Spool & Spindle no longer carries fabric or notions, or holds classes, and yes, we are still pretty bummed about it. Read on for our story and where we are now!
This journey began when our spectacular founders, Caroline and Belinda, wanted to find a local garment sewing community. They were looking for a place to connect with other sewists, buy gorgeous high end fabrics, and take classes from experts. They wanted a place that was inclusive and non-judgemental, welcoming everyone. Unfortunately, Kitchener-Waterloo didn't have anything like that yet, so in the summer of 2016, they made one!
Spool & Spindle the fabric shop had 3 different locations in Waterloo over 6 years, and we think the lovely team did a great job of making our founders' vision come to life. The shop was a place to visit with other garment sewists, get expert advice, and buy great fabrics and notions. We strove to make it a place free of judgement and prejudice. A few years in, we crowdfunded the purchase of a large-format printer, to supplement the paper sewing patterns that we sold in the shop. After that, we could recommend any pattern that can be bought online, and print it to go with the fabric! In particular, this helped us provide a wider range of sizes than the traditional paper patterns provided, and helped us support independent pattern designers.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, we shifted to fully online operations. We shipped orders and did curbside pickup, and we moved our usual advice and customer service to email based. With only one employee in the shop at a time to fill orders, and most other shops closed by health order, this was a very hectic time for us! Erin managed the shop's online operations from home like the pro that she is, and while she would never complain, we know it was a lot!
Unfortunately, with the supply chain issues and societal changes in the late-stage pandemic, by mid 2022 the shop was no longer sustainable, and had to close. Faced with losing track of this amazing local sewing community, a couple of our employees took different steps to keep in touch.
Steph started the K-W Garment Sewists Guild, along with other local sewists, in October 2022. This Guild has in person and online meetups to educate and connect us. It is a welcoming, inclusive, supportive group that is open to everyone, and we just love it! Great work so far!
Jenn purchased the website and large-format printer, to keep part of the business alive as the Spool & Spindle Printshop. It moved just across the Kitchener border, where it is now an online-only shop providing high quality printing and advice. As a home-based business, we can no longer carry any inventory or have in-person shopping, so we remain just a printer for now.
As an aspiring programmer, Jenn is also building a free online resource for searching sewing patterns by independent designers, called My Next Make. With an eye to gender and size inclusivity, we hope that this will be a useful tool to find new sewing patterns without wading through thousands of irrelevant search results.
And that's where we are today! The team may be smaller than it was in the past, but we hope the spirit of the original shop lives on in the wonderful community that we have found.
We acknowledge that we are on the traditional land of the Anishnaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Neutral peoples. Their textile traditions are a valuable part of our sewing community.