What it’s like to sew at Spool of Thread

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m still putting together the next Sew-Along post, so I’m changing the subject just for today. Thanks for your understanding, I will have the next chapter up tomorrow!

I spent an afternoon sewing at Spool of Thread last week, for a change of scenery. Thought I’d tell you what it’s like to drop-in and sew! It’s nice to know what to expect before venturing in. So here’s how the sewing lounge works, what I brought and what’s provided, and whether I’d drop in again. Feel free to ask me any questions about my drop-in experience!

What did you bring?

  • Fabric for my project – I cut it out at home
  • Thread
  • A couple of other projects in case I changed my mind

What’s provided?

  • Cutting table
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Pincushions
  • Scissors
  • Grid ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Serger
  • Dress form
  • Mirrors
  • Parking: 2 hours free on the street

What’s the equipment like?

  • Cutting table: awesome! It’s so nice to use a higher table, instead of bending over my dining table to cut. There’s so much space to work, the table is five or six times the length of my dining table. Love it!
  • Iron: better than my home iron! This all depends on what your home iron is like. Mine’s functional, it doesn’t spit rust on my projects, and it shuts off automatically. So it works. The irons are a step up from mine, with a steam button and very fast heat-up times. There are three ironing stations set up around the cutting table.
  • Pins and pincushions: Lots, in little cushions and bowls all around the place. You can reach out for a pin and grab one easily. They’re the good kind with large coloured heads.
  • Sewing machine: I really like my home machine, so it’s hard for me to like anything better than mine. These are good solid machines that sew nice tidy stitches, which is a good review in my books. There are cool features – like a speed dial! You can dial it down to turtle speed or up to rabbit speed. The bobbin is visible through a clear cover, so you can see when you’re about to run out.
  • Scissors: Good! Clearly marked with ‘fabric’ so you know which ones not to use on paper.

Note: I didn’t use the serger, the rotary cutter or the grid ruler. I didn’t bring serger thread, and there wasn’t a lot to serge on my project so I zigzagged. I’ll test it out next time and report back! Same with the rotary cutter, once I have something to cut out.

How does it all work?

  • You show up, and Henry or Lili will take note of the time you arrive. Henry was there when I went, and he was super helpful! They’ll help you thread the machine and wind your bobbin, as every machine is a little bit different.
  • Work as long as you want – as long as there are no classes scheduled! (Call and check before you go, just to be sure.) If you need supplies – dress form, iron, anything – just ask! If you need thread partway through your project, there’s thread for sale. (How handy is that?)
  • When you’re ready to leave, pack up your stuff and pay your tab at the front desk. Pick up any supplies you need for home, and any fabric that you can’t leave without.

Would you go back?

Absolutely! It may seem strange to go somewhere else to sew when you have the equipment at home. But when you go somewhere to sew, that’s all you’re there to do. It’s too easy to get distracted at home with chores, laundry, and television. Especially when I have to be self-directed! So it’s nice to be able to totally focus and sew. Bonus: you meet other people who like to sew, too!

I especially liked using the cutting tables – something I’d never be able to set up at home. It’s worth it to be able to cut out a ton of projects on a comfortable, back-friendly table. Also, how awesome is it to sew with tools and notions available? Run out of thread? It’s right there! Tempting though, to buy more fabric when you’re surrounded with pretty fabrics while you sew. (I was good though, all I bought was thread for my next project.)

All in all, it’s a great way to work without distractions. Plus if you wanted to sew together with a friend, there’s enough space to work without having to share a machine.

Hope you had a fun and productive weekend, it’s back to the Sew-Along tomorrow!


28 Responses to What it’s like to sew at Spool of Thread

  1. Ginnie January 17, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    So cool! I wish there was something like this near me!

  2. Misty January 17, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    Hi Tasia! Your post brought up a question I’ve been wondering about lately. I also have a functional iron that I bought at Target for $20 something like 9 years ago. But now that I’m sewing, I’m wondering if I should think about investing in a new one. Any thoughts? And I’m super jealous of the cutting tables! Sounds so much more comfortable than my floor.

  3. Samina January 17, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    An addition to your post: Spool of Thread is listed (and pictured!) in an article on sewing lounges in the latest Vogue Patterns magazine.

  4. Sewing Princess January 17, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    I would love to have such a cool place nearby. The place I go to is a fabric and haberdashery shop that organises sewing courses… not as fancy, but at least I have all the sewing supplies at hand and I normally end up buying much more fabric than I will ever need ;o)

  5. Mia January 17, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    I would love to have a place like this to go to and sew! A higher cutting table would be a dream, right now I put my cardboard cutting mat on my bed and end up with a backache by the time I get my pieces cut out. :(

  6. Kristie January 17, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    What a cool place. Like the others have said, I wish I had a place near me like that. I could really use the non-distractions sewing.

  7. Karin van D. January 17, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    I never heard of anything like this, but it sounds amazing!

  8. Helena January 17, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    I’m with the others above me, so cool to have a place like that nearby. I totally understand about the distractions at home, so for me it would be great to get away once in a while. But then I need a place like that nearby as well.

  9. Erika January 17, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    This sounds wonderful! The cutting area esp sounds great, like you said: there’s no way I can have an area like that at home (I use my bedroom floor. Lot’s of space, but hars on knees and back). Also great to be able to test using for example a serger or rotary cutter before investing in one!

