“Why did she make things? Well she enjoyed it of course; but it also somehow helped her remember who she was and where she came from.” Anonymous
Sewing is both a solitary and a collaborative art — and Modern Textiles in Fargo has you covered, no matter how you choose to create.
Owners Roxanne Beauvais and Connie Biselx are two of the leaders in Fargo-Moorhead’s modern crafting renaissance and their sharp eye for color and passion for sewing spills over into their welcoming (and surprisingly large) boutique store in downtown Fargo.
If you want to shop and work at home, you’ll find patterns, books, notions and a variety of fabrics.
Connie and Roxanne’s carefully edited fabric selection is a love letter to pattern and color.
The ever-changing selection of muted ombres, clean geometrics, splashy florals, smart stripes and quirky prints are inspiring to look at, even if you’re not shopping for a particular project.
Modern Textiles is a fabric shop, but it’s hardly utilitarian.
Bright bolts of fabric are lovingly displayed and wall and tabletop tableaus are crafted with a curator’s eye. The long tables and shelves full of books invite you to grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile.
The selection always feels contemporary and special — like you’ve discovered something new. A variety of fabrics are available, including knits, dressweight, flannel, linen, felt, home decor fabric and quilting cotton.
And their well-appointed play area was a godsend for my squirmy little guy. We walked in the door and two minutes later he was happily banging toys together and I was free to roam. They even offer occasional storytime sessions/sanity savers for busy parents.
(No, Modern Textiles is definitely not just for women. In fact, there were three customers in the shop the last time I stopped in — and they were all men.)
I also love their selection of sweet and interesting kids’ fabric.
When we were shopping for Eli’s room it was impossible to find interesting fabric for his nursery. Everything was either saccharine sweet or generic and the only truly gender neutral options were always in unflattering shades of yellow or pea green.
Modern Textiles counters this experience with a range of cute and colorful prints that will appeal to little ones and bigger kids. (And lots of grown-up kids I can think of.)
There is absolutely no baby pink in my house, yet I totally want to make something with this pirate fabric.
If you’d rather connect with a community of creators instead of working on your own, Modern Textiles have a great classroom space that’s equipped with eleven sewing machines and everything you need to make your next project a reality.
They have a list of fun classes on their calendar where you can learn to make things like this cute little Origami Drawstring Bag and or try this patchwork hexie technique.
If you’re new to sewing, they offer Sewing 101 courses for both adults and kids, where participants can learn basic terminology and techniques and take a completed project home with them. More advanced creators can work learn the art of quilting, make a fashion-y cowl scarf or create a skirt.
The classes are one-day events and participants register and pre-pay online, so they’re a great choice for busy people and visitors to the area who are looking for a unique Fargo-Moorhead experience, a great story and an original souvenir.
Modern Textiles also offers Open Sew sessions and a 2 1/2 hour Sew In where you can bring in your garment or project for hands-on help with patterning or technique questions.
As someone who learned to sew collaboratively, I think this is a fantastic idea.
My Grandma Underlee taught me to sew when I was ten or eleven and (perfectionist that I am) I don’t think I would have stuck with it if it weren’t for her guidance and reassurance. (And strategic cookie breaks when I got frustrated.)
The classes at Modern Textiles offer those same benefits to a new community of creative souls. I think people are more apt to take a chance and learn something new when they know they have someone there to help. And if they don’t have to invest a lot of money or time, then there’s more freedom to create (and even mess up a little) while still having a good time.
Making it a social occasion makes it even more fun.
I worked for costume designers all through college and in summer stock theatre and sometimes I miss the quiet hum of productivity in the costume studio — the music playing in the background, murmured conversation and the comfortable feeling of commaradierie as a half dozen heads sat bent over their projects.
We were alone, yet together and at the end of the day, we had created something out of nothing, order out of chaos (and there was usually plenty of chaos).
And that’s always a magical feeling.
17 S 7th St Suite 202
Fargo, ND 58103
Bus: Routes 14 and 15
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
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