorrow and Thursday). And…..

we’re taking it down to 30% off everything! Yup. Use the code AFSCLOSING2 to save 30% off your order right now. And as fast as we can, we’re getting your order cut and shipped out. Exciting times friends. I’m sure we’ll be back soon with another step down. We’ll see what we have left.

Once all is said and done, I’ll be back with some thoughts for you on my business and the things we’ve seen and been through. I’ve been jotting some things down along the way here and there and I think it’s time to make some cohesion from it all. I’m sure you’ll enjoy that. Plus I have some exciting news and an exciting new friend to show you. Yay!

For now, there’s more in the store.

xx, Sunni

  • Lorna Brower - I have loved your store and then your online store. I trust your fabric choices without touching them. I am happy with every purchase I have made. I am so sad that you are closing your online store. I understand that you can’t keep a store open just for me out of the goodness of your heart, you have to make money. I love to read your blog and hope to keep that up from time to time.

    So…..do you have any online sources for fabric that you trust consistently?
    Thanks so much and good luck on your new job. I hope you have lots of time to sew for yourself and enjoy your talent.
    Lorna BrowerReplyCancel

  • jaybell - Sunni, I am so bummed I missed the closing of your store! I loved the aqua cotton pique you had and only held off buying some due to the size of my stash. Any advice on where I might find something similar?ReplyCancel

  • Missy - I am so sad your store closed. I haven’t sewn in a while so I wasn’t aware of the changes or closure. I wish you the best in your new adventure. Random question. Are you completely out of everything or are there still a few items left in your online shop? I tried accessing it and a password is required to enter. If you have anything left I”d be interested to check it out.

    thanks!
    MissyReplyCancel

  • jaybell - I should add–best of luck to you Sunni! I hope you enjoy your new endeavor. I also hope you keep blogging about sewing. You and the other sewists who share their knowledge & experience via the internet are such a tremendous inspiration, especially to those like me who don’t really have a sewing “community” at home. So thank you!ReplyCancel

shop-closing-1

With a little bit of sadness and a huge sigh of relief (whewwww!), I’m finally able to announce that we are closing our online shop. It’s finally official. Things had gone, well, sour. I don’t want to go into specifics because there are a lot of factors that have contributed to the demise of my business. But in good news, I’ve landed a full-time job that will work for me for probably a really long time. I have to admit that I’m glad that I just don’t have the time anymore to invest into something that requires a fairly large amount of upkeep (yet doesn’t pay the bills….). Hard truth, but truth it is.

So I have a few items of business. We are going to be closing everything out. It will work itself in waves until we’ve finally sold everything and anything we can. Right now, everything in the online store is 20% off with the code AFSCLOSING1. Next week, we’ll be stepping down the sale, so stay tuned for that. Everything’s gotta go. We’ll be adding more items here and there – as we have time to do so. (Update – Please note that these “more items” that we have to add will not include any more wool crepe. That is gone and gone forever!! So sorry if you missed those, they were special and amazing!) Additionally, please take careful note that we are discontinuing swatches. Things will probably go fast, so be aware that even if you get a swatch, the fabric might be sold out when you come back to order yardage! First come, first serve! Get it while it lasts!

Will I still be blogging? I will. Admittedly, I’m not sure what’s next for A Fashionable Stitch and my creative sewing life, but here’s to hoping it’s something good even if it’s just creative sewing. I’m good with that actually. In fact, I’m really good with that. I have been working on some sewing projects that I’m excited to show you, talk about and even do some tutorials for. I have to tell you a funny thing. In the past year or so, I’ve had very limited sewing time and so my personal sewing projects were put on the back burner as I ran a business – mind you, a sewing business. Now that I have a full-time job, it’s interesting to note that I am making time for my personal sewing projects and so I feel like I get a little more accomplished. I found out that working for yourself means that you work so much more than you even think and so much more than just 40 hours a week. Since I have workaholic blood in my veins, I felt like all I ever did was work and so I’m happy that I’m going to be doing an 8 – 5 job and creating sewing projects in my off hours and those off hours seem to be so much more than I even remember. Life is good and I do feel positive and upbeat about this change.

