Thursday, May 21, 2015

Market

New colors from the Wooly lady and we'll new be carrying valdani thread to go with it!
I was at Market last weekend scouting and buying fabric for this next year! Oh how exciting it is to walk among the creators and designers of all the companies we love best. Moda, Cotton + Steel, Art Gallery... Believe me it's difficult to keep it together and come back with a curated order for the shop. I thought it would be fun to share some pictures we snapped while there (top secret of course).
Valerie Well's new line "In the Bloom" will be in our shop sometime in June!

This Quilt is from V and Company's new line due out in September.
The colors are bold and striking.

This pillow is a sneak peak at Kaffe's new fabrics.

In the fall we'll begin this new Halloween machine appliqué project. How fun!
The Ladies who stayed behind to man the shop are getting along better and better with the new checkout system. We appreciate your patience with us so much as we get a handle on all the details.

Happy Sewing!
Love,
Sue.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New Point of Sale System

We are finally ready to roll out our new point of sale system. So, what does that mean to you?

First, it means that everything is computerized. From our cash drawer to our inventory. Everything should have a barcode and will be scanned into the system. We're hopeful that this will make your entire shopping process more streamlined and seamless. Though, as we get going, there are sure to be kinks so please be patient as we work out the bugs.

Second, it means that there is more product on our website then ever before. It also means that it will automatically be updated. So if your shopping online and you buy a fabric or notion or tool we're sure to have it in stock. This is great for our customers that live far and away or just can't make it into the shop. Click HERE to see all we have to offer in our online shop.

Third, it means that we now have a great rewards program, what a joy to be able to give back to our faithful customers. We'll also be able to keep track of what you've bought in the store, so if you need some more of that one-kind-of-I-think-it-was-freespirit-fabric but you aren't sure, we can look it up for you and find out.

The store's been rearranged so that the cutting board and cash register are all in one place. Plus from a clerk point of view using the scanner is really fun.

It really is exciting being part of this new chapter in the shop's life and I hope you'll find it as enjoyable as we hope it is. Thank you so much for your continued support of this little sewing store, and thank you for your patience as we learn to use and fully integrate this new system.

Happy Sewing,
Love,
Jessie Heninger

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Stitches of Our Lives

My own scrappy quilt made by my great-grandmother

This week I (Jessie) had the privilege of visiting with a woman from my church who is also one of the founding members of our quilt guild. She was the original guild historian and is a beautiful and kind lady.

About a year ago the apartment building she lived in had a fire and she lost a lot of her history. As we visited today she talked wistfully of baby pictures, knick knacks and lost quilts. Like most quilters she had been in the middle of many different projects and had had an impressive collection of quilts both made and given to her. It was heartbreaking to imagine those things gone forever.

But she still had several and those she pulled from their protective pillow cases, almost lovingly, to show me. With great warmth she unfolded a small wall quilt with sweet appliquéd tea pots in tiny floral prints. Of course I was smitten, anything tea related goes straight to my vintage loving heart. There was a crazy quilt filled with tiny pieces of faded silk, a huge star quilt that boggled my mind with how intricate it was. Lastly, we unwrapped a very old quilt that her daughter had found at an estate sale. It was lovely, and signed with ink. When held to the light you could see cotton seeds from the fabric.

And, all the while we looked at these quilts she told me about what her life had been like when she'd made, or received each one. The teapot quilt had been made by a friend when she'd been hospitalized. The star quilt had come from an antique shop in the town where her husband had been born. The crazy quilt was neat but nowhere so lovely as the story it reminded her of about how her future son-in-law had left college because he couldn't stand to be away from her daughter (over thirty years of marriage later and this story makes me want to cry).

What struck me even more was that as she remembered the quilts she had lost she told me even more of her history. She described each quilt to me and then told me those stories. The quilt she had been making for her youngest granddaughter. How there was nearly a riot the first time a machine quilted quilt won best-of-show. The time she'd rescued a quilt from a barn floor, how she'd been working on a friendship quilt and what all the pieces her friends had made. It was as if her history is literally stitched into all of these blankets.

As I face my own grandmother's alzheimers I see how beautiful, sacred almost, it is to have these physical links to our pasts. Certainly, quilting is important to American history but it's more then that, it's as if the very stitches are pathways to our own lives. All my friend had to do was imagine her quilts and her stories flowed like water. What I wouldn't give to have something like that with my own Grandma, even for a moment, to hear her speak of who she was. I see now that quilts are beautiful timelines. Timelines of our country, timelines of our own lives and of those around us. A quilt can be the stitches that hold our life stories together.


I redecorated my sewing room. If your interested in a tour click HERE

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sew a Skirt Tutorial

Here at Sew Unique we love sharing our love of sewing. One of the things I (Jessie) enjoy is a quick garment pattern. Following is a free pattern and tutorial for a skirt. This is a great beginners project and it’s also very quick. Please keep in mind that we are not professional pattern developers or writers. If you have any questions feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help you out.


