January 13, 2008

Do You Belong?

Having spent the entire weekend involved in ASG, or American Sewing Guild, activities this is a question that is in the front of my mind right now. I am a group leader for the Neighborhood Group that meets closest to my home. The focus of the group I attend is garment construction. Occasionally, we have a topic and when we do it generally deals with garment construction, how to deal with a particular fabric type, seam finishes, drafting, or something else that pertains to garment construction. Since we have just entered into a new calendar year the focus of ASG has been updating, membership, how to be hip. So, I'm polling my readers - do you belong to the American Sewing Guild? If so, why? What keeps you attending? In the alternative, what keeps you from attending? Do you know that at 44, I am one of the 'youngsters' that belongs to my local chapter, which is the Bellevue, Washington chapter. Because the majority of the membership is older there is a wealth of information - want to know how to completely line a sleeveless dress? Ask, someone will know as they have already done it. Need to find the perfect fabric , know how to make a flat-felled seam, or perfect the hand sewn catch stitch - someone has already done it and is willing to teach you. As well as the wealth of information, this is large group of fun loving woman and men of various sizes and shapes who all have a common interest. It is wonderful to take a piece of fabric to a meeting that you aren't sure how to pretreat, what type of stitch will create the perfect seam, if it should be lined, underlined or fused, if the style you are thinking of will be flattering to you and ask for help and opinions. This group is non-judgmental and willing to share their knowledge. As well as all the knowledge available, there is an abundance of discounts available to members of ASG. Everything from online retailers to most brick and mortar fabric stores and some machine retailers. Most chapters have Educational Events and some have retreats. So, again, I ask - do you belong? If so why? If not, why not? Please share with me as I am really curious.

18 comments :

  1. I just emailed my local chapter and within five minutes, the president sent me all kinds of info. about upcoming meetings and events! Thanks for the idea.

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  2. Um, no, because I can't sew a lick...

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  3. no, i don't. the chapter here meets on saturday mornings, on the other side of town. it's very inconvenient for me, so i didn't join (i went once to check it out). i do think about joining 'at large', just to support the ASG.

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  4. I am not a member of a guild. I'm not quite sure what a guild is and what they do. Although I have been curious.

    I'm sure each one varies depending on who is in charge and the interests of the group. I assume they have meetings and I know they give you discouts. When I have tried to look into guilds in my area, I didn't find anything local.

    Since they charge a membership, I probably would not join unless I knew someone who was a member of that chapter and recommended it.

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  5. I was a member this past year, but have let my membership lapse.
    I will probably re-up it soon, just because I do believe in the good of such an organization. But the closest meetings are *very* inconvenient for me. At least an hour away to two hours.
    Meanwhile, I belong to a Fiber guild that just started here in my hometown. It's not sewing oriented at all, but there's spinning,felting, knitting, weaving and rug hooking... all interesting. And some I do or would like to learn more about.
    If there was a closer ASG I would definitely attend more. But I sure don't have time to start a new neighborhood group.

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  6. I do belong, and it's probably worth it for me just for the Joann's discount. I have to admit that I haven't made it to a local meeting yet. Lots of the local neighborhood groups are during the day or at other inconvenient times. I used to attend the local quilt guild meetings fairly often, but I got tired of being the youngest person there by a couple of decades (not that they weren't nice, we just didn't have anything in common). It seems easier to find people closer to my age online that are interested in quilting and sewing.

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  7. Blogfree JessicaMonday, January 14, 2008

    I am trying to join one here in NY, have any tips? The age difference doesn't bother me ever, and i find that it really opens my eyes, and you are right, they are a wealth of knowledge. I am usually the youngest in the room, by decades. I was in an Arts and Crafts guild in California, a quilt guild in Kansas, and now i am trying to join ASG here, and a knitting guild.
    Again, age doesn't bother me, i just LOVE the opportunity to be around non-Army folks for awhile!!

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  8. I belong! I love ASG. Our Atlanta chapter has over 15 neighborhood groups, so I would suggest that anyone who lives too far from a Neighborhood group (NG) meeting might start a new group in their own Neighborhood.

