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Sewing In Austin, TX ???

artfulenterprises | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello everyone,
I’m wondering who, out there in the Gatherings readership, is living in the Austin, TX area and can tell me about your town, your fabric shops, whether or not sewing classes would be welcomed (are there many or few?), where are the best places to live…and not! My husband and I are planning to relocate and could use an insider’s insights.


  1. Ceeayche | | #1

    Well I don't live in Austin.  But I spent many of my summers there.  My father lives about 15-20 miles outside of Austin along Hwy 36 between Austin and Brenham.  And, my grandmother lives on the edge of Blinn College near the family funeral home.  My family is from Brenham.  Because of your creative skills I encourage you to drop through downtown Brenham once you've settled in.  It's full of small shops, crafts, antiques, etc.  (if you sell your creations you may find an outlet there.  Also I grew up eating Blue Bell ice cream, its made in the creamery there in Brenham and yummy sausage made in nearby Burton.    My father put sausage in his luggage to bring me when he came in January!  And, I scarfed ice cream every day I was in Brenham around Christmas!  The college may be an avenue for your classes.  Prairie View A&M may also be another outlet.  I'm not sure about the fabric stores, but I'll ask around.

    1. User avater
      artfulenterprises | | #3

      Thanks for the headsup CHL...one can never sample too many great ice creams! And my hubby, a native of Wisconsin, is a sausage connoiseur...we'll check out Burton for taste treats.

  2. User avater
    jpadden53 | | #2

    I live in Austin and I'm afraid that sewing resources here are pretty slim pickings. I go to Houston routinely to get the good stuff to a store called High Fashion Fabric, i.e. the lace for my daughter's wedding dress and the herringbone to make my other daughter's high school band director jacket.  We have the routine Hancock and Joanns with a smalll store on North Lamar called Silk Road, along with more and more quilt shops.  We do have a couple of Bernina dealers  (no fabric) a good Janome dealer (Austin Sew n Vac) and one of the Bernina dealers also sells Elna and Baby Lock.  I grew up here and we used to have a much better choice of stores and types of fabric, but those days are gone. 

    I live in South Austin now but grew up in what is now pretty much central city. 

    Let me know when you get here.

    1. User avater
      artfulenterprises | | #4

      Thanks for responding jpadden53,I look forward to meeting you in Austin. Perhaps another 60 days.I'm afraid the sad tale of Joanne/Hancock's has happened all over the US. I will make a point of looking up High Fashion Fabrics in Houston and will also definitely visit Silk Road. The chain stores are mostly good for zippers and maybe the occasional good buy on fleece or denim. Though once in a while they surprise me.

      1. sewingkmulkey | | #5

        I live just outside Houston and have a daughter living north of Austin.  As an avid fabric collector I second the motion for you to visit High Fashion Fabrics in downtown Houston.  It's definitely the best source for quality fabrics in the area but don't expect cheap prices.


        1. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #6

          I appreciate a second on that motion! But didn't expect cheap prices anywhere...:o) Should be fun to discover a great new fabric store.

  3. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #7

    This is a special note to Katina (catham1): From your last email sent through the forum, I'm not certain my own have actually reached you. If you could identify yourself with your Gatherings identity, I will send you an email through the forum. But, since you haven't posted here, I can't find your profile in order to do so. Sometimes electronic life is complicated! :o)
    Best wishes,

    1. katina | | #8

      Hi there! I think your replies are getting to me...


  4. User avater
    MandiB | | #9

    I live in Austin. There are few places to buy garment fabric. There are a lot of sewing classes already offered, but they are along the lines of beginner sewing or the whole indie crafty movement (aprons and such). None of which appeal to me. I can't find challenging or advanced classes (the one woman who operates a fashion school tried to point me to a class that offers advanced elastic application...uh, no thanks). So to me, there's a lot available, but none of it is very appealing.But if you have classes geared towards the crafty set, you might have an excellent chance of setting that up here. I wish I could find others in this area who were more into advanced sewing and learning projects. Couture or tailoring...I just can't find anyone here interested in that (and the local ASG is definitely not the right place!).Oh, quilting is a big thing here, if you do that. Several shops, big guild, lots of classes. ---Mandi

    1. KharminJ | | #10

      Hi Mandi!Try posting about your search for like-minded souls AT the quilting shops. People who sew know other people who sew - they're probably having the same problem, or may have found a solution ... Networking, ya'know?Bright Blessings! Kharmin