What you will need for an average adult woman: 1 Yard of Fabric
1 Package of 2’’ wide elastic
Spool of coordinating thread
Sewing machine

LET'S GET STARTED!
1. Measure the amount of elastic you will need by wrapping it around your waist (or the waist you are sewing for) and cut.
2. Cut your fabric down the center being careful to do it so that the pattern on the fabric is going the right direction (I’ve cut the fabric for one skirt the long ways and one skirt the short way, both work one will simply have more gathers.

3.  Now we are going to sew the two pieces together so that we have one long strip of fabric. We will do this by making a french seam. To make a french seam:

    1. On one side pin the short sides of the fabric together wrong sides facing.

    2. Sew 1/4’’ seam.
    3. Trim the seam
    4. Fold the fabric over so that the right sides are now facing. Press (iron).
    5. Sew a 3/8’’ seam. (Your raw edge will now be encased inside the french
seam)

4. On the long edge of the skirt that will end up being the top of the skirt fold over a 1/4’’ and press. Fold it over 1/4’’ again and press. Sew down the length of the fold. The top of your skirt now has no raw edges.
5. On your sewing machine select a wide basting stitch (probably a three or four). Just below the folded top of your skirt sew across your skirt. Leave a long thread tail at the beginning and end of your row of stitches.

6. Just below the first row of basting stitches sew another row leaving long thread tails. You’ll now have two rows of basting stitches to use to gather your skirt.
7. Now it’s time to gather your skirt. Find the middle of your waist band by folding
the elastic in half. Mark the middle with a pin. Lay the elastic on a flat surface.
8. Lay the fabric below the waistband, with the middle of the fabric lined up with
the middle of the waist band.


9. Starting on one side of the skirt take your threads and begin gathering your skirt by pulling on the threads. Take your time and be careful to spread the gathers evenly. Gather until one half of of your fabric is the same width as that half of the waistband.
10. Repeat step 9 by gathering the other half of your fabric.

11. Pin the gathered fabric to the waistband with right side of the fabric against the wrong side of the waist band. Pin the fabric about half way (or one inch) up on the waistband. Sew along the waistband keeping your presser foot along the bottom edge of the waistband.


12. We are now going to sew up the the side of the skirt. Repeat step three to make a french seam on the side of your fabric sewing from the bottom of the skirt to the top of the waistband.
13. To hem your skirt fold the bottom up 1/4’’ and press then fold it up again 1/4’’ (your can make the fold bigger if you’d like your skirt to be shorter) and
press. Sew along the fold keeping your presser first along the bottom of the skirt. Sew a second line of stitches keeping your presser foot along the first row of stitches.
14. Remove the basting stitches at the waistband.
15. Wear and enjoy!!




Friday, March 27, 2015

New Moda!

There's new Moda in the shop! New Fig Tree and all kinds of delightful things!

Fellow Sewists, my bed spread is disgusting. As in, my-giant-dog-sleeps-on-the-bed and no-amount-of-washing-is-going-to-get-that-dinginess-out plus there are two giant holes in it! I keep putting off getting a new one because somewhere in dream world I keep thinking I'll make myself a quilt. Well, maybe this new line will finally inspire me. It's called Whitewashed Cottage and if that doesn't perfectly describe the look I love, I don't know what does. Click HERE for more details.

We also got in Fig Tree's new collection Aloha Girl. It came in today and is fresh, fun, and very summery. Ahhhh, remember summer... This is kind of a new look for Fig Tree but I like it. We've got yardage and precuts. It came in today so it's super new!! Come into the shop or click HERE for a better look.


I know I'm definitely craving something new and fresh. What about you, what are you all working on for spring? We'd love to hear from you leave a comment below.

Happy Sewing,
Love,
Jessie and Sue.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tula Pink

Fresh off the presses is the new Tula Pink line: Elizabeth. It's so new in the shop it's not even on the website yet.

I'm assuming the following fabric is Elizabeth herself, but you know what I really love about it? She has freckles! it's so cool and unique and just really speaks to the princess and castle side of me.

 I made another Little Wallet from the Valori Wells pattern (available HERE). I actually like this one even better then the first one I made (you can see that one HERE). I used scraps of my beloved Cotton & Steel to create my take on a "matchbook" It's for a friend for her business cards. I love how fast this project is, start to finish I think it took an hour and I used all scraps. It's a great way to use every ounce of that fabric you just love.


Here's a sneak peak at this coming wool club Enchanted Garden Quilt block by Gretchen Gibbons. The last one was so fun to do and they are all so sweet looking. It's got such a great combination of patterns and textures. We're putting the kits together now. Wool club meets the third Thursday of the month at 2pm.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Hello sewing friends. I've heard rumors that it will be in the forties next week!! SQUEAL!!!!! The forties is so very close to the fifties and that is planting weather. Oh we're getting closer to sun and dirt and iced tea and green leaves...

