Thursday, June 11, 2015

Make Your Summer Crafty!

Summer classes are in full swing here at Sew L.A., and we couldn't be happier with our reorganized classroom space! It's the perfect size for our sewing classes that take a bit more room for projects, and we have had a few creative workshops with 10 - 15 students as well. 

Our website update is taking a bit longer than we anticipated, but we have our Basic Sewing Kit up and are getting ready to post fabric soon. A huge thank you to students who have been in the middle of this change! Of course, we want everyone to have the right tools and supplies for classes and workshops - if you don't see what you need online yet we are ALWAYS open 1/2 hour before classes to allow students to shop for what they need. Please do send us an email if you ever have questions!

You can also plan ahead and get what you need (and anything else) at one of our monthly pop-up shops: the next one will be Saturday June 20th from 10 - 6pm. We have some new fabric from Cloud9 and Cotton + Steel!

There are some great sewing classes coming up in June and July, along with more crafty classes like Embroidery and Sashiko Mending - and here are some pictures from our recent Block Printing workshop, led by Elinor from Krank Press:

photo by Elinor

Elinor will be leading a Stencil Printing on Fabric class soon - it's another fantastic way to create your own custom fabric. We are working on a collaboration for the fall: a weekend workshop where you print your fabric one day then sew it up the second. Here are a few stencil samples - you can see the flexibility!

And I'm hard at work on summer projects and new classes. Here's a preview of what's coming up:

Decades of Style E.S.P. Dress in ah-MAY-zing Alexander Henry fabric

Look for the Aster Blouse class in August!

Working hard on a new beginner class & pattern!

And there are a few more super-secret projects in the works - you'll have to stay tuned till next time! Hope to see you soon -Shaerie @ Sew L.A.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Last Business Post for Awhile (because we have a lot of sewing projects to share)

If you follow us on Instagram, you know that I went to Ventura this past weekend for the Craftcation Business + Makers conference. This event gathers together people who work in the craft industry, people who own craft based businesses, professional makers and people who would like to be professional makers. There are small business classes, panel discussions, round table talks, crafty workshops and of course the beach!

It was a much needed break to refuel and re-connect, and more than anything else I am SO grateful to be in the company of smart and savvy ladies and gents who are passionate about what they do. I shared a lot of my own experiences and learned a ton from others, and I even got to make something! One of the problems with owning a crafty business is that it tends to be more business and less craft, so making is always treasured. 

Cathy Callahan's Ombre Dye Workshop
Sew L.A.'s Quick Market Bag class

Another problem with being a small business owner is that there is no one to tell you what to do - every day you have to kind of make it up as you go along. If you have been with us from the beginning or if you have been in classes that I teach most likely you have gotten an earful about the state of modern small businesses and how weird and difficult it is to navigate the waters. 

The payoffs have always outweighed the perils however, and that's why we are still here! Every time a new sewer looks at me and says 'I can really do it!' or when two of my 9 year old after-school kids make AMAZING LINED COATS I know I would do it all over again. It's truly a blessing to be able to assist in unlocking creativity on a daily basis.

Sew L.A. is eight years old now, and we have been through a lot. Three different locations - doubling our space each time - fantastic people coming and going (most recently our beloved Haley relocated to Portland - sad face emoji!) - great parties & events - fabulous dresses and skirts and pants and pillows and totes and embroidery projects made - and I want to continue to teach until I fall down.

So with that aim in mind, we will be closing the retail portion of Sew L.A. at the end of April. Our classroom will still be located in the back part of our space (with a bit of a makeover) and our select inventory will be organized for only online sales. What does this change mean to you, our student and customer?

- You will be able to sign up for our wonderful classes on our website. We will be offering not only our own well-known sewing classes but workshops and seminars by local teachers and professional makers from across the country.

- You will be able to get all of your class supplies when you sign up (or at any time) in the form of a kit or individual items from our online shop.

- Once a month or so, we will have a pop-up shop (i.e. party) in the classroom where you can stop in and say hi, visit with us and visit the fabric (and also take some home with you if you like). 

- All of your questions regarding classes, policies, purchasing, zipper length and thread color will be answered in a timely manner via email.

- You will still have access to the best and newest fabric being released in our carefully curated online shop.

- You will have the opportunity to take a wide variety of creative classes besides sewing: fiber arts, woodworking, figure drawing, calligraphy, paper arts, bookbinding, basket weaving, soap making, candle making and crafty business management, to name a few.

- You will soon have many more Sew L.A. patterns to choose from as my time can now be spent creating and producing them rather than overseeing the shop. (This is the part I’m really excited about!)

‘But Shaerie’, you might say, ‘What is the reason for taking this step? Doesn’t the retail store make Sew L.A. a ton of money?’ The short answer to this question is that retail is not nearly as easy as it looks. And fabric is hands-down one of the worst inventories a shop can carry: it’s huge, heavy, expensive and slow moving. And then there’s the staffing, upkeep, taxes and merchandising costs to consider. 

