Monday, December 29, 2014

Here We Come, 2015!

2014 has been... interesting. We celebrated 8 years of business, which is no small achievement in today's economic climate. We watched our core market shift dramatically with all the technology introduced. We had some fantastic parties and guest teachers! Personally, I am still learning how to take care of a business and a two-year old - I wish there were classes for that. 

Weaving at our Holiday Bazaar

First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you students and customers who have allowed us to stay in business for 8 years. Now for the changes: the bad news first. We simply cannot afford to offer the range of sewing classes we have in the past due to the proliferation of information available online. 

I firmly believe that learning sewing from an actual person is the way to go (that's why I started a classroom!) and will happily talk for hours about the benefits of in-person classes. On the flip side, I'm all for sharing information however it works, and these online classes are a boon for those who don't live near a great sewing shop! I also have good friends who are writing these classes, and I want them to succeed and be paid well for their hard work. So the first change is less sewing classes - a tough decision, but small businesses need to change with the market and stay flexible.

Moving stuff around!
And we have a silver lining: more fiber arts classes, more guest teachers, more amazing goods in the shop. The past few weeks, we have been reconfiguring the space to accommodate more retail, and along with that we'll have new hours for 2015:

Sun - Weds: 10am - 6pm
Thurs - Sat: 10am - 7pm

Mario rules!
Keep your eyes peeled for weaving workshops, dyeing classes, fantastic guest teachers, macrame, block printing and weekend sessions of your favorite classes!

We'll be open later for open sewing in our SewLab on many Wednesday evenings, plus we'll be scheduling Sewlabs on weekend days so everyone has a chance to use our awesome classroom space. We'll be scheduling more Project Workshops - open sewing with a teacher to ask questions - so everyone gets some practice on projects they want to sew. 

New fabric wall
Almost there...

Lux thinks it looks better over here.
Open space!

Our Kids & Teens After School sewing classes have exploded! If you know a boy or girl who wants to learn how to sew or get some help with projects, check out the website for dates. I'm continually astounded with how fast and amazing our kids are, and recently one of the first Kids Camp kids stopped in to visit - she's in the costume department of her high school and used what she learned at Sew L.A. every day. 

All I helped with was pressing - she did the rest herself!
We have been hard at work expanding our embroidery section - carrying Kiriki Press kits, Subversive Stitching cross stitch kits, Penguin & Fish kits and sashiko supplies along with our faves, Sublime Stitching. We'll be offering an Advanced Embroidery class in addition to the Intro, and look for a Crewel class soon!

Our first Weaving Workshop is on Feb. 7th with renowned local artisan Cameron Taylor-Brown! We are now carrying mini looms from Purl & Loop and lap sized looms from Harrisville Designs in the shop. I'm secretly most excited to have found the metal potholder loom frames - a must for any kid you know who likes to make things (and some adults too).

And we'll be adding some really lovely lines to our retail selection: tableware and linens from Lotta Jansdotter, beautiful paper goods from Rifle Paper and One Canoe Two, and my favorite - Sarah Watts from Cotton + Steel has a gorgeous line of journals and notecards. Some of these items are already in the shop!

So all in all, we take a few roughs with the smooth and continue on. Here's to another great year of growing, changing and learning! Wishing you and yours the very best in the New Year - Shaerie and everyone at Sew L.A.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sew L.A.'s 2nd Annual Holiday Bazaar!

Please join us on Friday, Dec. 5th from 3 - 9pm for our Second Annual Holiday Bazaar! It's an evening filled with crafty fun, fantastic local vendors and cookies & cider for all. I have also been testing German spiced wine recipes (tough job) to serve a little later in the evening - mighty tasty!

We'll have sewing stations set up for some free crafts: make a card with fabric scraps or learn to sew a mini flying geese garland like the ones in our window. There will also be make & take kits and demos for mini-loom coasters and embroidered leather bracelets! 

