October 2017 News and Updates

It’s OCTOBER already? Don’t you love when our weather has some cooler moments! I do, and we have some cool moments in store for you too.

Embellishments and Trims by Kenneth D. King, hosted by Cool Stitches

What am I excited about this month? So glad you asked! We held our first Signature Event featuring Kenneth D. King and had a wonderful time; we have new partnerships with local instructors, so workshop planning is underway with them; we’re talking to some nationally recognized instructors for 2018 events; and this month I am highlighting our sewing machine servicing and repair!

Lastly, I’d like to invite you to be a guest blogger. Send me your topic by the 15th of each month, and I will select a guest blogger for the month. Just email your blog entry and photos, and you will be featured in our Cool Stitches blog and social media!

Thank you for visiting. Let’s start with our upcoming sewing workshops – just in time for gift season! 
~ Debbi

Upcoming Events

Our School of Sewing workshops are beginner friendly and experienced stitcher fun. We “pop up” the School of Sewing at the Fleming Island Banquet Hall.

Ready for October’s School of Sewing project? It’s a nifty Tech Case you can size to your own device – or someone else’s if you’re thinking Christmas gifts. You can create it from a variety of fabric options, including creating your own stripes. We continue to build on our sewing skill sets with this project. It’s beginner friendly, and fun for experienced people too!

Essential Tote

Nifty Tech Case

Pleated Purse

October 29th – School of Sewing – Tech Case – NEW DATE
November 12th – School of Sewing – Essential Tote Bag
December 10th – School of Sewing – The Pleated Purse, or Clutch  

Also stay tuned for these exciting concepts: Garment Construction, Quilting, Machine Embroidery, Fiber Arts, and Mixed Media!

Sewing Machine Repair

You made a big investment when you decided to start sewing or upgraded your machine. Take good care of it! This is an area of service I want to especially highlight for you. Cool Stitches offers machine servicing and repair for all makes and models of home sewing machines.

We have a small team of technicians working closely together to professionally address your machine repair and servicing. I have been tinkering with sewing machines for longer than should admit, but decided to take it to the next level with formal training and certification. I was certified last year by Ray White, White Sewing Center, who is a national treasure when you are talking machines. I’ve rehabbed, rescued, and repaired machines from every era beginning with our mid-century vintage machines through today’s modern electronic wonders because I am hooked on our mutual sewing passion.

For the time being, I am offering my services at a reduced rate while I establish business. It’s pretty straight forward. Complete a repair request that includes a detailed questionnaire, drop off your machine to a workshop or my address in Fleming Island. I will provide an estimated return time given no parts need to be ordered. My current rate is $89.00 for standard servicing of mechanical machines. Special repairs and required parts are extra and always approved ahead of time. Work is guaranteed.

Schedule machine servicing with just a call/text (904-553-7831), or email



What Do You Want to Do Next?

We are in the planning stages for 2018 workshops and have some nationally recognized instructors in the wings. Nancy Nix-Rice, Jennifer Stern, and of course, we want to bring back Kenneth King for a sewing project! We are also collaborating with local instructors, Carolyn Bassingwaithe and Sandra Auer who bring their vast experience in quilting, machine embroidery, expert fitting, and sewing techniques from beginner to haute couture; and we’ve asked Darlene Sperber to expand her instruction to include her vast fiber arts talents.

Nancy Nix-Rice presents her Style School which is an awesome opportunity for anyone whether you sew or not. She will bring the best focus to your approach to getting dressed – I was a skeptic turned believer in one afternoon!

Jennifer Stern has a mini-series on knitwear. She is a talented technical designer who has created patterns for normal people, and shares her tips for fitting and sewing knits!  Now your addiction to knitwear will get a boost of unique, perfectly fitting pieces. Jennifer is introducing her new live-streaming options with our workshops, so we may be sewing with people from all over the world peeking into our workshop.

The incredible Kenneth King brings a wealth of knowledge and talent to our workshops and will fulfill our sewing wishlist. We had such a great time learning how he constructs his embellishments in our workshop, we decided we must have him come back again. We are considering his recommendations for everything from tailoring, couture techniques, and the moulage workshop. How will we decide? With your input.

Carolyn Bassingwaithe, Jacksonville, has both quilting and machine embroidery workshops planned. She will start with your very basic machine embroidery how to’s so you have the confidence and knowledge to accomplish your machine embroidery projects. Carolyn is also an accomplished quilter and has designed quilt patterns as well, so you can take your quilting to the next level. With all this sewing expertise, watch for Carolyn to lead a number of our sewing workshops.

Sandra Auer is another accomplished sewing expert here in Jacksonville, and is a Palmer and Pletsch certified fitting expert and instructor. Sandra has a portfolio of classes designed to help you make great fitting garments for yourself and others – every time!

Watch for Darlene Sperber to bring us a variety of interesting fiber arts workshops that will stretch your artistic muscles. Watch for the Mixed Media + Origami Handbags to be on the schedule again. It was very popular, so we will pop up for that in the coming months.

So, what do you want to do next? We want to hear from you.


Darlene Sperber. Artist and Instructor for Cool Stitches.

Introductions to our Instructors: Darlene Sperber, Fiber Artist

Speaking of our instructors, we’d like to introduce Darlene Sperber in the first of our series on Introductions to our Instructors.

Darlene has more talent in her little finger…well, you know how the saying goes… Darlene will be taking you on the best fiber arts adventures as well as leading some of our sewing projects. We’ve asked Darlene 5 questions and invited her to tell us about herself. Here are the Qs: How is your personality reflected in your work? What is currently your favorite thing to make or do? Who inspires you?  What is your favorite food? What do you want to do next? Click here for Darlene’s bio and responses to our questions.   




Have you Tried Sashiko?

I recently did a project that centered on a technique for which I could never remember how to say the name – suh-shee-ko – but as I relaxed into the rhythmically satisfying technique of hand sewing, I was hooked. Post your recent projects on social media with #coolstitchesjax!

Sashiko is an ancient Japanese style of stitching that was traditionally used for mending, and in the process of combining layers of fabric together to do this, it is also a quilting technique.

The simplicity of Sashiko makes it achievable by those at every level of sewing skill. Traditionally, Sashiko is done on a dark fabric with a light thread to highlight the design of the stitch patterns. In reality, you can use any fabric and any thread. It looks nicest with a heavier thread – I’ve started using hand quilting or top stitching threads, but also tried multiple strands of embroidery floss and silk twist.

To do Sashiko, you take even running stitches that are longer on the top or right side of the fabric, and typically worked in a repetitive pattern or design. Some of my Sashiko is randomly stitched, or follows part of the fabric design. I don’t hoop my project – just pick it up and go. Click here to see some of Nancy Shriber’s beautiful work.




A TIP for improving your machine performance: Always pick up a spool of quality thread for each project, and wind a fresh bobbin before you begin sewing. Use a good grade of “sewing machine” thread. Hand sewing or quilting thread will not work on a sewing machine. Cheap (3 for $1.00) thread will result in poor stitch quality, and old thread will break.

Categories: About Cool Stitches, Ideas, News and Updates, Product Referrals, Random Thoughts, and Tips and Techniques.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *