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No more sewing classes

alotofstitches | Posted in General Discussion on

Do you think sewing classes are a draw to a fabric store? 


  1. starzoe | | #1

    I don't think sewing classes are an immediate draw to a fabric store. I once gave classes at a small department store and I know of only one person who actively continued sewing (out of about eight).

    Interesting point though, that young woman - a high school student then - contacted me years later when I was living far away to thank me for teaching her to sew. She was now a young mother and and was continuing to use her skills.

    1. alotofstitches | | #3

      I agree that most probably do not continue to sew.  It must have made you feel good when your student contacted you!

  2. sewelegant | | #2

    A stamping store does a much better business if they offer classes, so does the scrapbooking store near me.  In my early years I took many, many classes that were offered at my local fabric stores.  After a while I began to think I knew as much as the teacher, but I still enjoyed the comaraderie of those classes and there was always something new to learn.  There should be a good balance of classes in different levels of expertise though to make it interesting.

  3. diday | | #4

    Sewing classes can be a draw to a fabric store if the projects match the fabric being sold. If quilting fabric is being sold, classes on quilt making or projects using these procedures. If fashion fabric (I wish!), teach the different levels of sewing beginning with simple projects such as skirts, pants, tops, etc. I've been in our local Joann's super store (?) and there are classes advertised but none on garment making, and when I've looked for garment fabric I've walked out empty-handed.

  4. Ceeayche | | #5

    There is a store near me, "G STreet Fabrics"  http://www.gstreetfabrics.com.  They have an extensive list of classes, I've only taken a handful (mostly due to time commitments).  But they are wonderful... they have a wide variety of courses to meet a range of experience levels.  Of course some I enjoyed more than others, but I think it's smart!  I usually take something to try a new skill... and then of course buy all the supplies from G Street. Some of the things I've never picked up again.  Others have become go to skills in my personal repertoire.  It's still one of my favorite stores.

    Here's a sneak peak at the fall/winter 2009 schedule:  http://www.gstreetfabrics.com/gstreet_fall09c.pdf

    My girlfriend and I took one of our government holidays and instead of haunting the local sales, took a quilt in a day class together.  While I had been sewing for years, she hadn't been sewing that long at all and had just acquired her mom's old table top.  Though the skill level of the class was a little slow for me, we did the log cabin quilt and had a ball.  AND, she has now become my sewing buddy... having picked up the bug.  Though she sticks to home decor stuff (loves the simplicity of straight lines), I'm determined to get her to try apparel within the next year.

    1. jjgg | | #6

      oooh, I'm jealous. G-Street is fabulous. My SIL lives in Bethesda, so whenever I visit I make a trip to G-Street.

    2. fabriclover007 | | #7

      It appears they are struggling since they moved out of their flagship store on Rockville Pike. I can't believe they willingly moved from that location to their present one which is in a strip mall under a fitness center.I don't buy much there because they are terribly, terribly overpriced. Vogue Fabrics in Chicago is my favorite. Beautiful fabrics reasonably priced. They have $5 silk tables that I've gotten some killer finds from. Some of the teachers in the past have also complained that they don't like teaching at G Street because they impose their format on the teacher rather than letting the teacher select the way they choose to teach.G Street Fabrics drew me to this area years ago but I found that I hardly go there. Price vs. selection

      1. sewingmama | | #8

        Where is Vogue Fabrics in Chicago?  I went to the Water Tower, and vogue Fabrics was gone. :(

        I think it will get to the point you have to buy fabric on line.  To me that ruins the whole fabric buying experience.

        1. KharminJ | | #9

          Good Morning, sewingmama!I didn't know that vogue ever had a location at Water Tower! Oh, well... Here's the "Locations and Hours" page from their site:http://www.myvoguefabrics.com/html/locations.htmI've been to the Evanston store more often in the last 2 years, with a friend who lives near Western and Devon, but used to positively haunt the Roosevelt Rd shop, when I worked at IIT ~ a wonderful way to "kill some time" while traffic lightened up between the Loop and Elgin! Bright Blessings to you, and happy bricks-and-mortar shopping!

