Sunday afternoon was marvelous! I met up with my friend Tatsie for brunch at Bon Vivant in Atwater Village and then we headed directly next door to SEW L.A. for a book signing and picnic party to celebrate Gretchen Hirsch‘s gorgeous frocks and ah-mazing book!
Atwater Village is utterly charming and it had been a while since I visited the area. Los Angeles is such a funny place to live sometimes–it can take months (or years!) to re-visit a favorite side of town, but it feels like yesterday when you arrive. Atwater is a warm, close-knit community with little boutiques and charming cafes and shops. The perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon! SEW L.A. is a kick ass sewing store & studio that fits in so perfectly, I can’t imagine it existing anywhere else in the city.
When Tatsie and I walked in, I was trying really hard not to geek out like a fool. Right in front of me was Gertie all decked out in a gorgeous dress and pink hair… and then I spotted Christine Haynes who teaches the Sassy Librarian Blouse class on Craftsy.com and needless to say, after all the hours I have spent watching Christine demonstrate sewing techniques on my laptop, I was pretty excited about meeting her, too. (We all remember what happened to me with the Sassy Librarian Blouse… not one of my finer moments. But Christine assured me, it counts as my muslin. Time to make a new blouse!) Gertie’s blog and her Bombshell Dress class on Craftsy.com were the #1 reason I started writing my School of Moxie blog in the first place, so I was pretty nervous and excited to finally meet her in person. There were numerous samples of the clothing items from her book hanging around the store (the book includes an entire wardrobe of patterns, which is wonderful to own and incredibly impressive) and Tatsie and I drooled over the fabric bolts lining the walls.
I had a chance to meet Gertie and she signed my copy of her book (thank you!!). With SEW L.A. she helped do a drawing for three lucky people who won copies of her Butterick patterns and her book.
In the front of the store, there was a makeup artist who gave Tatsie a very retro-chic look for the afternoon. Half the fun was popping a squat in a plush chair with a charming decorative pillow and observing all of the fantastic fashion that everyone was wearing. Most ladies were wearing something that they made themselves and there was some impressive work on display!
The picnic table was a lovely touch. We had some punch and there were small bites for everyone who attended. There was a lot of homemade love in that store between all the handmade garments and the picnic food.
When I first started the Moxie blog, I went out to a few stores around town to let you know what I thought of them and it’s been a while since I’ve done this because, as you know, I’m doing my Frugal Fabric Challenge. This little picnic party was such a great excuse for me to visit a location I have been wanting to set foot inside (but refrain from purchasing more fabric). I did, however, walk out with the Colette sewing book and two additional Colette patterns, the Macaroon Dress and the Juniper pants. (I will justify this by saying I have been planning on purchasing the book & patterns for quite some time and the Juniper pants pattern will help me accomplish one of my New Year’s Resolutions to master a fly front pant construction.)
In keeping with tradition, here’s my Moxie pros & cons list about SEW L.A.
Starting with things I love about this store!
- Classes! Take your classes here, my friends. I have had requests recently to teach a class myself, but I’m not *quite* ready for that. In the meantime, I think you should learn from the masters. They are here, at SEW L.A.
- The staff is so warm and friendly and inviting. I was really nervous and intimidated to go to the picnic on Sunday (Thank you, Tatsie, for keeping me company!) and I felt right at ease immediately. We had some fun conversations and I found out that Christine Haynes and I are both from Michigan! What a small world.
- There were a few cotton prints (OK, a LOT of cotton prints) that I fell in love with and will probably be back to choose in a few months after I work through more of my fabric stash.
- They carry the smaller and independent pattern lines (like Colette) and it was so lovely to be able to see them on the shelves and to look at the envelopes in person before purchasing.
- I was also able to find some specialty notions that I have not been able to find elsewhere, like a specific type of water soluble chalk pencil that comes in a variety of colors.
Minor downsides, but don’t let that stop you from visiting:
- They don’t have as wide a selection of fabrics compared to the larger fabric retailers in Los Angeles, so you would probably have to talk with them about special orders or visit another store in town if you need something that is not on the shelf.
- They don’t carry the major pattern brands if you’re looking for one of those specifically. I would keep your eye out for those great JoAnn Fabrics sales if you want Simplicity, New Look, Butterick, McCall’s, or Vogue patterns.
- You have to find parking at a meter somewhere along Glendale Blvd. or on one of the nearby side streets. I found a spot fairly easily, but just know that there isn’t a dedicated lot behind the store as we often find in Los Angeles.
- If you need a lot of notions, they may not have everything under the sun, but let me add to this bullet point, that if you need quality notions, you will indeed find them on the wall at SEW L.A.
I think it’s so wonderful to have a store like SEW L.A. in Los Angeles. This store is such a happy place! The people there are everything I look for in a welcoming environment and it warms my little entrepreneur heart to see a small business thrive so well. I can’t wait to visit them again and I hope that my local readers & friends who have been asking for a class will listen to my words of advice: check out the class schedule for SEW L.A. and start sewing up a storm! I know I am going to make myself a fresh Sassy Librarian Blouse for spring so that I can (finally) proudly show it to Christine. 2013 is going to be a great year for sewing!