Learning to Sew in New Orleans

At the height of the housing crisis in 2008, I worked in Manhattan at an investment bank. It was an eye opening and scary time. The once thriving metropolis built on confidence and bravado quickly became a pitiful ghost town. Every day another friend or colleague lost their job while I waited in the cue to lose mine too. As hard as this time was, it offered plenty of cold truths and life lessons that can only be fully digested with experience. Essentially, it provoked me to evaluate my life choices. If I lost my job what else was I qualified to do? Did I have other skills I could rely on to make money if needed? The answer to these questions was sadly, no. Sure, I had a few interests/hobbies that were skill-like, but nothing polished enough to land me another job. I kept imagining myself singing for pennies in the subway (which wasn’t as terrible as it sounds because I love to sing) but that wasn’t going to cover the rent on a studio apartment in downtown Manhattan.  

All of this rather sobering information leads to the question; as a society, have we lost our ability to cultivate hands-on skills? As wonderful as my liberal arts college education was, the four plus years of studying (and plenty of socializing) left me with no hands on skills. This is, of course, my own fault. I could have easily picked up something else while in high school or college. But at a young age, most of us assumed our lives would turn out exactly as we planned. (Insert laughter here.) The good news is, it’s never too late to pick up a skill! And not just in times of economic hardship. Whether you’re fresh out of college or recently retired with plenty of energy, there will be a time in your life when you cherish the mastery of a hands-on skill. 

I walked into Promenade Fine Fabrics last week and all I wanted to do was swim in their luxurious deadstock fabrics and then, of course, make something out of them. But I don’t know how to sew. Thus, in my own personal quest to chase down a hands-on skill, I discovered plenty of local spots to do so. Here are just a few. 

RicRack

The non-profit studio and shop focuses on textile waste and offers a variety of classes both monthly and weekly for children and adults. The Saturday Morning Sewing Club is perfect for the next generation and the upcoming Millinery Workshop hits the mark for anyone trying to up their hat game. Who isn’t? 

Chateau Sew and Sew: 

This sweet shop on Magazine Street offers sewing lessons and fabric shopping. Bonus! They carry locally designed textiles by Ellie Gaytor and Caitlin Wallace Rowland. The children’s half day sewing camp looks perfect for the youngsters or a simple Private Lesson of which there are several options.  

Nola Needles Sewing Club

Lessons and camps at this Mid-City locale with Ava Smith, a lifelong adult and child educator. Call or email directly to book.  

The Materials Institute

For highly motivated students, this free art and education nonprofit offers 25 scholarships per year in their Fashion & Textiles Program. Selected designers commit to a full year of study and studio classes.  
 

People/Places to Buy Locally Designed Textiles: 

Leontine Linens 

B.Viz 

Ashley Lasseigne at Fairfax Fabric 

Hope Johnson  

Palm Orleans  

Amanda Stone Talley and Pavy at Spruce 

Annie Moran at the Pattern Collective  

Events on our radar: 

Pure Dermatology- $75 off Botox, Dysport or Jeauveau during festival season 

Lupo Dermatology– Buy 4 get 4 CoolSculpting Treatments 

4/4-4/7 – Ballin’s Dante Street/ Sympli Spring/Summer Trunk Show  

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