| Craft |

Sew Crafty Is Closing Shop

The Houston landscape is about to get a little less creative.

The sad news arrived yesterday in the form of an email newsletter. Sew Crafty, the 2010 Best of Houston award winner for Best Hobby Shop announced that they would be closing their doors at the end of February.

The shop, located on W 19th street in the Heights, offered a hip, modern perspective on crafting, with classes on sewing, knitting, kids crafts and DIY workshops as well as an eclectic selection of patterns, craft kits, notions, fabrics, yarn and handmade gifts. In addition, Sew Crafty housed a sewing lounge with six Janome Sew Precise machines, supplies, and cutting tables available for use on projects that required serious hardware.

We were able to track down owner Sarah Gabbart for a few thoughts on her experience and the crafting scene in Houston.

Art Attack: What was your favorite moment in the shop? Sarah Gabbart: I love working the desk at the shop - I've had the privilege of meeting a ton of really nice people, but I have to say one of my favorite moments was the first time I met Renee and her daughter Sofia. We hadn't even opened up the doors at our first space yet when I heard a knock at the door. I thought it was a delivery or some other random solicitation, so you can imagine my surprise when an 8-year-old, a tall pretty brunette and a giant German Shepherd were standing in the doorway. Sofia, the little girl, had a cactus in a little pot that was decorated with felt flowers. They became both our first customers and great family friends - I still have the cactus, "Willy the Cactus" as he's called, on my front porch.

AA: Any crazy stories from the past three years? SG: There are tons of crazy stores from the past three years, including a couple who will be getting married this year having their first date in one of our classes, a little girl calling me a grumpy old lady (I was 27 at the time!), offering an air-conditioned refuge to crafters in the area after Hurricane Ike (we had power somehow!) and dozens of other times I'm forgetting.

AA: What was the best thing about owning and operating Sew Crafty? SG: Working with so many cool people and meeting people from all areas of Houston and beyond. I have loved getting to know students, meeting their babies, and watching them become better crafters.

AA: Was there any aspect of the business or clientele that surprised you? SG: I'm surprised at the kindness of so many people since the announcement of our closure. I opened my inbox this morning to find it filled with well wishes and nice memories of the shop. It's the same on Facebook and Twitter. Houstonians know how to make people feel special and they take care of their own.

AA: What was the most important lesson you learned from this experience? SG: That everything is worth trying at least once. Before this experience, I was a bit wishy-washy. Now I'm much more confident in my ability to make a decision, and I don't feel the need to beat myself up over mistakes. I also learned how to sew incredibly well. Something about teaching other folks how to sew really ups your game!

AA: Any thoughts on the rising interest in crafting among the daughters of the Women's Movement? SG: People are starting to realize that these so-called "feminine arts" are valuable. It's not only very useful to know how to sew and craft, but it's also a great way to express yourself. I think folks like the idea of working with their hands - especially after they realize how much time we spend in our own heads. Making things takes you out of yourself - it's like meditation, but with a tangible product at the end.

Inventory, fabric, supplies, furniture, and fixtures will be available at discounts of 20 to 70 percent off beginning this Friday, January 28. Classes will continue through the end of February, but Gabbart promises to keep us abreast of crafty happenings and local talent with the Sew Crafty blog and newsletter, which will continue after the physical location is gone, adding "Aww crafting - we just can't quit you."

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