Getting Ready to Open!

I'm making progress toward opening a brick-and-mortar store! My new plan is to be open by September 1, which is much closer than you may think! I am finishing up negotiations on a location, and I'm buying fabric and notions. I spent Monday and Tuesday this week in Las Vegas at a textile expo. I bought lots of fabric for the shop, met two of my idols -- Janet Pray and Kathleen Cheetham -- and peppered my fellow shop owners with questions. Here is some eye candy from Telio in Toronto and Seven Islands Japanese Fabrics, all of which will be available in Missoula and online soon:

Gorgeous stretch denim from Telio.

Gorgeous stretch denim from Telio.

Double-sided scuba knits from Telio.

Double-sided scuba knits from Telio.

Bottom-weight linens!

Bottom-weight linens!

Affordable poly birds. Must make blouse(s)!

Affordable poly birds. Must make blouse(s)!

Japanese double-gauze.

Japanese double-gauze.

Japanese double gauze knit. So soft!

Japanese double gauze knit. So soft!

More double-gauze....

More double-gauze....

Double-gauze with funny bunnies screaming to become a blanky!

Double-gauze with funny bunnies screaming to become a blanky!

Japanese canvas -- Deer with glasses Hahaha!

Japanese canvas -- Deer with glasses Hahaha!

Buying fabric to sell to others is scarier than I though it would be. What will people buy? How much are they willing to pay? If you were to open a fabric shop, what would you make sure to carry?


Belated Stitchery Expo Report

Based on the time between blog posts, you may think nothing is going on here at The Confident Stitch. Not true! I have been working at The Sewing Palace in Helena, teaching classes at the Palace, learning Quickbooks, buying a building in Missoula, filling my basement with fabric, trying to find a website development company, getting two houses ready to sell. You get the picture.

I did find time to go to the Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington. I find walking on concrete all day and fighting crowds indoors overwhelming. Nevertheless, I met my hero, Linda Lee, learned about measuring from Lorraine Henry, hugged my mentor, Pati Palmer, looked through Katherine and Marci Tilton's fabrics, and saw so many inspiring projects.

At the end of next week, I head to Las Vegas for a wholesale expo. Then I'll be back in Montana selling two houses, moving to Missoula, and opening a brick-and-mortar and on-line shop by the beginning of October! Stay tuned!

The lovely and multi-talented Linda Lee in her booth.

The lovely and multi-talented Linda Lee in her booth.

Detail of Linda's Alabama Chanin Tee.

Detail of Linda's Alabama Chanin Tee.

A jacket from the Indygo Junction booth.

A jacket from the Indygo Junction booth.

And Pendleton....

And Pendleton....

Pendleton....

Pendleton....

And more Pendleton!

And more Pendleton!

My First Sewing Retreat!

I just got home from my first four-day sewing retreat. It was quite an experience! Organized by The Sewing Palace in Helena, 20 women gathered at a camp in Gold Creek, Montana. The sewing talent and alcohol consumption were both epic. Yes, there was dancing on the chairs. Yes, there was quilt-ruler limbo. Yes, there was loud music. Yes, everyone was able to stitch straight lines after a few glasses of wine!

It was a great experience for an introvert who loves being with people (like me). I loved watching the others drink and sing and dance. I loved the music. 

Arriving at the camp, I saw women unloading chairs, ironing boards and crates of fabric from their Suburbans, and I had a flash-back to my days as a swim-team mom. Back then, I would pack a couple towels for each daughter, throw in a few fruit roll-ups, make sure everyone had their suits, goggles and caps, and drive to the meet feeling like a well-packed mom who thought of everything. Then I'd arrive at the meet and realize my inadequacies. The other parents would be wearing matching t-shirts, have 37 towels for each kid, a snack-bar worth of food, folding chairs, a mini-DVD player to staunch the boredom. Summer meets were the worst -- families brought tents they could stand in, coolers, hibachis, giant blankets. 

I clearly learned nothing from the swim meets. I packed three projects, my sewing machine, an iron, a small cutting mat, and an entire box of graham crackers to share. The other women brought adjustable chairs, yards of fabric, yummy food, wine, wine glasses, individual cutting and ironing tables, Orphan Girl Bourbon, Bose speakers.....

This is "all" I brought.

This is "all" I brought.

This is most of the fabric brought by Julie our organizer.

This is most of the fabric brought by Julie our organizer.

Julie and Laurie shared a little cutting and pressing table.

Julie and Laurie shared a little cutting and pressing table.

Not only were the women amazing sewers, they also brought their hidden talents. Beverly led yoga classes and trimmed hair, Dawn and Laurie were amazing dancers, and Sandra made sure everyone felt included. Have you ever attended a sewing retreat? What did you love about it?

Beverly, our yoga teacher.

Beverly, our yoga teacher.

Sandra, the queen of fun. Yes, she brought that chair with her.

Sandra, the queen of fun. Yes, she brought that chair with her.