Monday, March 14, 2016

Sewing Camp

I spent last weekend at Happy Valley Conference Center, sewing up a storm in the company of about 50 other ladies. Speaking of storms, an El Nino fueled event lumbered through the area while we were there, keeping us inside and productive. That's why I'm not posting endless pictures of the glorious redwoods and the spring flowers

The event was organized by a nifty lady named Jen Namba. A long weekend in the redwoods with good food, good company and lots of space to let your creativity flow. What could be better?

The event was a happy mix of crafters. Most folks were scrap bookers; a new world to me. Holy cow, do they ever have a plethora of fascinating materials and tools!

I was in the Quilting Room. My friend Jessica and I were the only garment makers in attendance that weekend. The rest of the crew were quilters, busily making amazing things.

Besides a well-stocked snack table and a constant supply of coffee, tea and hot cocoa, the Quilt Room offered a communal cutting table, a bunch of large cutting mats, rulers and rotary cutters and three irons with large pressing boards. I'm used to doing my cutting out while crawling around the floor in the spare bedroom, so this felt like quite a luxury. Each person also got their own 6-foot table to set out your sewing machine, serger or what-have-you.

Large cutting table! Snack table in the background.
I began the weekend by producing a wadder of a Watson bra (a.k.a. the Wadson or the Bra-dder). I had sized up, which looks like it was a bad idea. Plus, I was a bit too laissez faire in my cutting out. Little inaccuracies add up to big trouble in the world of bra making. The Man gave me a pep talk afterwards, though, so I'm not giving up on lingerie yet.

Incidentally, I had been feeling pretty good about my improving accuracy in prepping my sewing projects. Let me tell you, there's nothing like spending a weekend with some top-notch quilters to teach you what accuracy really means. Those guys are phenomenal. Look at this beautifully pieced quilt top:

Oh, and by the way, it's smaller than a piece of letter-sized paper:

All done on the cutest little Featherweight you could imagine:

And look at this baby quilt:

I told the maker she should finish it with the back side showing so the public could admire all her perfectly matched and pressed little seams.

I recouped from my Wadson by finishing a wool jacket and a woven tee, both to be reviewed soon. Here's the jacket collar getting rolled. See the quilt on the board in the background?

Jacket collar being rolled
Here's another shot at the end of the weekend. Jacket finished and quilt top zooming right along.

Jessica finished three tee shirts, a Marcy Tilton jacket and a pair of knit pants. Not to mention piecing her first ever quilt top!

Yes, Jessica got sucked into the quilting vortex. Well, me too. We saw some gorgeous stuff this weekend. We're planning on attending the next meeting of the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild.

And! We sucked our Quilt Room Leader into garment sewing! Here's Karen (a.k.a. Capitola Quilter) in her brand new Renfrew, which she made from start to finish on our last day.

This is THE most accurately cut and constructed tee shirt of all time. The quality work shows in the fit, right?

If you're in the Santa Cruz area, do yourself a favor and check these events out. It's a totally good time!


  1. Between you and Jessica I think an entire new wardrobe was created. And, yes - I'm a convert, thanks for the supplies, lessons and encouragement. Can't wait to sew again with you guys.

  2. It was GREAT to have you and Jessica, Nancy! Hope to see you both again in the future! :)

  3. gosh, what a fun outing! I'm a little jealous - sounds like a wonderful time with wonderful crafters.