the Fashionable Stitch Classroom!

Classroom-9

Oh my goodness – time flies! I can’t actually believe that January has come and gone. Wow! I have lots and lots of things to update you on and I thought, since we just finished with it, I should show you the new Fashionable Stitch Classroom. To fill you in, this is the basement section of our fabric shop. This is where I used to teach classes when it was Yellow Bird Fabrics and now that we’ve renovated it, I’ll be teaching a very light load once again.

Classroom-1

I taught in the basement for over a year before buying out the business from the previous owner and though I thought it was perfectly adequate, I did have revisions in mind. So, when we bought the business, I decided to shut down the classroom because 1) I didn’t have time to teach classes anymore and 2) I wanted to revamp the entire downstairs.

Classroom-8

Sadly, as per my usual, there are no before photos of the classroom, but having spent so much time on renovating it, I do have to say it was kind of…. bad. Several customers and some of my own students said as much and I had been asked many many times if we were going to move to a different building or area. One of my ladies even alluded to the fact that I charged a fairly substantial fee for my classes and hmmmm…. the area the classes were held in was, well, not as substantial. At first, I was quite taken aback, but I’ve come to realize the truth in these comments.

Classroom-6

Now the classroom is actually quite charming. It’s still a basement, don’t get me wrong, but the changes we made and incorporated are quite wonderful. It’s more of a sewing sanctuary now and well, it actually makes me want to go over to the shop all the time and sewwwwww. Some of the changes we made? We painted the duct work, which used to be its normal metal color. We also painted the floor which was in dire need of a new paint job. D-I-R-E. There were lots of stains and such on the floor and it was rather yucky. We changed the orientation of the downstairs. The sewing machines are now out in the open whereas before they were in a stifled square-ish space with no natural light. There are now two cutting/drafting tables. One thing I noticed when I was teaching is that there was never enough cutting and drafting room. We have decent sewing machines to sew on and a couple of sergers too. Additionally, all the tools needed for cutting, drafting, sewing and such are all apart of the classroom. We painted and hung several peg boards around the place for organization (I LOVE pegboard) and we put down a few colorful rugs to warm up the place. It’s really really sweet and fun and I’m pretty sure that it will be receiving some serious love in the future. Hip Hip Hooray!

Classroom-7

And now that the classroom is finished, its time we got back to having actual classes down there. I’ve decided that I’ll be teaching once again – a very very light load – starting in March. We’ve also got new teachers lined up! Miriam Tribe of Mad Mim will be teaching classes. Sheesh! Her classes are very exciting and I have to say that I’m so glad to have Miriam on board. She’s teaching some classes that I had been asked about and didn’t have a lot of interest in teaching, so its really nice to have some variety. Want to see what’s on the docket for February? Hop over here! Additionally, we have a few more teachers coming on board and they will be rather amazing, if I do say so myself. It makes me giddy just to think about it! yay!

Classroom-2

It’s also very very possible, that we might start filming some of these classes (in the classroom, of course) and putting them online for purchase. Now that would be exciting, right?

Classroom-5

If you live in Utah, you should definitely sign up for our newsletter and make a point of coming to a class. We would LOVE to have you! And if you don’t live in Utah, if you’re ever in the area, you should stop by our shop and at least see the classroom. Oh the fun we’ll have down in the little sewing sanctuary! Yay!

and now for something fun

To everyone! Thank you for your comments on my last post about a certain comment. I’ve taken the post down because honestly, I’m not feeling good about it anymore. I think you can all relate when you’ve made mistakes and I do feel maybe, it was a mistake to address this particular comment in this way. I’m definitely human and I totally make mistakes – I’m just a regular gal, you know. Also, I know many of you are concerned about the legalities of my employee co-op situation. I’ve looked into it and its legal (in the state of Utah) and for future, I’ll refer to it as a volunteer situation as that more aptly describes how things are working at this moment in time. I’m not going to go into specifics, but all the bases are covered. Many, many have given advice to me about disclosing more than I should. Thank you for your concern. I really do appreciate it and I’ll give it some more thought as I go forward in this new venture. For now, let’s get back to the business of sewing, shall we?

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I’m a contestant for Season 3 of Project Sewn. I gave a small hint back in December about it (something to the effect of I would be making a whole new wardrobe) and now we’ve got about a month to go before its here. I thought it would be fun to give you a little insight into my thoughts for this upcoming competition. All my ideas are sketched out and ready to be sewn and I’ve gotten to work on my first project and almost have it completed. I’m running just a little behind, but I think I’ll end up being just fine.