I don’t know if this will come as a shock or not, but I do hope that you all understand. I adore the online sewing community and have been apart of it for so very long. Thank you for all of your encouragement. I also want to issue a special thank you to anyone who ever purchased supplies or fabric from my store(s). Thank you so very much. It means the world to me! May you always have a full bobbin and a project that doesn’t need too much seam ripping!

Now hop on over to the shop and clean me out!

xx, Sunni

  • Molly - Sunni, I always loved visiting your bricks and mortar store. I was sad that you chose to close this. Again, I am sad that you are closing your online shop, but I support you in this decision. Any decision you make is the right decision. You have a great sense of style and your garments are always impeccably made! Many have appreciated your thoughts on sewing, construction, style, etc that you have generously contributed through your blog as well as in person. Thank you for all of this! On to the next great adventure! You will do well in whatever you choose to do.
    Please keep in touch. Molly, Salt Lake CityReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - So sorry to hear you are closing, but just wanted to say I hope you keep blogging. Your tutorials have been very helpful to me!ReplyCancel

  • Bernice - Sunni, You are a very talented and hard working young woman. I know from experience how challenging it can be to run a small business. You will always have that experience and perspective to bring to the table in your career. I wish you the best of luck! And I look forward to your blog posts.
    I’ve ordered from your shop before and just placed an order. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Duke - All the very best wishes to you, Sunni!
    Please keep blogging and updating us
    your fashionista followers!ReplyCancel

  • Belinda - So sorry to hear this – even though I live in Australia, I have enjoyed ordering from your store in the past! I hope that your new job works out well and that you continue to share on your blog :)ReplyCancel

  • Debbie - Best wishes to you Sunni! I hope your new endeavor works out for you. Always make time to sew!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathi giumentaro - I am sorry to see your online shop close. Your knits were to die for. I look forward to your future posts.ReplyCancel

  • Martha C - It’s a big step and I wish you all the success in e world. I known you will be terrific in your new role. On a selfish note…please continue to blog. I have enjoyed it so much. Learned so much and really just love your style and writing and photos . They always bring joy to my day. Best wishes Suni!ReplyCancel

  • Janet - Your sewing inspired me to make a tailored jacket! I look forward to your future posts.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - I just started following you. I wish you the best in your new adventure. I will continue to look forward to your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - Sunni – you have accomplished SO MUCH in the last few years. Enjoy your new lifestyle and creative sewing.
    All the best to you-ReplyCancel

  • Emily S - Ah Sunni! This makes me so sad but I understand. I just came to see if I could get some more voile fabric I bought earlier only to come across this unhappy news. Best of luck in all your future endeavors!

    Emily

    P.S. Keep the blog posts coming. Your blog is one of my favorites. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Sad to see your shop go, Sunni! But, so glad you’re happy with your choice. It sounds like you’re doing the right thing. :)
    I still use the tailors ham and seam roll I bought from you a few years ago!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Lou - I’m sad to lose a great online shopping resource but really happy you’re feeling positive and excited about the future! I wish you all the best going forward and hope that sweet, sweet 9-5 life treats you well (I am prone to romanticizing it these days, haha).ReplyCancel

  • Joen - Sunni, best of luck to you on your new adventure! I enjoy seeing your sewing projects and you have inspired me with my own sewing. Looking forward to see your projects and hope you have more time for personal sewing.ReplyCancel

  • HeidiAphrodite - One thing I’m finally learning is that we work to live–we don’t live to work. If your dream becomes toxic and stressful, it’s time to reevaluate! You will be missed, but you have my respect and admiration for having the guts to operate a shop (online and in real life) and then close it down when it’s time. Best of luck to you!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - Best wishes for the future! I hope you keep blogging, I love your posts! You are very inspiring to me:)ReplyCancel

