Sew Memphis Opens in Midtown

The People: Mary Allison Cates and Susan Schwartz, owners of Sew Memphis, celebrate the grand opening of their new sewing shop, which offers contemporary print fabrics, notions, and a creative outpost for stitchers of all stripes. Aren't these colors great?

The Celebration: Friday evening, May 4th, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Place: 688 South Cox (two blocks east of Central and Cooper). Store hours: TBA

The Story: It's not often that neighbors become friends and business partners. But Mary Allison and Susan shared a common passion for sewing and got tired of having to find pretty fabrics somewhere else. Why not create a specialty shop in Memphis that carries colorful prints? Then, provide classes for folks eager to learn how to sew. After all, quilts and home furnishing projects await. So the two did just that, opening for their first day of business May 1st. 

Mary Allison started sewing five years ago, following the birth of her first son, McCool. She discovered what many moms do — that boys clothes often lack creativity and pizazz. So she began by creating crazy pants, a pocketed, playful, yoga-styled pant that gives her boys plenty of room for movement.

Quilting soon followed, both women inspired by the quilt makers of Gees Bend, Alabama. As their projects grew, so did their friendship. Finally, over margaritas and dinner last winter, the two stitched together a business plan. 

Their shop, Sew Memphis, is homey and inviting. Driftwood from the Mississippi holds streamers of fabric at the window, and the walls are lined with colorful paintings and children's clothes. Mary Allison, who is also  an ordained Presbyterian minister, envisions this as a community space, one that will accomodate stitchers who want to gather to learn, or simply visit as they work on projects together. 

Children are welcome. (That's 5-year-old McCool with his mom. McCool is a family name.) A playroom is available where kids can congregate while moms shop in peace. And workshops will be offered to introduce both adults and children to basic sewing projects.

"Sewing gives kids a sense of accomplishment," says Mary Allison. "I think they find that projects don't always turn out as they had envisioned, so they learn how to adapt to that. It's important, to learn how to roll with life."


Quilting Series - May 12, 19, & June 2, 1-5 p.m. $60. • Teacher Darla Ives

Decorative Pillow Workshop - Thursday, May 17, 5:30-8:30 p.m. $25. • Teacher Sarah Terry

Twirly Girl Skirt Workshop - Wednesday, May 30, 6:30-9 .m. $25. • Teacher Emily Jarrett

Children's "My Little Friend" Workshop - Saturday, June 2, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Ages 5-13, $25. • Teachers Amie Plumley & Andria Lisle

Kids Quilting Camp, Monday-Friday, June 4-8, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Ages 8+ $160. • Teachers Mary Allison Cates & Susan Schwartz


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