The wonderful ladies who run Project Sewn gave us all of the info that we would need by early December. Yes. They are awesome. For some crazy reason, I assumed the challenges were one week challenges meaning that you would have to complete an entire outfit in one week and that scared the living daylights out of me. Thankfully, that is not the case. They give you plenty of time to get ready and produce some really high quality material for the challenges. This is actually really really good for me. When December finally rolled around, I hadn’t touched my machine in weeks. During December, I barely touched it too, but I have come to realize that deadlines are a good thing for my sewing productivity. I’ve started making my outfits and have given myself some specific timelines for when certain things need to be accomplished. I have come to realize over the years that this really works well for me. I know deadlines don’t work for everyone, but I will say, they definitely work for me. This turned out to be quite fortuitous as it has not only challenged me but it will give me a whole new mini wardrobe in the end. So awesome.

MMJ-21

The whole concept of me being in this competition was something I found, well, interesting. The challenges are not easy for me because I am someone who has at long last come to the realization that what I would love to sew and what I actually wear are two different things. I mean, I came to this realization a couple of years ago and have been striving only to make wearable garments since then. But the idea of being in a competition and not being able to wow anyone with everyday wardrobe items kind of killed my enthusiasm – at first. I was very much against the idea of creating anything costumey. Like at all. I chatted with my mister about it and he agreed. It was very important that I create items that I would wear again and again and reach for all the time. So I will be creating only garments that are part of my everyday uniform of sorts for this competition. I have to tell you, I’m soooooo excited for you to see everything I’ll be making. I’ll be unveiling everything in due time, even if I’m not the lucky winner (which I’m totally A.OK with, I mean this is just friendly competition and I’m very excited to be apart of it).

I’m also very excited to see what the other ladies come up with. This is what makes this contest so fun to watch. The line-up of participants is pretty great and I’m quite sure we’ll all be wowed by the makes. Sheesh! Excitement abounds folks! Hip Hip Hooray!

Have you ever participated in a sewing competition? How do deadlines work for you? And seriously, what about making items that you will wear everyday? Is it hard, or is that just me?

  • amy w - I’m really excited about this round of Project Sewn! Can’t wait to see what you all create. As a procrastinator, deadlines are really helpful for me. I was working on a lap quilt top before leaving for a work trip and I was up until 1:30am getting it pieced together(it was coming with me on the trip). I got 3 hours of sleep before getting up to finish packing and leave for the trip, but that quilt top was done!!ReplyCancel

  • Janette - I look forward to seeing what you and the other participants come up with. I’m glad to hear that you will be making pieces for your ‘uniform’. I don’t sew often but when I do, I try to make things I will actually wear. Seeing “real” clothes on blogs is actually more inspirational to me than all the frilly dresses (not hating – they are lovely and that may be those folks’ uniform!) I love getting fabric and pattern ideas from others and this is a super talented crop of sewists!

    Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer N - I have only recently realized that I have sewn several things last year only to wear them once of twice. my goal is to sew things for daily wear and I am doing the Ready to Wear Fast so that includes basics like tees and pants. I usually stress about deadlines but then happy to have then otherwise I may not complete items and they will end up in my UFO section. I look forward to seeing what you create.ReplyCancel

  • AnaJan Stepalica - How exciting! I’m looking forward to seeing your garments, I’m sure they’ll be interesting, beautiful and perfectly executed.
    When I started writing for Sew News, I faced a challenge of completing my articles and garments within a given time frame. At first I was frustrated by the deadline, but now I’m quite used to it and work well when having a specific date on my mind. It helps a lot the fact that I am more accurate now than I used to be before when evaluating how much time I would need to complete the given task.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I was so surprised to see you in the line up, not because you aren’t amazing, but because you’ve got so much going on right now! I’m so relieved on your behalf to know they aren’t one week challenges :) I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’ve made, and I love that they are wardrobe staples!
    Kelly recently posted..Pattern Testing: The Presidio Purse!ReplyCancel

  • zilredloh - How exciting Sunni. I have to say, this seems a great competition to get yourself spurred on to create a new wardrobe. :) Can’t wait to see what you stitch up.ReplyCancel

  • Diane @ Vintage Zest - Good luck!
    Diane @ Vintage Zest recently posted..Sew My Stash Pledge!ReplyCancel

  • Maddie - When I first started my blog, I made a lot fancy dresses. Last year, I switched focus and starting making more wearable garments and I think it was because I was influenced by other bloggers who made more casual clothing. But that’s not me. I’m totally an Anthro and Free People gal – I love dresses and will get dressed up to go to Whole Foods. I’ve gone back to making what I wear, dresses, even if they’re a little fancier than what most people would call everyday.ReplyCancel

  • oonaballoona - this is going to be SO MUCH FUN! it’s funny– ruggy and i had the exact same conversation, only in reverse universe:)
    oonaballoona recently posted..counting seamsReplyCancel