  10. Casey January 17, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    How neat! I’m hoping one day I’ll end up in a city with a sewing studio space like this… It would be such a welcome change to my sewing space from time to time. ;)

    ‚ô• Casey | blog

  11. Laurie January 17, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    My house is really small and I use a utility table and my dining room table when that wasn’t enough. I didn’t have room for a cutting table either, but my husband and I made one and it’s in our basement (we cleaned and organized our basement during the holidays to make room!). We bought two single kitchen cabinets at Home Depot, a 4’x8′ sheet of good plywood and placed it on top of the cabinets. I put a thick piece of batting on the plywood and covered it with vinyl; however, I plan to replace it with duck cloth so I can iron on it. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the basic idea. 4’x8′ is a perfect size for many of my projects. The width is especially nice. I got the idea from a Threads article. I’ve scanned it and can email it to anyone interested.

  12. Laurie January 17, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Also, the cutting table doubles as my laundry folding table too!

  13. Sabrina Clementine January 17, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    It sounds amazing!! I think that just for the cutting set-up it would be worth it to some people….cutting in a less than ideal space is a pain! (Literally.) Not that I’m in the area, but I’m curious….how much do they charge? It sounds like it’d be a fun place for meetups, or “crafternoons”!

  14. Peppertoast January 17, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    I was there last week, to pick up a pattern (and saw yours there!). I sure wished I lived closer so that I could use their lounge more easily. I see no mention of how much it costs. Are you able to say how much it cost you? I might make the trek over there on a Saturday for some uninterrupted birthday present sewing time!

  15. Tasia January 17, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Hi everyone! On drop-in costs, let me just double-check the spool of thread site so I report back correctly…

    Misty – about your iron, I’d only replace my ‘functional’ iron if it was leaking, spitting water or rusty water onto my work, or stopped working. If it misbehaves, it’s out! To me, an iron’s an iron as long as it does what it’s supposed to, reliably. It’s a better idea to invest in pressing tools (like a seam roll or tailors ham) than to upgrade the iron itself. Unless of course you’re planning to get a state-of-the-art premium iron – in which case, tell *me* what it’s like! I feel like upgrading to a slightly better iron isn’t worth the extra cost. Better to buy more fabric or another pattern, than to make my iron slightly better. But if it’s giving you trouble, scorching or spitting water or other bad behavior, then an upgrade might be a good idea.
    I hope this helps! Just my two cents. I sew with very good sewing machines, but I use an average iron and I’m happy with how my projects turn out.

  16. Clare January 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Love the idea of shops like this – not surprised you had a good day out, too many distractions at home. I sewed ‘somewhere else’ ( a secondary school sewing room) the other day and I had a lot of fun rifling through their notions and having a go on their Huskylock overlocker!

  17. manecoarse January 17, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    What fun. How is your tab determined?

  18. Fourth Daughter January 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Sounds great, we have something similar here in Melbourne called Thread Den but I think you can only drop in after you have done some of their courses, and I don’t think they have so many notions to buy, if any. Oh, to be so disciplined to be able to sew without distractions! At the moment I feel guilty for even thinking about creative stuff as I’m jobhunting (I know, I shouldn’t even be checking blogs!!)

  19. Laurie January 18, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    For those in the Seattle area, Jaicee Designs, in Edmonds, offers this kind of service. I’ve never used them, because the location is far from where I live. However, the rates are very reasonable. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

  20. Laurie January 18, 2011 at 7:01 am #


    Oops. Here’s the site.

  21. Shalyn January 18, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Great to get a review of the place. I’ve been meaning to head out there since I read about it in the paper last Summer, but haven’t dragged my butt out yet. A few friends of mine have bandied about the idea of having a sewing party, but we couldn’t think of how we could all bring our machines to one place, so maybe this would be a good way to do it.

  22. Caroline January 19, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    Oh i wish i had this place to go too, but I probably wouldnt anyway since im too newbie and wouldnt want others to see my extremely bad skills and bad solutions to stuff. And Im shy…
    Seems so much nicer than the floor Im working at right now, crawling around, pushing away the kitty as i go…

    btw, check out my blog and help me with my question wether i should prewash a stretchtwill fabric. Im no new at this…

    Thank you for a great blog!
    Caroline at http://ohmahgad.blogspot.com/

  23. Sherry January 19, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I love the idea of a sewing studio – I’d work there! Great if you need some company, and some assistance when you sew, and I can see those cutting tables being well-used!

  24. Tasia January 19, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Hi Everyone! Ok, I’ve confirmed the drop-in-and-sew cost is $8 per hour. Very reasonable, cheaper than seeing a movie and way more productive! (A movie is $12.50 here, and there’s no such thing as cheap Tuesday any more either!) It’s a great way to start learning sew, before you invest in a machine.

  25. Tasia January 19, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    @Caroline: Hi Caroline! I would suggest that when in doubt, go ahead and pre-wash! Unless it’s wool, or you plan on always dry-cleaning your finished garment. A stretch twill sounds like it’s cotton, or a cotton blend, and often stretch fabrics will shrink a lot in the dryer so it’s best if you take out the shrinkage before sewing. Hope this helps!

  26. LisaB January 23, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Spool of Thread is awesome – I’m glad to see a review of it! I haven’t done drop in sewing but I took one of their classes with Lili and it was fantastic! Just having an experienced sewer on hand to step you through something when you get stuck is awesome – means I actually finish a project in one sitting rather than getting stuck and putting it aside to “finish later”. :)

  27. Caroline January 23, 2011 at 11:17 am #


    Thank you so so much! i couldnt find the answer anywhere, i will remember this, always do it to be sure. ;)


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