Creativity boost

Student innovators are my inspiration! 4

img_5263As a freshman design student, my Textiles professor started our first day of class by bleakly stating that none of us would develop anything new… It’s all been done before, she boldly stated. She believed there had been nothing new in fashion since the Dior silhouette. It wasn’t until I transferred to my alma mater that I realized the possibilities – the open doors. Having access to textile printing machines, 3D printers, pattern design software, and embroidery machines was all new to me. And all of it was new technology!

Every week I am lucky enough to work with sewers of different skill levels and ages. I’m consistently reminded that innovation still exists. I regularly work with a young girl who is particularly inspired by Manga and comics. She is currently bringing to life a design that began on her computer screen. Another student I work with, a high schooler, will be holding his second fashion show at school this year. He has designed, sewn, and created 100% of the garments all on his own. He even learned how to mix music for the runway and pooled his friends to be models for his show. Yet another, much younger sewer, comes to my studio with an idea every time I see her. Together, we bring it to life! I’ll tell you much more about these students in future blog posts!

Often while we work I’ll ask them what they are doing after high school or college. Many of them know right away what their plans are, while some are more hesitant and unsure of what the future will hold. Some of them are unquestionably leaning towards careers in fashion, while others are hoping to sew and create as a hobby while working in other industries. I always encourage them to experiment with things while they are at this level of learning. It’s a great time to try new things without the pressure of having to make money or having an employer demanding that you produce or design specific pieces.

For the students that are considering fashion design or a job in the fashion industry, it’s hard to realize the possibilities – especially with all of the new developments in technology and textiles. When we think ‘fashion design careers,’ we think of designers sketching away on croquis and flats in a busy workroom or office, a room full of sewers on huge commercial machines, or a huge warehouse stocked with bolts and bolts of fabric. But what if fashion were more personal? More accessible? Downloadable?!

In this TED Talk you can learn about how Danit Peleg made her senior collection with the use of a 3D printer in her own living room. I especially enjoyed hearing her talk about her process. As with sewing and physical design, there was much trial and error as she sourced her materials and learned about new ones.

I don’t think that in the early 2000’s any of us saw the possibilities that technology brought to fashion. I wonder what that Textile professor would say now?



In full swing…

…The holiday season, that is. My sewing machine and I are already feeling the burn. It’s generally pleasantly busy around Stitch from Halloween to Valentine’s Day… Here we go!

Thought I’d give you a little snap of what our elf, Sam has been up to amongst the chaos. Our family recently moved into a new home… Sam is finding his way around just fine! Stay tuned for some fun posts about organizing a sewing room and sewing for your home on a budget (both inspired by real life events).

Amy and David Butler Rock!

Thanks to everyone that made it over to our place to help us welcome textile designer and power couple, Amy and David Butler. We had an amazing time! We are so appreciative of all of you!

In case you are not aware… The amazing Mrs. Butler is a wonderfully creative textile designer who’s fabrics are a favorite here at Stitch. Mr. Butler’s fabric line, Parson Gray is also becoming quite a hit and can be found at our shop!

Amy and David arrived fashionably late… We teased them about it later saying that they had done so on purpose to create more fanfare. It worked! We were all thrilled to see them! It worked out perfectly because everyone had an opportunity to choose new fabrics and purchase books, magazines, and patterns for Amy and David to sign.

We rocked out to music by David’s band, the Black Owls. They are amazing – give them a listen! He even left us some CD’s… swoon..

The Butlers were so generous with their time. They spoke with each person in line and made an inspiring impression on our younger visitors! Thank you to Amy and David for your time and for being so gracious!

All of the pictures in this post are from Amy’s facebook page… whoa! She posted about us! xo.

It’s been so long. 1

It’s been too long since our last update. Enjoy some pics of a few things I’ve been working on lately…


A cute little number for a 20’s themed party my husband and I attended, a pirate shirt for the big pirate bash, and an appliquéd robot shirt.


Lately Rex is crazy for robots. He is always pretending to be a robot with a basket on his head. Today I decided to get crazy with the sewing machine and make him a robot helmet!

This is my own pattern and I’ll be sure to let you know when I have it ready for you to try out!

I really enjoyed getting creative with things from the hardware store to make my robot. I used a sink strainer for the antenna and screen door handles for ears! To create a moving mouth I used doll eyes as joints. I found great things in the scrapbooking aisle for my robot, too – the gears and metal punched numbers really made this metal monster come to life. The mouth zips open and closed so Rex is really enjoying making a smiley robot and a quiet robot!

One a day

There are a few ‘good’ habits I am trying to adopt this year.

I won’t tell you all of them because I don’t want you to point and laugh when I (undoubtedly) am unable to commit to them for good.

One thing that I have been having fun with is my sketchbook. It has been really fun and inspiring to take a few minutes everyday to sketch something new. Sometimes I only have time for a quickie, but many times I’m able to sit down for longer. This happens mostly when I am lucky enough to work with one of my talented students on their croquis book or presentations. Here are some samples from my book. I hope you enjoy them and find some time today to doodle, too!