  • Marie - Thanks for bringing this up. The question of sewing vs wearing is an interesting one to me. I like to wear what I sew, and that means I tend to sew a lot of casual garments. I enjoy the challenge of making an everyday item unique and wonderful, without turning it into a costume. However, every once in a while I break out of this mold, and that can be wonderful too. Last summer I was invited to a fancy party, and took the opportunity to make a beautiful cocktail dress. I’m not sure I’ll ever wear it again, but I learned so much from the fitting and construction process that it was totally worth it! (Also, I’m insanely proud of the result.) :) ReplyCancel

  • Stillsewing - I’m delighted to see that you are back sewing again. I often wonder how you manage to fit in all the things you do – and now a shop- well done! I hope that it all goes well for you.

    On the sewing front I seem to make clothes for those special occasions like weddings, the things you only wear once and hate to spend a fortune on while the everyday gear can be purchased without the same guilt factor. I do make lots more than “special occasion clothes” but quite often I find that things I make turn out much more “dressy” than I had intended/expected when I started a project and I don’t get as much wear from it as a result. I wonder have you had that experience as well?

    Anyway as a lurker out here who delights in your blogs and the help that you give people like me — thanks, and as regards the shop to hell with the begrudgers!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Good Luck! I hope you enjoy the process.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - I am so excited the this season of Project Sewn, thanks for sharing how it works. Also, I so agree with your statement about sewing what you will wear. I have been trying my best to do this.
    Lori recently posted..McCall’s 6752ReplyCancel

  • Sue @ A Colourful Canvas - First off, congratulations in being chosen for this season of Project Sewn! And, isn’t it serendipity that this opportunity presented itself when you needed it most. I look forward to seeing your creations, and to reading more about the process.ReplyCancel

  • Virginia - I’ve never heard of Project Sewn before but it looks really interesting. :-)
    Virginia recently posted..Life And LazinessReplyCancel

  • Houseofpinheiro - I’m so happy we doing this together. I got one two garments half made. Procrastination all the way so luckily deadlines helpReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - I haven’t heard of Project Sewn but can’t wait to see your mini wardrobe.
    I don’t much care for deadlines (other than self-imposed ones) but I do like to sew regularly to keep the mojo going. I try not to sew for my fantasy life but for the one I have.
    Alexandra recently posted..How do you cut and mark your fabric?ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - I’m so excited you’re a contestant in Project Sewn!! …but I don’t know how on earth I’m going to be able to vote with so many wonderful ladies involved whom I adore! Regardless, I’m really looking forward to seeing how you interpret each challenge.

    :)
    Rochelle New recently posted..planning outfits for a wwii reenactmentReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i am so excited to see you compete in project sewn! the lineup is spectacular, i’m sure it will be extremely difficult deciding who to vote for! i’m glad you’re deciding to sew true to yourself and stick to things that will be worn–in my opinion, even the everyday things can be fun and challenging. best of luck!
    lisa g recently posted..here begins the quest for great-fitting jeansReplyCancel

  • Justine - I was in a kids sewing competition called Project Run & Play run by Liz & Elizabeth as well and it really pushed me to do some of my best work. I didn’t think I was competetive until it started. I sewed week to week and didn’t really prepare anything beforehand so it was stressful. I got out in the fourth week.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Congrats Sunni, that’s such exciting news! Best of luck, and hope you enjoy the process. : )

    As for sewing everyday items vs. costumes – I’m totally with you. I want to reach for my handmade garments everyday and be comfortable wearing them. They also have to be functional for my lifestyle. Needless to say, I don’t sew a lot of fancy dresses!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - Yay! Ready, set, go….ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah - Hi Sunni – It was great to see all the great advice that was given by commenters concerning your previous post and I’m happy to find that you have sorted through all the legalities and are back on track.

    I have never participated in a sewing competition before (even though I do dream of being a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee!), but I have done a sew-along which included deadlines. I find deadlines to be very helpful when endeavoring to do something new and different. Without them, I find myself wavering at those difficult times in a project and winding up pushing aside the project for weeks. Deadlines give me that extra motivation to get to the finish line.

    And making everyday type of garments? Is it hard? I am more of the process type of sewer, so it really doesn’t matter to me what I am making. However, I always look forward to trying something radically different then my previous project. Just to keep it more exciting.ReplyCancel

  • Scary - The other day I went into your store after being introduced to this blog through the Project Sewn blog. Your fabric was beautiful and staff was so kind and knowledgeable. It felt so comfortable. Money is tight for my family so I am sure I will only be able to be an occasional stopper by but I will try my best to spread the word. I hope to be in soon to buy a beautiful cobalt knit that I spotted and the Refrew top pattern.ReplyCancel

  • Christianne Bower - I got back into sewing about 3 years ago, and the first things I made were not at all the kinds of things I would wear everyday..or even a couple of times a year ! I quickly realised I had to expand my sewing skills to be able to sew what I like to wear. And that meant learning to sew knits. I have ventured into knits with some baby clothing, and a couple of skirts for my daughter- in- law, but nothing yet for me.

