The Confident Stitch shop opened on Friday! Since it was the first Friday of the month, the art galleries of Missoula were all open late, so the shop stayed open until 8:00 pm. I was exhausted, but very happy with the turnout. From 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm, people were constantly flowing in and out.
My friend Katherine came from Helena. We have been friends for 25 years! Photo by Sahra Susman. Cutting Cotton + Steel Quilting Cotton. Photo by Sahra Susman. My guy Fred served wine, cheese, grapes and cookies. Photo by Sahra Susman. Lovely Jane (in an orange coat) will be my full-time employee starting December 1. Photo by Sahra Susman.
After all my October 9 hype, The Confident Stitch is actually opening on November 6. I have enough fabric, patterns and notions to open in two days, but The Confident Stitch website and point-of-sale system are going to be very robust and searchable. Guess how inventory systems become robust and searchable? Someone writes the text and enters the details! In this case, that someone is moi, and I am not done.
I had a lot of help getting the physical shop ready – the fixtures are up, beautiful, and ready to display inventory – I just need to finish getting the virtual shop ready. I have been collecting fabrics for the past year, so I will have some lines that are getting hard to find (like Cloud 9 Bark Cloth, and the original Cotton + Steel lines).
To thank you for your patience, I will be rolling out specials and coupons to you, my loyal blog readers, over the next few weeks!
For the past six weeks, I have had the honor of working at a fabric shop — The amazing Sewing Palace in Helena, Montana. Every time I unfurl a bolt of fabric and hear the thunk, thunk of the bolt hitting the cutting table, I am carried back to my childhood.
I first heard the thunking of a bolt of fabric standing next to my mom at the McCaulou’s department store in my hometown of Lafayette, California. Like most department stores, McCaulou’s had a fabric department until I was in my late twenties.
When I was young, my mom and I would walk past the children’s department, and the juniors’ department, to the back of the store — the fabric department. We would leaf through the giant glossy pattern books to choose the perfect thing for my mom to make for me, using tiny pencils to write the pattern numbers on scraps of paper. The lady behind the counter would pull the pattern from one of her giant drawers.
Then I would have the pleasure of selecting my fabric and notions. Sometimes, McCaulou’s would have the actual fabric used in the pattern photo! When we got home, I would not-so-patiently wait for my mom to turn the cloth into special clothes for me.
By the time I was 12, I was the one sewing the clothes. Although I sewed too hastily, and my makes were always clearly homemade, the possibility that I might make a beautiful garment out of the beautiful cloth was magical.
Growing up, I thought of the children’s department as the “land of no.” My mom always said no to ready-made clothes, except for the one shopping trip in August when we would buy school clothes. The fabric department was the “land of yes.” My mom was always happy to sew me something when I was small, and she was always happy to buy me the fabric to make myself something as I grew older.
As I take steps to open my own fabric shop and online store, I am buoyed by the hopefulness and empowerment I always felt when I heard the fabric bolt thunk on the cutting table. What does buying fabric remind you of?