  • SJ Kurtz - May you live a long and happy life that has many twists and turns, and find that sweet sweet project that turns on all the stuff in your brain. And then the next one. And the one after that. May your downtimes be short, and your ROI be emotionally satisfying!ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - Love you, Sunni! xoReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Admittedly, I’m sad to hear this, as your shop has been a trusted source of exceptional quality materials for me for a long time, and that is something which is much appreciated and tough to come by, particularly in an online marketplace :)

    That said, I’m very happy for you, and wish you ALL the very best in your future endeavours! :) As for me, I will always treasure the garments I’ve made (and will make!) from your fabrics, knowing they are extra special (one of them is still in the making – my wedding dress!) :) XOReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - I am so sorry this is happening, but glad you find a good job that makes you happy. And allows you time to sew, that is so important!! I will miss our friendship and hopefully will run into you around town. Please keep blogging, even if it is sporadic, and keep your blog up, many of us use the tutorials a lot. A valuable resource. Best of luck to you, my dear!ReplyCancel

  • Peggy - Sunni, I applaud you for making the tough decisions about your business and shop. All the best in future endeavors. Keep blogging. I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Becky Thompson - Best wishes to you Sunni. I’ve dabbled with my own business for over 15 years now but it was always an extra thing I did besides my 8-4 job. I’m sure you can now appreciate those entrepreneurs who strike it out on their own, build a business from the ground up and realize that those who truly make it work are far and few between. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like government telling businesses what to do but that’s another rant.

    I hope you keep teaching because you’re very gifted that way. I’ll stay signed up for your blog because I’d love to see your personal sewing projects. Just launched my own blog myself. God bless you and yours!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah C - Best wishes to you in your future endeavors!ReplyCancel

  • krystina - I just wanted to say good luck and also that I do hope you keep blogging! I am a bit of a lurker (sorry), but have always been a fan of your tailored style. I love the whole fit and flare thing for other people, but it just isn’t my style. Your blog is really inspiring because it’s different.ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - I’m sad to hear this but if the feeling you have is relief, then you know it’s the right next move for you! Best wishes for whatever the future has in store. It’s funny how running a sewing business left you less time to sew than before, and I hope you’re finding new ways to enjoy sewing now that things have changed. I hope you keep blogging, but don’t feel like you have to if you’re not into it! Follow your heart and the rest will fall into place. :) TasiaReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Designs - This is another GREAT adventure on your path of life :) You tried another path and it didn’t work out as planned :) That’s cool :) I am a self-employed seamstress. I LOVE my business and my customers. I work ALOT but seems like I don’t get PAID a lot :( I bill labor charges for my work but the EXTRAS take a lot of time..i.e. phone calls, emails and billing..paperwork…’hand-holding’… I do ALOT of bridal work :) etc….I understand how your business ATE YOUR LIFE :) It’s a learning experience :) I RARELY have time to sew for myself…. it’s okay…I guess???????? I NEED to earn cash to pay bills, the same as other working people :) I think you did a GREAT thing, you gave life a SHOT :) You are SO….. FAR…. ahead of the game :) MANY people sit and TALK TALK TALK about the things they MIGHT try someday :) You DID IT :) GOOD FOR YOU :) BEST WISHES from CHERYL :)ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Princess - Sunni, yes…reading your post came as a bit of a shock. I didn’t expect you would be closing down your online store…I’ve always admired your supplies and wished I lived closer not to run into huge duties. I would have loved to help you clear out but I see it’s all done already! Most importantly I am happy you found a new job that hopefully is very motivating for you. Running a business is not easy…and turning a hobby into a business does what it did to you…not leaving any time for sewing for pleasure! So I truly hope you will now have a bit more time for that and that you will be less worried about finances. I hope that you will continue blogging at your own pace…for the past 5 years I’ve been admiring your makes, learning from your tutorials and reading about your adventures. So thanks for sharing this all. Hugs, SilviaReplyCancel

airline-5

This cute little dress is the Bistro Dress by Liesl + co. It had been awhile since I looked at this company’s pattern line-up for adults. While I’ve never actually made any of the patterns, I’ve loved the designs that have come out of Liesl Gibson’s studio. She has an amazing knack for being able to couple everyday wear with sophistication and class. Impeccably tasteful. I’ve been meaning to make up several of the designs and this one was seriously calling out to me.

