Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Camp Stitchalot fun!

Happy New Year, friends!! I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is ready for all the exciting things to come in 2015. I know I am!

I realized a few days ago that I totally forgot to share all the fun we had at Camp Stitchalot this fall!! It was such a blast and insanely productive so I thought I should tell you guys a little bit about that weekend and talk a little bit more about our camp this coming May. Hold on, guys. This is a long post.

In November, we had the privilege of hosting Carolyn Friedlander and Sherri Lynn Wood at our shop and at the Hankered Inn. Carolyn was kind enough to teach her new Outhouse pattern in a small class at our shop before the festivities of camp weekend set in. This pattern is so cute and a really great place to start for a beginning paper piecer.

Carolyn's class was the first one held in our new shop!
Carolyn's Outhouse samples made for our class (from her IG)
Local friend Maggie's cute, wintery houses made in class! (From her IG)

At camp we were treated to an trunk show with Carolyn, showing off her awesome needle turn appliqué, paper piecing, and quilting skills. I was dying a little bit-- she's one of my favorites. I love her style with simple and clean lines but it's done in a really organic way. So cool.

Our first class at camp was with Carolyn too. She taught us the basics of needle turn appliqué by way of the Aerial Grove quilt from her book Savor Each Stitch. The book does a great job discussing different elements of design in direct application to quilting. It's definitely one of the first books I pull when I'm looking for a little inspiration or if I feel stuck in a project.

Carolyn's "Facing East" pattern. Such a cool pattern for a color study.
Love her "Aerial Grove"-- her background with whites, low volume
prints, and soft yellows feels "solid" but adds just enough dimension
to a large area of negative space. 
Personally, I was super intimidated by learning needle turn appliqué. I'd never successfully done this technique before (I may or may not have attempted to make this quilt at our summer Camp Stitchalot and quickly abandoned the project). But her style of thread basting was super helpful! I loved seeing all the fabric choices around the room for this project too. By the end of the weekend, everyone had mastered the "squircle"!

Rose went with Liberty-- a perfect way to spotlight those
gorgeous, itty bitty prints! (From her IG)
My mom Cherie went to camp with us and she opted for
Alison Glass's Handcrafted with some Cotton+Steel on
Essex Yarn Dyed linen. 

Here's mine-- I've got 3 out of 4 rows appliquéd so far.
I'm determined to finish this one ASAP and hand quilt
it. I see a new bed quilt in my future!

On Saturday, Sherri Lynn Wood taught us all the ways of curvy improv. The class started after breakfast with a little guided meditation which was awesome. Everyone was calm, centered, and ready to go attack their improv projects. We spent the first half hour or so working in silence and focusing on our own fabrics. Sometimes the atmosphere at camp is a little hectic-- everything is exciting and we're all making new friends so it's easy to get distracted. This exercise had everyone totally in the zone.

Sherri Lynn did a great job in pushing people out of their color comfort zones. She challenged us to throw in fabrics we never thought we would use and for most of us, the results were surprisingly awesome.

So much curvy goodness! And such color! (From our IG)

We also learned some awesome tricks about sewing with curves using bias cut strips and even darts to get our quilts to lay flat! Look at all these awesome curvy pieces made by campers.

Karen's color choices are killer and the Alison Glass Handcrafted
is the perfect pop of print! (From her IG)
Here's Brenda's improv. It almost killed her to put in that strip of
bright pink but it looks awesome! (From her IG)
Our friend Stephanie finished a top made from her improv wedges
made with a whole bunch of Paint by Carrie Bloomston. Awesome
job, Steph!! (From her IG)

All in all, we got tons of stuff done. This was, by far, the most productive retreat I've ever been to. Everyone was so into their new projects and it was awesome to see some finishes!

Now let's talk about camp this May. I'm pretty excited for this one because I know I'm going to learn a ton. We have Christine Haynes, Alexia Abegg, Rae Hoekstra, and Karen Lepage teaching us the basics of garment/dress construction.

Our awesome teachers: Christine Haynes (top left), Alexia Abegg (top right),
 Rae Hoekstra (bottom left), and Karen Lepage (bottom right).

I'm not much of a garment sewist myself and I will credit that to two things:

  1. Fit-- I am 5'11, my proportions are different from a woman of average height, and I don't know what to do with a pattern to make it look right. Whether you're busty (or not at all) or you're more pear shaped (or maybe you don't have a butt), short or tall, fit is always super scary. No one wants to waste their time making something that is going to fit weird. If I wanted that, I could walk into any retail store and pick something off the rack.
  2. Finishing techniques-- I love the idea of handmade garments but I do not want that "homemade" look. Basically, I lack the finishing skills to make a garment look high quality if I'm sewing it myself.

Luckily, over the course of the weekend, we'll be learning all sorts of tips and tricks to help remedy those concerns. Over the weekend, our guest instructors will be teaching to a brand new shift dress pattern by Alexia Abegg. The pattern isn't released until spring market (early May) but from what I've seen so far, I can tell you guys it's going to be super cute and will be a sewing success story for any of our campers. As soon as more info for this pattern is released, it will be forwarded along to campers!

So with classes this weekend, we'll first learn about proper pattern sizing/measuring, the functions of muslin making, and how to do simple adjustments. Basically, how to pick a pattern and prep for it. I always forget how important and time consuming prep work is so we're going to talk about all of that. Next, we'll learn about bust adjustment. This will be a simple instruction on small or full bust adjustment and will help improve the fit of the dress without changing the style. Hooray!!

After that, we'll take all of our adjusted busts and go into the rest of bodice construction including things like darting, shoulder seams, side seams, and even adding sleeves. Almost a whole dress is ready at this point! Finally, we'll go over simple finishing techniques to really polish your garment. Learn about hemming by machine or by hand, different seam finishes, bra strap stays, and even discuss the use of different specialty fabrics in future projects.



Like any other camp, our teachers are here to give you one-on-one assistance with your projects and help you through any questions you have along the way. That's really the beauty of Camp Stitchalot. You get to work right along with the pros in a small group for a whole weekend and get hands-on help while you're working.

So much learning to look forward to! Will you be joining us at Camp Stitchalot??


Head to the Camp Stitchalot page on our site for more info or click here to get your ticket while you can!