Sew Much Fun, 7801 Veterans Parkway in north Columbus, has a motto: "Sew Many Friends, Sew Many Blessings, and We have Sew Much Fun." It's easy to believe that when you visit the large, cheerful space and talk to owner Lain Stowe for a few minutes.
Stowe describes her shop as "a different kind of business," adding, "This is a destination place, kind of a ministry." Many patrons drop in to find peace, to rest and relax. Some come in just to visit Stowe's dog, who is a constant presence in the shop.
"Our customers are good people; they're very unselfish," Stowe said.
This is evidenced in part by all the charity work they do through the shop. For example, every year they make Christmas pillowcases for everyone at Columbus Hospice and for some of the area nursing homes, Stowe said.
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"One year, we did over 500 pillowcases at Christmas," she added. "It brightens the patients up. Customers make them, we make them -- sometimes people buy kits to make them and we sew them up."
Last year, they made quilts for the Hope and Dreams Challenge for ALS in honor of Don Stephens, who suffered from the condition known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Some 148 quilts were donated for that cause, making Sew Much Fun the number one shop for donations in the United States.
In 2010, they made adult-sized bibs, taking on the challenge of making 2,010 bibs, Stowe said. Every nursing home in town received bibs, which were made with cheerful prints, such as beautiful florals, golf and baseball themes. The bib project was a $20,000 project, Stowe said. They held sit-and-sews for the bibs to be made.
They always donate a quilt to Columbus Hospice's Denim and Diamonds fund-raiser to be auctioned off, as well as making quilts of valor, donating to the March of Dimes and Children's Miracle Network, to name a few.
"We try to make quilts for whomever calls and asks -- local charities," Stowe commented.
The focus right now is making pillowcases for Christmas. On July 13, the shop turned into Christmas in July. All the wall décor was Christmas-themed. In September, days will be set aside for making pillowcases. Stowe said that if people want to help but don't sew, they can donate money or purchase a kit and someone will make the pillowcases. Sew Much Fun has customers from out of town who will drop off a bag full of pillowcases, she added.
Stowe has been in the sewing business since 2004. Sew Much Fun is primarily a quilt shop, with more than 7,000 bolts of fabric. They also sell sewing machines and notions and offer classes. They do embroidery and quilting. One popular item is the T-shirt quilt, where people bring in T-shirts they've collected throughout the years and the Sew Much Fun team makes a quilt out of the shirts.
Sew Much Fun is the only certified Judy Niemeyer quilt shop in Georgia, which means they're certified to teach a certain method.
Stowe has always had sewing as a hobby, although she has a degree in piano. She turned her hobby into a job and hasn't looked back.