airline-3

First, you should know that this is a digital pattern. Second, you should know that the instructions are marvelous and the printout for this pattern was fabulous as it truly, TRULY uses the least amount of paper. I will give praise where it is due and it is definitely due here. Additionally, the draft of the pattern is excellent. Very precise. Everything matched up where it was supposed to and I was pretty happy with the muslin mock up.

airline-4

Saying that the draft of a sewing pattern is excellent does not mean that it fits right out of the envelope, just in case you were wondering – I mean we all have different bodies, shapes and sizes so that would be impossible. I made my usual adjustments – forward shoulder, broad upper back, sway back. Outside of that, the fit was pretty good for my figure and I was very happy with the silhouette.

I opted to make this lovely up in some linen I had. This blue jay linen is/was from our online shop and then I paired it with a beautiful navy linen/silk blend because I felt like a break up in the color would be a nice touch. To do that, I did the belt loops and sash in the navy and then created a panel on the bottom of the dress too. Easy peasy. I do love this dress, but these colors are vaguely reminiscent of an airline stewardess, dontcha think? he he!

airline-1

This dress is fully lined in bemberg rayon (what else?) and I made a point to create a beautiful lining with facing in this dress. I had some of this lovely bias tape that I purchased from Tissu Fine Fabrics, here in SLC and so I thought I should probably use it. I think it worked out pretty gorgeously. I love touches like these on the inside of a garment. I switched the zipper to the back from the side – only because the hip on this dress is more semi fitted and for me it slides right on. And you can see that I left it sleeveless. I did actually try adding the sleeves and I felt it aged me about 20 years. The short sleeve mind you. I think this is just a combination of the color, the fabric and the style. To be honest, I think in a different fabric it would be just fine.

airline-2

All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this dress and the sewing experience. It ended up being very wearable and summery and comfortable. The comfort is really really great actually. I mean this thing feels like pajamas. Loving the notch at the neckline too. Great pattern here!

Do you know about Liesl Gibson’s Liesl + co. line? You should definitely check her out – worth every cent, I’m telling you!

  • Tia Dia - This is just lovely. Love your use of colour.ReplyCancel

  • Chris - Just beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Ali B - I hadn’t heard of this pattern line before! This is a beautiful classic dress, and the fact that the instructions and drafting are so well reviewed is a big sell for meReplyCancel

  • Alethia - Simplicity at it’s finest! I love to see such a well made garment, inside and out! Others may not see the inside, but it’s something about knowing what it looks like for yourself. Your choice of fabric and color blocking is great…the fit is wonderful! You should be well pleased!ReplyCancel

  • Honeycreweller - I love the lining! Great job.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany - Liesl’s patterns are simply the best. I’ve sewn one of her lisette for butterick patterns this summer and I adore it. But I credit her children’s patterns with teaching me how to sew all kinds of techniques and she truly has a talent for writing clear instructions. You can’t go wrong with any of her work.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa G - Nothing about this reads airline stewardess to me! Love the dress and the color-blocking. I’ve been on a linen kick myself, it’s such a perfect fabric for summer.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - Lovely! I’ve been wondering about lining linen because when I use linen, it’s because I want linen on me. But then I get sad because the linen is too sheer and I don’t want to line it or wear a slip because then…no linen for Ani :(

    I’ve been considering using handkerchief linen for some slips though, so then all my dresses, linen or not will feel like linen.

