SEWING: Just the Basics – Recap

Our sewing workshop was fantastic. For reals. We had an amazing group of ladies possessing a range of experience in the ol’ backyard studio. There was wine, there was cheese, it rained like a proper bastard. It was every shade of awesome.

And we covered a crapload of information. Of course, leading up to the day of, I was staging a daily mini freak-out: Did I have enough material to present? Did I have too much? How the hell was I going to get over to Trader Joes for the good cheese? Why clean the house at all with two tikes under 3 destroying the joint?

I know this stuff like the back of my hand. I can hem a pair of pants (reluctantly) in my sleep. But, still, I was a little sweaty about it all. I really want to get people ignited about this stuff. I want my passion for quality hand sewing needles to be infectious. I want to be patient zero in a worldwide “hey, I know how to do that” epidemic. So, anyway, I might have been assigning a bit of weight to the situation.  But, I’ll tell you – get me going on a subject that I’m just this side of nutty for, and it turns out I have quite a bit to say. And no one in the class fell asleep, or drank heavily, or just plain left. Points!

We got to play with ALL the toys.
We got to play with ALL the toys.


Boycott crap cotton.
Elaborating on what causes pilling in off-the-rack garments.

I had a great time getting to know my students, to boot. Turns out, we were all mothers of 3-year-olds (a tribe unto itself, and perhaps inspiration for an entirely different sort of workshop). One student was interested in upping her Halloween game to go beyond glue guns and Liquid Stitch. She loved creating things from scratch off the top of her head, but needed some starter skills to help her get her visions just right. Another student had experience assisting a professional seamstress in creating costumes and accessories for exotic dancers (which, is, like, bananas hard to do – the sewing, I mean… though probably the dancing, too), and she has recently branched off into creating bathing suits for a limited audience. We took a whirl around her awesome, fully digital and tricked-out Brother sewing machine and did a bit of trouble-shooting to get her navigating 4-way stretch knits like a boss. Our third student was stoked to learn more about fiber content in retail garments and why off-the-rack clothes sometimes wear poorly and need some of the mending techniques we covered. She had attempted a few sewing projects on her own in the past, but was looking to gain a bit more confidence to apply to future endeavors. And she was disproportionately jazzed to learn that most heathered t-shirts have polyester content as a means of achieving the mottled dye effect, because her baby boy is super sensitive to synthetic fibers and she avoids polyester like the plague.

Huddled over the fancy machine.
Huddled over the fancy machine.

It was seriously a good time. We learned, we laughed, and everyone had at least one, “Wait a minute. That’s amazing,” moment. I could tell. Why? Because sewing is amazing! You turn a 2-dimensional piece of fabric into a 3-dimensional garment or object, through the use of a home appliance that brings sophisticated machinery to your fingertips. And doing this properly requires you to know how to use and maintain this machinery. And using and getting to know this machinery means that you are the sort of person who knows about machinery. And realizing that you are this sort of person feels amazing. Add a bit of rain and wine to that? Hot-damn. What a truly fantastic afternoon.

Big shout-out to my dear friend Jenna Peterson for her amazing photography capturing the workshop, and her enthusiastic participation as well. Register for one of our upcoming workshops, and meet her in person! She’s a mainstay. Thanks Jenna!

Maren drinking water because talking a lot makes you parched.
To those who know me, not my typical stance. The water in the glass, I mean. Not the glass to the lips.



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