You can learn to do it!
// Leanne Kong

A little strip of 15th Avenue, nestled in the crook of Kingsway and Fraser, is the home of the vibrant, locally owned shop that is Spool of Thread. This space caters to a variety of individuals with a variety of intentions: Halloween partiers frequent Spool of Thread around this time of year to create their own unique costumes; Harry Potter fans in need of cloaks for the opening of the Harry Potter Amusement Park have been known to pop in on their way to the airport. It is a place where sailboat covers have been fixed, surfers have created portable change rooms for the beach and many a favourite pair of jeans have been mended; a place where nervous novices have attempted sewing for the first time, and where customer after customer have experienced the birth of their sewing confidence.

The clean, cool space that has been there for just over a year feels like a welcoming hub of creativity. The hand-picked fabrics colourfully line the walls, waiting to be turned into masterpieces, and a clean display of sewing goods are tastefully displayed in the front of the store. The back of the all-in-one sewing lounge and retail space is where the workspace is located.

The idea of combining the retail and sewing area was to create an integrated and dynamic environment: “We wanted to create a social environment,” says Henry Sinha, co-owner of Spool of Thread. “We wanted to create a space where you could bring sewing into the public eye, sit with your friends, and just get outside of your house to work on a project.”

The beauty of the space is that it caters to individuals who may not have the space or equipment to sew at home. They do this by providing $8/hour drop-ins. These drop-in sessions are run daily and are open to all individuals. As Sinha describes it, “The drop-in, to us, is a way to help shoulder that cost of equipment. We’ve outfitted our lounge with state of the art machines. They are domestic machines, but they are very user friendly, [and] they are something that someone can come in and [use in order to] quickly get up to speed.” They also outfit their store with large cutting tables, irons, dress forms, pins, mats for quilting, rotary cutters, chalk, and basically everything else you could possibly need.

For those who are feeling a little frightened by drop-ins, there are 6-8 person classes that are available. The Introduction to Sewing classes are single sessions that span three hours: enough to get beginners on their feet and feeling comfortable on the machines.

“We want people to realize that anyone can do this,” Sinha underlines. “You don’t necessarily have to go to a fashion school or be mentored by your mom who’s been a tailor for thirty years. Anyone can come in here and learn, and it doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are.”

The next upcoming class, called Ready! Set! Quilt!, will be starting at the end of September. A little experience is required for this one, and it teaches you some basic quilting skills.

With sewing becoming more and more popular, Spool of Thread has thrived. Sewing is an art, an outlet for creativity, and a great opportunity to create a one of a kind clothing piece, accessory or whatever you can think of. Starting from scratch is one way to sew, while reworking and manipulating old clothes is another popular use of sewing. People are constantly becoming more eco-conscious, and students, as always, take joy in saving a buck. These are both great reasons for many people to take their favourite old shirt and give it a new life.

“I liken sewing to people creating clothing that they wear [as] their own personal art installation. They are putting their soul and their effort into something and they are proudly displaying it for the public,” says Sinha. Everyone has a different style, but whatever it may be, remember that sewing is not something to be afraid of. Give it a go, and you may find yourself surprised.

Spool of Thread is located at 101-649 E. 15th Ave. You can check out their website, for more details.

// Leanne Kong

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