I had the good fortune to meet Sarah and John Devens, owners of a wonderful quilt shop, Sew Happins in Wilminton, North Carolina. They carry a wide variety of fabrics, notions, offer many great classes,and are a Bernina dealer.
(413 S. College Rd., Wilmington, NC, 910-399-4935, www.SewHappins.com).
I’m always excited to share a great find,when I come across a quilt store, whether brick and mortar or online. And Saturday, January 25th, just happens to be National Visit Your Quilting Shop Day. So if you are in the area, I encourage you to visit, not just Saturday, anytime you happen to be in Wilmington, NC.
This store is full of positive and creative energy, and it has a lot to do with Sarah and John’s philosophy. Luckily, Sarah was able to sit down and talk with me about Sew Happins at 3:30 PM, because until then it was buzzing with customers and a class on a typical Thursday.
Sarah told me that when they came back from living in the Netherlands for a little over a decade, they really wanted to make time for each other, and their family. For example, they are closed on Black Friday, evenings and Sunday.
The second part of their philosophy, came as their story unfolded even more when I asked Sarah, “What is the most rewarding aspect of running Sew Happins.” She explained to me that she loves seeing what quilters create from the fabric they buy at their store, and the classes they take. The best part for her comes from their customer’s excitement with the experience they have. Sarah encourages everyone to post their progress and finished quilts on their facebook page,https://www.facebook.com/SewHappins.
They are very customer service oriented, and do an incredible job in remembering customer’s names. I love that every Friday from 12-4, and once a month on Saturdays, they have an open sew which is free. There is a made to create class, which is designed for participants to finish a project in three hours. There is even a Bernina software club and hands on sewing classes, from beginners to machine embroidery. The objective is to have fun, and not always follow the rules!! The January calendar of classes is fabulous http://sewhappins.com/classes/
They have a very large classroom.
Let me tell you, when I say they carry a lot and a wide variety of fabrics, I am not kidding. I was a bit spellbound as I walked around the store twice, which took me a a good hour. And the bolts of fabric are in perfect color order. Of course I could not leave without a purchase of three fabrics, which I fell in love with; (and those who know and sew with me, know it is almost impossible for me to resist fabric with little flowers, especially tulips. And I received 15% off for finishing a bolt, so I did not wreck my February budget.) See four part series, http://www.hudsonvalleyquilts.com/2013/11/building-stash-without-breaking-your.html
Perfect Color order – I’m in heaven!
Of course an incredible section of batiks….
And we can’t forget their long arm service….
I bought some orange, which I do not have a large stash of, but this one had one of my favorite designs on it, the swirl. I received 15% off for finishing the tulip bolts, and already have in mind where they will be used in some quilts I am planning for this year.
When they first returned to the U.S. their plan was to open a upscale dog kennel in Raleigh, but zoning and red tape whatnot prevented that from happening. Through the entire process, Sarah, just kept quilting.
Then another quilt store in Wilmington that was a Bernina dealer was moving out of the area. So they applied, and Sew Happins opened it’s doors in May, 2011. Sarah and John took baby steps and grew this brick and mortar store into quite a bustling shop. And I could really feel their pride in how it’s evolved.
Sarah began quilting about ten years ago, and the story she told me about how it happened, really touched my heart. Her mom crocheted, knitted, and did other sewing crafts, but not quilting. She gave Sarah a quilting kit for Christmas, because she wanted her daughter to find a hobby she might love.
And indeed, Sarah fell in love with it.
Sarah’s describes her style as a little bit traditional, and a little bit modern. She loves to make quilts for those in her life who really appreciate them.
I am always interested in quilting and fabric trends, and I asked Sarah about her thoughts on what’s ahead. She feels a big part of it has to do with where quilters live geographically, and what they want. Quilters love to see patterns and fabrics that are new and different. Sarah often makes things that have been out there, but she likes to put a new twist on it, and give it a new life.
She suggests; “Keep your open and create.”
Her husband John, is a jack of all trades. He takes care of the business end of Sew Happins, technology, and has an incredible eye for art and color. Customers often come to him for his suggestions about their fabric combinations and questions about color. This husband and wife team collaborated on a quilt that Sarah is most proud of; they designed an owl quilt which won Judge’s Choice for a local quilt show, Quilter’s by The Sea Annual Quilt Show.It now belongs to their grandchildren.
I cannot end this post without mentioning Bailey and Kayla, their office pups. They are the official authors of their newletter, and have the special privilege of deciding what will go on sale in the shop.
Sarah (left), Donna (right), and Bailey and Kayla (front and center)!!
Sarah has put together this amazing give-a-way to celebrate, National Visit Your Quilting Shop Day.
In order to win this give-a-way, all you need to do is follow both of us on facebook; Sew Happins, https://www.facebook.com/SewHappins and Hudson Valley Quilts, https://www.facebook.com/HudsonValleyQuiltsInc. And sign up for the Sew Happins newsletter, http://sewhappins.com/about-us/get-our-happenins-newsletter/, and the Hudson Valley Quilts blog, by Wednesday, January, 29, at 12:01 AM. Leave a comment in my comment box below that you did, and leave your e-mail address. The lucky winner will be announced on this blog on Wednesday morning.
Happy quilting, and visit your local quilt store on Saturday to celebrate with the owners.