Step into Jordan Martindell’s fabric shop SewBo and you’ll find bolts filled with beautiful fabrics, from playful prints illustrating beach days and lemon groves to colorful florals and ginghams.
The vibe: Anthropolgie meets a fabric and craft store.
Martindell opened the textile shop earlier this year, and hopes to spread the joy of sewing with others. She even offers hands-on classes and workshops for novices and those who need a refresher.
“Sewing is an incredible hobby for mental health,” says Martindell. “When sewing, you truly cannot be multitasking. You have to be engaged with your body and mind.”
Ahead, Martindell shares with us how her mother—a professional costume designer—inspired her love for the craft, talks about the unique finds you’ll come across at SewBo and lends some advice for those interested in taking up a new hobby.
What was your inspiration for opening SewBo?
My mother is a professional costume designer and I grew up watching her sew everything from costumes to wedding dresses to full musical productions. While she didn’t teach me to sew, this had a major influence on me and I began to explore sewing more seriously in my late 20s.
After I made my first dress, I was hooked! I worked in retail management for 10 years and that is where I really fell in love with textiles—patterns, colors, textures.
I also love vintage textile patterns; I was given a box of old fabric samples from the 1950s and I still have a couple of them in my fabric stash. Last year, I had finished a marketing contract with a start-up and knew that if I wanted to change careers, now was the time.
What kind of treasures are in your store?
I want all levels of sewers to feel welcome and inspired to begin sewing for the first time or continue sewing. I carry unique fabrics that you cannot find at big box stores like JoAnn or Hobby Lobby.
I’ll never specialize in one type of fabric but will carry a smattering of all sorts of fabrics—apparel, quilting, upholstery, etc. I also carry unique notions (which are the tools you need when sewing), embroidery kits, gifts for sewers, books and sewing patterns.
Where do you source your fabrics from, and what’s the most unique fabric or item in your shop right now?
I mostly source from independent fabric warehouses. Two of the most unique brands I carry are Merchant & Mills and Nerida Handsen. Merchant & Mills is an heirloom quality fabric warehouse out of the UK and Nerida Handsen is a fabric designer who brings together other fabric designers in her warehouse.
What trends are you noticing in the world of sewing? And how does your shop cater to the next generation of sewers?
I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people wanting to learn this skill! Since I opened my shop, my adult sewing classes have been full. I am currently booking out about three to four weeks for adult sewing classes.
The main reasons why people are interested in learning to sew are for sustainability purposes (to repair their own clothes so they can help them last longer) and because they can’t find clothes that fit.
It is also an incredible delight to teach kids to sew. It teaches them confidence, poise and focus, and the pride they feel when completing a project is truly incredible.
Modern quilting is also making a comeback and people are looking for modern fabrics to accompany this art form.
What’s your advice to people who want to get started in sewing?
Just do it! Making mistakes is part of sewing, so don’t let perfectionism get in the way of learning. I always say anyone can learn to sew. Whether they enjoy it, depends on their level of perfectionism.
What sewing projects are you currently working on?
I am working on my first complicated quilt using vintage 1930s fabric, a sweatshirt, a quilted vest, a dress and a skirt. (These are all affectionately called UFPs (Unfinished Projects) in the sewing community.