Monday, March 23, 2020

We've been trying not to bombard you with too much info - in email newsletters, on Facebook, on Instagram, on our website.  And the problem with that is, so much is changing EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So here goes with what's going on at Hip Stitch:

Face Masks:
We (and every other quilt/fabric/sewing shop) have received emails & phone calls asking about masks.  We are so amazed at the spirit of sewing - there's a million mask challenge.  There are new websites up exclusive to this.  There are patterns and patterns and patterns out there on the internet.

Here's what we know:
We sold through our 1/4" elastic, and then were generously given a donation of that very same size elastic yesterday.  Since then, we've been offering to folks who reach out to us a 5 yd. cut.  It's going fast, but that's something we can provide.  There are a few tutorials that have cotton ties!

"What patterns are out there?" is a frequent question.  Unfortunately, we are not medical personnel.  We are not in this field.  We don't feel comfortable answering this question with a recommended tutorial.  We've have been referring folks to the Centers for Disease Control website to research more about what's needed/recommended: HERE

Two fellow shops in town: Bob's Sewing & Vacuum and Ann Silva's Bernina, have coordinated drop off locations for donated masks, and have resources for folks looking to help make masks.  Thank you to them - what a wonderful community we have!

Our Store:
Our brick and mortar is closed.  We announced this last week, and the very 1st phone call we received was one in which we were asked "Is this permanent?".   Our BRICK AND MORTAR store is closed.  Our entire store is on our website:  Folks can shop 24/7 on it.  We have a skeleton staff at the store, fulfilling online orders and answering phones.  If you get the answering machine, leave a message.  We're either on another line or you've called before 10 or after 4 - the approximate times we're there.  We have every hope and plan to open our doors at the end of this pandemic, and when we do, we want you at our GRAND re-opening party!

Our Classroom:
It's now our shipping, video-making, sample-making hub.  Speaking of videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel HERE.  We're sharing quilt-a-longs, demos, tips, tutorials to keep you motivated and keep you sewing!

Our sewing machine technician.  He's still here, he's still working on machines.  You're going to be home sewing & your machine may need a tune up or be acting up.  He's here for you.  Reach out to us via email or phone call - we'll arrange to get your machine, get it fixed, get it back to you!

Us/Your Hip Stitch family:
We're all, like you, stressed, having anxiety, not sleeping well, having bouts of crying.  All of our lives are upside down.  If you call and we sound harried, please be patient and kind.  If we don't answer an email immediately, please be patient and kind.  We working hard to keep our business going, without our physical doors open.  We're all in this together.

We are heartsick about not seeing you in the store.  Our customers, friends, community.   Stay well, stay connected, and we'll see you on the other side of this!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Quilt Show in Las Cruces

This past weekend in Las Cruces,  Hip Stitch (Mel and I as representatives) traveled to Las Cruces to be a vendor at the Los Colcheras Guild's Quilt Show.

Some highlights of the wonderful folks we met/visited with:

*Denise, the show's coordinator, was our personal guide through the show, answering any questions we had, making sure we were hydrated and fed.

*Judy, with the guild, who was in charge of the Bob Ross traveling exhibit, (of which we were so lucky to have been directly across from), who had us in stitches laughing as she walked through the show with her Bob Ross paintbrush in hand.

*Bob's Sewing and Vacuum, who's booth was right next to ours, and we loved having them as neighbors:  Heidi, Diane, Monica, Bruce and the rest of the gang were so fun to be with.

*2 Busy Beez - Mike and Cheri - who are 2 of the classiest folks I've ever known.  They've sold their shop in Edgewood and now just do traveling shows.  It's such a treat and joy to see them.

*Ann and Michael of Thread Bear - who are moving their shop to Las Cruces from Las Vegas, NM, and the quilter's of Las Cruces could not be more excited to have them!

*Anastasia and Glenn, great friends who sew/quilt, who traveled from Albuquerque down for the show, wearing their matching sewing-themed shoes:

*meeting not only members of the Las Colcheras Guild, but learning about and meeting those from the El Paso quilt guilds, of which there are THREE (East side, West side, and Northeast side)

*chatting with the many folks who chose to retire in Las Cruces, and about where they're from, and why they came, and what they love about southern New Mexico.

*eating at 2 great restaurants: Salud de Mesilla and Andele in Old Mesilla.  Just go eat there.  Enough said.

