Sew, You Want to Retreat

My view for 4 days at camp
Many of you followed my 'graming of sewing retreat or sewing camp.  A few of you expressed an interest in having a sew camp in your area.  I think there are many, many ways to do this.

learning the secret of matching the seam over the invisible zipper
If this is something you truly are interested in doing - I would encourage you to reach out to your local chapter of the ASG (American Sewing Guild).  In most locations you can 'sample' up to 2 meetings before joining.  do it!  Find out what the groups are interested in - see if you can check out their local website.  I hear lots of people saying "but they are all quilters in my location" or there really isn't anyone who sews.  check anyway - you might be surprised.

pair o' matching aprons
If most of the Neighborhood groups are truly composed of quilters - start your own neighborhood group.  Find a location - my NG meets at a local senior center for free.  Other NGs in my area meet at fabric stores, libraries and members homes.  There are no rules - do whatever you are comfortable with and then make yourself visible.

4 days of finished sewing
Once you've established a group of sewing friends - then you can find a location for a retreat.  Retreat can mean many different things - I see a bunch of Spoolettes who get together regularly and sew together.  If you can find a free location for a day of sewing - yea you!  Libraries are great for this.  

Can someone unpack me?
You'll always forget something!
After you get it all together - there are some things to think about when sewing socially.  Sometimes having a nice space to cut out is where you want to put your energy, sometimes you want to help and get help and sometimes you just want to be productive.  Figure out the best way to corral your supplies and have your projects organized.  For me - I learned that cutting garments prior to retreat, putting everything I need in a ziplock bag with the pattern makes being productive so much easier.  Grab a bag, sew it up, rinse and repeat.  Also - having portable storage for all the things you need regularly when sewing is helpful.  I have a caddy that holds marking pens, chalk, scissors, buttonhole cutter, button spacer, etc.  I just have to grab the caddy and I should have everything I need.  But I always forget something - last time it was my seam ripper!

That should get you started.  Let me know if you need any virtual help in setting up a sewing group and then organizing retreats!  Happy sewing.  


  1. Living in the sticks, I have to travel to meet up with anyone, which doesn't really bother me as that's just how it is around here. I have gone to a sewing meetup, although we didn't sew, we fabric shopped. It seems like it would be a lot of fun to sew with others, just as long as the fabric was cut out. Someday, I'd like to have a retreat at my own place and would love to have a set up where others can sew. I guess I'll have to check out the ASG again. I haven't looked on there for ages!!

  2. I've had several people (online) tell me that I should check out the Seattle ASG chapter, but when I looked over the NG's, they appeared to be pretty heavy on quilting, craft projects, and art-to-wear stuff. BUT, obviously, you've found one that's garment-sewing focused. Would you mind sharing which one you attend? ;)

  3. I'd love to do something like this, but unfortunately there's no ASG chapter anywhere near me. I've thought about starting a MeetUp group here, though; I need to look into that.

    I also need to keep in mind your idea of cutting out projects and storing them in zipper bags. It seems like it would be awfully efficient to cut several projects at once, and the bags would be handy for corralling all the thread, notions, etc.

  4. These are terrific suggestions! Your preparation suggestions can be applied to anything where you need to take supplies with you. I'm glad you have a great support group.

  5. I'm so glad you had a fun - productive - retreat! As you well know, I'm still trying to find time to get to know my sewing machine.

  6. The same with our Australian Sewing Guild. Great place to sew with like minded people. We have a weekend away arranged for 1st weekend of May. Can't wait.


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