2019 Sew Sistas Retreat

Of all the blogs I’ve posted, I’ve received the most response to the reviews of the Sew Sistas Retreats I attend in the spring. I’m so glad it inspires others to try new things. There are some very talented women in this group. I’m so happy they include me and I’m proud to show you their creativity.

There will be many, a lot, an abundance, a plethora, a humongous amount of pictures in this post. I hope you can glean at least one new technique to try. So let’s get started!

I’ll start with Terry who is a meticulous seamstress. She should be….she taught fashion design and sewing at a Bakersfield high school for many years. Recently retired, she received an acknowledgement of a life time that every teacher everywhere would want to receive. One of her students, Adam James, went on to FIDM  (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising).  He received an AA degree and applied for the Debut Show. Not accepted the first time, he remembered Terry’s advice to “Never, never, never give up” and applied again. This time he was accepted giving Terry bragging rights to having one of her students make it to this very special show honoring educators. One of his teachers at FIDM was Nick Verros, of Project Runway fame (season 2).  Congratulations to Terry and her student!  Here’s Terry, on the right, along with a friend, Monica Slikker, and Nick Verros as the emcee for the evening.

Now let’s take a look at Terry’s jacket. The pattern is available through Serendipity Studio. It’s the Dakota Duster. She made this one from Marcia Derse fabric. Did you know that some of her fabrics are available in a duck weight? Nice for a jacket like this one.  Here’s the front.Here’s the back.And here’s some button and loop detail on the front along with a peek of some bias trim on the top of the pocket.Here’s another jacket made from the same pattern. The bias details are reminiscent of some Koos techniques, flawlessly done. And how comfortable would this little dress/tunic be for summer?Here’s the pattern. Simplicity 8856.One last garment from Terry. This coat has all the embellishments I love. Raw edge appliqués, a boro technique, texture and text. Terry is lucky enough to have a sashiko machine to give her the look of hand stitched sashiko. Great details.

Moving on to Gayle whose dyed jacket is now near the top of my “to-do” list. She used a packaged indigo dye from Jacquard products. Perhaps she will tell about the technique on her blog: gayleygirl.blogspot.com. If not, her posts are awesome and filled with wonderful ideas and adventurous travel stories. This jacket was made from muslin you can get from IKEA. Inexpensive and wide!Vicky brought a purchased jacket with her that needed some alterations. These sleeves are also on my “to-do” list. Diane and Lois Ericson have patterns with sleeves like these that would lend themselves to having zippers installed like this. Look for the Java Jacket on Diane Ericson’s website; Revisions. I found Lois Ericson’s patterns on Garden Fairies Trading Company. Look for Lois Ericson, In The Studio #7 Folds and Edges. Also, Lois Ericson’s In The Studio #10 The Band.A peek under the arm. Don’t you love those pockets?Wendy shared this darling self drafted, self dyed, self painted, hand stitched jacket. Everyone was busy tracing copies for themselves afterwards. It was so soft and comfy. Sorry about the glare on this first picture.The bottom half was dyed, the top half was randomly painted. The fact that her parents owned a paint store has probably contributed to her bravery and confidence with color using paints and dyes.

Notice the texture that results from some very organic hand stitching and dangling threads.

Kari also has a sashiko machine. This is a jacket she started last spring at the retreat. I love this beautiful home dec fabric that lends itself to the stitching with all of those organic shapes. She stitched around and through the shapes giving them definition and interest. Nice work, Kari!Christine shared with us one of her beautifully pieced and quilted vests. Only Christine knows how to make the most of small strips. Such a great placement of color. I think I’ll call this technique “Pop and Glow”. Christine’s patterns are available at christinebarnes.com. This is the Crossover Collage Vest.And now a jacket Christine started last spring at the retreat. This is a pattern both she and I love. It’s Vogue 8090…..unfortunately it’s out of print. The crossover front and back allows for comfort and the yokes are a great place for embellishment.

