Category: Uncategorized

Row by Row

Taste the Experience! That’s the theme for this year’s summer road-trip inspired event travelling across the nation and into Canada.

Travel to participating shops (map here) and pick up your free pattern or purchase a kit. Participate in the contest to win a prize bundle or just collect rows and use them as desired. I think ours makes a great wall hanging for a kitchen or dining room, with its reminder that “Life is Sweet.”

Our kits have been flying out the door this year with quilters from near and far. We’ve had 2 different quilters from California already. We hope to see you this summer too!

When Row by Row ends in the fall, we will be offering the pattern and kits (while they last) over at

No more Wonky HSTs

Pressing matters….

Getting a nice square half-square triangle unit can be frustrating. Many folks will make them over-sized and trim off the wonky edges.

But we didn’t cut them wonky, so why end up with not-square units?

It’s all about that bias edge. Depending on how you make your units, there’s always a bias edge. Bias refers to the direction that runs diagonal to the straight of grain, also known as the lengthwise and crosswise grain.

Bias edges stretch. Handle that bias cut edge or edges carefully to avoid stretching it. Pressing with Best Press or similar product before cutting can help.

How the diagonal seam is pressed makes a big difference too. See the diagram below.

Instead of running the iron along the seam, press in a two-part motion first across the block with the grain running crosswise, then up with the lengthwise grain. This is still pressing, not ironing! I guarantee this will keep your HSTs squarer. 

Pins Matter!

Pins matter. We use pins to get things to line up better as we sew. But some pins work better than others.

When most non sewers think of pins, they think of a pointy pin with a round ball on top. Those are pretty common and a fairly standard item, but did you know they aren’t the best pins for precision projects?

My favorite pins are flat head pins. Flat head pins allow the fabric to lay nice and flat on the sewing machine bed, whereas round head pins lay at an angle and can interfere with how the fabric feeds as it gets to the feed dogs. If one side of the feed dogs catches the pin, the fabric will shift to one side.

Did you know pins come in different sizes too? Not just length, but also fineness. Stouter pins are good for tougher projects like denim and canvas. But fine pins go into quilting cotton and fine fabrics much easier. Longer pins also give a bigger “bite” on your project for more secure pinning. If you do fine needlework or applique, we even have teeny tiny “Perfect Pins”.

Above are some of our pins. Going clockwise from the top right are fancy decorative pins. These are adorable in a pincushion, but don’t plan on using them on a sewing project; they are quite thick. Next are standard Flower headed flat head pins. These are great pins for heavy projects. Next come my favorite pins. They are much like the previous pins, but they are finer and slip easily into my piecing projects. I like that their blue color tells me at a glance that they are fine and so I can easily grab which pin I need. I hate to bend these when it’s time to work on a denim tote bag. (That was our Simple Sewing Series project this month!) Above them, you can see your standard round headed pins. I had to search hard for these as I don’t use or sell them in the shop. Finally, we come to the Magic Pins. These are absolutely fabulous if you have trouble grasping flat or fine headed pins. They lay flatter on the bed of the machine than the average round headed pin and are made of a soft, easy to grip, heat resistant silicone material. There are two versions of these pins and we only carry one version: the fine ones. I tested the original version and found them to be too thick.

I hope you found this tip useful. Pass it along if you like, sharing is caring.

Heading into the Holidays

It’s always exciting as we get closer to the holiday season. This typically starts before Halloween as machines are dusted off and fired up to make a costume for a child. Sometimes this results in a trip to Sew Simple for machine service as some machines aren’t quite up to the creative vision of the costume designer, who sometimes isn’t the person doing the sewing. I always get tickled when Eric comes out of his workroom and he sparkles! Odds are the machine he was working on had been used with sequins or glittered material.

New sewists contact us, eager to learn to sew or replace their starter machine. More experienced sewists and quilters decide that it might be time to upgrade as they learn new techniques, and sometimes (and always a particular favorite of mine) someone comes in to get a machine that is easier to operate with electronic functions that help those who are having trouble seeing or manipulating their hands or feet. Whatever the reason, matching up the right machine to the right user makes me happy!

Of course this is the time of year that Janome rolls out new models and we typically have great deals on floor models as they are replaced with newer models. Things get a little crowded until those models go home with a happy owner. We currently have three floor models available at great prices. Come and see!

We now offer financing to approved applicants to help spread out the cost of a new machine too!

Come visit us on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (Nov. 23-24th) for extra special deals that won’t last long!

Unlike online sites, all our machines come with great dealer support including one on one new owner’s lessons.