    I’m starting to sound crazy.ReplyCancel

  • Cas - As always
    Very lovely
    love the pattern, the fit, the fabric choice and the fact that you never skimp on details even when they are going to be hiddenReplyCancel

  • Fifty Dresses - So very pretty! Love the interior detail – that adds so much to the overall effect.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Your dress is very pretty. I like it better than the cover shot. When this pattern came out I passed it by as being a bit too matronly. Maybe I should give it a second look. I’ve made her Everyday Skirt. While it might not be the most flattering for my pear shape, it is super comfy. I’ve lost a good bit of weight, so I want to make it again in a smaller size. I also want to try her cape for fall.ReplyCancel

  • Debera Massahos - Your fabric choice for your dress is perfection. I also wanted to let you know that I just received my first order from your online shop and I AM IN LOVE! So often when I order things online I wait with excitement only be be disappointed with yet another muslin fabric. The seafoam cotton pique is exquisite. My husband opened the box and, instead of lecturing me about how much fabric I already have, complimented me on my (your) good taste. Thanks for looking out for happy marriages everywhere!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - This looks beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • LaLa Sews - Oo that’s so pretty! It’s not airline-ish at all – those blues look like the waters surrounding the perfect beach. What a lovely dress.ReplyCancel

  • PinhouseP - Great dress, love the colors! Thanks for the pattern review, nice to get pointed in new directions :)ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I now officially aspire to make the insides of my dresses look as lovely as yours do. Wow! The striped bias tape really does add a beautiful extra touch on an already beautiful dress.ReplyCancel

  • Cecilia - Wow, great outfit. I love the colors. Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Miller - Gorgeous colors! I must give it a try (down the line after some more practice that is). Lovely blog.ReplyCancel

  • Alessa - Looks lovely. :) The little details like the bias tape edged facing really make it looks special!ReplyCancel

shameless-3

Selfish sewing time has been completely non-existent for me the past several weeks. Boo. After closing down and moving out of our brick and mortar shop, there still seemed to be endless amounts of straggling items of business to do. It’s been one thing after another after another, which is fine. Then, when chance came for a spot of sewing, guess who put in for some new t-shirts?

Saying that Mr. AFS has been my right hand through all of this wouldn’t cut the mustard. He helps me with every part of my online shop now. He’s still technically “in training” but he’s doing a passable impression of CEO. Since the tee’s on his back were literally about to fall off (holes and everything) telling him “no” didn’t seem like an option. I even tried to talk him into a couple of tees from Ross (a discount chain store) – we were even there looking at them!! – and he absolutely refused. Spoiled. Now he’s beginning to understand the difference between having something custom made for him vs. trying to find something that fits, is the right color and features everything he wants at the store.

shameless-5

Additionally, I thought it would be a good plug for our jersey knits and for me to chat about what goes into buying knit for our online shop. ha ha (nervous laughter). When it comes to knits, I am incredibly picky. I’ve made several knit projects that basically bombed after wearing because of the fabric choice pilling, or the fabric choice was so awful, I got half way through and tossed it. I’ve done a lot of online fabric shopping in my time and well, I’ve only ever had one problem with a woven fabric (it was a very bad color in person). Knits are a completely different story. I’ve bought a lot of knit online and I would say that a really good portion have been complete flops in person. I’ve noticed that the weight – the sheerness of the knit – is a huge deal to me. I think thin sheer knits are for the dogs. Ugh. Awful to sew with and I always end up having to wear something underneath anyway. Sigh. The other thing that is pretty tell-tale of a bad knit, is the wash and wear. Pilling is so unsightly to me. I’ve had a good jot of rayon jerseys that pill and so I’m very careful when purchasing those for my shop.

shameless-1

I made a pattern from Mr. AFS’s favorite tee and then made a test wearable t-shirt (above). The fit was exactly the same as the original tee.

shameless-6

This t-shirt was fabric from some old shop stock. 100% cotton mini rib knit. This stuff is really soft and I’m pretty sure it was organic. This pic (above) was taken just after Mr. AFS had kissed his own bicep. He must really love the way his arms look in these tees. Ahem. Moving right along….

shameless-4

shameless-2

Second tee, I got a lot more creative. Made him a henley with a pocket and back yoke with pleat. This proves great in a solid colored knit because we can actually see the texture and details without trying to squint through a print. He’s loving it. This knit is one of our 10 oz. cotton jerseys that contain 5% spandex (the Burgundy if you were interested). They. Are. Awesome! They sew up like a dream, will last a good long while and they have great color retention. Really comfortable to wear too.

