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!

Site Update

Sorry for the mess!


In order to better share information regarding Sew Simple, Amy is mucking about with the website design. Unlike her quilting skills or Eric’s machine repair skills, her website design skills are iffy! (I call ’em like I see ’em!)

Stay tuned for an easier to navigate site asap.

Sew Simple is Hiring

We’ve probably put this off longer than reasonable, but it’s time to get some help in the shop. Read the below information and see if this might be a good fit for you or someone you know. We are seeking a very specific combination of skills, availability, and abilities and I know that there are many who might be great for this position but we can only hire one or two people at this time. Read on….

Shop clerk wanted:

Cheerful, friendly, person to work in a creative atmosphere offering exceptional customer service. Sew Simple of Lynchburg seeks a team player to help inspire, encourage, educate, and equip people who sew, quilt, embroider, and craft. A retail sales position, the successful candidate will greet and assist customers in person or on the phone, helping the customer make the right purchase or choose the right services for their needs. Additional duties include, but are not limited to: cleaning, stocking, and preparing projects. Advanced knowledge of sewing and sewing machines not necessary, but a willingness to learn with training to reach a certain level of competency is required. Actual sewing is not necessarily part of this position. Pay is dependent upon skill level and hours worked. Advancement within the business is possible depending on skills and ability to provide excellent customer service while aiding the company’s success. This is a drug and smoke-free location.

The right candidate will:

• be cheerful and professional in conduct and appearance, with the ability to talk to a wide range of people with a varied range of needs and questions, providing excellent customer service with enthusiasm whether the customer is in the store or on the phone.
• Stand for long periods of time and be able to lift 20 pounds regularly and up to 40 pounds occasionally.
• Perform various cleaning tasks including bathroom and vacuuming.
• Be able to work from 12-6pm most weekdays, 1-2 of those days from 9:30 until 6pm, and 2 Saturdays per month. Occasional special events will be held with mandatory attendance. Advanced notice will be given. Average hours likely per week: 28-30.
• Accurately take phone messages and field questions for the owners, discerning which they are competent to answer on their own.
• Measure and cut fabric accurately and safely. Be able to accurately process sales on cash register or other equipment. A math test will be given prior to employment.
• Possess the ability to keep a tidy work environment, problem solve, focus on the needs of the customer, and work relatively independently.
• Follow written and verbal instructions for shop operations.
• Have reliable transportation.

Apply in person at Sew Simple of Lynchburg, 2414 Wards Rd Lynchburg between the hours of 11am and 2pm only. No phone calls please. Resumes appreciated. Resumes, cover letter and questions can also be sent via email:

Open House for the Holidays

You are invited to our Open House Event December 8 & 9 during regular shop hours. There will be machine and technique demos, new fabrics, sales, snacks and hot spiced cider, as well as complimentary scissor sharpening with purchase.

The above sale will make it easy to make the minimum purchase needed to get that pair of scissors sharpened for free!

While your scissors are being sharpened, check out our new machines, accessories, and fabrics. Demos will be happening throughout the store. Check out our Facebook page for more information and helpful videos.

New Janome Machines

We are really excited about the new machines we’ve got here at Sew Simple of Lynchburg!

Janome 6700P

Janome has taken the very popular workhorse of the 6600P and added the newest and best improvements Janome has created since the 6600P came out to create the 6700P.

Janome Quilt Maker 15000

Then there’s the new top-of-the-line Janome Quilt Maker MC 15000. This combination embroidery and sewing machine has so many features to make your creativity really shine. Amy, owner of Sew Simple, loved it so much she bought herself one. It’s the first machine on the market with a Ruler Work setting and ruler foot. Amy loves ruler work of course, having taught two classes on the technique through Craftsy online. The embroidery is amazing with hoops from super small to ginormous! Plus there are iPad apps that make editing, combining, downloading, and placement of designs a breeze.

Janome Artistic SD16

The newest machine in the shop is the Artistic SD16. A sit down style long arm, this machine makes quilting large quilts easy with the same motions you use to quilt on your sewing machine. It has a speed regulator standard with purchase to help the newer free motion quilter achieve a consistent stitch length. This particular machine will be available for rental during shop hours. Details to come.

As we prepare for the holiday season, we are excited to share the details of our Open House Event soon. Stay tuned!



Janome Quilt Maker 15000

Back in August, Amy ran off to Cincinnati to a Janome dealer training. She came back home with a new quilty friend! The Janome Quilt Maker 15000 is the newest top-of-the-line machine from Janome. It’s especially interesting to Amy because it has the latest in feet for ruler work. A new ruler foot was the nudge needed to not only bring the machine back for customers to see, but to claim the new machine for her own!

Janome quilt maker 15000

This marvel of a machine sews, quilts, and embroiders. Equipped  with wifi, it works with the latest in app technology on iPad devices (sorry to the android users) to easily position embroidery exactly where you want it, sketch out a design and turn it into a line embroidery design and much more.


We’ll have more on this machine soon, but in the meantime, take a look at the 15000 at

Video Tutorial: Appli-piecing the 611 Row

I promised a video tutorial on how I put the long landscape pieces of this year’s row for the 2017 Row by Row Experience.

It’s not one of my better videos, but it’s done and up, which is the important part. I had some weird formatting issues at the start, so ignore the creepy slow motion beginning, as well as my inability to look like I’m talking to the viewer. It’s been so long since I’ve done a video with my face actually on screen, that I forgot where to look!

I hope you find it useful if you decide to put the row together with turned edge applique. Handling these long landscape pieces are easily done this way. I didn’t continue the video long enough to show the machine stitching of these pieces, but I may make a follow up video showing the removal of the freezer paper and then the stitching. I did most of the pattern with turned edge applique, appli-piecing the background in my own way, followed by fusing the smaller bits.

It’s been a fun design!

Row by Row 2017

Sew Simple is busy settling into our new space and getting closer to the vision we have that will make our customers happy, inspired, and creating with needle and thread.

Row by Row 611 steam engine
Row by Row , theme: “On the Go!” We’ve got the historic 611 steaming through our fine city.

We’re super excited about participating in the Row by Row Experience for the first time. This years theme is “On the Go!”

Beginning June 21, 2017, visit any of the participating shops and receive a free pattern for a row in a quilt. Combine your rows in any way to create a unique quilt that represents the fun you had traveling to the stores. Travel with friends, discover new quilt shops and have fun collecting rows!


Create a quilt using at least 8 different 2017 rows from 8 different 2017 participating RxR shops and be the first to bring it into a participating shop to win a stack of 25 fat quarters (6-1/4 yards of fabric!). Use that shop’s row in your quilt and win a bonus prize!

I designed our row in the midst of moving the shop last month. I decided on featuring the 611 steam engine as it steams through Lynchburg and past our house in small town Virginia as well. My family has some pretty big rail fans, especially the boys. We even saw this historic train get underway as it was towed to North Carolina three years ago to get restored and refitted. It fits the theme of “On the Go!” perfectly for us.

We’ve got the free pattern waiting for your visit as well as kits which include the fabrics used in my sample. There will even be a video tutorial on how I appli-piece the background fabrics together.