Communal Sewing & Crafting

The Good Shears
Canada 150 — It's in the Bag

Sometimes a body gets to thinking. Well, most times our brains get to thinking, but you know… How many newbs would love to try sewing but don’t have access to a sewing machine, or two, or three? Why don’t we have more dedicated sewing and craft spaces for folks who can’t do it at home for whatever reason? How do we keep wannabe sewists from buying cheapie machines at the W chain and frustrating themselves?

That’s what my friend Amanda was thinking too when she threw herself headlong into building a space where arts, crafts and creativity can flourish. During our road trips (ROAD TRIP!!) to and from Toronto, she told me every detail of her plans, and she did it so fast and with so much excitement, she very nearly gave me vertigo.

Vintage treadle machine — just like the one my grandma taught me on.

And she made it happen! Amanda’s workshop, Atelier Fiber Arts, is a brand new addition to the Montreal sewing scene. Only the second of its kind in the city (the first being Espace Fabrik), it’s a multi-room space where anyone can have access to a sewing machine — vintage domestics and industrial. But AFA is not just for sewing; it’s for crochet, knitting, embroidering, and occasionally making a holy mess with soap.

Workshop room

Cutting table and lockers

Industrial machines for the hard core sewists

She designed the studio with the sewcialites in mind. Those of us who love to sew but don’t want to do it alone. People like me who love to be around others while I work. And that’s why I need my friends to come meet me there so we can sew and chat, and not pay attention to where the needle is, and oops!

Watch the… no, don’t watch the needle!

You know how we all love to rearrange our creative space and move the furniture around? Well, Amanda is still doing that to find the optimal arrangement. While she’s crawling about on the floor and climbing ladders, the workshop is already open with machines to rent by the hour, and beginner sewing and specialty craft classes already happening.

Quilting Design Wall

As dearly as I love the concept (and that it’s my friend doing it), I have to wonder: do spaces like this exist in other places around the world? If not, why? With all the chaos and upheaval going on in our lives, don’t we grown-ups need a space to go and play around with sharp objects? Places where we don’t have to cut fabric on the floor with our pets helping?

Amanda has thrown her heart, soul, savings, and love of all things crafty into making this dream happen for a lot of us. Do you have a business like this in your area? Do you use it? Would you open one if you had the support of your community? Let me know what you think of this idea.


Marsha Law Sig2

PS. Join the Atelier Fibre Arts Facebook group here.



The Good Shears
Canada 150 — It's in the Bag


  1. That’s amazing! I wish you success, Amanda!

  2. Fabulous!

  3. I love this idea. For years I’ve been wishing for a sort of “crafting equipment library” where people like me could try out, use and borrow equipment that tends to be expensive. After all, you never know if you’d want to continue with the craft or you might outgrow something (don’t ask me how I know). Maybe some day I can make it happen…

    • I would love to see you make that a reality. In the meantime, you could do what a few of us in Montreal have done. We started a Facebook group for craft exchange. We trade supplies and equipment with one another.

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