Pop Quiz with Needlework

Posted in: Pop Quiz — By on September 4, 2012 2:12 PM

In honour of the first day of school, we gave a pop quiz to Kate and Liz, the ladies behind Needlework in Hamilton, Ontario.

Tell us about yourself and Needlework!

Kate- Needlework is a fabric shop and creative workspace located on James Street North in downtown Hamilton. We sell primarily quilting weight cottons that Liz and I have tons of fun ordering, as well as notions, patterns, and books. We also run sewing classes and offer a sew-by-the-hour workspace.


What made you decide to combine a retail fabric and notions shop with classes and a workspace?

Kate- Downtown Hamilton was really lacking in a good fabric shop – in particular there wasn’t anywhere to get contemporary designer fabrics, and interesting patterns. We figured we’d fill the void! And we knew we wanted to offer the community something more than just a retail store. James Street North is a really great up and coming vibrant artistic community, so we wanted offer a creative hub for crafters and DIY-ers – a place they could get their supplies and learn new skills and meet other like-minded individuals.


What is the best part of your day at the shop?

K – I love helping customers choose fabric for a new project they’re about to start. I don’t always have time to make all the things I want to with the fabric we have, so it’s awesome helping other people do so. And it’s also super great when they drop by later to show us their completed garment/quilt/pillow/bag!

Liz – I really enjoy when our regular customers come in and take advantage of our sew-by-the-hour space. I love that this crafty resource exists in my city, and to see it in use makes my heart swell with happiness!


Who are some other artists or businesses in the Hamilton craft scene that we should know about?

K- Good question! There are lots. I’ll mention a few that are located on our street (James Street North). There’s White Elephant, which is a really adorable and amazing store that sells handmade and vintage goods. It’s run by our dear friends Hollie Pocsai and Jane Labatte. Our pal Roisin Fagan has a textile studio called Bespoke Uprising, and she makes the most adorable tea towels, scarves, zippered pouches, etc, with great screen printed designs (mason jars, farm scenes, donair!). She also sometimes teaches natural dyeing workshops at our store, which is great. Mixed Media is an awesome artist supply shop that also carries great magazines (like Pure Green, Kinfolk, Uppercase, Anthology), cute greeting cards from a range of artists, inspiring books, and other great stuff.



How long have you been sewing, and how did you learn to sew?
K- I’ve been sewing on and off since I was in gr.5-ish. My mum made a lot of clothes for me and my siblings when we were little, and I come from a pretty crafty family, so sewing was naturally thrown into the mix. My mum taught me with her old machine, which was avocado green and weighed a ton. I started off by altering my old clothes, turning t-shirts into tanks, old jeans into purses, etc.
L – My mother is a super talented seamstress. She made all of my clothing when I was young, wedding dresses for her friends, drapery for our home, etc. and I feel like that had a huge influence on me. While she’s shown me a few things, I learned the majority of my sewing tricks skills and trick reading books/blogs and tackling patterns. I’d say I’ve been seriously interested for the past 6-8yrs. There’s still so much to learn, though!

At Sewing School, we’re all about learning new things. What is one technique or project that you want to try out?
K – I’d love to try making my own bathing suit. I haven’t worked with stretch material that much, so it’d be neat to give that a whirl.
L – I’d like to try my hand at making my own undergarments — that would be super cool. I also have very limited experience working with leather, so I’d like to incorporate that into my future sewing projects as well.

As owners of a fabric shop, choosing which fabrics to stock must be really difficult. Who are some of your favourite fabric designers?

K – It’s actually not that difficult. Liz and I have very similar taste, and when we choose fabric together we know almost instantly whether we want to carry something or not. The difficultly is more in holding back and not ordering EVERYTHING we love! One of our favourite fabric suppliers is Cloud 9 Fabrics. They have great new designers working with them all the time, and everything is printed on organic cotton. Thumbs up!

Finally, we have to ask, how big is your personal fabric stash?

L – Pretty small, actually! I have one large storage bin full at home. I feel like Needlework is a giant, guilt free stash for both Kate and I. It’s great!

K – Ditto what Liz said! I’ve been trying to only bring home fabric that I have a specific plan for.


Thanks so much to Kate and Liz for chatting with us about their shop. We can’t wait to visit!

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