Sewing shop gets a refresh

Leisa Gattie-Thurmer has big plans for the shop formerly known as the Golden Thimble. She took over ownership of the downtown fabric and sewing store in March. She has renamed it the Bolt & Button.

Leisa Gattie-Thurmer has big plans for the shop formerly known as the Golden Thimble.

She took over ownership of the downtown fabric and sewing store in March. She has renamed it the Bolt & Button.

The previous owner, Dung Le, sold the shop so she could retire.

Gattie-Thurmer’s professional history is in teaching and fashion design.

For years she has been a part of textiles and fashion programs at Whitehorse high schools.

Her dream is to have a space that is part fabric store, part sewing school.

It’s a space that’s “busy and creative and fun,” said Gattie-Thurmer. “It’s a place to come and hang out and get inspired.”

Those familiar with the Golden Thimble won’t see any drastic changes. The store still offers alteration and repair services, and many of the same products.

But there will be new offerings, too.

“I’ve been slowly making some changes, rearranging and freshening up the stock, buying different lines of fabric and expanding on what was already here,” said Gattie-Thurmer.

The hot fabric right now is “anything with stretch,” she said, “drapey, whooshy fabric.”

Flowers, big prints, and bright colours are all in.

So is, surprisingly, camouflage canvas.

“I don’t know why that’s a big one.”

When Gattie-Thurmer was a teen in Whitehorse in the 80s, there wasn’t much going on in terms of fashion, she said.

She first turned to punk culture to express herself through clothing, she said. Eventually, she left the Yukon to study fashion design in Vancouver.

These days, the kids are still turning to sewing as a way to express their individuality, said Gattie-Thurmer.

And older generations are drawn to it because of an urge to “get back to grassroots of doing things for themselves,” she said.

It has more to do with a feeling of self-sufficiency and accomplishment than thriftiness.

“It used to be that it was cheaper to make your own clothes, but these days it’s not.

“It’s quite expensive, but people do it because they love the artwork and they love the design work and they love the satisfaction of creating something when they’re done.

The interest in the store has already been overwhelming, she said.

“I’m actually surprised by the amount of people I’ve met just in the last month who have a background in something to do with fashion or the arts or design. We’ve had some great conversations and they’re pretty excited to see new fabrics coming in that relate to interior design or garment construction.”

Soon, the store will begin to offer regular sewing classes. They will cover everything from the basics of getting to know your sewing machine to advanced sewing techniques.

Learning how to sew is rewarding for both student and teacher, said Gattie-Thurmer.

“I really like when people realize that they can do it. They think that it’s pretty complicated and hard. I start really simple and build on skills, and it’s pretty fun to see them go, ‘Oh my God, I did this.’”

Students can bring their own machines or rent time on one from the store.

Private and small group lessons will also be available.

Gattie-Thurmer wants to hear from the community about what they want to see in the store, she said.

If there’s an interest in a class that she’s not qualified to teach, Gattie-Thurmer will try and find someone who is, she said.

More information about the shop can be found at

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

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