*seeing Missy, a customer from way back when Hip Stitch was in it's infancy, who became, well, family, as many of you do.  She's now living with her husband in Radium Springs.

*the elementary school kids from Las Cruces - their quilts were in the show in the junior exhibit.  A highlight of the weekend was having them take me through the exhibit, proudly pointing out the quilts they made, and me telling them how amazing it is to meet them and do they realize what an honor it is to have quilts hanging in a show?!  Meeting their teachers and the volunteers who help teach them learn sewing and quilting in the after-school program - what great things folks are doing....and how sweet to see Monica from Bob's show them the Gammill long arm quilting machine and let them try it out.

*The Bob Ross exhibit, of which here are just a few quilts, but the pictures don't do them justice:

And last but not least, this guy:

Mel and I were packed up, tired and hungry, ready to make the 3 hr. drive back to Albuquerque.  We made a stop at Subway at the Pic Quick, intending to get our food and hit the road quickly.  But then we saw this guy wearing a fabulous shirt made from the Day of the Dead kitties, which is one of Hip Stitch's most popular fabrics!  We had to stop him and get his story!  His wife, who was with him, made his shirt.  What fun folks!  They're artists, writers and all-around sweet folks.  A great end to our trip, which filled us with wonderful memories.
Thanks, Las Cruces!

Monday, January 6, 2020

It's Top-a-Long Time!

Today is the kick off!  Here's the scoop:

Hip Stitch is participating in the nationwide Top-A-Long sponsored by Running Doe Quilts.  As a participating shop, we will be offering patterns, fabric kits, and even instructional support to complete each month’s top-a-long quilt. Hip Stitch will announce the pattern and our fabric choices online by the first business day of each month, starting in January. Our in store sewing day is scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month. Club members are welcome to sew with us at no charge and non-club members  may join for a $15 fee.

Join us locally as a Hip Stitch Top-a-Long Club member for $50 annually and receive the following benefits:
·      Monthly pattern ($24 value)
·      3 hours of free supported sewing in our lounge monthly ($180 value)
·      20% off of each month’s quilt kit

Join us long-distance as a Hip Stitch Top-a-Long Club member for $30 annually and receive the following benefits:
·      Monthly pattern
·      20% off of each month’s quilt kit with free shipping domestically

Hip Stitch participants will be eligible for monthly prize drawings and a year-end grand prize drawing.  In order to receive a ticket for either of these prize drawings you will need to so at least one of the following.  The more you do, the more tickets you can earn and the better chance you have at winning!
1.     Join the Hip Stitch Top-a-Long Club (receive 1 ticket)
2.     Complete your Top-a-Long top by the end of the next month.  (receive 1 ticket)
3.     Post your finished project on Instagram or Facebook and tag Hip Stitch. (receive 1 ticket)
4.     Buy Hip Stitch Top-a-Long kit. (receive 1 ticket)
5.     Pre-order your kit by Monday of the second week of the month. (receive 1 ticket)
6.      Refer a friend who joins the Hip Stitch Top-a-Long Club (both of you will receive 1 ticket)

Got it?  Good!

January's Top-a-Long quilt is Asagail, and we're using Amy Butler's Natural Beauty collection:

This quilt measures 48"x48", so it's easy to stitch up and quilt.  Order your kit by Monday, January 13, and we'll have it ready to pick up or ship by Wednesday, January 15.  
Order HERE.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Simply Southwest Round 2

If you haven’t seen, heard of, made or otherwise been in the loop by now about Simply Southwest, where’ve you been??

Hip Stitch’s own modern quilt pattern and kit, designed by Cindy Bruner, was featured in Quilt Sampler magazine in Spring 2019.  She designed this beautiful pattern in multiple colorways and sizes, and kits have sold to folks all over the country.

Catherine Silling took this to Round 2:  a Simply Southwest table runner!  Using the same colorway and style, we now have patterns and kits – makes a quick and gorgeous addition to your table.

Customer Carrie came in last week, loved the pattern, but wanted to make a holiday one – she picked out the fabrics (it only takes fat eighths), and emailed this picture the next day!

Here's the original design, which we have kitted and for sale:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Workshops with improv artist Rayna Gillman, May 22-24, 2020

headshot_sm-1.jpgNationally known artist/author/designer Rayna Gillman will join us for three one-day workshops next spring, bringing her brand of improv fun and modern design. Workshops will include her very newest, Modern Ethnic, an exploration of how to work with the edgy ethnic fabrics creeping into the quilt world. If solids are not your thing, this one’s for you. And if you adore solids, then consider adding a new “tool” to your design toolkit.
Here's a glimpse of two of Rayna's recent creations with ethnic fabrics. The first meshes ethnic prints with Cherrywood fabrics. The second is one of her WIPs with ethnic prints.

