When my mother was in high school, she made all of her own clothes. Not because she couldn’t afford to shop–but because it was cooler to wear one-of-a-kind outfits. In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of handmade and artisanal goods–products whose origins can be clearly traced–and with it, we’ve also seen a growth of crafting shops to supply the made-by-hand community.
Three Old Town Alexandria businesses are marketing their neck of the woods as a “maker central”–a place where everyday citizens can come to craft. Fibre Space, a yarn store that teaches knitting, spinning, and crocheting classes, has been open on King Street since 2009; Potomac Bead Company, where customers can make their own jewelry, was founded in 2005; and on Sunday, Stitch Sew Shop opened on Fayette Street.
“Old Town is such a great place with several well-established craft related businesses, so it struck me as the right time in the right place,” says Stitch Sew Shop owner Kalle Thompson.
Stitch Sew Shop is both a workspace and a headquarters for sewing workshops. Individuals can rent workspaces, equipped with Bernina sewing machines, irons, and ironing boards, for $7 an hour. Sewing novices and experienced seamstresses alike can enroll in classes to learn to make their own clothes, or join a mini-retreat-style workshop in the store. Additionally, the store sells everything you’d need to make a garment, including patterns, fabrics (such as Italian linens and Liberty of London cottons), as well as notions–fasteners, zippers, thread, and more.
The shop will host its first weekend workshop on June 3 through 5, during which participants will work with Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette to make their own wrap dress. In the meantime, the three Alexandria crafting stores are getting together to celebrate with a Craft Walk on Saturday, May 14, from 10 AM to 7 PM. During the event, doors will be open at the three stores with activities, refreshments, and prizes available at each.
Stitch Sew Shop is now open at 102 N Fayette St., Alexandria.