By Kathryn Menue


On the luminous morning of Monday, Feb. 6, Sunshine Stitches, located at 1490 N. State St. in Belvidere, held their celebratory opening at 10 a.m.

The vividness of the morning sun carried inside Sunshine Stitches with smiling faces of Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce members, city officials, sewers, and quilters gathering into the store to help owner Shelley Johnson commemorate the ribbon cutting event.

“This is exciting,” Johnson said clasping her hands together as she smiled on at the community’s support.

The moment was extra sweet for Johnson since she got to open up her business in the community she grew up in and loves.

“It’s great to have Shelley opening this store here – old time Belvidere girl,” Mayor Mike Chamberlain said.

Johnson grew up in Boone County, went to North Boone High School, raised her kids in Boone County, where one child attended Belvidere High School and the other attended Belvidere North High School.

“It’s nice to have a local open a local business,” Matt Branom, President of the Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce Board, said.

She came back to Boone County to open Sunshine Stitches on Jan. 1, 2017, after Johnson bought out the old store, The Notions Nook, which came to Belvidere a year ago.

Once the transition stage from The Notions Nook to Sunshine Stitches was complete, Johnson decided to celebrate with a ribbon cutting.

“I wanted to open with a soft opening – get the kinks worked out before kicking things off,” Johnson said.

Now that everything is running smoothly, Sunshine Stitches has a lot to offer the community.

Sunshine Stitches has fabrics, specialty items such as 1930s Civil War and 1800s reproduction fabrics, quilting and sewing services, crafts, books, rewards programs, classes, and long arm quilting services.

For those who think that they can’t learn how to sew or quilt, Johnson has other news for them.

“We have classes,” Johnson said. “We can teach you.”

Once students have an understanding of what they are doing, they are welcome to join another Sunshine Stitches specialty, the sew-ins program.

The sew-ins occur every day where sewers gather and work on their projects in the back half of the store. Some sewers stay all day, some stay for a few hours. All of them come to complete their projects and enjoy great company in the process.

“A whole group of women come in every day and sew,” Johnson said. “It’s a great social time.”

The sew-ins are for all levels of sewers, from beginners to experts. Once a month, Sunshine Stitches will provide lunch for the avid sewers.

Starting in March, Sunshine Stitches will host sew-in lock-in parties, where they’ll lock the doors, sew, enjoy pizza, snacks, and conversation.

For those who don’t want to learn how to sew, but want high-quality craft and fabric items, they can come to the store and pick out great gift items.

To check out Sunshine Stitches, come during business hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Customers also can go online to to shop, find out more information about the store, and look at the calendar of events for upcoming classes.

For more information, Like Sunshine Stitches on Facebook, call (815) 323-5022, or email