Think Outside the Store

As of July 31, 2014, the Think Outside the Store studio space in downtown Silver Spring is closed. I will be offering adult beginning sewing classes again in January at space 88 in Silver Spring. If you are looking for additional sewing classes in the area, I also highly recommend Bits of Thread sewing studio in Adams Morgan.

Sarah Gingold Think outside the store logo

Think Outside the Store is a wearable art studio in downtown Silver Spring where local residents can explore alternatives to store-bought fashion. We provide everything you need to make and model your own unique, eco-friendly clothing, jewelry, accessories, as well as opportunities to make your own toys, doll clothes, quilts and household items. We offer:

Beginner sewing classes: Never sewn before? That's ok! We can teach you everything you need to get started.

Personalized sewing sessions: Learn at your own pace through a progression of personalized workshops, or get personalized help with your own projects. Opportunities exist to use the studio with or without instruction.

Workshops: Our sewing, jewelry making, quilting, and doll making workshops are designed so that participants can complete a project in one afternoon, with a focus on upcycling used materials. Check the events calendar for scheduled sessions or contact one of our instructors to set up an appointment for an individual or group.

Eco-friendly materials: The studio space provides hand tools, foot-pedaled sewing machines, and a variety of salvaged sewing and jewelry-making materials for use during sewing sessions and workshops.

Fun with photography: If you want to model your creations, we've got colored fabric backdrops and basic studio lighting for you to play with.

Sewing/craft parties: Looking for something fun to do with your friends? Host a sewing or craft party at a fully equipped wearable art studio.

Custom and handmade clothing and accessories: Don't want to make it yourself? We can make custom designs by request.

Photography and Digital Design Services for Craft Vendors: Since Think Outside the Store encourages consumers to look beyond mass manufactured products and buy creative products instead, we also help local handcraft businesses promote their products to these customers. We know that because so many purchases today are made online, handcraft vendors need quality images and web content to compete in the digital marketplace—but often don’t have the budget to hire design professionals at market rates. That is why we provide affordable photography services, and partner with local design professionals to provide affordable digital design and marketing services tailored specifically to the needs of local craft vendors, and focus on teaching vendors how to use low-cost digital tools themselves; so they can make their awesome products look as awesome as they are online! Check out our Photography and Digital Design Services for more information.

Want to learn more? Watch a Mini-Documentary by Docs in Progress about Think Outside the Store!

Why Think Outside the Store?

The mass manufactured and marketed items available in retail stores weren't made to fit you--your size, your style or your social values. When you think outside the store, your clothes can be anything you want them to be!

Who we are

photo by Elissar Khalek

Sarah Gingold

Founder/Clothing Artist

Sarah Gingold began making her own clothes in high school as a form of self-expression. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, she read "The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy" and developed an interest in studying how clothing affects world culture and politics. In January 2009, while researching water issues at an advocacy nonprofit, she made a New Years resolution to make all of her own clothes, and to make them as eco-friendly as possible. She invested in a foot-pedaled sewing machine and began sewing, thrifting and swapping with a passion, focusing on using simple sewing techniques to restyle old articles of clothing. She is still working on it.

In 2011, she opened Think Outside the Store to share her love of clothing art, and provide inspiration for socially conscious clothing-lovers in the D.C. area. You can buy her handmade items at the Think Outside the Store etsy shop.

Collaborating artists

Jacqueline Bryant Campbell (a.k.a. "Jackie")

Quilt Artist and Doll Creator

Jacqueline Bryant Campbell is a former economist who now creates art quilts and cloth dolls. She started quilting because she bought three yards of a very cute ballerina print and then realized she had no idea what to do with it. Reluctantly at first, Ms. Campbell learned to quilt, but soon discovered that cutting up perfectly good fabric to create pictures satisfied her need to create.

The dolls came later, when her then-five-year-old daughter asked her to make a doll. Knowing nothing about doll-making, Ms. Campbell persevered until she developed doll patterns that did not result in floppy necks. Today, Ms. Campbell produces Jacq’s Girls, a line of customizable handmade cloth dolls.

Ms. Campbell is currently working on a children’s book series. She lives in Washington, DC with her very supportive husband and two children, all of whom are now used to fabric scraps festooning the floors in their home.

Jamillahphoto by Elissar Khalek

Jamillah Abdullah

Jewelry Designer

Jamillah Abdullah is an independent artist in Silver Spring who joined Think Outside the Store in 2011. She specializes in jewelry design, but has been sewing and crafting since the age of thirteen.

Jamillah is a part-time art tutor and has been teaching since 2006. She received her BFA in Art Management from Marymount University.

Jamillah is the instructor for the "Jewelry with Jamillah" workshop series at Think Outside the Store. She teaches wire and bead jewelry making techniques, as well as sewing methods that can be used to make jewelry out of fabric. You can check out her blog and see more examples of her work at Jamillah's Jems.

Special thanks to

CREATE Arts Center for the space and support, Scrap DC for being a great source of reused fabrics and sewing supplies, Jonathan Flores for the logo design, and Trevor Moore for the website design. Most of all thank you to Mark and Janet Gingold for the constant love and support.

Think Outside the Store in the news/blogosphere

Lower your carbon footprint, create eco-friendly clothing Silver Spring Patch, 9-22-2011

Silver Spring entrepreneur patches together new business The Gazette, 10-05-2011

Recycle 'old' costumes at Halloween costume swap Silver Spring Patch, 10-22-2011

Visiting the flower avenue holiday market Just Up the Pike, 12-1-2011

Fabric jewelry workshop comes to Silver Spring The Gazette, 12-7-2011

Out and About: Weekend Picks dcist, 5-18-2012

Art Beat with Sean Rameswaram, May 18 WAMU 88.5 FM, 5-18-2012

Cutting Edge Silver Chips (Blair High School Newspaper, print version), 10-10-2012

Local shops welcome Small Business Saturday The Gazette, 11-20-2012

Book club: Self Sufficiency DC Ecowomen blog, 12-5-2012

Re:boutique Part 2 SCRAP DC blog, 12-22-2012

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG, June 4, 2013

Costumes for Fringe Festival play reviewed on My Civil War Review DC Theater Scene website, 7-15-2013

Teams compete to out-sew in fair fashion competition, The Gazette, 8-13-2013

Wearable art, Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire Blog, 9-2013

Project Blue Wrap, and Project Blue Wrap Fall Collection 2013,, Fall 2013.

"My Stuff: Sew it goes." Bethesda Magazine, November/December 2013 Print Edition.

Sew a Valentine Open Studio, Washington Post Going Out Guide, February 2014.

FREE Art Wednesdays: New pARTnership Sparks Creativity in Downtown Silver Spring,, Feb 3, 2014.

Free Art Wednesdays Gets Kids Thinking Beyond Paint by Numbers, Silver Spring Independent, March 4, 2014.

For more thoughts on thinking outside the store, you can also check out Sarah's blog on the Silver Spring Patch