Things that are keeping me busy…

  • after making Rex’s initial SuperRex cape and shorts set it has become a permanent fixture in his wardrobe… Custom cape sets will be available at Stitch very soon!
  • I took a Bonsai class this week! What a great time!
  • Beard hats are all the rage here at our house. I’m crocheting as fast as my little fingers can go!
  • above is a picture of the snake scarf I made before Christmas. It. Took. For. EVER.
  • trying to fit in sketching anywhere I can!







I’m trying to start small this year.

Usually I bite off [way] more than I can chew at this time of year. My fridge is usually full of  notes reminding me to be consistent with far too many resolutions. This year, I’ve decided to just go with the flow and fit in what I can. I used to promise myself that I’d make time every night to get in some personal sewing and I wake up each morning feeling like I failed because I couldn’t conjure up the motivation after chasing a toddler into bed and folding the laundry. Argh!

I feel pretty good about my progress this year. I find it much more reasonable to have smaller projects handy that don’t take too much brain power! I’ve been knitting and crocheting small projects (tonight I finished a ‘beard hat’ – photos to come tomorrow), I picked up cross stitching again, and I also started sketching more! I think that sometimes I feel like I have to stick to one project until I finish it… Why?! It’s not fun if I have to force myself to do it! Now I have several choices that I can pick up based on my mood!

Here are links to some of the projects I’m working on… Won’t you join me?

Ultimate Bearded Beanie – you’ve probably seen this one already, but I love it! I also did the slouch version by the same designer. The patterns were VERY easy to follow… and I am a pretty basic crocheter… just saying.

Cross stitch. My nephew really likes Ed Hardy. I can’t believe I actually found a cross stitch book based on his work. This was supposed to be a Christmas gift but I chose a very large design, so…

I also really like Subversive Cross Stitch. This needs no explanation.

I pretty much love to sketch anything (one of my latest is pictured here)… still life, fashion, design ideas… But I did find a book that I really liked and purchased it as a gift for a friend. One Drawing a Day gives you prompts to use supplies you’ve never experimented with, location ideas, and inspiration. I also recently picked up some artists’ trading cards at a local craft store. They are 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ artists’ papers. Fantastic! Sometimes a huge canvas can be overwhelming. They are just right for my next masterpiece!


So what are you hoping to achieve creatively this year? Can you share some ideas for ways to fit art/sewing/creativity into our days?

Modern Quilt Social tonight!

Come one, come all! Tonight is our monthly Modern Quilt Social evening. Join us for sewing, chatting, tips and tricks! Bring your sewing machine and your current project. This is a fun sewing social event that is free and open to any who cares to join us! Tonight we’ll be talking about quilt labels – why you should use them and how to incorporate them into your work!


Some things I learned about dye…

… It doesn’t always work. 

I was recently challenged by a pair of 94% cotton/ 6% elastine pants. They really hated me. They knew I wanted them to be black but they were using something like 6% of their being (plus some really resistant thread) to show me who was boss. But I won in the end and I want to share some things I learned.

1. Thread doesn’t dye – don’t bother trying. Ready made garments are often stitched with nylon or polyester thread even if the fabric is all cotton. These threads are stronger and are certainly dye resistant. I have had good luck using Sharpie or tech pens to color the threads until they match.

2. Spandex (and it’s evil twin Elastine) does not dye. It is an elastomeric polyurethane that is damaged by high heat which is often used in the home dyeing process. I did try a cold water fiber reactive dye that seemed to darken a little. But in this case we were taking a white garment to black – no easy feat. Needless to say, the dye only took the pants to grey.

While perusing the dye aisle in my local craft store, desperate for an answer to jump off the shelf and slap me in the face, I noticed a dye that mentioned that it was suitable for airbrushing. I figured if it was designed to be opaque it should work, right? This had to work.

I mixed the paint/dye with water until it was about the consistency of whole milk and dropped it anxiously into my airbrush.

Success! It not only covered the fabric, but it also beautifully covered the thread and the zipper tape! Above is a picture of before and after the airbrush treatment. It was a long process. I did three pairs of pants. They looked pretty good. Because the paint was designed for use on textiles, it dried softly and didn’t make the fabric crisp. I am looking forward to trying this in some different ways…

Meet Pelly…

Recently I was honored to work with Lindsay Ward, a local author and illustrator.  She needed to bring her friend, Pelly, to life! It was so much fun working on this project and I am so glad she and Pelly have become good friends…

p.s. This would be a great project to do for your young artist – you can make their drawings into the real thing!

Party time!

We had a great time this weekend hosting another birthday party!

The girls (ages 5-8) made stuffed owls. They turned out super cute and we all had a blast! Heidi and I always giggle at how easy it is to teach kids because they are FEARLESS.

Being creative is newsworthy! 2

Stitch made the Sun Post-Herald yesterday for being a great place to get creative and have fun as an adult or a kid! Here’s a little snip of the article…

Kids’ attitudes are infectious this time of year, with school winding down and freedom looming, they’re practically bursting out of their skin.Maybe I’m jealous of their several months-long license to soak up summer, but whatever it is, I’ve been daydreaming about summer camps — for adults.

