Monday, February 11, 2013

A Magical Sewing Weekend

I am diving into this whole blogging thing at last! I spent last weekend at a sewing workshop with Gretchen, from Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing, the whimsical and talented fabric designer Heather Ross, and 24 other seamstresses. How could I not talk about it!?

The Workshop

The workshop was a three-day affair at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA. It was idyllic and rustic and just perfect. It was also the first woman's camp in the country, I learned from Ranger Roxanne, where they taught women sewing and typewriting skills. So it was pretty spot on for this group. 

That's a picture from because I was too busy sewing to take proper pictures of the venue.

The Pattern 

Since Gertie was going to be in attendance, I wanted to sew something from her new book. I selected the Shirtwaist Dress because (a) I love shirtwaist dresses, and (b) the elastic shirring and fit of a button down made me feel nervy.  I will tell you after the fact, though, that shirring is not hard at all (just put elastic thread in the bobbin) and it has the added bonus of making your dress feel like sweat pants without looking like them. 

A few weeks before the workshop, I found out that Katrina, of Susie Homemaker MD, would be joining us and sewing the pattern as well. So we helped each other out with the muslin as we went along. It was so nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of! 

I ended up doing two drafts of the bodice in muslin form. Fitting patterns for sewing is such a testament to me of the importance of a good fit. 

Draft 1 (your right) and 2 (your left). Moving those pleats down and adjusting the darts made me look like I lost 15 pounds! So I went and ate another girl scout cookie. 

The Women 

All the women were just so wonderful. My mother came along for the trip to read and enjoy the scenery, and she just kept saying, "Sewing people are such good people." 

Gretchen was so sweet and such a great teacher. She kindly brought along her shirtwaist dress, and it was damned exciting to get to look at her construction details. Heather Ross was an amazing host and equally exceptional teacher. We also had a professional seamstress in our midst, who put the loveliest details on her clothes (oh the ric rac edging!). It was also so wonderful to meet Katrina and sew with her in person as well! I find it's always good to meet people in person that you've given all your measurements to.

Now I'll Stop Gushing and Just Show You More Pictures

 Drinking champagne and sewing by the fire. Can't complain. 

 With Gretchen! Sewing is fun and funny. 

Completed shirtwaist dress. I got the fabric on a recent family vacation to Hawaii. So bright and cheery!

Now comes the crucial question - what to sew next?!


  1. Oh! Your trip sounds fantastic, and your dress is lovely! I'm so excited to see you blogging!

  2. Sorry I'm so late to visit! Your blog is awesome and you are so cute!! You have been sewing up a storm. Unfortunately, I don't have much to show for my time :(

    Will catch up via email soon...