    I also have made a few blouses, and I am slowly learning to pick patterns and fabric that suit my lifestyle. It is still a work in process, as I am drawn to gorgeous dresses that I would have nowhere to wear !ReplyCancel

Behind the Scenes December Edition

I thought this might be fun to start and admittedly I love reading Tasia’s posts on her burgeoning business every month. I’ve always found posts like these interesting because I really do want to know what its like to own a small business and make ends meet with it. So now that I’m adding a new perspective to the table – owning a brick and mortar fabric store – I thought you all might want to know more about what goes on and how things are run here at A Fashionable Stitch.

Store-front

the Space
I like to think of our little shop as a fabric boutique because, yes it’s small. We are not a Hancock or Joann and honestly, that’s good because these chain stores do have their place and they do provide things that we really don’t have the room to provide. For instance, we don’t sell buttons currently. After a lot of thought about this too, I don’t know that we will sell buttons because buttons can take up quite a bit of room and eat up quite a bit of capital. And our shop’s physical location is right in between a Hancock and a Joann, so we have to have a different focus when it comes to what we are going to sell. We rent a location that was once a little house. The property has been commercialized and we have our own parking lot and such. The upstairs area is dedicated to the retail space while the basement is dedicated to the classroom (which we’re in the process of revamping) and the online shop storage area.

Owning a business is kind of like owning a house, especially in respect to the maintenance of the building. It’s been snowing quite a bit this December and sheesh! I have to keep on top of shoveling and having ice melt on hand so that people don’t fall and break their neck! Yup, as a business owner you have to worry about these things. Just one more hat to wear!

Behind-the-scenes

Keeping afloat in December
I’ve noticed this trend with my online shop as well as with a brick and mortar. Also my dad was self employed growing up too (lawyer) and it was murder! December is the worst month of the year as far as revenue goes. I would be totally lying if I didn’t say that I was a bit disheartened this past month as this was my first month as a brick and mortar shop owner and seeing the bills that need to be paid and the money that’s come in is quite tight. I think it really comes down to the idea of gifts during December. And this involves changing your entire idea about merchandising for a month or so (probably starting in November really) and you have to start thinking in terms of, “Well, if I were a spouse/significant other looking to give a gift to my sweetheart, then I need something shiny and all put together.” These are things that definitely need to be re-considered and brainstormed for next year, but I will say that we have some really exciting things planned for next year. Now, off to write them down and put in a place that will not be forgotten!

Buying fabric for a shop
Probably the number one question I receive about my online shop is, “Where do you find all these notions and supplies you have here?” Sometimes I don’t know if people really want to know or if its just a passing question, but I will say that finding suppliers/sources is hard work. Oh. My. Goodness. Part of buying a fabric store is buying the suppliers list. People do not share this information. They protect it with their lives! So I am glad to have a suppliers list to start with. I’m also growing my own list and its been interesting. I have to keep on top of the needs and wants of the shop. I want so many different options for the shop and yet, there are needs that have to be maintained like having a selection of bridal fabrics and laces (we have a lot of weddings here in Utah year round!) and things like cotton batiste and specific colors of silk shantung and dupioni all have to be in stock and ready for purchase. Then there is a growing list of wants. I want all these different types of fabrics and what’s worse is to be perfectly candid, I could care less about wedding dress fabrics! Ha! So I become torn by things that I want and things that I have to have. Sometimes its definitely about selling items that you don’t care to sell. Strange, but interesting.

Behind-the-Scenes-2

Out with the old, in with the new
One of the main focuses of December for the shop has been getting rid of the merchandise that’s not selling. You have to be creative when you are up against things that don’t sell. My mother instilled in me the idea that much in life is about presentation. And to be honest, this is sooooo true. Sometimes when items aren’t presented well they don’t sell – so true in so many facets of life! I’ll give you a few examples. With the purchase of this shop came the acquisition of what seems like 5 billion really old trims and ribbons. I had worked at Yellow Bird Fabrics for over a year and had never seen these trims move. Ever. The trims aren’t necessarily bad, they are just rather project specific and as such they rarely get bought. One of the first things I did when I took over was to go through all the trims and fish out all the ones that really needed to move and hadn’t. Cut those up, put them in 3 yard bundles with a few other colors of ribbon and Voila! Instant color and cuteness by the register. And they are usable! They aren’t just junk. They can be used in clothing or as gift wrapping ribbons and trims.

