Festivals & Events

The Sewist: A Haven for Sewing Enthusiasts in Saint John

Your Home for Sewing Projects

The Sewist in Saint John marks my latest encounter with sewing machines and their daunting bobbins, which have flitted in and out of my life since childhood.


In the 90s’s my siblings and I wore clothing mostly sewed by my mom and after that, in high school, I remember, very well, using my mom’s Singer sewing machine to make my own clothes; dresses more easily found in sewing patterns than clothing stores. It wasn’t until Covid-19 which coincided with my grandmother’s downsizing and subsequent move to community care that I got back into it with her old machine, with a vengeance.


In early 2020, I began not only saving every scrap of fabric that entered my sphere but I also attempted to turn them into patchwork fashions and home decor. It has been a process, involving swear words and even questioning my sanity when my apartment was once dedicated to piles of scrap fabric, all laid out on the floor (for the planet). My fabrics have been categorized by colour, then project, then fabric, then colour again. Many a stitch has been ripped for the flawless fashions that I’ll flaunt across Etsy to buyers around the globe.


Then my machine stopped working. When the man at the Saint John Sewing Centre informed me my grandmother’s sewing machine was too vintage to fix and that I’d need a new one if I wanted to finish what I started, I hit the Google and found The Sewist. Located on Water Street in Uptown, Saint John, The Sewist offers open studio sewing space to amateurs, like myself, and professionals.


I’ve only been sewing at this Saint John sewing studio several times and absolutely love the ambiance, friendly staff and variety of sewing tools on site, including over a dozen machines that simply purr (and perform). Admittedly, I was nervous at first to visit The Sewist because I thought my grandma's 1970s Singer sewing machine would be the only one I’d ever be able to use. It turns out I was SO wrong. These are the best sewing machines in Saint John. After a little bit of assistance setting up the bobbin (of course), I was left to cut, pin, sew, and repeat for my time slot of two hours. Heaven.


I’m still not sure what I’m making but its nice to know when I get an itch to stitch there’s a studio in Saint John with everything I need to make anything I want. When I decide to take my skills beyond tote bags and repairs, I’ll definitely sign up for one of the studio’s sewing classes and perhaps even revisit the Saint John, NB Sewing Centre for a machine of my own one day. The Sewist is all about inspiring individuals to get creative and make their own clothing, or flip vintage finds. My new skirt was a dress from the 1940s I found on Ebay. Besides sewing machines, The Sewist in Saint John has a small retail space that will soon grow to include fabric and clothing patterns so anyone can drop in off the street and make their own clothing.


Whether you have a sewing machine at home or not, The Sewist is a wonderful place to start, continue, or finish a project. When you start to wonder what you’re even doing, It’s nice to have the support and encouragement of the staff to cheer you on.