Upon entering Sew to Speak, your eye will speed along the many shelves of fabric, taking in the rainbow of bright colors and popping patterns. Feelings of energy and enthusiasm will follow.

Upon entering Sew to Speak, your eye will speed along the many shelves of fabric, taking in the rainbow of bright colors and popping patterns. Feelings of energy and enthusiasm will follow.

You won't find stodgy curtain fabric here. The Clintonville shop's selection is, in a word, cheery - bright floral, polka-dotted and bold-patterned fabrics best suited for creating apparel, accessories and home decor.

Books and patterns feature trendy, cutesy designs and show glamorized photos of young women working intently on sewing machines.

The shop draws a young, mostly female crowd excited about making something useful with their own two hands, owner Anita Bowman said.

"It's neat because when I learned to sew, everything had to look perfect and ready-made. But now, it doesn't matter if things are off, it still looks creative," Bowman said. "I have a lot of customers who are just willing to try something."

The business has been open for one and a half years, and Bowman figures about half the people who walk through her front door are doing so for the first time. After wandering around for a few minutes, most can't help but want to learn to sew, she said.

For those who need a little help, Sew to Speak offers beginner sewing classes covering machine and hand-stitching basics. Classes, taught by area experts, are offered some weekdays and Saturday mornings and also cover advanced techniques.

"We have so many people interested in beginner's classes," Bowman said. "It's, like, the thing to do right now."

Sew to Speak's secret to success, Bowman said, is her daughter, April Rhodes, who helps with the fabric selection and maintains the shop's blog. Coming soon is an online store, which will make the shop's selection available for shipping across the country.

Although the fun is (mostly) in the fabric, Sew to Speak also offers cute ribbons and other trimmings, plus basics like needles and thread. While most shoppers are looking for supplies and inspiration, a few completed baby-related items are available on consignment from a local crafter.