We also decided to get some fabric moving too by cutting several of the bolts into remnants. One of my ladies said that she used to work at a fabric store that had a marvelous remnant rack and it’s something that we’ll be utilizing too. The majority of the remnants are at least 2 yards, so they work well to actually make something out of. No 1/2 yard or 1/4 yard remnants here!

Blush-Rayon

fuschia-rayon

Additionally, we had a roll of rayon that had not sold a single yard. Such a pretty rayon too – great for a dress. But it was cream colored and well, boring. I dyed the yardage (with good quality dye, mind you) into two different colorways. The end result was really cool actually as the zig-zag stitching took the dye more than the rest of the fabric. Again, just a presentation/vision thing really, but it makes a big difference in seeing the potential in something that you hadn’t considered before.

I think that’s it for December’s Behind the Scenes. Gosh, I can’t believe December is already gone! I’ll admit, this has been hard. I’ve been very much consumed by this whole entrepreneur thing (as I should be, I think) and that’s been both good and bad. I sewed but a very little bit in the last part of December and that’s something that has to change. I love sewing and I don’t want to just give it up because I’m a shop owner. So I’ve actually been sewing quite a bit in January. Almost finished with a jacket (which I started January 1st)! Yay! Priorities have to be set. If you never make time to work on the things that you enjoy, you never will. I could work on the shop all the time everyday, but its not what I want to do all the time. So setting limits and parameters is very important. I’m learning that bit by bit.

  • Karen - Ok, (big sigh) maybe this daydream of owning a fabric shop will only be a daydream. It sounds like fun and hard work and creative in a whole new way. I did subscribe to the Sewaholic’s blog so I can live my this dream vicariously through Tasia’s cute shop. I wish her all the luck and next time I am near her neck of the woods I will scope it out. I always hunt down the boutique fabric stores when I travel. Thanks for the hook up.ReplyCancel

  • Tatiana - This was such a great post, I was really curious to see how the shop looked from the outside, ha! I am happy for you, you are doing what you love, bliss! Good luck in 2014!ReplyCancel

  • Peter - Great post — it sounds like a wonderful store!ReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - Thanks for sharing! I love reading these type of blogposts!

    Also, the idea to dye that rayon yardage is genius, and I love the way it has come out.

    Good luck with the venture and all the best for the new year! I’m looking forward to keeping up with it all! :) ReplyCancel

  • Renee - This was really really interesting. Thanks for giving us an idea of what it’s like to have a fabric shop.ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - Congratulations on your brick & mortar shop! It sounds challenging but also very rewarding. And rewarding in the creative sense as well! I’m looking forward to the next time I get to SLC – I’ll definitely be stopping by. :) ReplyCancel

  • Tessa - I love this post! I work/teach in a small sewing shop, and I have been getting a serious education on how these places work. I’ve always wanted to have my own shop one day. Until then, I am soaking up as many point of views as I can, and taking notes along the way. Your transition from online to brick and mortar has been such inspiration, and I wish you all the best.
    Tessa recently posted..Quilt Market 2013!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - This is such an interesting post! There’s so much that goes on with owning a business that I’m sure you wouldn’t think about until you own one, so it’s really cool to read your perspective. Wishing you best of luck! It sounds like you’ve got a really smart approach to building your business– I’m excited to see where this takes you!
    Ginger recently posted..Top 5 of 2013: Reflections, Inspirations, & GoalsReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I was hoping you would do recaps like Tasia’s! This is all so interesting, though it sounds so hard. The co op idea is a neat one, and I’m not surprised you have a dedicated team. I hope you find more balance in your life soon, but this is all so new still! I’m sure a year from now you’ll be sewing up a storm :)
    Kelly recently posted..Flower Appreciation: Roses at Golden Gate ParkReplyCancel

  • H - Interesting post! Ever thought of ‘twining’ with a similar fabric shop that’s recently set up new but in another country- sort of like a sewpal rather than a penpal? Might be a way of exchanging ideas etc without compromising your market.ReplyCancel

  • Virginia - I’ve always wondered about the supply lines as well, but I’ve also wondered if it’s possible to ask a sewing shop if you could order a bolt of fabric through them. I don’t know if it’s a stupid question or not…
    Virginia recently posted..T-shirts And StuddiesReplyCancel