    The members of my neighborhood group have widely-varying interests, so we have programs that run the gamut from crafts to apparel sewing.

    As for the discount, I saved the membership fee just buying drapery materials and Christmas gifts.

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  9. No, I don't sew... but I am a member of TKG - the knitter's guild.
    LOVE that doggy!

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  10. I'm a member! I'm also a member of the knitting guild. I found out about ASG and joined because my mother's been a member of ASG where she lives for a long time. Even when I couldn't go to chapter meetings because of a conflict and they had no evening meetings (I work during the day), I still paid my dues every year just to get the discounts at Joanns and Hancocks. We now have an evening group (yay!) that we "younger" (I'm also 44) ASG members who work during the day can attend.

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  11. ASG member....but don't know why. i am about your age and the youngest person at the meetings i have attended. i sew garments...not crafty garments like felt vests or fleece hats. i sew the clothes i wear every day. my NG seems more geared to the "crafty" side of sewing. no one wanted to talk about garment sewing. there was a definite "cliquish" feel to the group. i felt like i was intruding. the guest speakers brought in my the regional chapter are held in venues too far from me. again...not things i am terribly interested in. i am jealous of those who have fun NGs.

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  12. I'm a member, and for a while co-led with Gaylen before I could no longer keep the commitment.

    I have to say, our chapter seems to be really good. We have a president who really cares about the membership and leading the guild to provide services and topics based on what the entire membership wants, not just a select few. And I'm fortunate that our different groups share information so if there's a topic at another NG that sounds interesting, it's always open for us to go to that meeting as well.

    Sorry I missed the meeting Saturday, G. Was - and still am - sick with a bad cold.

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  13. I belong to ASG. The membership fee is more than made up with discounts from local fabric stores. However, I rarely attend the meetings because they are held at night and I hate to drive in the cold and dark. So this spring I will again participate!

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  14. I've never bothered joining because I just figured it would be tainted with more of our midwest malaise, like yarn shop owners who don't teach sock knitting, or "knitting instructors" who can't purl, can't make paired decreases, and don't even know what a long-tail cast on is (I'm serious. I met her yesterday.) Do they make dress forms in the shape of whiskey barrels? If so, I might just have to give the ASG a whirl.

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  15. I tried to join but at the time they didn't have a chapter near me. I'll have to check if they started one around here or not. I knew about the age difference the area President explained it to me if I wanted to drive to chapter in another city. We also have allot of chapters around here that wanted to quilt instead of do garment sewing.

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  16. When I retired 7 years ago at the young age of 48, I wanted to get together with others who sew. However, the nearest ASG chapter was 300 miles away and there were no chapters in my state. So, with a group of others who are like-minded, we started the first chapter in TN. ASG HQ put me in touch with others who like to sew. There are many quilting guilds in our area and a large local guild that has no national affiliation. When I was employed, nothing met in the evenings or on weekends. When we started our chapter, we had 12 members and now we're up to around 35. We have 3 NG's that are in the county which meet during the week and on weekends. We tried a night group but it couldn't sustain itself. We are continually reaching out to others in the community and offer workshops and events to the public. We were even able to bring Sandra Betzina here for a workshop. I love being a part of ASG and was just elected president for 2008. Being handicapped and homebound for the most part, ASG is the highlight of my life besides family and church. I have grown so much and gained so much knowledge that would not have been possible had I not joined. It is because of ASG that I have met many who love to sew garments like I do. I even teach on occasion. It's been a wonderful supportive organization.

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  17. *hanging head in shame* no...I'm not a member. I have been invited to a few meetings with various friends...and thought about joining but just didn't get around to it...do you forgive me?

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  18. I belong to the Maryland Chapter, but have not attended any of the neighborhood groups, as the one nearest meets while I'm at work. We do have an email list and I feel connected with everyone in that way. I like the discounts (the Joann's discount alone pays for my membership LOL!). I went to the national conference when it was in DC in 2006 and it was awesome!

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I appreciate you coming to see me. It may take me a bit to publish your comment - but I will get to them by the end of every day. If you leave a way for me to get back to you, I will. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your opinions. g

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