Now time for the “personal stuff” ….
Since purchasing Sewing Arts in June of 2017, I have aimed at rebranding the store, I felt it needed a modern, lively update, and eventually, the website would as well. providing more fabric and notions. Naively optimistic, did I know this would take over ten months, multiple designers and even switching sites, no…but I think we finally got it right, at least I hope so! (but seriously, and those who know me, know I am serious to a point…mostly funny and slightly sarcastic…life is too short and all)
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, the youngest of three daughters. I learned to sew at the age of five, I remember sitting at my mother’s feet, with my tiny Singer, designing clothes for my Barbie dolls. At 12, my mother enrolled me in Singer Sewing classes, me (and a group of 35+ yr. old women) why, I have no idea, but I am forever grateful. By my late 20’s, friends began having children. I thought “I could make them quilts, so I wandered into a store called “Crazy Ladies and Friends in Santa Monica, meet his wild and wacky woman Mary Ellen Hopkins and a passion began. I became a long-time customer of Karen’s who purchased the store from Mary Ellen, (as a matter of fact you can come inside and see Karen’s vintage Bernina on our cutting table.)
Then my three kids were born, I would sew at night as they slept in their rooms. Years later my eldest tells me “it was very soothing to fall asleep every night listening to the hum of the machine (of course it was a Bernina, a 1260 to be exact) and the opening music to Simply Quilts.” (Fun Fact: I am quite the Alex Anderson fan…psst Alex if you are reading this, I would love to meet you and come by the store and sign my 1260!)
After being an empty-nester for two years, I decided it was time for me to do something. My first thought was a bakery (my other passion, cooking / baking, but I was not about to deal with 4 am and health inspectors) until, “what if I open a quilt / fabric store…yea, I could do this…”nine months of looking for a location and I came into Sewing Arts, my go-to store for long arm quilting and machine service, to speak to Russell about my opening a store nearby, not in a million years did I think he would offer to sell me the store as he was ready for some new adventures of his own. I was stunned for a while, talked with my family who kept telling me “you have always wanted to do this” Yea, I do not really remember ever saying this, but I’ll go with it. I have a loving and supportive family who nurtured and pushed me when I needed to be pushed and have my back at all times.
The talented and utterly amazing staff stayed, making the transition a breeze. This has been some of the best 18 months of my life. I am surrounded by wildly creative, talented people who let me be me, only (rightfully) reigning me in when I go “crazy” and order too much fabric, patterns or paper piecing temples…but seriously, can you ever have too many???? We have a relationship with each other one student described as “watching you all is like watching an episode of The Office live”.
I cannot say enough about the outpouring of support I have been given by the community and customer base…I am a very enthusiastic sports fan and love vintage sewing machines and irons. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people, both long time customers and first-time visitors who happen to either follow our social media (HEY if you don’t already you really should follow us on Instagram or Fb or BOTH!!!! @sewingarts), that they have brought me Dodger memorabilia, vintage miniature irons, fabric that Mary Ellen designed way back when etc. I am blown away by this kindness and it is all proudly displayed in the glass cabinet in the store. This is a learning curve, to say the least, but I have a passion, a drive and a desire to make the most of this creative world I have jumped into. I might not always get it right, but we’ve had fun along the way and will continue to do so with a smile and a laugh!
And on Sunday's I can usually be found at the store having lunch with my mom, a very young 93 who brings ME lunch. Personally I think she loves to look at the fabrics...Love you Mom and thank you for teaching me to sew!