I used the button placket pattern from David Coffin’s Shirtmaking book and put it together like a placket on a sleeve. All went well as per everything I’ve ever done from his book – love it! If you haven’t, take a gander at our knit selection. Get a swatch or two! I’m totally into converting you to my way of knit fabric thinking!

  • Mary - Is it bad form to say your hubs is a hottie?

    Oh the shirts are nice too!ReplyCancel

  • DM - My struggle is finding knits that have decent recovery. I can’t stand when shirts stretch out only to recover when I wash and dry them or sometimes they never recover at all and stay permanently stretched. I would love to see some more midweight knits with good recovery in your shop.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I’ve found that spandex is a good thing in knitwear. I used to think that all synthetics were bad, bad, bad, but now I know better. A little spandex goes a long way, especially in knit fabrics. A medium weight cotton jersey with about 5% spandex is fantastic! I hope you do try one of our knits – I really do try to find only the best and am very particular.ReplyCancel

  • Kate McIvor - I love the modifications on the second tee. I love the fabric for both!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you Kate! By the way – I see that you’re opening your lovely new shop in October. I might just have to pop by for the grand opening!!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - You are a better wife than I! My hunnie has been asking me about tees but honestly I couldn’t reproduce the quality of his RTW tees even if I was willing to, because I’m just not that good with knits yet – plus it’s not that hard for him to get a good fit off the rack anyway…. yours, on the other hand, look fantastic! The button placket and front pocket are really nice details, and they look very professional! :)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you! I’m newer to knits than to wovens and I have found that while knits are easier, reproducing what you see in RTW knitwear is harder. You’ll get there. It’s a much faster journey than with wovens. Much faster.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - These both look great! I really must get on with sewing my guy some clothes!ReplyCancel

  • Naomi - This post just makes me laugh. I’m in the same boat. Once I made my hubby his own t-shirt, he REFUSES to wear the store bought brands. Besides loving the Riley Blake knit I got from you, I’ve loooooooooooooved Nosh Organics Fabric. It’s great that you are still blogging too. Thanks for all your help!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Wonderful! And I’m going to have to check out this Nosh Organics Fabric. Organic knit is pretty amazing. Thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • Ani - Do you use a coverstitch/overlocker creature?

    My stretch twin needle does okay enough for my own t-shirts and knits, but even I sometimes pop those seams. I want to sew some for my husband but I’m pretty sure I have to wait until I can get the machines to make sturdier stitches :(ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I do have a coverstitch machine now. And I have a separate serger/overlocker. I admit that I do love my serger so much, but I do the main work of sewing knits on my sewing machine. However, for the hemming, I was so unsatisfied with the quality of a double needle that I finally broke down and purchased a coverstitch. I do love having it around, it’s pretty handy.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie Shumbera - I’m so intrigued. I’m an avid sewer, a perfectionist, and knit-phobic. I just can’t seem to get the hang of it and struggle with my serger to create anything half-way decent, which is far from my standards for sewing. Perhaps it’s the fabrics I’ve tried. Did you use a serger for these?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I do the main bulk of my sewing of knitwear on my sewing machine – I feel I have more control on the sewing machine than on the serger. I do end up serging the seam allowance after, but if needed, I could just sew all knits on a sewing machine. I’m one of those that likes having a larger seam allowance on knit patterns too. Even if the pattern is less, I add on enough for the pattern to have 5/8″ seam allowance and then whack it off with my serger. I found that especially when teaching beginners to sew with knits, this proved much better than the teeny tiny seam allowance.ReplyCancel

  • Sophie-Lee - Heh, love the photos! And Mr AFS obviously likes posing for them – I’ll have to show these to my husband for inspiration (he told me he doesn’t want to be one of those “reluctant looking husbands” or something along those lines).