Rayna will also teach No-Pattern Paper Piecing, a fun class “for the imprecise.” It’s a mash-up of paper-piecing and improv. You start with one seam on a paper template, and then it’s all you from there!  Here's an example:

And we’ll wrap with Cinderella Quilts, an inspiring, empowering workshop that gives you courage to slice up ugly blocks or ho-hum tops, add fresh fabric and make magic! That icky WIP can turn into something wonderful with a sharp rotary cutter, a little bravery and Rayna’s guidance.  Here are samples from a recent Cinderella workshop.
Student Marty Mason started with the two blocks pictured above. Below is her "Cinderella" creation.

Watch our newsletters and blog for pricing and schedule details!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

We're On A Mission: Curvy Sewing!

So, curvy many tearful fitting room moments have you had, trying to find clothes that fit? Or what about those sewing disasters, where you tried an up-sized pattern and the fit is definitely not fabulous?
Those days are over! We're on a "curvy sewing" mission at Hip Stitch, with upcoming events where you can learn to alter a pattern for a custom fit and sew a garment you actually feel and look great wearing.
Montrose shirt by Cashmerette
Megan Green of The Green Violet (and a geologist in her day job) started our curvy sewing exploration earlier this summer, with a York Pinafore class. The mission continues with "Sewing with Knits--Let's Make a T-Shirt!" this Saturday, Sept 7. (It's full, but you can get on the wait list.) And here's even more excitement: Nov. 2-3, she's teaching a two-day retreat, the "Curvy Sewing Intensive," featuring the Montrose shirt by Cashmerette. (TWO days of focusing on custom fit, pattern grading, sewing a muslin and more! Go here to read more about this class.)
We asked Megan to share a little about her sewing journey, and how empowering it has been. She is also a contributor to the Curvy Sewing Collective and well-practiced at sharing about her sewing passion. Here's her story:

How long have you been sewing? Who taught you?
The projects in the first year I sewed could probably be classified as fitting "disasters," but you know what? They still fit better than RTW, so I call that a win! Every garment I sew is part of the learning process, so even if the final garment wasn't very wearable, I still learned something to apply to the next garment I tackled. 
I don't specifically remember learning to sew, but my grandmother was a very talented seamstress and she taught my mother to sew. I remember my mother sewing Halloween costumes when I was a kid and a formal dress for me when I was in high school. I suppose I picked up the basic skills somewhere along the way, but most of my garment sewing skills I have learned though reading blogs and books. I'm going to be taking a pattern drafting class at Santa Fe Community College this fall and I am excited to keep learning more about the technical aspects behind garment fitting. 

Did you start with garments of other items?
Garment sewing was always my goal and passion. I remember wanting to sew garments for a long time, but being quite intimidated by it. Fortunately, it's not nearly as scary! Like most people, I did work on learning basic machine sewing skills on some home decor projects such as curtains and pillows, but garment sewing was always the end goal. About 90% of my wardrobe is now handmade. The last frontier that I would like to tackle is "gear" type clothing, such as hiking pants and raincoats.

Has learning to create garments for yourself contributed in any way toward reinforcement of positive self-image? 
It has had a huge impact on my self image! As a teen and through my 20s, I was always just outside of the RTW size range.  I remember squeezing myself into jeans that were too small. I literally had no idea that clothes could be comfortable and functional! Now, as the fashion industry catches up with reality, we have more options in a variety of sizes and styles. Did you know that studies suggest that the average size of the American woman is 18? However, being three different sizes between my bust, waist, and hips, I will continue to sew most of my clothing because now I know clothing can actually fit well, be comfortable, functional AND express my individual style. 

Did you have some fitting disasters?
The biggest "aha" moment was when I really embraced the concept of cutting a pattern in different sizes to correlate with my different measurements. For example, in most patterns I am an 18 at my bust and a 24 at my hips and instead of cutting an average of a  20 or 22 so that the bust is a little too big and the hips are a little too small, I actually blend between the sizes and come out with a garment that is size "Megan". This is one of the skill we will focus on in the Curvy Sewing Intensive. 