Not surprisingly, the area’s crafty hubs afford a range of opportunities for artists to get their hands dirty and exercise their creative minds.

While several spaces invite time-strapped dabblers to “make and take,”Megan Engelmann, co-owner ofStitch Cleveland in Lakewood, suggested busy people especially should take some time to play. Generally, she said, people can’t fully engage in their duties and chores without reserving the right to indulge semi-regularly in at least a mental vacation.

“It’s nice to get out with your craft and meet other people,” Engelmann’s mother and business partner Heidi Massingill said, though she acknowledged, “It’s not as easy to bring you sewing machine around.”

Massingill suggested wheeling your machine and a project to the sewing lounge tomorrow night for their free, monthly Modern Quilt Social. The stitching community meets on the first Thursday evening of the month from 6-8:30 p.m. The event features refreshments and a drawing.

“We’re one of the sewing lounges you see on line that you’re jealous of,” Massingill explained of the shop and its vibe.

She also invited motivated but intimidated tailors to sign up for private lessons and to breathe life into those half-finished T-shirt quilts or any other discarded project.

“We can kind of steer you,” Massingill said in regards to daunting undertakings.

To read the whole article visit the Sun Post-Herald. Thank you to Alison Meaney of Sun News for coming out to meet us!


Just jump in! 1

We’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately about the kinds of projects a beginner can handle. We think you’ll be surprised at what you can do when you break it down into a step-by-step process. It’s hard to take it one step at a time without looking too far ahead and thinking… I’m never going to be able to make that final product!

Our advice is to throw caution to the wind and start slow! Expect mistakes and don’t be discouraged when things turn out differently then you expected. Sometimes a mistake can be a fantastic design detail!

I’d like to introduce you to one of our beginner students. Elissa came in with some ideas and patterns and didn’t mind starting slow – but we jumped right in anyways! At Stitch, we think you should always work on things that excite you! Why learn to sew on a project you hate? Make it something you’re excited to finish!

In this case, Elissa has 3 kids at home that she wanted to sew for… Her biggest fans! In our first lessons together, Elissa completed a full Twirl skirt for her oldest daughter… She was hooked! After trying out a machine at Stitch, she made an educated decision about purchasing one of her own. By the time she came in for her next lesson she had completed a matching Peasant top! Since then, she has completed another dress for her younger daughter and had plans for starting one for herself… And that was Thursday! Who knows what she’s been up to since then?

Thanks for letting me share your story, Elissa… And the pics of your beautiful daughter!

French Hen Farm

One of our students has been busy sewing and brainstorming new ideas to sell at her sister’s barn. Seems like barns are a really popular thing these days. I’m tempted to  clean out the one I have in my backyard and fill it with cool stuff… good thing I have Stitch Cleveland.

Anyway, thought I’d share with you what Becca’s been up to. She’s been taking lessons at Stitch Cleveland for a few months and has made some really great things… burlap pillows with printed numbers, banners, and totes! She’s been selling her things at French Hen Farm.

We started as sisters from Ohio who got “bit” by the antiquing bug thanks to our parents. Then when we bought a farm in rural Ohio, the whole family got involved. French Hen Farm is the big, red barn surrounded by perennial gardens, an old willow tree, and 100 acres of farmed land. We have semi-annual barn sales featuring everything from antiques, homemade baked goods, recycled, repurposed vintage jewelry, fresh produce, flowers…the list goes on and on. We’d love to see you at the next sale!

I am dying to make my way down there for the next big sale! Hope I see you there!

Pretty quick & pretty pretty scarf

Have you started your holiday sewing yet?

I just worked up this cute little voile scarf. We’ve been lusting after the voiles we got in a while back and wondering how we can use them for this gift giving season. Scarves are always a welcome addition to anyone’s wardrobe… it’s a great way to add some color and you can never get the size wrong!

I am working on a tutorial for this scarf so stay tuned to get your very own directions to create this great scarf. Awesome bonus: it takes less then 1yd of fabric!

Did you see?

Did you happen to see my little guy, Rex on Ohdeedoh yesterday? He was featured in one of their posts about handmade Halloween costumes. This is his costume from last year when he dressed as a lion. Are you making costumes this year?

I love making costumes for my family. This year for sure I am making a Tim Gunn costume and a puppy costume for our two youngest boys. I still haven’t decided what I’ll go as and neither has my husband. My oldest guy is wearing the same costume he has worn for the last five years or so… a Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cup costume that I first made when he was in 5th grade! That’s dedication! I’ll have to dig up a picture of it to post because it was really easy and super resourceful if you don’t mind me tooting my own horn… toot! Tomorrow I’ll have to have Heidi post about her costume making adventures. She really gets into it!

If you have costume questions, give us a call! We can schedule a private lesson or, if you just need a little guidance and a pat on the back, just stop in for a little moral support!