  • Alice - This is a really interesting post ! Although I do not intend to work in a shop or anything like it, I like reading Tasia’s posts and I am glad you will have them too. I agree that presentation is very important in a shop and making your little pre-assorted ribbons selections seems to be a good idea !
    In Paris, where I live (and in other shops I’ve been to accross France), the remnants are always 3 meters (3.2 yards, apparently). And I wouldn’t buy a remnant smaller than 1.5m (except if I have a very specific project in mind that calls for less), so I think the way you sell larger remnants too is great !
    Keep up the good work !ReplyCancel

  • Karen Helm - I read every word of this interesting post, and all I can say is that you really, really deserve to be successful at this new venture of yours! I wish you days filled with buying customers – and time to sew, too!ReplyCancel

  • blacklabel - If anyone can do this, its you. Once the chaos of a fresh start is over, you will be able to sit back with a cuppa tea & enjoy the fruits of your labour. I wish you every success & rest assured if my travels ever bring me to your neck of the woods, I will pop in.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Very neat! It’s interesting to me to hear about a more boutique fabric shop, since I live in a state that literally only has JoAnn’s. I’m so glad you’re going to be continuing with the online shop too, since that means that I can still support you while living across the country! I love how you’re utilizing the stock you already have and re-imagining it to actually sell.
    Becky recently posted..Stash Diet 2014ReplyCancel

  • Amy - I’m so excited you’re going to do monthly posts, too. I love reading Tasia’s, and I know I’m going to love reading yours as well. I’m sorry December was such a hectic month, but I think you’re spot on about what people focus on buying at that time of the year. Sales do seem to be important to lure people in, so perhaps some pre-packaged gifts (fabric, pattern, class bundles; notion bundles; etc.) and a good sale will make a difference? But, really, every new start has growing pains, and it sounds like you’re way ahead of the game!
    Amy recently posted..Sneak Peek – My Last Maternity Makes… At Least for Now!ReplyCancel

  • Qui Pardue - I really enjoyed your post Sunni–your ideas for presentation are awesome. I wish you much success.
    My small town only has a Hancock Fabrics and some quilting shops. I spend a fair amount of money at Hancocks, so I started working there to offset my spending (and get a discount). It may not fit the focus of your shop, but what sells like hotcakes in December is fleece. Many people make no-sew fleece blankets as gifts, and we sold tons and tons of fleece.
    Qui Pardue recently posted..2 Archers + Black ShirtsReplyCancel

  • DeAnna - Cheers to you and your little shop. It sounds fantastic. I know you will have a great time because it is something you love. Being a former small business owner for 36 years, (different type of business and now retired) I know it is, also, a lot of hard work. All the best to you.ReplyCancel

  • Tasia - Fascinating!! I really enjoyed reading your post and I hope you continue the Behind the Scenes feature. To you, it’s everyday life, but to readers, customers and aspiring entrepreneurs it’s really fascinating stuff. Your business is so different from mine, but still very interesting to read your thoughts even as you just get started! I liked your insights on presentation being important, and December being slow even though we think of it as a big shopping and gift-buying month. Very interesting that your staff works for fabric-buying credits.
    And this – “If you never make time to work on the things that you enjoy, you never will.” is exactly me right now! The deadlines take priority because they have to, but our own personal sewing projects are important in our own way because they keep us in love with sewing.
    Also – exciting to see your big new sign! If I’m ever passing through again I will be sure to stop by!ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - Fascinating! I wish you lots of good luck with the shop. I love that you run the shop as a co-operative, there can’t be many fabric shops where that is the case. I look forward to keeping up with all your plans and changes, and hope business picks up after Christmas.
    Charlotte recently posted..Archer Shirt Meet December RainReplyCancel

  • emily - Oh this is so interesting! Owning a fabric store is something I’d absolutely love to do one day, and it’s so fascinating to hear stories from people who really do it! I hope January picks up – I can’t wait to hear more!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - I have to say, I’m really impressed at some of the creative ways you’ve come up with to sell or improve upon merchandise. Dyeing fabric and thinking about how people really want to use trim and such? Really shows how much you care about your business and your clientele. :)
    Tasha recently posted..Knit for Victory: spotlight on bolerosReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - What a great read. I too would love to own a shop like yours; maybe one day.. Would you believe that n here in Sydney, Australia good material shops are very hard to come by? Do you ship overseas? Or do online orders?ReplyCancel

  • Shanna Dijkstra - I really liked this post – interesting to read how you came up with ideas to sell stuff that’s always been there but nobody noticed!ReplyCancel

  • Star Speckles - Your shop is gorgeous, and I love the behind the scenes glimpse, especially as you are so honest and open! I wish you all the luck in the world, well done for going for your dream

    xxReplyCancel

Here’s to 2014!