New Fabric Prompts a SALE!

With so many new machine models and new fabrics arriving in time for Christmas sewing, we are running out of room! Our loss is your gain as Amy has marked down over 100 bolts and priced them to move. Many of them are a mere $5.99 per yard. Hurry in, once they are gone…well, they’re gone.

clearance sale

It’s a great time to test drive your new sewing or embroidery machine too! There are 3 new models, not to mention the new Air-threading Janome Serger! We’ll even help you set up a wish list for your own Santa.


Website Changes

The only thing that stays the same is everything changes.

Sew Simple’s blog has been quite neglected as I keep blogging over at Amy’s Free Motion Quilting Adventures, post on Instagram and Facebook for both businesses, and have begun to do more live Facebook videos and continue doing videos on my YouTube channel.

It’s hard to keep up with all of it!

So we are rolling these two businesses into one main website:

The change over will take some time, but eventually this website for Sew Simple of Lynchburg will send you to the “Visit Us” section of where you will find information about our shop here in Lynchburg as well as tutorials and information you can use wherever you are. Since I won’t be trying to create two separate batches of information and content, I will be able to create better overall content and information.

It’s going to be a change for the better and I’m excited about it. I hope you will be too.

Brown Bag Mystery Quilt

Brown Bag Mystery Quilt

Sew Simple is so excited to be one of 35 shops across the country doing the Brown Bag Mystery Quilt! Designed by Karen Montgomery, of The Quilt Company in western Pennsylvania, this project will keep you guessing as you make it, but won’t leave you scratching your head when you’re done. Since you buy a curated collection of fabric in the ‘brown bag’ your choices will work together. We even have a strip of fabric tied to the bag’s handle to give you a hint to the colors inside.

How does it work? Purchase a bag and inside you’ll find 5 cuts of fabric, totaling 5 yards. There are professionally done, color illustrated cutting instructions inside the bag too. The first of 6 clues comes out March 17th and every two weeks after that. The final and 6th clue gives you the final assembly instructions to create a quilt top measuring 45″ by 62″ add borders if you wish (fabric not included) and reveal your quilt!

There’s even a Facebook group to join if you desire to share your fabrics and progress with other quilters. We just need the email address that you use with Facebook to add you to the group.

mystery quilt brown bags in shop

Live too far away to pick up your clues easily every two weeks? For $5 we will mail them to you! Yes, that’s in an envelope and with a stamp, the old fashioned way. Speaking of far away, we even have mystery bags for sale in our online shop. See Amy’s Quilting Adventures listing for Brown Bag Mystery Quilt to order your own.


Never Stop Learning!

Last week I had an opportunity to get away for an entire week for a quilt retreat. This retreat was extra special, because it was for quilt shop owners only. Seventy shops from around the nation and Canada attended.

What amazed me was how many shop owners with many years of experience in the quilt industry attended with the goal of learning something that would make their shops even better for their customers. One shop had been in existence for 36 years and while I was blown away by her knowledge, she was asking me about social media!

I say all that because it’s important to never stop learning!

Whether there’s a trick or technique to make our machines run better, a way to make a quilt faster, an easier way to work with a tricky material, a new embroidery program, or…..well, the list could go on and on. Even experienced folk can always learn something new. It makes us better, smarter, more efficient, more creative.

There is a bonus in learning something new too!

Learning new things help our brains stay sharper and more organized. Though honestly? I figure I’m learning so much in the last few years, that I ought to be sharp as a tack and yet, I’m really aware of how much more I need to learn.

Speaking of learning new things, our new class schedule is finally out! Take a look and sign up before the class fills.

Birthday Bash and Clearance Blowout!

It’s my birthday Friday and what I really want is room for my newest fabrics! I really had to struggle to find space for them and I have more on the way. So we’re having a CLEARANCE BLOWOUT and a BIRTHDAY BASH SALE. Sale is Thursday thru Saturday. Come early for the best selection at these prices.

Clearance is getting lowered to low low prices, starting at $3.99 per yard! Much will be $5.99 and $6.99 per yard and we’ll be moving fabric from the regular areas, marking it down, and adding it to our clearance.

PLUS! All packaged pre-cuts will be 20% off.

At these sale prices, these won’t qualify for the Customer rewards card, but regular priced merchandise bought during the sale still goes on the card. If you only buy sale fabric, we’ll give you a ‘free’ box on your card for coming in. It’s so much fun to see so many customers redeem the gift certificates they’ve earned from their customer rewards card. Especially those who have a machine purchase on there! Ten percent back can really add up!