Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Breaking free at The Fabric Shop with free-motion quilting

Nestled between the CPA and law offices on South Main Street across from the Robertson County Courthouse in Springfield, Tennessee is The Fabric Shop. I find this is an amusing juxtaposition—balance sheets, tax forms, regulations, and the black-or-white absolutes of the surrounding businesses versus the fluid, creative and colorful aspects of textiles and stitch. But, it's good to have diversity, right? And no doubt the courthouse has its share of "colorful" characters cross its threshold as well.
The Fabric Shop, 508 S. Main, Springfield, TN

Miss Donna talks with a customer.
The Fabric Shop's owner, Donna Sandidge—or Miss Donna as she is called at the shop—has a degree in textiles, a background in sewing and fitting, and extensive experience in garment making. Donna invited me to her shop this past weekend to teach a free-motion quilting class to her quilting customers so they could "Break free and get out of the ditch!"

The Fabric Shop is located in a historic 1900s building off the courthouse square. The soft, textural fabrics and trims are a lovely complement the exposed brick walls and high ceilings of this older building. In the store, Donna blends several "stitching disciplines" through the products offered in her shop—woven and knit textiles and fashion and specialty fabrics for sewing garments as well as quilters cottons for quilting.

Here is a little shop tour…

Scattered throughout the store, styled vignettes such as this one feature garments, fabrics, supplies and kits.
Garments and aprons are displayed with baskets of fat quarters.
A comfy, oversized upolstered chair shares space with zippers, buttons, ribbons, thread and spooled and packaged trims.
Sewing notions, zippers and trims.
A wall of notions (left) and a cupboard with various trims and lace.
Spinner racks display books on sewing, patchwork and continuous line quilting designs. Patterns include quilts, bags, totes, aprons and other projects.
Books and patterns.
For the free-motion class, Donna asked me to bring samples of my work to hang in the classroom area. I love this juxtaposition too—the exposed brick walls with the vivid colors and tactile qualities of the quilts. The classroom is ready for tomorrow's class… warm and inviting.
We set up a gallery of my quilts in the classroom.
The students in the class were very inquisitive and their questions ignited good discussions and learning opportunities. 
Drawing continuous line patterns.
They made great progress learning continuous line quilting motifs and quickly got up to speed at their sewing machines.
Free-motion quilting.
Sew what ya know!
At the end of the class, I asked the students what their light-bulb moments and take-aways were. Here are a few comments:
  • Free-motion quilting is not as hard as I thought it would be.
  • The drawing and watching you draw the designs really helped.
  • I have a direction and know what to do now.
  • I'm happy to get out of the ditch.
  • Seeing your [Show and Tell] quilts and the discussion on how to find quilting inspiration was so helpful.
Do you know the secret to successful free-motion quilting?
Donna (left) and students in the free-motion quilting class.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and dropping the feed dogs with me! I had a great time.
Intro to Free-motion Quilting class, January 2015
at The Fabric Shop, Springfield, TN
The Fabric Shop will be participating in the Row by Row Experience, a nation-wide shop hop, again this year. I was able to score their 2014 fabric license plate—to add to my collection.
2014 Row by Row collectors plate from The Fabric Shop.
So, if you're on the road this summer for Row by Row (or any time!), drive to the revitalized historic area of Springfield and stop-and-shop at this quaint fabric shop. You can't miss the courthouse on the square—and The Fabric Shop is directly across from it.

Robertson County Courthouse, Springfield, TN.
And for your noshing pleasure? A few doors down from The Fabric Shop you'll find Burdette's Tea Shop & Trading Company from where our lunch was catered. 
Take-out menu from Burdett's Tea Shop.
I had the Salad Jumble Plate and can highly recommend the ham and cheese scones and the frozen strawberry salad. Word has it the brownies are also yummy and one of my students told me they have a vast, must-try selection of unique Rosehaven Gourmet Loose Tea. Unfortunately, the shop was closed by the time my class was over. I'm putting it on the agenda for next time...
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