FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Spool Sewing Studio is located at#4-420 Fitzgerald Ave in Downtown Courtenay. Between Podlings and Local Refillery
Our hours are listed at the bottom of this page. We may be open outside of these hours to accommodate classes. Feel free to call 250-890-3318 to double-check if you are hoping to stop in!
Some of our events are more like a drop-in (but registered); there is an expectation of a certain amount of experience in the Sewcials, as opposed to the classes that involve a lot more instruction. Sewing events tend to be light, fun, simple and repetitive projects, and workshops and classes tend to be juicier with learning. We price competitively in comparison with sewing studios across the country, and keep our overhead low, but understand that not everyone can afford all our workshops; our one-day classes and drop in sewing times are a way to make sewing at The Spool accessible to as many people as possible, and to build a rich community of sewists and friends.
Stop in and talk to me. While The Spool is my full time job, (not a hobby), employs local people, and is how I feed my family, I want it to be accessible to as many people as possible!
We like to make sure that everyone gets individual attention and plenty of space to move around, so we cap our classes at 8 participants and and Sewcial events at 12. We require a minimum of three people to run a class, so in rare occasions, you may be offered an alternative class, a credit (which can be applied to other classes) or in very rare occasions (for instance, if you are travelling from away for a workshop that is cancelled), a refund.
We recommend no younger than 7 years old, though our summer camps are adapted for even younger kids. Our goal is for kids to have fun and a good prerequisite to look for, not just in terms of interest, is their fine motor skills - kids need to have the dexterity to tie their own shoelaces. Kids classes are 1-2 hours, and though there is room for some free play, it can be a long haul after a day of school. Kids who are inclined to sit still and make things will have an easier time and enjoy sewing lessons more than the kids who need some time to move their bodies. Wiggly kids may prefer summer camps since they will not be at the end of a long school day of sitting. We love hanging out with your kids but would like to emphasize that sewing lessons are not just for after-school childcare, as our spaces are limited :)
Our focus in working with young kids is supporting creative expression, development in fine motor skills and exploring fabric. The older kids get the more detailed and precise their sewing will become.
Our focus in working with young kids is generally creative expression, development in fine motor skills and exploring fabric. The older kids get, the more detailed and precise their sewing will become.
Nope and nope. My goal is to have a lifetime of joyful sewing, as well as sharing that joy with others. Sewing for others doesn't fill me with joy- especially the pants hemming and curtain making type. But I am happy to teach YOU to do that sewing!
First of all, good for you for learning something new! We run our Foundations class each month and it is ideal for those who've never sewn, or who are feeling pretty rusty. In this class, you don't just learn to thread the machine, but all sorts of details and tricks to make sure that sewing goes smoothly. Each week a new project is made, so it's very satisfying and encouraging. However, in some cases you can also book a private lesson to cover some of those basics if you are in a hurry to take some of our other classes! We reserve the right to refuse private lessons depending on The Spool's schedule, but if for instance, you want to sign up for the T-shirt class next week and just need an hour refresher class for machine basics, we can try to accommodate it.
All our classes are now posted online! You can register by choosing the class you'd like and picking your dates from the drop down menu. Please double check your dates before completing your order! Once your order is processed, you will receive a confirmation email (check your junk or spam folder if you don't see it in your inbox) You can also register by coming by the studio and paying in person by cash, debit or credit. Please be aware that until payment is received, places can not be held.
You can send an email and we will do our best to contact you if there is a space available. However, if you have three or more friends who are also interested in a class, we can also arrange a class specifically for your group, at a time that works for everyone. Private small-group classes are priced on par with our general offerings.
Because of the nature and small size of our classes, we can change your class start date with 7 days notice. With less than 7 days notice, you can still change your class start date, however there is a $15~class transfer fee which must be paid before you switch classes.
Our classes are all final sale! We do not offer refunds for any classes, except in the rare event that a class has been cancelled (less than 3 students). However, you may receive a credit towards any other classes or studio products for the total amount of the class with a minimum of 2 weeks notice. After this point you may receive a partial credit of 50%. Our classes are small and a last-minute cancellation doesn’t allow us time to contact those who would have loved to take our class.
Sewing machines are provided for all classes. If you’ve never used a sewing machine before (or are only familiar with your own machine), we’ll go over the basics with you. Absolute beginners should check out our Foundations class.
Most classes have the materials listed in the Details section of the class. We've got the machines, scissors, pins, marking tools, and all the other basic notions you'll need. Some classes include some materials or notions, and what to buy is listed. Many classes require you to bring a pattern and fabric, and I suggest stopping in for a fabric consultation to ensure greatest success.
We carry a curated selection of high quality garment fabrics and some of our favourite quilting cottons!
Absolutely not! Come in during open studio times and you can either rent time on the machines ($10/hr) or book a private lesson if you need a lot of help. If you just need 10-20 minutes to finish a couple of seams, of course you can just jump in and finish it up. Our classes come with three weeks of free drop in, so take advantage of that!
Sure, as long as we know you'll miss a class in advance. Sometimes we have space in the next session, so you can make up the same class you missed. Otherwise, you can schedule to come in during open studio times at a cost of $10 per make up class. Please email to arrange, as we are often teaching private lessons during open hours and may not be available for a make up class. No-Shows are not refunded or given free makeup classes.
Not necessarily! Email or call so we can choose the best option.
Of course! As an extroverted sewist, I always love the company:) You have a few options:
-Come to the studio when we are open but not running classes to rent time on the machine at $10/hour. (sometimes a class is quiet and small and we may be able to accommodate you then!)
-Come to one of our many casual sewing times: Sewcials, Mend-Ins, Sewing Club and more!
*Please understand that while I'm certainly happy to help with the odd question, these times are not where one gets detailed one-on-one help. We are helping everyone as well as enjoying sewing & sewcializing!
It depends on the project! Many of our projects took hours to develop, to create the instruction and to perfect our teaching. It's how we make our living, so I'm sure you'll understand we'd prefer not to lose that living! However, if you speak frankly with me, and give credit where it's due, I'm pretty reasonable. Some of our projects we've developed we also sell, so obviously we'd rather not to feel like we are teaching our competition! We generally prefer collaboration over competition, and as in any creative field- credit where it's been earned. Most of our clothing classes are using patterns by indie designers, each of whom are making a living creating their patterns, and they are who would need to be contacted to receive permission.
YES! We LOVE to help you plan a sewing related birthday party, friend night, staff party, or public events. We can work together to plan within your budget, skill level and interest to make a satisfying project in an evening. Ideas:
-Baby shower sewing party: each participant makes a quilt block towards a baby quilt
-Similar idea but for wedding shower
-Kids birthday parties at the studio, or for younger kids: hand sewing a stuffy at a home party (great for rainy weather parties, and even better than goody bags!)
-Business Incubation: If you've got the idea but need help implementing or skill building, we can offer a small discount on bulk private lessons.
If we have missed a question you have, I guess it's not a frequent question! Please email or call so we can help you in a timely manner. We look forward to sharing our passion of sewing with you!