GLADE SPRING, Va. — When Stephen Curd was as young as 4, the comfort of his grandmother’s lap was one of his favorite places to be while he helped her pin and choose fabrics for sewing projects. It’s a skill that eventually led the Glade Spring businessman to create his own manufacturing apparel company, Lavelle Manufacturing, in her namesake.

Despite society’s dwindling interest in the craft, Curd wants to keep the art of sewing alive by offering beginner and intermediate classes for anyone who has a sewing machine but lacks the skills to use it properly.

Fewer people know how to sew these days, said Curd, which is different from a generation ago when children were routinely taught how to make clothing for the family.

“The story is similar across the board. Someone gets a machine to make pillows or drapes. After something minor happens to the machine that they do not know how to fix, the machine gets stored in the attic, where it sits for years,” said Curd.

The instructor invites people to dust off their sewing machines and join a growing number of people who want to learn to sew.

Participants must bring their own sewing machines to the Sewing 101 and 102 classes designed by Curd.

After introducing his first beginner sewing class at his store in the Glade Spring town square a few weeks ago, Curd will offer another beginner class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.

An intermediate class will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14, for those students who have completed the beginner class and want to continue building their skills.

During the first four-hour beginner course, participants learned basic information, such as how to care for the sewing machine, how to change a needle, what kind of thread to use, how to thread the machine and how to wind a bobbin.

“I teach students the five basic stitches, and at the end of the class, we make a small sewing project.

“I’m a collector of fabrics, many of them vintage fabrics,” said Curd. “Using the sewing techniques learned in class, the students get to choose fabric to make a small envelope pillow.

“Because every machine is different, I spend time with each student to ensure they know what to do once they leave the class.”

Curd created the Lavelle Sewing Bible for his students to take home, which is a folder containing references from each class instruction.

During the Sewing 102 class, participants will learn how to make button holes and install a zipper using their machines. If time permits, they will learn how to use attachments on their machines.

Curd plans to offer more advanced classes in the future, some of which may be taught on an individual basis.

All classes are $100 each. To register for the classes, contact Curd at 276-608-5594 or write to

“Sewing has taught me a lot about patience, and it has allowed my creativity to shine and soar,” Curd said.

“I wouldn’t be operating my own business today if it wasn’t for my grandmother and learning to sew by her side.”

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Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at

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