Zanne has turned something she loves (sewing) into an incredible resource for others (LuckyStitches), and all in record time. LuckyStitches is a happy, cozy studio in Western Massachusetts where anyone can visit and learn to sew.
LuckyStitches Bag Sew
(details about this fantastic idea on Zanne’s blog, Stars)
Sewing has always been an important creative outlet for Zanne. It all started early; by the time she was seven Zanne created her first pink pantsuit outfit (her mother says she wore it for a week straight!). Zanne writes, “I’ve sewn since I was about 6, and I can’t seem to get enough. It fills my soul. I taught myself how to knit one winter… I would knit on the subway, during breaks, at lunch, this creative urge was my therapy…” Then, after moving to rural Western Massachusetts from NYC and leaving her job to be home with her daughter, Zanne thought she could turn her creative passions into an online boutique with hand-crafted items. Zanne writes, “I took a business class, wrote a business plan, wrote up consignment contracts, designed a web site and brand packaging. At the same time, I started a free sewing series for the Family Center I belong to (this family center was my only connection to anyone, other parents, kids – a community – I wanted to give them something too!). Each month we’d work on a different project, learning a different skill. The first was Learn How to Use Your Sewing Machine, then Make a Tote Bag, then Make a Pair of Toddler Pants (making a pattern from an existing pair of pants), Make a Pillow with Zipper and Applique, and more. The classes grew from three people to almost fifteen people. The light bulb flashed above my head.”
LuckyStitches is Zanne’s light bulb flashing idea! It’s a perfect mix of her love of sewing and knitting, her eagerness to share this love with others and her desire for a next step in form of a business. Zanne teaches a wide variety of classes (this season’s offerings range from Sewing Machine 101, Intensive, to Make a Pair of Jeans that Fit) and offers private lessons. She holds free Wednesday Night Sew-cials where anyone can come to sew, knit or crochet together. All of this takes place in a new space Zanne shares with a woman who does Art Workshops. She writes, “We lovingly refer to the space as ‘The Lounge.’ It’s got a big couch, a comfy overstuffed rocking chair, wonderful light from large windows. We want a comfortable, warm and inviting space for adults, kids, families to come hang out and stitch it up or make some art (plus fabulous pink chairs to sit in!).”
LuckyStitches has grown quickly. It was just April of this year when Zanne first jumped into her endeavor in a friend’s Kung Fu studio in town. She writes, “I bought five sewing tables and three cutting tables. I bought some new and used sewing machines. I bought a bolt of muslin and a roll of pattern paper. I came up with three months worth of classes and put fliers up and built a web site… I started teaching kids to sew at The Children’s Art Museum (an art/creative space for kids) and offer classes for kids currently. My youngest student so far has been a four year old, and she’d been sewing for almost a year on the sewing machine with her mom.”
Zanne studied fashion design at Pratt Institute (her parents refer to this as expensive sewing lessons!) and learned that she liked making “…clothes and patterns for myself (why I got into Textile Design in the work force). I still do. People ask if they can buy things I’ve made, while I’m always flattered, I’d rather teach them how to make it. And so I really enjoy providing the space, tools and information to get people sewing. My Sewing Machine 101 classes are always booked. After each class, each person is so excited, no longer afraid of their machines, and realize that they can try anything.”
Many classes focus on apparel but there are small projects too (like Make a Scrap Scarf and Make a Pillow with a Zipper). Zanne designed each class to help people practice what they learn on the sewing machine as well as to “think creatively about what you are making.” Zanne adds, “No one leaves a class feeling like they ‘can’t do it’.”
In her new space with tons of customers learning to sew (or learning more about sewing), it’s clear LuckyStitches will continue to grow and thrive. Zanne writes, “I think what I’m most excited about LuckyStitches is the fact that it inspires people to create and make.”
Working on the applique patterns for messenger bag cover flaps, in a LuckyStitches class
If you don’t live in Western Massachusetts you can still take advantage of the wonderful things LuckyStitches has to offer. The LuckyStitches Sewing Kit is a great resource list for basic items you should include in your craft area. In addition to the LuckyStitches site you can peruse Zanne’s blog, Stars, for the scoop on what’s new with LuckyStitches and for some great links too. More than anything, Zanne’s approach (finding success following your passions and sharing your creative energy with others) is an inspiration.