Weaving, sewing workshops to connect Edmontonians with the material world

Kim McCollum and Angela Kelly want to teach Edmontonians the art of hand-weaving and sewing their own clothes.

'People are really wanting some sort of authentic connection to the physical world'

Kim McCollum and Angela Kelly are the co-founders of Gather Textiles. (Gather Textiles/Facebook)

For most people, doing something with their hands equals scrolling through social media sites. But two Edmonton women are hoping to change that with a new business that teaches people to make their own clothes — even including the fabric. 

Kim McCollum and Angela Kelly are the co-founders of Gather Textiles, a new business set to open Friday in northeast Edmonton. 

The tiny sewing shop is tucked away between a butcher and mechanic in a light industrial area on Fort Road. Not only will it sell crafting supplies, like thread and yarn, it will also host regular crafting workshops from its newly renovated sewing and weaving studio. 

A full class schedule will be released later this month, which will include lessons in stitching, sewing, quilting, cutting patterns and creating textiles. The classes will be suitable even for people with no experience whatsoever, the women told CBC's Edmonton AM

Something from nothing

"Today, we spend so much time on screens and so much time on technology and everything is mass-produced," McCollum said. 

"I think people are really wanting some sort of authentic connection to the physical world and making things is a really good way to do that." 

The company is among a wave of new programs and businesses across Alberta offering similar workshops, Kelly said. 

McCollum said people are keen to replace their mass-produced wardrobe with garments made from scratch. There is something special about making something from nothing, she added.

Kelly said their new project is meant to be more community-oriented than her previous business, Little Button Sewing, an alteration studio that operated out the same storefront.  

We'll introduce you to a new business in Northeast Edmonton where you can learn to weave and sew your own clothes. 3:36

Kelly had hosted sewing parties and workshops and found teaching so rewarding that she wanted to make it the focus of her work. 

The new business will have a dedicated team of instructors and regular class schedule for anyone looking to learn the craft.

"The best part of our jobs is when people are almost done and starting to try on what they've made and they're really proud of it," Kelly said. 

"People are often surprised what they can do."

Gather Textiles will host its grand opening on Friday, from 6:30 until 8 p.m. at 12225 Fort Road. 

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