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Sew Smitten

I come from a long line of non-sewers. Despite the fact that none of the women in my family grace 5'3" and therefore must hem every pair of pants purchased, threading a bobbin was not a talent passed on through the generations. But that hasn't stopped me from dreaming. "Learn to sew" has been a new year's resolution of mine for three years running and the second-hand Singer in my closet, though never actually used, gets dusted off every now and again and gazed at longingly. I buy fabric for projects I'll never make, I mentally sew Christmas gifts for everyone I know and I clip patterns I haven't the slightest clue how to read.

My life as an imaginary seamstress could have gone on its delusional way if not for the recent opening of Stitch, a sewing lounge in Hayes Valley, a place so hip and creative, I will learn to sew just so I can hang out there.

Stitch is a one-stop shop for all your sewing needs. Run by three friends, Melissa Roeters, Melissa Alvarado and Hope Meng, it's a space that breathes new life into the proverbial sewing circle whether you know your edge stitch from a lock stitch or not. The tangerine walls and turquoise ceiling make the space stylish and welcoming. On top of a large table in the back sit five different sewing machines (4 standard and 1 industrial) and two sergers. The machines can be rented for $5 per half hour with a one-hour minimum. If you know you'll be coming back often to finish up that Burning Man costume or the sundress for your cousin's wedding, buy a 12.5 hour prepaid stitch card for $100.00. If you're a budding seamstress, $35 gets you a private one-hour lesson.

Reasonably priced fabric spews from cubbies that line the wall and an 'Inspiration Corner' provides plenty of examples of the creativeness at your needletip. The boutique in the front of the store features threads by local designers like Silver Lucy Design and gives you something tangible to work towards. Stitch offers 6 to 10 classes every month, ranging in price from $35 for the one day 'Sewing Machine Basics', to $65 dollars to make that personalized handbag dream come true, to $100 to learn how to alter a commercial skirt pattern.

While Stitch is the only drop-in sewing lounge of its type, there are plenty of other places where you can learn to get "your stitch on" in the city. Muse sewing workshops provide a number of useful classes to choose from. For $65 you can learn to sew a cosmetic bag with a zipper and lining, for $105 you can make your own summer dress. Pillows, curtains, pajama pants and skirts all have their day under the needle as well. Muse offers private lessons for $30 per hour or $50 per hour for two people.

The Sewing Workshop in the Richmond has been teaching folks the ins-and-outs of a needle and thread for more than 20 years. Depending on the depth of your pockets, you can drop $175 for a five-week beginners' class or $40 to learn simple mending techniques. You can also learn things as varied and esoteric as making fabric bowls ($80) to constructing a barn jacket ($150).

The opening of Stitch leaves me with no excuses. And I've stapled one too many hems. Here's to many successful sewing endeavors.