Long Arm Quilting
Local Business thrives on stitching
Royalty Stitches provides expert stitches when it comes to quilting, sewing, upholstery or practically anything that needs a stitch or two. From indoor to outdoor, specialty dresses, custom home decor, Bill and Regina Shannon handle it all with state of the art stitching machines.
How would you describe your business?
Bill does the business part; Regina does the sewing part. It’s a little bit of everything. Alterations, upholstery, quilting – anything with a sewing machine we can do. Cushions – indoor and outdoor – seem to be the most popular item we do. Everybody has outdoor furniture; they bring the cushions, we tell them how much fabric to buy, then we put it on as they wish. In that way, they get exactly what they want.
We also reupholster furniture – chairs, couches, even little rocking chairs for kids – they’re so cute. Grandmas love us!
What’s your background; how long have you been in business here?
We moved here from Chicago; we’ve lived here only a year and a half and just started our business over a year ago. As for background, I’ve been sewing since I was 16 years old. I made my graduation dress and the next day I was maid of honor in my sister’s wedding and I made that too. If it can be done with a needle and thread, I can do it. We do alterations – everything from dresses to pants to suits – it’s a good customer base that’s growing. I actually altered a dog collar – I can even do leather. We probably did 65 alteration jobs in the first year; they are definitely repeat customers. I’m their sewing lady!
Tell me about the quilting – what is long arm quilting?
It is literally putting together what we call the quilting sandwich. There are three pieces – the top, the batting in the middle and the back. You mount the three pieces on a fixed frame; the sewing machine is on a transom that moves over the frame. Many long-arm quilters do what’s called free-motion or guided quilting. The difference with us is that we do computerized quilting; the computer literally runs the pattern. The computer tells the sewing machine what pattern to make on a row by row basis. You can pick from a library of 1000+ patterns – or combine several patterns to make your own.
Also, because of the computerization, you could actually take a quilt that’s damaged and tell the computer to go to a particular spot to repair it. You can even sew patches on top of the quilt.
So the customer brings you the top and back pieces and you put it together with the stitch design?
Yes. Those beautiful quilting ladies in their clubs love to put the top together; then they select the backing they want, and we stitch the finished product. Quilters are often obsessed with the art – it’s relaxing. Sometimes you want the quilting to stand out, sometimes you want the stitch design to stand out. It’s an art form; you can create something with just two pieces of fabric and batting.
The quilting world is organized in guilds; we are in the process of reaching out to those locally. Many of the guilds do volunteer work – providing quilts for disabled vets and hospitals. In Brunswick County, for example, the guild in the Shallotte area provides a quilt to every baby born in the hospital there. I was told one child who got one as a baby is now four years old and is still tied to that blankie! You can be an important part of someone’s life and they don’t even know who you are.
How did you find the machine you use for long arm quilting?
We talked to a lot of people in the industry to determine if the business was viable. They said once people know you’re here, you’ll have more work than you know what to do with. We visited a number of quilt shops and they all had the machines to handle the work but were backlogged with several dozen quilts waiting to be done! We volunteer with a local long-arming quilter who also represents the company from whom we bought the machine. The manufacturer is a privately held company that has been in business for over 50 years and offers excellent training and support. That’s why we selected them.
What plans do you have as you grow your business and reach out to the community?
As we grow our business with our current services, we both love to think about other products for the future. For example, we’re both very passionate about the idea of developing disability-related products that are quality produced and more affordable – like the proper carrying case for an oxygen tank, or mastectomy apparel such as custom-fitted bathing suits. We’ve even come up with a name for it – “Disability Duds!”
The most important thing for me is to make a connection, to be able to help someone improve their appearance. For example, when someone is overweight or doesn’t like the way they look, and I make suggestions on alterations, to help something fit just right, they get excited about it. It makes me happy too; I feel like I’ve helped them feel good about themselves.
As for the community, we’re interested in supporting our local small businesses; that’s very important to us. We just look forward to growing our business as the area continues to grow.
Royalty Stitches NC Long Arm Quilting
Bill and Regina Shannon
1643 Pine Harbor Way