Sew Charming named top quilt shop in Alabama for second consecutive year

Published 10:56 am Monday, April 15, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Local Clanton quilt shop Sew Charming is making waves after being named the best quilt shop in Alabama for the second consecutive year. The Local Quilt Shop Contest hosted by was created to showcase local quilt shops around the country, and to show people what they are designing and creating on a daily basis.

The contest is voted on by the general public, and each state names a winner who gains the highest vote tally. There is also a large international contingent with its own contest as well.

“It means a lot, and it is hard to put into words because people are so busy now, and when they take a minute out (of their time) to go online and vote, that is a good feeling,” Sew Charming owner Penny Smith said.

The contest announced the winners of the 2024 contest on its YouTube channel on March 13, and contest saw a 36% growth in votes from 2023 to 2024, increasing from 39,327 to 53,369. Sew Charming received 298 votes to win in Alabama, the 26th most votes in the contest out of the 2,246 quilt shops that received at least one nomination and vote. Smith, and her daughter Emily Hand who runs the shop with her, will travel to Chicago from April 30-May 3 to receive the award.

Started solely as an embroidery shop, Sew Charming has transformed into much more than that 10 years after opening its doors. Quilting and sewing was the main goal for Smith when she opened the shop, and Hand grew to enjoy the practice more and more as her mom introduced it to the store. The duo said they enjoy having people bring in their quilts and tell stories about it, like what it has been through or who in their family it belongs to, building relationships with people in the quilting community one at a time. Sew Charming also offers classes that are for all levels of quilters from beginners to experienced.

“A lot of people will come in here and say ‘I cannot quilt’ or ‘I wish I could quilt and knew how to,’” Smith said. “It is a passion of ours to teach others because a lot of people think it is so hard that they cannot do it. There are levels of it, but everyone can do it. We teach them and have fun with that.”

Hand added that she has seen an uptick in quilting since the shop opened as well, and the store has tried to capitalize on that by creating a YouTube channel that currently has over 33,000 subscribers. Hand and Smith post videos ranging from quilting tutorials, new product reviews and giving tips for quilters. The thought that people do not quilt anymore is a misconception in Smith’s opinion, and she believes people may be quilting more now than ever. In more classic quilting, people would use a singular quilt to work on. Nowadays, people are creating their own individual quilts.

Sew Charming celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a sale on April 5-6 that was a huge success. Some of the products had to be moved outside to accommodate the large crowd that showed up.

The shop also has both of its “Craft-A-Cropolis” events in partnership with Maymay Made It on the calendar in 2024, bringing together two of the biggest hobby shops in Alabama at one central place. In the past, visitors from out of state have been more prevalent than in state at the event, and people have traveled as far as Alaska, California and Arizona to attend. The first “Craft-A-Cropolis” is from June 25-28 at Jefferson State Community College Chilton-Clanton Campus, and the second is from October 22-25.

Sew Charming Quilt Shop can be found on all social media platforms.