West Seattle Fabric Company adding 2nd site: Sewing studio

August 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 24 Comments

(West Seattle Fabric Company’s Monica Skov and daughter, outside WSFC’s future sewing-studio site)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After less than two years in business, West Seattle Fabric Company proprietor Monica Skov has learned what might be the most important lesson an entrepreneur can learn.

Listen to your customers. And respond.

Hers have been asking for things that just wouldn’t fit into her cozy retail space at 2210 California SW in the Admiral District – an area for open sewing (your machine or theirs), for parties, for quilting.

Now, she’s found a place where that can all happen, a second site that will become the West Seattle Fabric Company “Creative Sewing Studio” (working title, so that might change). The space is at 5910 California SW, in the former Emerald Spiral space in the California/Juneau business node (directly across from Pan Africa Grill).

We talked with Monica there this morning, just as remodeling work was about to begin:

No, the studio will not replace the retail store in Admiral, Monica stresses. This will be an additional location, but no retail – though one side benefit will be that it’ll facilitate even more room for merchandise at the store.

She says the studio idea really took wing as she wrote the grant proposal for the Mission Small Business” competition. Though the winners haven’t been announced yet, so she has no idea if WSFC will get one of the grants, she realized it was something she really needed to do.

Then, she saw the space, which has been vacant a few months. She and her husband and their 4 1/2-year-old daughter – who patiently worked on art projects during our interview – live in south West Seattle, so she kept driving by, and then started trying to contact the landlord. It all worked out.

Now, it’s time to transform the vacant space into the studio, starting with some paint – replacing the current yellow with a “light steel blue” like the retail store, Monica says – and lighting, as well as wood flooring (carpeting doesn’t work so well if you are working with needles, for example). The tiny restroom also will need a remodel. “It’ll be fabulous,” Monica promises with a smile.

The front three-fourths of the space will be set up for open sewing, classes, and events, with at least six sewing machines as well as other features like cutting stations. Monica’s thinking the open-sewing hours will likely be Tuesday-Sunday afternoons, noon to 4 or 5 pm – but, as with everything else, she’ll listen to their customers, and see what works for them. It’ll probably be on a punch card or membership basis. Private lessons will still be handled at the Admiral store.

The studio location also has a large, high-ceilinged back area that (hello, neighborhood historians?) appears to have possibly been a garage, with two bricked-over areas resembling bay doors.

This will not only provide storage for Monica’s business but also maybe someday a space for a long-arm quilting machine – right now just a dream, though quilting will be part of the studio plan from the start, likely with a monthly quilt-in.

She also hopes extra space means reaching a wider demographic range with classes and events, even preschoolers, to instill the love of sewing at an early age, so it doesn’t become a lost art.

And the location not only gives WSFC a presence in one of West Seattle’s southern business districts, it also facilitates more collaboration with nearby Seattle Yarn.

“The sky’s the limit on what we can do,” Monica believes, as she embarks on preparatory tasks from painting to planning packages for those future parties and events.

We’ll check in along the way as the space is transformed; she is hoping they will be able to open the studio in October.

24 Comments

  1. Yay Monica and WSFC!!

    Comment by Emily Cier — 2:09 pm August 9, 2012 #

  2. Very exciting! Can’t wait to see what kind of classes and events they’ll have at the new studio.

    Comment by Kate K — 2:10 pm August 9, 2012 #

  3. Looking forward to this. Ever since Hancock’s closed we haven’t had anywhere to go to lay out a quilt and pin it. Thank You

    Comment by celeste17 — 2:10 pm August 9, 2012 #

  4. Would love to learn how to sew! Prices for lessons anywhere online?

    Comment by Nichole — 2:46 pm August 9, 2012 #

  5. How exciting! I learned to sew as a child through a local sewing store similar to yours–would love to see children’s lessons in West Seattle!

