Sew Fabulous

One-week camps impart serious skills

Nothing makes me as happy as discovering a new local business that offers a unique, fun learning opportunity for New Orleans’ kids! I made such a discovery a few weeks ago when I signed up my 12-year-old daughter for a week of sewing camp at Sew Fabulous. Located in a quaint, colorful shotgun building on Oak Street, Sew Fabulous offers an array of camps, classes, private lessons, one-day workshops and birthday parties. They cater to those who have never threaded a needle before as well as those wishing to take their sewing skills to the next level.

We chose the beginner’s one-week camp since my daughter and her friends were just learning the basics. The fun started a few days before the first day of camp when we received the shopping list for fabrics. New Orleans is lucky to have several great fabric stores, which we took advantage of, and we walked away with adorable chevron flannels for pajama pants and soft jersey knits for infinity scarves. Other supplies, as well as the sewing machines, are of course provided by the camp. On the very first day, the girls cut out, lined and sewed precious large tote bags. By the end of the second day, the students learned to pin fabric to a pattern, cut out the fabric and sew the sections together to create a wearable piece. A mere three days later, the campers were thrilled to show off all they had created in just one week. It was quite an impressive list, including tote bags, clutch purses, pajama pants, infinity scarves, stuffed animals, pillows and towels. The last day of camp concludes with a fashion show where all the creations make their way down a runway running the length of the studio. As a 40-something who quite literally cannot sew on a button, I was truly amazed at what my daughter and her friends learned to create in such a short time. I was also secretly hoping to be able to skip the dry cleaners for future alterations and send pants needing a new hem her way instead!

I anticipated the girls would be able to do things that they didn’t know how to before camp started, but I truly underestimated how much fun they would have in the process. I only had to meet the instructors once to figure out that their positive attitude and energy are the key ingredients to the success of Sew Fabulous. Co-owners Heather Rankin and Gigi Baay demonstrate a passion for sharing their gift and their love of creating fun, original pieces with a new generation of future designers and seamstresses. While each brings a different set of sewing skills to the equation, they both bring an enthusiasm and a joy to their craft that’s contagious to their students. One brings more of a business background and the other has a background in childhood education, so together they’re a perfect pair. The owners believe in promoting the art of dressmaking as well as a good cause. You may have seen some of their work showcased in the “Bridge House Recycle/Upcycle Fashion Show and Auction,” where participants buy garments or housewares from local thrift stores and reconstruct them into runway-worthy fashion.
They have also partnered with Girls First, a local nonprofit that promotes health, exercise and healthy choices through a variety of camp experiences for young girls. In addition, Sew Fabulous is a terrific place for a Girl Scout troop to earn that coveted sewing badge.

After their one-week session, the girls were inquiring when the intermediate classes would be held. Rankin and Baay are putting together the calendar for the next few months, so be sure to check out SewFabulousNola.com for the dates and details on future camps, three-session workshops and classes.

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