Facts from my life.
I have a full time corporate job. It’s pretty cool. I work with great people that have become wonderful friends and mentors. It’s not 40-hour a week job. It requires a bit more. Sometimes I have conference calls at 11 pm to Singapore. Sometimes I answer email from the UK at 4 am. But with anything it requires balance. And I have good balance there.
I have a part-time job. I burn a different type of energy at Times Ten Cellars than I burn at my corporate job. I get to be loud laughing, wine pouring, fun Nisha. And seriously, it doesn’t hurt that I love wine. Working there, gives me life. That’s the only way I can describe it. I’m only there once a week. But it takes a big chunk of my Saturdays.
I have a big family. I’m active in my local sewing guild. If you follow my Instagram you know I love fine dinning. I tell you this not to complain, but to explain why the idea of a sewing retreat appeals to me. I very rarely, if ever, get to spend a dedicated stretch of time sewing. If I do it’s usually on a Sunday, but even then, the time is fractured. I run errands that day and cook when I’m trying to be healthy. That isn’t very often. (LOL!)
When I heard about my ASG’s sewing retreat, I was all in. 3 days of uninterrupted sewing time. Sew, Sew, Sew … all the day long. Day 2 – repeat. Day 3 – repeat. Go home. The thought is so very appealing.
I get to have my first retreat experience from two sides. I’m part of the event planning team, and I get to attend as a participant.
The planning part was pretty easy. Securing a location and logistics emailing the participants. Well, there was a bit more involved, but once I got those things done, I could focus on being a participant.
As a participant, it’s a whole other ball game. The retreat is this coming weekend. Should I just pack up my whole sewing room? Bring all my patterns? Pack most of my fabric? That thought was a bit overwhelming. I pictured myself spending most of my time trying to organize and dig through boxes to find things. Not a very productive use of my three days. I needed a plan. I started where I usually start when making a plan. I made a list of the things I believed I needed to consider while planning.
- Sewing Room
- Sewing Projects
- Required Tools & Equipment
- Packing List
Since I’d never been to a sewing retreat, I googled to see what other people’s experiences were. One thing I found was a lot of people didn’t know what type of sewing environment they would be in. For example: How much sewing space would each person have? Are irons and ironing boards on site, or should they be packed? Since I was also retreat planner this clued me in on the fact that I needed to communicate exactly what people would have at their disposal.
For this retreat we planned 2-6ft tables for each sewist. There are also three designated cutting areas. We’ll have 16 attendees at this retreat, and we resolved the iron/ironing board issue by requesting volunteers bring them. We’ll have a total of 7 irons and ironing boards to share between all of the sewists.
I don’t have 12 feet of work space when I sew at home so I’m excited at the opportunity to really spread out and work. With this bit of information I also know I’ll be able to have my sewing machine and serger up ready to sew and I won’t have to bother with moving my machines around.
I did know that I would need to bring extension cords and a surge protector. And wireless access is always a bonus, that way if I needed to access techniques online, I can do it.
Selecting my projects was probably the most challenging part of the planning process. As I mentioned in my 2015 post I need to be more purposeful in what I sew. Adding clothing that will go into rotation and will be worn often.
I started out by going through all of my patterns … pulling out the ones I felt would be the most interesting to sew. I ended up with about 25 patterns. Next I needed to identify which of those patterns I could sew using the fabric in my stash. With my self-imposed budget restrictions for fabric, there would be no new fabric purchases for retreat. That reduced the number of patterns by half.
Whoo Hoo! I was more than half-way there! All that was left for me to do was select the pattern and fabrics I wanted to sew the most. That left me with about 6 projects. A bit aggressive for me. And I wonder how far I’ll get on them. I’m a slow sewer. Even slower when in a social situation. But at least I’m covered if my Super Hero Sewist Powers activate during retreat.
Required Tools & Equipment
Once I had patterns and fabric, I went through the detailed instructions of each to make a list of the notions and the tools or equipment I would need. Zipper foot. Edge foot. Bias tape. Buttons. Etc. At the end of this exercise, I had two lists. The first was my shopping list for notions. The second my tools and equipment packing list.
I wanted to be purposeful when packing. After purchasing my notions I packaged the pattern, fabric, and notions all together.
Now when I’m moving from project to project, everything is there in place.
Honestly I found several different packing lists on the web. But they were missing one or more of the items that I would need for my retreat. I ended up putting together the Blue Sunday Blog Retreat Packing List. It’s a list of personal items and sewing items. I distributed it to our retreat participants, I hope it was helpful to them. It definitely helped me stay organized.
Now I’m off to my very first sewing retreat. I’m so very excited. A bonus to being part of the planning team is I already know what’s in the goodie bags! (LOL!)
I’ll definitely let you know how efficient this planning process was, and if it paid off. Have you ever been to a sewing retreat? What was your experience?