    Comment by Allison — 2:49 pm August 9, 2012 #

  6. This will be a great addition to the neighborhood. Can’t wait!

    Comment by Melanie — 2:54 pm August 9, 2012 #

  7. I love to just wander through the fabric store to look at the gorgeous colors and prints–it’s a feast for the eyes.

    I hope to take a sewing class with Monica someday soon so that my seams zig when they’re supposed to, zag when they’re supposed to, but mostly: go straight when they’re supposed to.

    Comment by The Velvet Bulldog — 3:20 pm August 9, 2012 #

  8. Very cool! And the bonus part is how close it will be. I hope there will be some interesting intermediate to advanced garment classes.

    Comment by Amy — 3:23 pm August 9, 2012 #

  9. Congratulations Monica!

    Comment by HC @ Arbor Heights — 3:31 pm August 9, 2012 #

  10. (Whew! Glad you’re staying in the Admiral store.) Congrats on the new place!

    Comment by LatteRose — 3:45 pm August 9, 2012 #

  11. “Sew” Excited! Our daughter is 6 and really looking forward to a class geared to her age. Woo hoo!

    Comment by anotherwsmom — 3:46 pm August 9, 2012 #

  12. This is so exciting for those of who sew and quilt but equally exciting to see a small business grow with the support of the community. Congratulations Monica!

    Comment by Genessee neighbor — 4:10 pm August 9, 2012 #

  13. I’m wracking my brain to remember if there was indeed a garage there relatively recently.

    .

    I lived a block east of there from ’85-’00, and had a bit of a view of the back of that building, from my front yard.

    .

    A search of DPD for that address, shows just two permit issuings, unrelated to any remodel that would have involve bricking up the bay door openings.

    .

    I do seem to recall some kind of repair business working out of the back of that building, for a portion of my time in the neighborhood, but more like a small motor/mower repair place, (not being confused with the mower shop kitty corner on California, in a building that previously sat on the corner lot where the Martial Arts place is now.)

    .

    Oh, and congrats to Monica and family! I love seeing our local businesses become such successes!

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 4:37 pm August 9, 2012 #

  14. Wonderful news! Best of luck with the grant submission too.

    Comment by Cole — 4:40 pm August 9, 2012 #

  15. Congrats, Monica and “husband” – I know who you are. You guys are a great team & as a previous small business co-owner, I know how much effort it takes to realize your dreams. Way. To. Go!

    Comment by JD — 5:05 pm August 9, 2012 #

  16. Awesome, I’ve taken the beginner class and wanted to do some more. This location is within walking distance to my house!

    Comment by natinstl — 7:37 pm August 9, 2012 #

  17. Congratulations! This is fabulous!

    Comment by Marja — 11:49 pm August 9, 2012 #

  18. Sweet! I echo the kid/preteen classes.

    Comment by Jennifer — 3:18 am August 10, 2012 #

  19. What great news!

    Comment by K8 — 7:03 am August 10, 2012 #

  20. That is wonderful – congratulations!
    Please post if you’re ever in need of teachers! I’ve been designing/sewing since I was 13 :0)

    Comment by Sassy — 8:12 am August 10, 2012 #

  21. Yes!! This is 4 blocks from my house; I’m so excited. I bet this is going to be a great location for them.

    Comment by 2012 Kindergartener Parent — 2:22 pm August 10, 2012 #

  22. Congratulations! I’m so excited for you. This is going to be a great addition. I for on am looking forward to that long arm quilting machine of the future :) but in general its great that you will have more classroom space

    Comment by Cecelia — 8:16 am August 11, 2012 #

  23. YAY!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!

    Comment by gia — 12:59 pm August 12, 2012 #

  24. Good luck on your new extended venture. How wonderful for seamtresses and wanabees. I haven’t been in your store as I don’t sew hardly at all now days. Bought a new machine 10 yrs ago with the intentions but just can’t get into it now I learned a lot by trial and error, wish your business would’ve been availsble then.

    Comment by Betty T — 11:27 am August 18, 2012 #

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