      1. User avater
        MandiB | | #11

        That's a good idea! It never occurred to me to do that. Thanks. :) ---Mandi

        1. KharminJ | | #12

          I also know some folks around Austin who belong to the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). We make and wear a kind of cross between "costumes" and "clothes" for Medieval re-creation. Can be pretty complex, but has to be functional - everything from German Renaissance to High Court Chinese (before 1650's), I don't remember if Kelly does her own garb-making, or hires most of it out, but if there's a group, there's seamstresses! I'll check with her, if you'd like... What sort of group are you looking for? Just friends for a "Stitch'n'Bi*ch" (mutual support, work and exploration), or more formal instruction? And what level of design? (Way beyond elastic pants and t-shirts, I imagine - grin)Have a great day! Kharmin

          1. User avater
            MandiB | | #13

            I belonged to SCA years ago in CA, so I love costume stuff (don't have time to participate anymore, though I still love the clothing). An informal group who does more than elastic pants and t's(and aprons!) would be great. ;) Formal instruction would be cool, but unlikely as I haven't met too many people here who do more than than I do. I really enjoy challenging myself and working on interesting and unique projects (avante-garde, wearable art...not sweatshirts!, funky jackets with a definite costume-y direction, asian inspired, too). It's never been my goal to make items that look like they're store bought, or RTW. If you know of any group that might welcome someone like that, I'd sure love to meet them! ---Mandi

    2. User avater
      artfulenterprises | | #14

      The classes I teach are designed to hone the skills of home sewers so that the garment projects they choose for themselves are successful.

      I have focused primarily on fit and technique such as:
      Measure to Fit: Developing a personal fit measurement chart
      Building a Basic Block
      Using a Basic Block for Fit and Design
      Building a Personal Fit Dress Form Cover (a couture method...no duct tape here!)
      Fashion Draping
      Fit 'n' Sew: Fundamentals of Fitting
      Clone Your Own Clothes: the art of copying a garment without taking it apart.
      Sewing with Knits
      Color Theory for Fashion
      Designing and Making Leather Belts
      Fashion Quick SketchAll of these, and a few others, teach solid dressmaking skills of patternmaking, preparing and testing muslins for fit, and altering patterns.I was curious as to whether Austin had a mostly crafty/quilty sewing circle by choice or by default and whether there was a market for classes for the dressmaking enthusiast as well.

      1. User avater
        jpadden53 | | #15

        Your classes sound wonderful. Please look me up when you get here as I'd love to know another advanced "sew"er!

        1. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #16

          I'm looking forward to meeting a new sewing circle in Austin. I will post a notice or send an email when we arrive (probably late spring/early summer). Thanks so much for your interest!

          1. Blonde Golfer | | #17

            I may not live in Austin but relatively close in that I will drive almost forever to get to good instructional classes and wonderful stores. Please let me know when you are getting ready to go. I live in New Braunfels so the south side of Austin is of course preferable.
            Thanks, [email protected]

      2. sewslow67 | | #18

        Your classes sound so interesting and, since DH and I have decided to not spend another winter in the frozen north, we might come down your way for a few months next winter.  Please send me a PM to let me know when your classes will be for next winter, OK?  We might be able to plan a trip south around your class schedule.  Thanks.

        1. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #19

          I'd be delighted to send a message once we are established in Texas. I'd love to have you join a class session there! Thanks for asking....Best,

          1. sewslow67 | | #20

            Thanks, Susan; I think that would be great fun.  I haven't taken any sewing classes since I lived in Denver and took a couture class from Shirley Smith.  She is now in White Salmon, WA.  Everyone worked on a different project in that particular class, and that in itself was educational.  Anyway, thanks, and I'll look forward to your note once you get settled into your new home in Texas.

          2. h7q3nx | | #21

            I live in south Austin and everything that the others are saying is true-much more of crafty/quilty types of stores. Your classes sound like just what I need!! PLEASE let me know when you are set up for classes-I would love to learn (I'm self-taught and I'm not that great of a teacher-haha). As far as what part of town to live in, I've lived north, south, and way east in Del Valle, and I definately prefer south-it's pretty laid back and eclectic, but it does have a "bubba" reputation for some of the old-timers. I work in the southwest, and that area is okay also. I hope this helps!

          3. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #22

            Thanks Angela
            All info helps a lot. We'll be visiting Austin in April to look around so we'll take your assessment under advisement :o) My hubby and I are old but definitely not very "bubba", altho as a California girl I keep my options open at all times! (We have a great friend who is Texas born but has been living in CA for a long time....she says she's now a Texafornian. I told her that must mean I'm about to become a Califexan. I do believe that adds even more color to my persona...and I do like color!) I will most certainly add you to my contact list. Thank you for asking!

            Edited 3/22/2009 7:53 pm by artfulenterprises

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