Lastly, it takes TIME and that is what I have none of. With my 2 1/2 year old in daycare three days a week, I have about 15 hours a week to run the entire business. This is definitely something they don’t teach you in business school - how to navigate life changes and still run your business effectively. 

getting crafty with washi tape

So, to sum it up, in the cycle of a business it’s just as important to realize when to downsize as it is to know when to expand - and that’s what the idea is with this change. Downsizing to manageable while the baby is home, and ramping it back up again when he gets older. Oh, the visions I have for expanding again! 

April 25th will be the last day the shop is open - and of course there will be a big sale - then we’ll be closed for renovation from April 26 - May 1st. The classroom will reopen on May 2nd for classes! And throughout this next month we’ll be working on reconfiguring the website to reflect these changes. Meanwhile, feel free to email me at classes (at) sew-la (dot) com with any questions, comments or concerns. Now, let’s go make some great stuff! 


P.S. - if you are a maker who would like to teach a workshop with us, let me know! If you've taught before we can get one going pretty quickly - and if you've never taught before but would like to we can help you develop your class. Everybody wins!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hiring Sewing Instructors at Sew L.A.!

It's official - we need another teacher! If you think you have the chops to join our stellar teaching team, send the info listed below to us at classes (at) sew-la (dot) com!

Here's our ad from Craigslist to give you an idea of what we are looking for. Pay is $15 - 20 per hour depending on experience.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Sew L.A. is looking for professional, experienced and engaging sewing instructors for our Los Angeles classroom. 

We are a fabric shop with a large classroom for both group classes and private lessons located in the Atwater Village area of Los Angeles. Take a look at our website to get a feel for what we do!

We have a fantastic team of garment construction, patternmaking and quilting teachers - are you the right person to join us?

This is a part time, subcontractor position with flexible hours. Our classes take place on weekends during the day (11am - 6pm) and from 6:30 - 9:30pm during the week. Private lessons may be scheduled at your discretion.

This position requires:

- In-depth knowledge of sewing garments - please don't apply if you cannot sew
- Weekend and evening availability
- A positive attitude and familiarity with social media
- Retail and / or office experience is a plus
- Organization, punctuality and reliability

Job Duties:

- Training on and teaching existing Sew L.A. classes
- Promoting classes via social media
- Helping students find what they need in our fabric shop
- Developing and teaching new classes (after training period)
- Teaching private lessons 
- Occasional posts for our blog (projects, events, tutorials)
- Attendance at our parties and events

We will train you for:

- Using many different brands of home sewing machines
- Teaching our Sew L.A. classes
- Writing your own classes
- Retail sales

Please submit:

- A resume with a cover letter that notes your sewing experience
- Professional references (these do not need to be sewing related) 
- A few pictures of recent sewing projects

We look forward to hearing from you!

Addendum: the lovely and amazing Heather will be joining our team starting in March 2015. But we are ALWAYS looking for crafty teachers and workshops so do not despair - if you think you'd like to work with us drop us a line at classes (at) sew-la (dot) com!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Job Opportunity at Sew L.A.!

Come and work with us! We are looking for a full time sales person who would be interested in training to be the store manager within a few months of hiring. Here's the ad we are placing tomorrow - all of our own peeps get the jump! Please, no phone calls or stopping in about this position - email us at with all the info listed below and we'll contact you for an interview if the fit looks right. 

Fabric Shop & Sewing Classroom - Sales Position with Manager Potential

Sew L.A. is a boutique fabric shop and sewing classroom in Atwater Village, and we are looking for an experienced salesperson to join our team. Applicant must have experience sewing from commercial garment patterns to be considered for this position. 

This is a full time position starting at $12 per hour for training and sales, with the strong potential to segue into a salaried manager position within 2-3 months of hiring. We are looking for just the right person to help run the retail shop! 

This position requires:

  • Exemplary customer service & communication skills 
  • A strong retail background - styling and merchandising a storefront is a must
  • In-depth knowledge of sewing garments - please don't apply if you cannot sew
  • Weekend availability - Sat and Sun are our busiest days
  • A positive attitude and superior organization skills
  • Familiarity with and access to social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc...)
  • Punctuality
  • Previous experience working for a small business a plus
  • The ability to think on one’s feet and make sensible decisions is valued over a formal education

Job Duties:

- Customer service, sales and class signups
- Opening and closing the shop
- Merchandising and displays
- Inventory management and assisting owner with orders
- Keeping the shop clean and organized
- Promoting via social media
- Occasional posts for our blog (projects, events, tutorials)
- Help with and attendance at our parties and events

What we offer:

- $12.00 per hour starting pay
- Discounts on patterns & fabric - we encourage you to dress handmade
- Half-price or free sewing classes to further your skills
- A vibrant community of makers

Please submit:

- A resume with a cover letter that notes why you are perfect for this position
- Professional references (these do not need to be sewing related) 
- A few pictures of recent sewing projects

We look forward to hearing from you!