          Edited 10/20/2009 2:15 am by KharminJ

        2. kelker | | #11

          I just got back from a 4-day Sewing Expo in Kansas City, MO where Vogue Fabrics brought lots and lots of fabrics - Designer, silks, woolens, faux furs, Sophia knits, and lots more, for us to buy.  I asked about their locations and it was recommended to me to visit their Evanston, IL location as it is 30,000 square feet of fabrics and supplies.   Looks like I'm getting a couple of friends and making the 5-hour drive to Chicago.

          1. rodezzy | | #12

            Wow, when are you coming?  Maybe I can meet you at the Evanston store.

      2. Ceeayche | | #10

        Who knows the real deal?   Supposedly the "next generation" is running the business now and the move to the new site was their  business response to an increase in the rent and other issues at their old locale.  According to the Washington Post and their merchandise director, Tom DeFilippis, the strip center they were in is undergoing construction and there is major road construction there so they decided to find a new space that has plenty of parking (parking was iffy at the old location).

        As a student, don't know about the behind the scenes drama for teachers at Rockville.  I've taken a couple of classes there, and found the teachers well prepared and the classes well run.  In short, worth the drive "across the River and through the Woods" when the classes aren't available at their other locations.  I much prefer the hands on classes to the lecture demos-- but that's a personal preference.  In fact one class I took with my friend who had minimal skills... we both took the log cabin in a day class in Rockville.  We BOTH had a ball.  There was enough free time that I could zip along at my own pace, while she got the hands on instruction she needed and the instructor had both the patience for her questions and was not at all concerned as I stitched merrily along at the back of the room.

        I LOVE G ST.  And have been known to spend hours there.  No, they aren't the cheapest, but for quality and selection they can't be beat in this area.  They have a wide range of fabrics and notions, and are responsive for special orders.  They have the most diverse class schedule I've found in this area (the original question for this thread was about classes which is why I mentioned G Street, because by looking at their schedule, the original writer could get a glance at a wide range of courses.  I'm not aware of any other store offering that type of variety in this area).  I stopped driving all the way to Rockville when they opened two sites in VA.   So except for a class or two in Rockville, I haven't been there in probably a year or so.

        In my humble opinion,we are lucky in the DC area that we have  a wide range of fabric stores to visit.  JoAnns/Hancock Fabrics have inexepensive fabrics and lots of coupons.  They have a great selection of things like licenced fleece and seasonal fabrics (Halloween/Christmas).  However, their help is generally not as well versed as that at G Street and when I need something special ther merchandise is focused on middle of the road.  Plus their classes are typically one shot sessions that are typically focuses on crafty sewing. On the high end we have Exquisite Fabrics and Curran Square Fabrics.  You simply can't beat either of them for fashion fabric that makes you want to curl up in the store and just scream in delight.  Their sales people are all professionals (tailors and seamstresses) and have wonderful advice.  I'm not aware of them offering classes.  And for decor fabrics there is Calico Fabrics and Discount Fabrics in Thurmont, MD. Don't recall either of them offering classes either.  As you can see I'm an equal opportunity fabric shopper... and I can find something to like about each of these stores-- and I have the stash to prove it!

        Vogue Fabrics in Chicago is another good alternative, but it doesn't offer me the tactile pleasure of running my hands across the fabric and letting its drape speak to me.  Nor the immediate gratification.

    3. justchris | | #13

      I used to visit G Street Fabrics quite frequently, even before it moved to Rockville. I loved that store and also took classes. But I'm shocked to learn they moved. The parking before was wonderful, but now it's on Randolph Road, is there any? I live in Columbia, Maryland, so it's a bit of a hectic drive - the traffic more than the distance. I don't sew the things I used to, and I can purchase the wonderful books and sewing magazines I used to get there closer to home if I want them. I loved their classes though.

      1. Ceeayche | | #14

        I haven't been to the newest location.  Parking at the Rockville Pike store got to be a bit dicey but I've heard the have plenty of parking at the new location.

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