    I’ve found it quite tricky to get knits that are suitable for mens t-shirts – the ones I’ve found have been too slinky, or not had enough recover/were too stiff.

    I’m curious as to the flash of yellow on the Henley, can you explain what you’ve done there? I know RTW mens shirts often have tape around the neckine, is it similar to that?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Actually no – it’s just serger thread. I had yellow on my serger and my mister really wanted yellow on this tee, so I (reluctantly) agreed to use the yellow. But I do know what you’re talking about with the band around the neckline. I’ve found it’s usually knit, just a knit binding, but I suppose you could probably use bias tape too which would give the knit a little more stability over time. Hmmmm… something to try!
      And Mr. AFS LOVES posing for photos. And he LOVES seeing himself in them after and then laughing and being an all around goof. He’s always excited when it’s his turn to be featured on the blog. Ha ha.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - Rowr.ReplyCancel

  • BeckyLeeSews - On the hems, are you using a coverstitch machine or a twin needle? If using a twin needle, what are your machine’s settings? I’m tired of the popped stitches and don’t want to drop good cash on fabric if I can’t get the hems right.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I do use a coverstitch. I was very unsatisfied with twin needles. Ugh. Before the coverstitch I used to finish hems with the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine. Hmmmm…. maybe some tricks for sewing on sewing machines is needed.ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Tragic - They’re great. What magic tricks do you have up your sleeve when attaching a patch pocket to a knit? Last time I tried something like that it was a stinking disaster, all stretched out and nasty. Epic fail….ReplyCancel

  • Linda Galante - Yes, the shirts are fantastic as is the jersey knit. But what I want to know is how you got your cute husband to pose so nicely? My husband’s support goes only so far…:) what a good sport! Back to the knits, they hold their shape as though they’re stable. The maroon/red one especially. Nice.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - He is a very good sport. In fact, he loves his blog time and he loves being a bit of a star for a day. Loves. It. I’m pretty sure he has a secret evil plan to have me make all of his clothes all the time just so that he can pose for the blog.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen P. - I will definitely check out your knits, I too am wary of purchasing knits online any longer because of the huge variance in quality.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Yes, I have noticed this too. I’ve even ordered some for my shop only to find that when I received them, they were junk. Do check out ours – you can get swatches first, which I highly recommend.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Your shirts look great. I’m tired of buying knits online that don’t meet my standards once they arrive. I’ve never purchased from you but next time I need knits I’m coming to you. It’s nice to see a shop owner that uses and cares about what she sells. Let me finish a slipcover and I’ll be ordering.ReplyCancel

  • Lacey - I LOVE these t-shirts! And I think it is really wonderful that your Mr. understands your talent and wants you to make things for him!ReplyCancel

  • Judi Short - OK, you convinced me. I just ordered 1.5 yards of the Cottage Rose. I seem to like anything with gray in it lately, and love the idea of a bit of spandex in the cotton knit.ReplyCancel

  • zilredloh - This was a fun post, Sunni.

    I wonder if my man would like a knit T, handmade. He does have fit issues (imo) but he doesn’t think he does. hehReplyCancel

  • Ginger - These look great!! The pocket & placket detail are especially nice! I’m taking a textile science class right now, and we just learned that pilling happens when synthetic fibers break- the ends roll around on themselves and form a ball. Natural fibers like cotton are weaker so when they break, they just fall off the garment. The exception to this is wool, which can pill like crazy, but that’s because the fiber is so scaly that it snags on itself and forms pills. Geeky but kinda fun to know!ReplyCancel