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Sew quilts, clothes, and Raglan Sleeves at the Needle Shop

The exterior and interior of the the Needle Shop, located in Bucktown, Chicago, IL.
The exterior and interior of the the Needle Shop, located in Bucktown, Chicago, IL.
Coleman Gailloreto

At long last, Chicago's weather is getting warmer. The snow's melting away, the wind is biting less, and people no longer have to bundle up to stay warm outside. Still, the Needle Shop on 3738 Lincoln Avenue is an excellent resource for those who want to sew new clothes for themselves or learn how to do so this spring.

The main work table in the Needle Shop, located in Bucktown, Chicago, IL.
Coleman Gailloreto

Founded in 2005, it's become a prominent supply store and workshop in the area for people looking to get clothing supplies and/or learn how to sew in various weekly classes.

The beginner course the Needle Shop offers, 'Sewing 101', teaches students the basics of sewing machine operation and how to choose and use certain fabrics. At the end of the beginner course, participants will have created a simple pillow cover with a zipper and can move on to more advanced classes. These courses, according to store staff member/instructor, Geraly Unite-O'Day, teach people how to make specific kinds of cloth products, such as Roman Shades, Ottoman Upholstery, tote bags, or the obscure sounding 'Raglan Sleeve Top'.

“You have to take a few classes beyond the Sewing 101 to take the Raglan Sleeve course.” Geraly explained, going on to clarify that a Raglan Sleeve is a type of stitch where a sleeve is attached to the main body of a shirt at a slanted angle, like in baseball uniforms. She went on to point out various cloth bags, shirts, and quilts that were hanging from the top of the walls, each of them beautiful, and each made in one of their DIY classes.

If one were to write an essay to describe the rest of the Needle Shop, the word 'Colorful' would pop up often. The main spaces of the store is coated with fabric rolls hung from chain weights, each with a unique pattern and décor to them. To the sides are drawers, racks and cubbyholes containing thread, sewing needles, tacks, seam-rippers, and the other tools of the trade. And in a nook near the entrances is a set of comfy seats and a shelf filled with books on sewing and stitching techniques.

All in all, the Needle Shop is a comfortable and cheerful place for people to learn to sew and pick up the supplies to do so. It's a store and community space for, as Geraly Unite O'Day put it, “people who always wanted to learn to sew, some who sewed as kids, forgot, and wanted to re-learn”, and everyone in between.