Work-from-home orders and travel bans may be going out of style, but crafting and DIY projects? Not at all.
Just ask the team at local fabric business The Fabric Snob.
"We’ve had a few people start sewing before COVID, get laid off and sign up for our online classes," Brianne Davison, Fabric Snob manager, said. "People have definitely branched out their hobbies. They want to learn to be creative."
Lindsey Dueck, owner of The Fabric Snob, founded the Manitoba-based business in 2014 after noticing a lack of custom-made fabric in Canada.
She had just given birth to her first child and was looking for quality material to make her own cloth diapers.
Dueck and a few other mothers with the same frustration decided to purchase an 80-pound roll of fabric and get to work.
Dueck’s online store went live in February of the same year from her basement.
The Fabric Snob’s first retail shop opened in Riverton, Man., in 2016. Its newest location — a short drive outside the city in Oak Bluff — opened not even two months ago.
Brianne Davison has watched the business grow from its humble basement beginnings. She and Dueck used to live near each other, and she had been an employee in Riverton before moving to Winnipeg a few years ago.
"Just this morning we had two lines of customers at the till, which feels good," Davison says, noting the business’s Instagram following of 16,500 followers has likely contributed to its success and helped The Fabric Snob avoid the revenue loss many other businesses are facing in the aftermath of COVID-19.
"People are just so excited to come in to see the fabrics and feel them in person," she added.
If COVID-19 restrictions are loosened as expected, The Fabric Snob intends to host in-person classes beginning this fall. It aims to have about eight people per class of varying skill levels. Participants will tackle simple sewing projects such as dresses, T-shirts and aprons.
Classes will run for eight weeks and can be completed at the participant’s own pace.
For those interested in uninterrupted sewing time, an out-of town sewing trip called The Snob Retreat will run from Nov. 4 to 7 at Hecla Resort. The weekend will include classes, guided workouts and hikes, meals and access to spa services and pools. There will also be a tour of the new Fabric Snob warehouse, which is based at its original retail store in Riverton.
"It’s a weekend for people to get away, relax and be with other people who love to sew," Davison says.
You can shop The Fabric Snob’s new location at 100-205 Fort Whyte Way, Oak Bluff, Man.
More information on classes and The Snob Retreat is available at www.thefabricsnob.com
Kelsey James is the reporter/photographer for The Sou’wester. She graduated from Red River College’s creative communications program in 2018 as a journalism major and holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric, writing and communications from the University of Winnipeg. A lifelong Winnipegger who grew up in southwest Winnipeg, Kelsey is thrilled to be covering the neighbourhoods she still calls “home.”