Here's a preview of some of the local vendors that will be participating - all items are handmade right here in Los Angeles by the people who are selling them to you!

Charlie from Minor Thread will have handmade sachets, teas and mulling spices!

Mary will be selling her hand sewn clothes for boys and girls!

Wendy from Green Girl Art will have a selection of plushies and wall art!

Iris will have some lovely handmade jewelry for sale!

Elinor from Krank Press will be selling her gorgeous notecards, journals and calendars!

Ms. Molly will have aprons for adults & kids and table linens made from beautiful batiks and mudcloth!

Rebecca will have luxurious silk rayon infinity scarves and small leather items!

Tonie will have a selection of bags and wallets along with this gorgeous child's coat!

Our make & takes are scheduled on the hour as follows:
3pm: Shaerie sets you up on a mini loom to weave coasters - $2 for the yarn kit
4pm: Robert Mahar will show you how to wrap candy cane ornaments - free!
5pm: Haley demos embroidering on leather bracelets - $10 for the kit
6pm: Mr. Mahar helps you create beautiful pom pom ornaments - free!
7pm: Shaerie is back with the mini looms - $2 for yarn
8pm: Mr. Mahar returns with the lovely pom poms! - free
All demos are on a first come, first served basis. We'll have extra kits & supplies too, if you want to keep practicing what you learn!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Shop Hours for November and December

The holiday season is now upon us! Sew L.A. will be closed on TUESDAYS in November and December 2014 - if you are scheduled for a class on Tuesday it will still be happening and you'll be able to get your supplies. All other days of the week we'll be open our normal business hours (11am - 6pm) with the following exceptions:

closed November 27th
hours on Nov. 28th: 9am - 6pm - Black Friday SALE
hours on Dec. 5th: 11am - 3pm - Sew L.A. Holiday Bazaar from 3pm - 9pm
closed Dec. 24th - 26th
closed Dec. 31st and Jan. 1st

'Tis also the season for last minute gifts! If you find yourself in a bind, check out our calendar for upcoming crafty classes:

Quilted Patchwork Throw - Thurs 11/6
Hand Embroidery - Sun 11/9
Macrame Wall Hanging - Sat 11/15
Handy Oven Mitt - Sat 11/23
Box Zip Bags - Thurs 12/4
Quilted Patchwork Throw - Mon 12/8
Handy Oven Mitt - Thurs 12/11 

On Friday December 5th, we'll be having our second annual Holiday Bazaar right here at Sew L.A.! It's a mellow evening to hang out with local craftspeople, drink some warm cider & eat cookies, participate in some holiday crafts and be generally festive. 

We are currently taking submissions from local crafters who would like table space - here are the details!

- goods for sale must be handmade by the vendor who lives in the Los Angeles area
- tables are $30 each (approx 22" x 45") with no extra charge for garment racks. In lieu of the fee, you can choose to donate an item for auction!
- email a few pictures of your work and a brief bio of yourself to and we'll take it from there.
- deadline for submissions is Nov. 13 at 6pm.

Everyone else - mark your calendars! It's going to be a fun & crafty evening! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


This September, Sew L.A. is turning 8! We are so excited to have a big party for our birthday - just like any other eight year old - please join us on Saturday September 20 from 6:30 - 9:30 in the evening for the festivities. Of course we’ll have fantastic food, drinks, treats, goodie bags and a serious dance mix going on, but that’s not all - there will be a raffle that everyone can join to win Sew L.A. swag, patterns & fabric! We’ll be debuting some new things at the party, and this is your chance to get in on the action.

We’d also like to announce a contest that will take place during the party for the BEST HANDMADE OUTFIT. The winner will receive a free sewing class of their choice here at Sew L.A.! Here are the rules:

To enter, your outfit must be 
  1. Made from fabric you bought at Sew L.A. OR
  2. Made in a class or private lesson you took at Sew L.A. OR
  3. Another version of something you made in a Sew L.A. class
When you arrive at the party in your fabulous outfit, just sign up on the contest clipboard. At 8:30pm, we’ll ask contestants to stand up and tell us a little about their outfits, and after a bit of deliberation our judges (a select panel of local crafty folks) will announce the winner! The second place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate and the third place winner will receive a $25 gift certificate. But of course, everyone wins because everyone will have awesome outfits.

