Blog Home









www.style="color:#3993ff">flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos and videos from The Needle Shop. Make your own badge here.



www.missalison.com


December 30th, 2012

Ok, fine.

Well, we’re pretty far away from the new shop being actually finished, but I suppose we’ll open anyway. We can cut fabric, so . . . .

You guys have been incredibly patient, so I’m hoping you’ll also be tolerant of things disheveled and un-cute until a later date. We will have a big party once all the little things are in place.

Our regular store hours will start Tuesday, 1/1/2013.

Tu-Fri : 11a-7p
Sat : 10a-6p
Sun : 10a-5p

Here’s a video about parking at the new location.  I made it back when winter was still warm.

December 20th, 2012

Where are my kneepads from highschool volleyball when I need them?

Laying the floor has been an interesting challenge. I’ve done it a couple of times before, but not this particular ‘floating’ style.

I listened to all the research about underlayments, but then wasn’t happy with the uneveness once a good chunk was down, so we scrapped it and started again – ugh.

Today, I’m down to the last little annoying pieces and the angles in this place are many. I almost blew a gasket yesterday trying to fit a piece under the bathroom door – which is like a bank vault.

Once I coat the top with a few more coats of polyurethane, we will actually be able to start moving everything into the store. It seemed this day might never come. I’m so happy it’s here!

December 13th, 2012

Slowly, but surely

We’ve had some road blocks. There’s some core issues with the new space – electrical and plumbing – that have nothing to do with us. They’ve slowed down the process quite a bit, but I’m crossing my fingers they will be resolved soon. I guess I should have calculated more buffer time for this type of thing, but I somehow believed everything on Lincoln Ave would be tip top.

Oh well.

All that said, we are getting close. I’m set to lay the new cork floor this weekend and I’m so excited about it. While the current concrete floor has a kind of cool industrial feel, it’s too hard to stand on all day and leaves the high-ceilinged space kind of echo-y. I did a ton of research and cork is supposed to be really nice to stand on and good for sound reduction.

And, of course, it’s the most sustainable source for flooring. I didn’t know that cork is removed from cork trees without hurting the tree. It basically can shed it’s outer shell and keep growing. It’s naturally anti-bacterial and all sorts of other cool stuff. I laid bamboo in the old store, which was also pretty great, if you’re looking for new flooring options.

Cross all your fingers, that things go as planned this weekend! Here’s another little peek at the shop. We had to hang some fabric, just to get it out of the way!

December 4th, 2012

Taking a breather

I will liken this day to a sewing project, gone wrong.

You know when you’re trying to get something finished last minute – for a gift, or a party, or whatever deadline you’ve set for yourself? Then, stuff just starts going wrong. Like when you sew something on backwards 3 times.

I always tell my students that this is the time to step back and take a breather. That’s what I’m doing today. Of course I want nothing more than to have my beautiful store be beautiful, but I thought I might accidentally cut my hand off, or something, so I cashed it in.

I so appreciate you guys enthusiasm and support! I wish I didn’t have to close the shop at all, but I just have to take it one day at a time and do what I can without completely losing my mind.

Here’s just a peek at what’s been happening . . .

November 29th, 2012

Whew!

Friday is our last day to get everything out of the old shop and we’re down to those annoying, odd stacks of randomness. The Coffey Bros Moving guys did a great job today and it was nice to have someone else move some things for a while.

The new shop has a long way to go, but I’m hoping to get enough done next week to at least be able to offer up fabric for you guys. I hope you’ll keep your expectations low while all my crazy ideas come to life over time.

Next week I’ll be finishing up the last of the drywall prep, painting my brains out, laying the floor and hanging all the hardware for the fabric bolts. Check back for a new progress video and hopefully we’ll see you guys soon!

November 26th, 2012

Goodbye to the old shop

We started packing up the shop today in Bucktown. I’m SO excited to move to Lincoln Ave, but man, it’s hard to move! Needless to say, we have a TON stuff!

I don’t think I ever took a video of the current location, so here it is. If only I had one of the ‘before’. I did so much work on this little jewel box.

November 22nd, 2012

Moving Update

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

We are closed today, the 22nd, for the holiday, but will reopen tomorrow for regular hours 11a-7p.

We are having a sale on Saturday in the hopes you guys will help us lighten our load on moving day(s). Enjoy 20% off everything in the store and take this stuff off of our hands! Use coupon code “MOVING” when shopping online.

It just happens to be Small Business Saturday as well, so show your support for all of us lil guys – we really appreciate it!

American Express sponsors this event and when you pay with AmEx they will give you a $25 credit! How cool is that? Just go to their website to sign up.

Sunday will be our last day in the Bucktown location and we will be closed the following week. Check back here for the latest updates and grand opening announcements!

And, of course, continue shopping where it never closes . . . on our website.

November 14th, 2012

TNS Progess

November 1st, 2012

We’re Moving!

After 7 years in Bucktown, I have decided to pick up our little golden shop and move it down the way – to 3738 N Lincoln!

While we will miss certain aspects of our current location, we just want to be more visible and accessible to you guys. Often enough, people from our own neighborhood will walk in and say, “wow, I never knew you were here!”

I know we can do better!

I had just started looking when I spotted a place open on Lincoln – across from Trader Joe’s. It was smaller than what I was going for, but the location was just so perfect. We would enjoy decent (and often free!) parking, tons of windows, a train (brown line Addison) in walking distance and endless treats from TJs!

Also in the neighborhood – Curtains Couture, Chicago Upholstery School, Knit 1 yarn shop, Delicious coffee shop and a lovely array of antique shops and restaurants. I hope they’re as excited to be near us as we are to them!

I agreed to do all the construction in the very oddly-shaped space to save on rent and have only just begun. The walls dividing the space into classrooms is going up next week – I can’t wait! Check out the skeleton in the video below and check back soon for more updates. My brain is bursting with ideas!

September 13th, 2012

Sewing Machine Recommendations

For obvious reasons, we get asked for advice on buying sewing machines – a lot!

I’ve been recommending Kenmores for years as I’m still using the one I received for my 16th birthday – 25 years ago! It actually has a 25 year warranty on it, so I’m expecting it to go any day now. :)

Actually, it’s never even been repaired and considering what I’ve done to it, through design school and decades of upholstering, it’s pretty remarkable.

I always tell students that strength is the most important quality in a sewing machine. That’s why I’m so attracted to the old, metal parts machines. They run forever and can sew through many layers without hesitation. I know they’re not fun to carry around, but when a machine is as light as a loaf of bread, I see trouble coming.

So many times students will be sewing in class on their big box, $99 machine and things seem to be going fine. Then they add one more layer of fabric and  . . . that’s all she wrote.

I’m also not a fan of computerized machines. I have yet to see any real benefit to outweigh the highly multiplied possibility that something goes wrong. When you get into the higher priced Berninas and Pfaffs, that’s cool, but that’s not really our market. Most of our students have just started sewing and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Personally, I find it really hard to recommend a $1000 machine to someone who has just learned to sew a pillow cover. Call me cheap. Call me old school. You’d be right.

What I recommend most highly for the budget-conscious, new sewer is a non-computerized / mechanical machine by Janome. They are the company that makes Kenmore, and since Kenmores are getting harder to find (except on eBay), Janome is a great option with the same trusted heft.  Here is a page of well priced beauties from Amazon.

And, by all means, chime in! If you love computerized machines or have a favorite brand for other reasons – I’d love to hear opinions from other sewers on why they love the machines they love.

This guy is calling my name.