Hobby leads to business

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By John Barnhart

    Laura Credle, owner of Star City Stitchery has been sewing since she was a child. Her grandmother taught her to sew and her grandfather, who owned a sewing machine repair business gave her her first sewing machine when she was eight.

    Credle has long loved to quilt, which she described as “something I was good at.”
    Her love of quilting led to her business, Star City Stitchery. As it’s name suggests, the Roanoke native’s business started in Roanoke. She operated it out of her home before moving it to Bedford in 2014.
    Two things prompted her to move to her location in a historic building at 207 South Street. One reason for her move here was that, after four years, her business outgrew her home. The other reason is that she got married. She lived in Roanoke and her new husband lived in Lynchburg. Bedford is right in between, so she sold her Roanoke house and the couple came to Bedford.
    “We always rode our motorcycles through town and I thought, ‘What a sweet little town, I could live here!’”
    The shop’s location worked out well for her, too. The shop on Lawyers’ Row was available when she was ready to move, so she leased the space.
    The business grew out of a hobby and her desire to own a long arm quilting machine was the driving factor. It’s not your average sewing machine and the cost induced her to find a way to earn money from the machine to pay for it.
    A quilt consists of two sides. Once these are sewn, batting must be placed in the middle and the two sides sewn together. This is very cumbersome on a standard sewing machine because the quilter must run the quilt through the sewing machine. The machine is stationary and the quilt must be moved though it.
    This scenario is reversed with the long arm quilting machine. The fabric is stationary and the machine moves over it. The two sides of the quilt, with the batting between them is place on two rollers. The quilting machine is computer driven and is loaded with a stitching pattern which it stitches across a row of the quilt. Credle then rolls the quilt up to the next row and the machine stitches again across the quilt.
    Credle works with her customer to choose a pattern and thread color for the quilt. She has 52 thread colors and matches the pattern to what the quilter has used for the two sides. Quilters come to her because once they have the sewing done, they can’t get the whole quilt into a home sewing machine.
    Credle has expanded to sewing patches on uniforms and jackets “mainly for motorcycle clubs.”
    She new about the interest bikers have in having patches on their jackets because she and her husband are Harley enthusiasts. She has an industrial leather sewing machine that makes it possible to sew patches on leather jackets. This machine, made by TechSew, is also portable. She has a trailer and can take it to motorcycle related events and shows. It’s made in Canada. Credle said there are no machines like it made in the United States, although she has something that looks like the TechSew’s daddy in her shop. It’s a Singer sewing machine made in 1896 and its still works. The two machines look almost identical, with the main difference being the TechSew is powered by an electric motor while the Singer is powered by a foot treadle.
    Along with sewing patches on leather items, she can also make stitch repairs.
    She also sews patches on uniforms. She said she’s doing them for the Bedford Police Department and a local karate studio.
    Credle also has an embroidery machine.
    “I do very small embroidery projects for people,” she said.
    For more information about Star City Stitchery, call Credle at (540) 819-654.