If you can't wait for nature to do her work then join our machine embroidery class. We'll be working on a design from "lunchbox" designs. If interested contact the store at 269-317-3022 and we'll schedule the class based on everyone's availability. It's birds and flowers galore just what we need this time of year.
A peak at this months Sue Spargo block.

I thought it might be interesting to highlight some of our more unusual shop finds.
We carry a wide range of these wonderful local candles. The aroma from them lasts way after you blow them out. My favorite is the Hazelnut.

Help keep your sewing space organized with these scissor blocks. They are really fantastic.

We carry an entire rainbow of zippers!

I can not get a good photo of this silver jewelry because it's so shiny, but believe me when I say it's lovely. I have one and I wear it with my Pandora flower ring. All of them are designed by a local woman.

You can never have too many funky thread snips.

We have so many beautiful and unique buttons. I particularly love these wooden ones and am waiting for the right project to use them.

We carry several kinds of lotions, because sewing can be hard on your hands. The photo above shows our really cool moisture bar.

I hope that your surviving the end of this long and cold winter. Fabric, thread and stitches definitely helps. Come in and check out our classes and clubs, you can find more information HERE.

Happy Sewing,
Love,
Jessie and Sue.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Frozen.

It seems a large portion of the United States is under a deep freeze and it's no exception here. I'm blogging from home (Jessie) because my kids are enjoying their second day off of school because it's too cold for little ears and noses to wait at the bus stops or walk to school. I'm not sure if I'm enjoying it... I grew up in the Upper Peninsula and I distinctly remember walking to school all winter in temperatures like this with wet hair! Kids these days... lol.

Luckily the temperatures didn't seem to keep are lovely customers away from the Valentine's sale. It went really well and we are so pleased. The store is so organized now, even the left over sale fabric has a place. I worked part of the sale and was scheduled to leave at five. I brought my computer in case things were slow. When i finally got it out I thought it was probably 2:30 or so and it was 4:45!! I was having so much fun and cutting so much fabric the time flew.

The winner of our giveaway was Jane Cleveland! She received this lovely Fat quarter bundle.


If your as bored of winter as much as we are it's a perfect time to find a new project. Maybe one filled with floral fabrics. If we can't have real gardens why not have fabric ones? Check out our Spring Inspired Pinterest Board HERE, for lots of creative and inspiring ideas.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Behind the Scenes...

This is Sue and I wanted to show off my office because it's actually clean! So, I thought maybe you'd all like a behind the scenes. I wish I had taken a before picture, but suffice it to say while the showroom may be filled with cherry fabric lined up in nice little rows, my office was filled with bolts, swatches and scraps, to say nothing of the paperwork taking over. There was barely room to walk and it's very hard to focus with stuff everywhere.



New year means it's time to clean and organize. New shelves, folders and binders. Ahhhhh now isn't that better? I can actually breath in here. When Jessie came in and saw all the floor space she did a little tap dance.

A new year is also a good time to start a new way of doing things in the store. I've been thinking about digitizing the shop for a while so that we can be sure that what we have in the store is what we have online. It makes a lot of sense when it comes to ordering and doing inventory but the amount of work it is going to take to put every little thing in the computer has stopped me...Until now. We've begun digitizing the shop. It's going to take a while to get to where we are actually able to use all the equipment and it's going to be a lot of man hours but the ladies are supportive; at the very least they're excited to use the scan gun. I hope you will  be patient with us as we figure it all out and get the bugs taken care of (A shop run by women who love sewing usually means we're not the most technical gals around).

Don't forget about our We-Love-Our-Customer-Sale. Thursday February 12 1-8pm. Come in for great prices, giveaways, treats, coffee and chocolates. I really hope to see you there.  

See you soon.
Love,
   Sue

Sunday, February 1, 2015

New Fabric and a Valentine's Sale.

Just wanted to pop in and let you know about some new fabrics and to remind you about our upcoming sale.

We got new Kaufman fabric in and it's finally been put on the website. It's really nice and has a sort of muted modern look to it. The solids have great texture. You can see it HERE. We also got in several Kaufman precuts.
Kaufman charm packs HERE.

Kaufman fat quarter bundle HERE.

New Kaufman Fabrics you can shop for it on our website.
Click HERE.

Even though we're in the midst of a blizzard and it's hard to imagine Valentine's day, it is coming. Our Valentine's-We-Love-Our-Customer-Sale is almost upon us! Thursday February 12th 1-8pm. Along with our $5 a yard fabric and discounted books and precuts, we'll be offering wonderful sweets and drinks. And for every yard of fabric you buy you'll be entered to win a giveaway. I hope we'll see you there. I'm hoping to have a new (pink) skirt made up for the occasion.