New-Year

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying a day off – I know I am – and that you have time to do a little reflecting and a little looking forward. I suppose not too much of this though because if there is one thing I’ve learned over the years its that I take myself much to seriously and well, there’s an art to being able to let things go and let things happen the way they are going to happen to a certain extent. Anyhow, or anyway, here’s to the good and bad from 2013 and a cheer for the good and bad yet to come. Hip Hip Hooray!

All my best for you and yours,Sunni

  • Stillsewing - I take my hat off to you (if I had one!) You have great energy and are so committed to your sewing interests, you were made for this new venture. Here’s hoping that you will have a very successful future in the shop and good luck in all your endeavours in the New Year,
    so here’s wishing you and yours a
    HEALTHY,HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.

    from
    someone who reads all yours post avidly and is still learning even though I have been sewing for over 60 yearsReplyCancel

  • DeAnna - Happy New Year to you. Thanks for all the wonderful articles and information.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Happy new year to you!! I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings to you and your shop!
    Amy recently posted..An Aurora in Voile: The RevealReplyCancel

  • Pam - Sunni!

    Here’s to a great 2014! Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - Blessings and Happy New Year to you too! Happy Sewing in 2014, and
    thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Virginia - Have a happy 2014! Fingers crossed it’ll be followed by many more good ones!
    Virginia recently posted..New Years ResolutionsReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Best wishes in the new year! You’ve had so many great things happen this year, and I’m looking forward seeing what 2014 brings.
    Kelly recently posted..Last MonthReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Happy New Year! Hope 2014 is a lovely year for you!
    Ginger recently posted..Top 5 of 2013: Reflections, Inspirations, & GoalsReplyCancel

Facts About Shop Stuff

Friends, thank you for your patience as I’ve been getting used to my new role as retail shop owner. I really really hope you all had a wonderful 2013 holiday (whatever holiday that might be for you), with another just around the bend. Here’s to a shiny New Year, eh?! Since posting about my recent acquisition of a physical retail shop, I thought it might be a good idea to answer several questions I’ve received about it. The thing is, I have it all figured out in my head and I just think that you do too when you would have to be a mind reader to know all the details and how its all worked out. I’m sure (so sure) this will be a work in progress. I’m actually still concerned about how the online presence of everything is going to jive with the physical presence, but we’re coming to new and exciting decisions about that too. So here we go:

Who are you?
I’m just a gal with a serious sewing obsession. It’s turned into quite the adventure because not only do I own an online shop, but now I’ve gone and purchased myself a brick and mortar shop too. Yikes!

You have a shop? Where’s it located?
I’m a Salt Lake City, Utah local, so if you’re purchasing from me online, this is where its all shipped from (this, if you’re unaware is in the U.S.). Now I also own a brick and mortar in Salt Lake City, Utah too. It’s also called A Fashionable Stitch. Here is our physical address:

A Fashionable Stitch
988 East 3300 South
Salt Lake City, Utah
(801) 466-3110 (tele)

Wait. Didn’t you buy Yellow Bird Fabrics?
Yes, yes I did. But I decided to change the name to be under my A Fashionable Stitch umbrella. We still share the same vision as Yellow Bird Fabrics just different names and owners is all.

So, what kind of fabric do you sell?
We specialize in fine apparel fabric. Wools, cottons, silks, linens and a full assortment of bridal and evening wear fabrics too. We have a full assortment of linings, notions, trims, supplies and tools too, especially for the garment sewer, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do other types of sewing with our wares too. You can definitely quilt or piece using our fabrics and even home decorate with them too. They are beautiful for a myriad of uses.

Are you going to close your online store then?
No. The online store will be staying open because, you know, it’s important to me. I’m an online guru – a bloggy tech (nically challenged) sewing gal and I love my online customers much too much to give it up.

Are you going to sell fabric online too?
Actually, yes! Ha ha! It’s a bit of a slow process, but I’ve already gotten started with some pretty lovely wool knits, silk prints and a couple of knits with kidswear in mind (though you wouldn’t have to use them for kids per se).

What brands of independent sewing patterns do you stock? Do you sell them online?
Well, just so you know, we don’t sell any of the Big 4 patterns in store just yet. We have ideas for selling some of our favorite sewing patterns in store though, so if you’re a Salt Lake City local, definitely sign up for the local newsletter because we send out a couple of newsletters every week to keep you informed of what’s new in the physical shop. As for the independent pattern companies, we are currently selling Colette and Sewaholic and we have plans to bring in several more as well. Plus we’ve decided to start selling a few children’s patterns and fabrics too and I’ve got some Figgy’s on the way and I’m looking into a few more children’s patterns too. Then there’s the matter of this unbelievable rainbow stripe cotton velour that we just got in (which is also online, right now). I only wish I had kids so I could make them a pair of leggings or a hoodie or something out of it. To die for cute, right? At this time, I’m not selling patterns in my online shop, but in the not so distant future, this will change.

