Sewing Center expands to include art, quilting classes

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Innovation has led to new opportunities at Sandi’s Sewing Center, where owner Sandra Doherty has taken the entire street-level southeast corner of Franklin and Commerce streets and made new uses of the space.

Adding to an already successful shop that sells fabric, notions, patterns and sewing machines, Doherty has expanded to include an area where classes are taught in sewing, quilting, scrap-booking, smocking, decoupage and other art forms.

&uot;We think the classes will be great for the community,&uot; Doherty said. &uot;We’re growing. We’re expanding, and we expect to do anything to do with art right here.&uot;

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Working with Wendy White, who is coordinating the art classes, Doherty has plans that include providing art camps for children, as well.

&uot;Tammi Mullins is going to teach home decorating classes. Anyone else who wants to teach a class can come and talk to Wendy about it,&uot; Doherty said.

About 300 have signed up for various classes to date. However, classes are limited in size. &uot;We’ll have plenty of classes to accommodate everyone,&uot; Doherty said.

The idea is not only to provide classes for those who take them for fun and personal use but also for those who might move on to a career in making draperies, learning to upholster or taking other new skills to a new business.

&uot;They can open a little business, make extra income for the family,&uot; Doherty said. &uot;I’m encouraging people to get out there and learn these things.&uot;

Doherty will continue to make her popular dolls, some dressed in old-time Natchez costumes. And she wants to expand her own business in creating classic designs for children similar to designs created for the dolls.

With her expansion and bringing White into the space to teach classes &045;&045; along with the others who will be instructors &045;&045; Doherty sees her Natchez corner as one piece in an artists colony that downtown Natchez can house. She sees that as a way to bring more visitors and specialty tours to the area.

&uot;I feel we’re going to be a little artists community here. So many things can grow from this, such as quilters conventions and artists guilds meeting here,&uot; she said.

She pointed to the successful pottery business of local artist Conner Burns on Franklin Street, artist Erin Myers with her business Sun Moon and Stars at the corner of Main and Commerce and other Main Street business owners interested in promoting art classes and interests in downtown Natchez. &uot;There have been so many blessings to come my way since I moved downtown,&uot; Doherty said. &uot;The people involved downtown, the people I’ve met &045;&045; so many angels &045;&045; have made my faith grow stronger and stronger.&uot;

Anyone interested in signing up for a class should call for information or go by Sandi’s, 502 Franklin St.

In May, classes have included beginning sewing for children, beginning sewing for adults, 3-D quilting, beginner quilting, scrapbook organizing, beginner smocking, photo quilting and decoupage.