Megan, modeling a Knit T-shirt she created.
Why is it important for those with non-RTW shapes to have access to purpose-designed patterns and good instruction on fit? 
When I first started, very few pattern designers were making patterns in my size in styles I liked. I first had to grade up the size of each pattern before starting the actual cutting and sewing process. It was a major barrier and it is why I was so intimidated for so many years. Fortunately, things have really changed and there are more patterns available in a variety of sizes. Things are getting better every day. In the past year, I have personally worked with a number of designers on improving their size ranges and it has been great to see curvy sewists have access to patterns that were previously inaccessible!  It is a screaming relief to be able to make clothes that fit and look good!

What are the hardest areas to fit, usually?
For me personally, the biggest fit challenge has been pants! Fortunately, it's actually quite straightforward to construct a wearable pair of pants, but when you really fall down the fitting rabbit hole on pants, you can spin yourself in circles. It's the same with nearly any type of fit issue.You can spend ages trying to perfect the fit on a garment. In my opinion, there is a middle ground where a garment fits and looks better than RTW and functions well. By that, I mean that any fit issues that impact the function of the garment have been addressed, but perhaps the garment isn't "perfect" from a technical standpoint. I personally think wearable is more important than perfect, and that is how we are going to approach the Curvy Sewing Intensive! I don't want anyone to be intimidated by trying to get a perfect fit!

Where do pattern designers need to fill in the blanks, so curvy sewists can expand their custom wardrobes? 
There are still huge gaps in the pattern market. Some are just in the plus-size realm, while others are notably lacking in all ranges. I think the patterns for business clothing like suits, more formal blouses, etc., are lacking across all size ranges. More trendy, causal styles are widely available up to a size 18 or 20 pattern, but taper off in sizes above that. It's the same with athletic offerings; leggings and tank tops can be found in plus size patterns, but anything more specific or technical is also lacking (coats/jackets, workout shorts, hiking pants, sun shirts...the stuff I wear everyday as a geologist). There is also a huge lack of plus-size pants patterns available, which frustrates me to no end.

Can you share a few of your fave pattern designers? 
I nearly exclusively sew indie patterns instead of the traditional McCall's/Butterick/Simplicity patterns that you can find at JoAnn's. "Indie" is a general descriptor for a wide range of patterns made by smaller companies, often started by home sewists who saw a need for a specific type of pattern and decided to create it themselves. 

For beginner plus-size sewists, I always recommend Cashmerette Patterns (, which are available in sizes 12-28 with cups sizes C-H. Jenny of Cashmerette Patterns was the fist to identify the huge lack of plus size patterns and do something about it! Her patterns are classics, the types that can be made repeatedly and easily incorporate into your wardrobe.  

Many other indie pattern companies have finally followed Cashemerette's example, but most only have a limited selection of their patterns available in plus sizes. Helen's Closet ( is working hard to get its entire range of patterns up to a size 30 by the end of 2019, and I love the styles for being modern and fun. They also have great directions for beginners. 

If you are looking for something a bit different with stylish details, check out In the Folds ( These patterns have a slightly more limited size range (for example, Australian 24, which is a 52" bust and 55" hips), but they are beautifully designed. This designer also makes patterns for the Peppermint Magazine Sewing school (, which are free on their website and come in the same size range. 

Any advice for non-RTW people who feel like custom sewing is beyond them?
This isn't a skill I was born with; it just took lots of practice and a willingness to fail a few times along the way. I truly believe anyone can learn to sew a beautiful and functional wardrobe to fit their lifestyle if they just have the time and patience to put into the practice and develop the skills. And I promise it's not as intimidating as anyone fears!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sewing Sunday and 10 minutes

Today included a trip to Goodwill to search for 2 things:  a floor lamp and a white cardigan.  Neither was found, but I did score this ecru pullover sweater for which I had a vision.

Here's the sweater:

I took out the scissors and cut it straight up the front.  Then CAREFULLY took it to the sewing machine, as this is a knit sweater, and the edges can start to un-knit/unravel very easily!

Took out my knit/jersey needles:

And started sewing up the edges, folding in the raw edge as I went.  I sewed with  a zig zag stitch, as I wanted to catch in all the raw/cut edges of the sweater.

And done!

(thought about pressing carefully to get out the 'lettuce edge' look, but decided I liked it.

Got myself a cozy cardigan to layer on these crazy spring days when the weather can't decide what to do....wind?  cold?  warm?  rain?