Needing to make a job for herself, Deborah Achleitner combined her love of sewing with filling a niche in Nelson.
The Nelson Stitch Lab, a drop-in sewing space at 422 Herridge Lane opened over Spring break and has since helped many turn inspiration into finished projects.
“People come here with their vision and I help show them how it can be made,” says Achleitner.
In the age of Pinterest and online tutorials, many people are fascinated by do-it-yourself projects “but there isn’t a place that people can get hands on help,” she says.
“This is like your grandma or mom showing you. As soon as someone shows you, you’ve got it,” suggests Achleitner. “We’re all designers. We all know what looks good on us. We all know what we want our homes to look like. So, let’s see if we can make it.”
The mother of two learned to sew from her mom who passed away a year ago. Achleitner reminisces.
“My mother and I got stuck together for a really long time when we moved to Europe. I was 11 and we didn’t know anybody,” she says. “So, we sewed.”
Achleitner supported herself travelling through Mexico sewing and selling at markets. She’s sold her wares at Nelson markets as well. About 10 years ago, she used felted wools and sold under the name ABC (Already Been Chewed). Using embroidered table clothes and other reclaimed fabrics she also had a line called Lazy Eye. Both ventures show a love of “up cycling.”
Today, Nelson Stitch Lab boasts bins of recycled fabric for “kids to go to town on.” Along with buttons, trim and other gathered garb, the space contains seven sewing machines and a cutting table.
Children wanting to learn to sew have been her main focus so far starting them off with stitch pages at machines
“I say there are no rules so go. When there’s no thread nothing can go wrong. For them, it’s like driving a car.”
The kids go home with knowledge and something they’ve made — like pajama pants, “stuffies” or a string of colourful flags. As a parent, Achleitner knows parents love seeing what their child comes up with.
“I myself am thrilled when they come home with something and I see their personality in what they’ve made,” she says.
Ready to branch into adult classes, Achleitner is considering ideas for workshops including an a-line skirt project and recovering a chair.
For those with a bit of sewing experience Nelson Stitch lab offers a six-hour project card. They are also available for three-hour birthday parties for 8-year-olds and up. Kids will go home with a finished project.
Stitch labs exist in major cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Paris. In Paris the lab is called (tongue-in-cheek) The Sweat Shop.
“The model exists – it’s out there already,” says Achleitner. “This is my leap of faith in a small town.”
For more information check out Nelson Stitch Lab on Facebook or call 250-505-4079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses on Baker Street are on the verge of a major shuffle.
After 22 successful years on Ward Street, Still Eagle is moving to the old Kootenai Moon space at 476 Baker Street.
One of Canada’s original eco-stores, Still Eagle will open up in the new location on June 20.
Currently, about eight staff provide clothing, household items, and “all things eco” not only to Nelsonites, but as wholesalers for hemp stores and eco boutiques Canada-wide. They have long been bursting at the seams with web, wholesale, and retail “departments” sharing a single office.
In their new space they plan to add staff and broaden their selection as the new space is three times larger.
Kootenai Moon will be relocating to INTERO Home location at 115 Hall Street. The furniture store near Sears is going out of business after serving the Nelson community for 16 years.
Another long-time Baker Street fixture is going to try out a new space. Maplerose will leave their 265 address to take over Cottons space in the next block. Cottons is relocating to the space where L’Infinity Boutique has struggled with closure over the past three months.
Lilikoi offering designs by Barbara Boswell has decided to close its Baker Street shop to focus on their thriving online and retail business. A presence is no longer needed for the KSA grad who concentrates on beautiful, ethical and sustainable clothing designs.
It’s rumoured another creative business with owners from Kimberley will be moving into that space next to Hall Printing.
And lastly, Lucky Cupcakes will be combining efforts with John Ward Fine Coffee at 503 Baker Street. The cupcakes made from scratch using only premium ingredients will now go great along side a hot cup of coffee at the busy corner shop.
A new yoga studio that has several local teachers of differing disciplines collaborating in one location – The Loft is open.
Located at 207, 601 Front St, The Loft is a clean and open space, says instructor Christine Oakley. She shares what one student had to say about practicing yoga in the new space.
“I very much like the traditional feel of the space and it is a playful place that allows for growth and exploration of energy flow,” she relays. “It is called The Loft as I think it aspires for the highest in ourselves and others.”
Jenna Arpita Shea, Anna Topf, Elissa Gumushel, Jordan Davignon, Brittanya Beddington and Oakley will each bring their own flavour of yoga, lifestyle, and being as they offer classes at The Loft. Postural alignment and massage will also be offered by Topf, a kinesiologist as well as massage by Davignon.
All involved are particularly pleased with their collaborative efforts, promoting each other, united in a passion for yoga.
“We make decisions for the greatest good, contributing each of our own strengths and offering support to each other when possible. I see us as individuals standing shoulder to shoulder,” says Oakley. “Jenna likened each of us to the posts of a tipi, grounded and separate individuals coming together to hold the space and the structure.”
The Loft offers drop-in classes six days a week on a sliding scale “so that yoga is more accessible to our whole community,” says Oakley. Passes are available which practitioners can use for all instructors on site. The vision includes giving back to the community as well, so a portion of profits goes to local non-profit organizations.
“It isn’t just about coming to a class, working the body, then going home,” Oakley says. “Part of our vision is to bring people together through the practice of yoga.”
Open as of May 1st, a schedule for The Loft can be found at theyogaloft.org