"They can remember somebody in the family doing a handcraft, and that's coming back. They want that generational gap to be met. The more seasoned generation wants to be able to pass something along," she said.
Earlier this year, the Dunbar store became the first Jo-Ann's in the state to start offering classes, including quilting, sewing, knitting and crochet.
Store manager Courtney Parsons said they received a lot of inquiries about courses before the store started offering them. It was slow in the beginning, but now that people are aware, interest has picked up, she said.
Other storeowners offering classes in the area have noticed more interest in sewing as well.
Regina Sneed of Sneed's Vacuum and Sewing Center in Charleston said she's seen a younger set of customers, ages 25 to 45, who have never sewn before and want to learn. A majority are new mothers or recent homebuyers who want to know how to make children's clothes and how to sew pillows and curtains to decorate their homes, she said.
Julie Wirts, founder of The Dressmaker's Closet, also has seen an increase in inquiries for private and group sewing classes. She plans on bringing back a more diverse set of courses at multiple times a week in the winter and spring to meet the demand.
She also has provided private lessons to girls ages 10 to 12 at her store in Charleston for the past three or four years, and also teaches sewing at Charleston Montessori School to 9- and 10-year-olds.
Kids are always looking at a computer screen now, Wirts said. Sewing isn't offered much in school anymore; they don't have a lot of hands-on activities. Sewing allows them to work with their hands, she said.
"They get real satisfaction out of it. It gives them a sense of accomplishment."
That's what it's like for Hannah Duffield, 21, who lives in Wirt County. She's been sewing since her mom gave her a pillow to make when she was 5 or 6 years old.
Since then, she's sewn Civil War-era costumes for her family and church re-enactments; clothing for herself and her friends; and has started selling fancy hostess aprons, skirts and camera strap covers, among other things, to local shops and on Etsy.
"It gave me an outlet to use my imagination," she said. "I can watch a movie, see what the characters are wearing, start sketching what I wanted to do, and want to make it."
She has a lot of like-minded friends who sew too, and they bounce ideas off each other, but others she knows don't know how to sew and "wish they could, but they never had enough time or their mom didn't sew to teach them," Duffield said. "Really, a lot of people want to sew."
From the interest shown among younger generations and older ones as well, it looks like sewing will continue at least for a while.
Armstrong's daughter just finished sewing her first two pieces of clothing, and Moore has bought sewing machines for two of her daughters; her third is already asking when she's going to get one.
Duffield has the same plans for when she gets her own house and starts having children. She wants to teach her kids how to sew when they're young, and is looking forward to making tablecloths, runners, quilts and curtains to decorate her home. Maybe one day she'll even make a career out of it.
"If I could sew and make money, that's what I would do. I'd really enjoy that," she said.
Reach Emily McComas at 304-348-4882 or emilyay...@wvgazette.com.