Monday, January 28, 2013

Retreat! Retreat!

Sometimes it takes a retreat to go forward. Such was the case this past weekend, as I joined nearly 40 ASG members at the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, VA for three days of uninterrupted sewing.
As one of the other attendees said, it was the most glamorous sweatshop ever.

We each were allotted one table, and there were shared cutting and ironing stations in the room.

You can just see two of the four ironing boards in the far corner of the room. Having the huge windows was wonderful; so much natural light!

My station, just about ready for me to tackle my first project. You can see the snack station conveniently located nearby! In the background was our dining area; we got breakfast and dinner there, and the tables were also put to use for laying out projects.

Hard at work on Saturday!

The food was wonderful... and it was great to have it close by so there was little sewing time sacrificed for such mundane things as eating. There was never a shortage of conversation and laughter, either.

The hotel staff even included such cute touches as this carved Honeydew melon. Although I did hear that in one of the past years, there was a sewing machine carved out of butter as one of the decorations.

But I didn't spend every minute sewing. I had to try out the hot tub (in the background) and the pool. The Roman goddess statue overlooking the pool "looked chilly" according to my friend Jennifer, so she draped her bathrobe over it.

What I made

This was a sewing retreat, so what did I sew? I went with supplies and fabric for at least five different projects, and ended up finishing three and getting a fourth about 80% done. All in all, I'm quite happy!
The first project was an apron for my daughter Diana. This was a Christmas present for her; I had picked out fabric but didn't know what style of apron she wanted, so she sketched out what she wanted and I made it during the retreat.
Here it is, modeled by fellow attendee Julie.
I didn't use any kind of pattern for this; I had taken measurements on Diana before I left and knew how long to make the various elements, and just sketched a rough pattern out on Pellon TruGrid. The details are a little hard to see here, but the patch pockets are circular, with a flap folded down. The skirt is also edged with a pleated ruffle.

Next up was another sheath dress for me. This is the same pattern I used for this knit dress, but this time I used a woven. I also gave the pockets a contrast lining and added the flap for some visual interest.

The binding and flaps are a quilting cotton. For the binding, I cut strips on the bias and stretched them slightly as I sewed them down, so they actually lie flat.

I didn't get a picture of my third project, a flannel shirt from the same pattern as my uniform shirts and the contrast collar and cuff shirt. By midday Saturday I was so focused on sewing that I just plain forgot to take pictures! And my fourth project, a Pocket Tote, didn't get finished, so I'll post about that when it's done.

All in all, I had an amazing time at this retreat, and am now already planning on going next year!

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