How do I contact you?
You can email me at sunni@afashionablestitch.com. If you’re interested in contacting the physical store, look for the address above and the telephone number to the retail store is (801) 466-3110.

I’ve been subscribed to your newsletter and you never send me anything? What’s the deal?
For quite some time, I’ve not known what to do about the newsletter. However, now that I have a physical shop, I’ve had a lot more practice about what I feel a newsletter should be. You should know that there are now 2 newsletter groups that I send emails to. One is dedicated to my online shop (probably the one you’re signed up for and don’t receive anything about, but you will soon) and one is dedicated to the physical store. You can sign up for the newsletters here. There’s much more on the horizon for the newsletters too. Oh the fun we’ll have!

When are you going to start teaching classes again?
Sigh…. Honestly folks, I am soooooo busy right now, I just don’t know that teaching classes is in the cards for me anymore. Plus there’s this part where I actually still want to sew stuff and that hasn’t been happening very much lately. But, I’ve got something else up my sleeve that I think will work out a little better anyway. Hold the phone though! This doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to hold classes at A Fashionable Stitch. In fact, I’m in the process of getting a few new teachers on board so that we can get some new classes going soon. Most likely February 2014.

I think that does it for now. Have any more questions? If you do, be sure to leave them in the comments and I’ll update this post with your new questions. Again, I would like to thank all of you, my dear readers, for your support and encouragement. Means so much! Not just to me, but also to my mister and my staff! If you’re ever in Utah, please don’t hesitate to stop by the physical shop location or even contact me for a meet-up to talk sewing! I’m pretty nice, I think (OK, I’m actually a serious pushover, so I’m totally nice). Here’s to all things A Fashionable Stitch! Yay!

  • Peter - This is all so exciting, Sunni. Can I just say I LOVE the way you’ve photographed your fabric on the website. It makes it really easy to “feel” what the fabric’s all about. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Would you please consider a swatching service of some kind? Even offering swatches for sale so us “online only” buyers can try before committing! Thanks.
    Nancy recently posted..Does this Shirt make my butt look big?ReplyCancel

  • Nakisha - OMG I need mustard knit! :)

    I also love the photography, showcases the color and texture well.

    Congrats on this huge endeavor! And remember to have fun!!
    Nakisha recently posted..Finished Items, Last of 2013!! :) ReplyCancel

  • Jenna - Sunni, I am SO EXCITED to see that you’re offering fabric in your online shop. I do see one problem with your shop, though. I can’t seem to narrow down my wishlist. I want. it. all. :) :) Keep up the good work and congrats!
    Jenna recently posted..Sewing Space Makeover RevealReplyCancel

  • Maggie - This is fantastic! I am so excited for you and I love seeing all the new and exciting things that you are doing online and in the shop. Keep it up :) ReplyCancel

  • Darlene - Congratulations on opening your brick and mortar shop! You are such an inspiration for following your dreams and doing what you love, and I hope it pays off very well for you! I’m so glad too that you aren’t closing your online shop! I’m just getting into sewing garments and hopefully eventually pattern design, and I’m glad I’ll still be able to get your products in Canada :) ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I’m so very excited for you! Your photos and descriptions make me really want to order some fabric too :) Your shop sounds amazing, and I hope it’s not too long before we make a trip that requires a stop in SLC!
    Kelly recently posted..Merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Sunni, I can’t keep up with you! I hope you have a great experience with all your new adventures. I like your new fabrics so much, but my stash is already too big. I’ll be back!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Sunni – can I once again say how thrilled I am for you! This has to be a totally awesome experience. I do hope that you put more fabric up on your online store because I’ll totally be a customer! Good luck and blessings upon this new venture…Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - Ok, I’m feeling so dumb I didn’t realize you were in SLC!! I travel there with a friend whose kids doctor down there because if their rare disease. Guess what shop I’m adding next time we go together…

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Always interesting to see how you can make a living with needle and thread…
    EmSewCrazy recently posted..Top 5 Hits and Misses and Reflections of 2013ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Congratulations!! I’m so excited for you. I’ll stop in next time I’m in town.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i’ve been drooling over your fabric offerings! you’ve done a great job of photographing them, it’s easy to get a sense of what the fabric is like. even though i’m no where near your shop, i enjoy hearing about how the business venture is going. best wishes for 2014!
    lisa g recently posted..burdastyle | ballet wrap topReplyCancel

  • PendleStitches - Living the dream! I’m so thrilled for you. And I love, love, love your fabric choices. So swoonworthy.
    PendleStitches recently posted..See ya, 2013…mind the door doesn’t hit you on the ass on the way out!ReplyCancel