If your sewing machine is gathering dust, there may be a reason: Perhaps you lost a battle with a fussy bobbin. Or you gave up trying to thread the thing. Or maybe you’re intimidated by calico. Whatever your history is with this timeless pastime, Sewn Studio’s “sewing lounge” will give you a no-pressure opportunity to jump back in.
Located in Oakley, Sewn caters to crafters who are looking for a new kind of quilt shop. “It’s the polar opposite of the traditional things that come to mind,” explains shop owner Stephanie Gilbreath. “We like to say that it’s not your grandma’s quilt store…but she’s welcome here too.” Gilbreath stocks mostly cotton fabrics from contemporary designers, many of whom are rock stars in the textile world; the shop walls are lined with bolts from the likes of Anna Maria Horner, Joel Dewberry, and Amy Butler. Before Sewn came along, most of these designers were not available in Cincinnati. “I found that people were driving to Chicago to buy fabric,” Gilbreath says. “And I thought that was crazy. We surely could support something like that here.”
Though Sewn ups the ante on fabric design, the shop is about more than just materials. Comfy sofas round out the light-filled space and a bank of sewing machines sits in the shop’s back corner. Sewn offers classes geared toward beginners. “We teach everybody how the machines function and how to troubleshoot,” Gilbreath says. The goal of each class is to leave with a finished project—and also with a sense of accomplishment. “You can buy anything,” Gilbreath says. “But you can’t always buy an experience.”
Originally published in the July 2011 issue.