I had a fantastic trip down to Ohio last week to visit Sew to Speak, which is an absolutely adorable fabric store in Columbus, about three hours south of Ann Arbor. I’ve been wanting to make the trip ever since my friend April (of Staple Dress fame) invited me last spring. April works at the shop, which her mom, Anita, owns (Anita, pictured in the first photo, is fantastic, too!). April had downplayed the shop a bit and had told me it was pretty small — which is totally April; she is so humble and sweet — so I was completely unprepared for how much amazingness was contained in this one place!
While the shop is certainly not HUGE, it’s not tiny either; in fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s the perfect size. It features a nice little space for classes in the back and enough fabric, patterns, trims, tools, and notions to satisfy both quilters and garment sewists.
I gave a presentation on Wednesday evening on garment sewing as part of an open house and trunk show, and I took all of my Washi Dresses along. People seemed to really enjoy looking through (and hearing about) all of the variations of the pattern that I brought along. I also brought my Ruby Dress and my Ruby Top and a couple other new designs.
On Thursday morning I taught a Washi Techniques Workshop, and that was really fun (I’m also offering this class again in Ann Arbor in about a month if you’re interested)! The ladies who signed up were all fantastic, and they all made a ton of progress on their dresses.
I want to mention something from my talk on Wednesday night that I think is really important. Although I have built a business primarily online, I think it is so important to introduce shops like Sew to Speak to readers so that you can support them, too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the online sewing community: the people, the patterns, the blogs, the resources, and all of the lovely online shops. I have many great friendships online despite never meeting in real life. But there is simply no replacement for getting together face-to-face, meeting people who love to sew, and making friends who share your interests and passions. Furthermore, shops like Sew to Speak offer REAL places to meet REAL people, learn, and take classes — and allow you to look at and touch fabric before you buy it. It is important to support these shops because they are the pillars of our sewing community. It is worth it to pay MSRP for fabric from these shops rather than searching for the lowest price on Etsy. It is worth it to buy sewing books and patterns full price at these shops, rather than scouring Amazon or discount shops for the lowest price. Keeping these shops in business adds value to our communities, both online and locally. *hopping off the ol’ soapbox now*
If you ever have a chance to visit Columbus, make sure you add Sew to Speak to your list of stops. By the way, Sew to Speak always takes phone orders (click through to the shop for that number). Thanks so much for having me, Anita and April!!! And thanks to everyone who came out to say “hi!” or take my class. It was a great turnout, and I had a fantastic time!
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