My First Sewing Retreat – Am I in for Another?

My last blog post was about how I was planning to attend a sewing retreat. A few weeks later here’s my post-retreat analysis.  I don’t want to give you a blow by blow of the weekend … something along the lines of … Thursday I arrived at 1 pm and began to set up my sewing space.  Everyone was really nice.    Blah, blah, blah, blah.  So on, and so forth.  That sounds boring to me … and I’m doing the typing.

With that, as simple and straight-forward as I can make it … here are the pros of attending a sewing retreat.

Pro – Location, Location, Location … Space, Space, Space

This retreat was sponsored by the Plano Chapter of the American Sewing Guild and was held in Waxahachie, TX.  When I was checking in I was told we were technically in the country.  Maybe it was country by Texas standards?  To me … 40 minutes to civilization (civilization = the closest food) is country.  We weren’t in the middle of downtown Dallas, but there were two cities just a 5-15 minute drive away – depending on if you were driving east or west.  We were at the Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center and the setting was beautiful.  Green trees, lake, a walking path, outdoor areas to get your vitamin D.

The retreat center offered several  for options for lodging.  I was happy this retreat offered lodge rooms.  Two advantages:  (1)  The rooms were a lot like hotel rooms.  I opted for a single room and it was equipped with TV, phone, and clean towels every day.  If I needed privacy it was just a short walk down the hall because, (2) Our sewing space was in the same building as our rooms.

We had an IMMENSE amount of sewing space to spread out and work.  The spacing was just right.  I could talk to my neighbor without having to yell.  But the people around me were so far away, I couldn’t really hear their conversations.  Several of us were able to watch Netflix and movies while working without disturbing those around us.

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There were even larger areas that could be used for quilting or for cutting out patterns.

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An example of the larger working areas. Here the Plano ASG Chapter President is showing everyone how to use these fabulous Eat, Sleep, Sew, Retreat iron on transfers she made for everyone!

Another contributing factor to a comfortable sewing space was the number of attendees.  If there were 40 people attending this retreat, we would have been packed in like sardines.  With of total of 15 women, there was plenty of space to spread out!  Probably too much space for 15 of us.  But everyone was thankful for every square inch we had to ourselves.

Pro – Socializing & Sewing

I’m a people person.  I admit it.  I even like people that don’t like people.  And because life  is just so busy … I really wanted to focus on sewing during the retreat.  Going in … I was concerned, would I be able to get anything done?  Or would I be so focused on socializing and chatting it would be a wasted weekend.

I didn’t need to worry because this retreat was a perfect balance of socializing and working.  Every single woman was focused … everyone was there to sew.  But we still socialized.  There was a balance, which coming from my corporate environment, I know can be very difficult to strike.  But somehow we had it.

There were a few group activities that pulled us together.  They were along the lines of … participate if you want.  When you want.  How you want.  With that kind of freedom we could pull away from our projects and participated as a break whenever we felt like it.

I mention one of the activities above – the EAT, SLEEP, SEW, RETREAT iron on transfers.  Those were a lot of fun.  I elected to highlight mine with hand stitching around the lettering. I like how it turned out and will probably wear it more often than not.

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The next activity was painting a drop cloth that will be at specific ASG events throughout 2015.  Members will continue to draw, paint, and stencil on it.  Once it’s filled with pictures anyone that would like will be able to take a piece of it to incorporate into something they are making.  Here’s a few photos to show how talented some of these ladies are!

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The hot mess above is my contribution. Thankfully Susan rescued me by giving her boobs and angel wings.

This drop cloth is going to be interesting and it will be interesting to watch it evolve throughout the year.

Pro – Help, Ideas, & Knowledge Sharing

I talk myself through my sewing problems.  Do you do that?  There the thing trying to solve your own sewing problems.  I’m usually wrong … 100% of the time.  One of the best things about retreat …  asking a question and getting a knowledgeable answer.  Ha!

I packed a notebook and paper to make note of pattern adjustments etc..  But most of what I wrote down were the tips and techniques from other attendees. Everything from fabric stores I’d never heard of to how to plot my size on a Burda pattern. It was FANTASTIC to take 10 steps and ask someone a question.

And there’s no line between quilters and garment sewers.  At least no line for me.  I learned just as much from the ladies quilting as from my fellow garment sewists.  And seriously you have to admire the patience it takes to put together those tiny pieces of fabric together to create art!

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From sewing stores I’d never heard of to pattern companies I’d never explored.  I received a wealth of information that I will continue to use as I continue to learn and grow.

Biggest Pro of All – Dedicated Sewing Time

Overall – this was a wonderful experience, and I loved, loved, loved every moment of it.

Here was the biggest benefit for me personally.  The fact that I had time that was dedicated to nothing else other than sewing.  I didn’t have this battle in my head of other things that are more important that I should be doing.  I didn’t feel guilty.  Not one time when I sat in that room did I think … I should check my email.  I should really work for another hour tonight.  My friends are hanging at Capital Grille having a decent (and probably very good) dinner and I’m eating popcorn, drinking Pinot and sewing.  Well, that last one I usually don’t feel very guilty about.  But you understand where I’m going don’t you?

For that reason alone … it was worth every minute.

I compiled a few things you may want to consider if you’re going on a sewing retreat.

Sewing Retreat Considerations

  • Know the type of sewing space you’ll have to work in.  It may not be worth you packing  your sewing room and traveling to a spot where you’re crammed and uncomfortable.  And seriously, you may not have space for everything you’ve packed anyway.
  • Know your accommodations and if they are something you’re comfortable with.  Food was included for this retreat.  My room was spacious and comfortable.
  • Know what’s on the agenda.  Are there group activities are will your time be your own?  Nocturnal?  How late will you be able to sew?  Early riser – How early will the sewing room open?

You’re probably thinking two things.  Okay Nisha, you’ve given me the pros.  What are the cons?  Cons – I really didn’t have any.  I guess when you’re a newbie and really don’t know what to expect anyway … it’s hard to define where anything was lacking.

Would I attend another retreat?  Absolutely if it has the sewing space and lodging that I’m looking for.

I’m sure, you want to know what I made.  Of course I’m going to save that for a post in the very near future!  There’s more to come, a new sewing adventure is on its way!

Nisha

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6 responses to “My First Sewing Retreat – Am I in for Another?

    • …and…I need to have my own sewing retreat here at home…finish my winter skirts before spring arrives…although that will be a happy day!!!

      • Hi Judi! That’s a great idea. And maybe that’s a good strategy for me. Literally blocking off a whole weekend for nothing but sewing!! That’s a great approach, I think I’ll try it. Good luck on finishing off those skirts! We just received an icy blast here in Dallas! Winter skirts are still much needed! 🙂

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