See you at the party! Oh... and I almost forgot to mention the unicorns.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sew L.A.'s Amazing Students Series: Ruby Bugarin

Here at Sew L.A., what we do most is teach people how to sew. Since 2007! So at this point, there are a whole lot of folks out there who learned how to sew (or who learned how to sew better) by taking some classes with us. We'd like to introduce you to some of them - our students inspire us every day and we want to share that inspiration with you!

First on our list is Ruby Bugarin, with pictures by Devon of Miss Make. Ruby started taking classes at our Silver Lake location several years ago and now she is sewing her entire fantastic wardrobe.

Burda 7834 top with the Ginger Skirt from Colette Patterns 

What was your skill level when you starting taking classes at Sew L.A.? Or, how did you get started sewing?

Minimal. I took a course at a community college with 20 other people about 10 years ago. Don’t ask me to tell you how much I remember; not much. I got started when I saw kids sewing classes advertised and decided to enroll my daughter so she could learn the basics. I bought her a basic sewing machine and then decided I should learn the basics also. I then found out about Sew L.A. and started with the basic class and … I got hooked! I’ve taken many, many classes and in addition I’ve made many items at home. I could not have done it without Sew L.A. The classes are project based, meaning that at the end of a class I have a finished item; what more of an incentive do I need?

Rooibos Dress from Colette Patterns
What has been your favorite class at Sew L.A.?

My favorite class was the serger class because it opened up a whole new world into sewing with knits easily and really fast. I love a quick and easy sewing project ;)

Lady Skater dress by Kitschy Coo

Did you have a ‘breakthrough moment’ in sewing?

I had a breakthrough pretty much in every class. First in making my very first bag in the intro class, then learning about elastic casings in the pajama bottoms class to learning to sew gathers and bands in a dress class. Knowing how to sew a set-in sleeve was an eye opener! Once I learned the basics I was off on my own and could really make many patterns out there.

What has been your favorite project so far? (fun to make, like the fit, love to wear etc...)

I love knit garments because they are quick to sew, are comfortable to wear and are pretty forgiving in fit. I loved making a t-shirt with the Sewaholic Renfrew and the Jaime Christina knit dresses.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I’m very proud of my silk chiffon dress I made. It was very challenging to cut and sew because of the slippery fabric. I had to research how to sew with silk, starting with knowing what needles to use, what pins, how to cut it, etc. It took a lot of patience and time. I also put it aside until I had the patience to deal with it and now I have a beautiful silk dress and the skills to tackle another silk garment.

Burda 7628 dress
What has been your biggest sewing disaster?

Too many to count! In the beginning getting garments to fit correctly was very frustrating. As most people with non-standard bodies can attest to, it is a steep learning curve to learn how to fit your body by yourself. It helps if you have someone to help. Now that I know which pattern companies fit my body type better and I know my body better, this aspect of sewing is less stressful and I also try to always make a muslin unless it’s a pattern company I’m familiar with and I know I can make my adjustments with confidence.

Burda 6916 dress
Do you have a favorite fabric designer or favorite pattern company? Why are they your favorite?

My favorites are Deer and Doe, Burda and now By Hand London because they are consistent in the pattern drafting and I have to make only minor fitting adjustments for them to fit me well and they have the cutest designs!

Do you have any sewing goals in the near (or distant!) future?

My next challenge is to learn tailoring skills. I’ve just taken a Craftsy course on how to tailor a jacket and soon I will start on it.

Thanks Ruby! Your gorgeous outfits are sure to inspire us all. Sew L.A. readers - stay tuned for our next Amazing Student in the not-too-distant future!