Just a note, this fabric came like this…it is NOT pieced.

And that is NOT Christine! That’s my sister playing the role of Vanna White.

Next up is Heidi. She has a line of wearable art patterns that have limitless possibilities. Here are two made from The Terrific Tabard. Thank you Heidi for incorporating my painted canvasses into your vests/tunics.And how cute is this with another Marcia Derse print?

Here’s a newer version of Off The Grid.And a darling black and white pullover with a high/low hem called the Sparky Top.You can purchase her patterns from Heidi directly, hmemmett@gmail.com or shop.mybluprint.com. Or you could just google Designs by Heidi Emmett.

Karen brought this super cute tunic/vest that she purchased. The good news is that there is now a pattern available for it. Our in-house pattern maker can be reached at freedman@cruzio.com. I’m sorry I don’t know what it’s named. Probably The Karen Vest! Just tell Jenny you saw it here.Our other Karen was busy collaging together denim parts and pieces. Nice job Karen!When Karen finishes her vest, she will have a one-of-a-kind designer vest.

Lisa brought something that was different and out of the ordinary for garment sewists. These have such possibilities. Maybe I can convince her to have a small demo next year!Yes, there IS a pattern for these. Google Ann Woods. You can see her birds on Pinterest too. Whether in wool plaid or silk dupioni, these could have such different personalities. Small beautiful works of art.

This was a clever little idea for those of us with failing memories. Have you ever thought of creating little tags to sew into your garments which include the pattern number? Genius! And really cute!Debra epitomized what Sew Sistas Retreat is all about. We set up a “freebie” table where we give things away; fabric, patterns, notions, trims, you name it. Not only did she find this fabric on the table, she also found the pattern. Butterick 6377. And at the end of the first day she had herself a new, stylish, oh-sew-chic-top. Way to go Debra. You made it look so easy.She even accessorized it with a couple of Sandra’s polymer buttons. And Debra brought the barkcloth jacket she was working on last spring. It is from Vogue 9174.

That small strip of black and white striped fabric is the perfect accent.

I will finish up with Lynn. She purchases fabulous clothes with clever details you might want to add to some of your garments. We are so grateful to see these interesting designs.

But first, I want to apologize to Lynn for cutting her head off in these pictures. She really IS quite lovely as she embarks on the “white shirt” period of her life. By her own admission she has avoided white shirts, staying with her signature black. But these have such great details. See if you don’t agree.I’m including this because I love the lines and the ends of the sleeves. Very Asian with the high collar and boxy shape. Love it!Or how about some giant tucks incorporated into the front and back of a simple white shirt? I know it’s more of a yellow.

Have you ever considered cutting two right fronts? One serves as an overflap. Clever, yes? and easy to do!

And now on to the comfort of black…..Again with the flaps! Coming and/or going…..

….introducing flaps in the gray colorway…….

This looks like it could even be a pocket. Holy flaps, Batman. Lots o’ flaps!

Or how about a button-on wrap around pocket?

A sweater with two holes?

Of course! One for your head and another just for the cuteness factor!

I hope you’ve been inspired to try something new in your next garment…or bird!

If you’re needing more inspiration, both Heidi and Jane have a few spots left in their classes for our upcoming retreat at Zephyr Point this September. Look under Workshops on our homepage.

In the meantime, join us at the Grass Valley fairgrounds this weekend for the annual Pine Tree Quilt show. Artistic Alchemy will have a booth there and all of us will have items for sale. We are so proud of Sandra…..she will be the featured quilter this year. She is so deserving! Come see her magnificent art quilts and stop by our booth to say hi.

Our next gig is a presentation for the ASG. There will be a fashion show, demonstrations and items for sale. And lunch!  I will model my painted fusible items and give a demonstration of painted canvas. We would love to see you there, too!

Whatever you choose to do this month, remember it’s Me-Made-May! Make something fabulous for yourself or a loved one!

And carry on creatively, Mary

10 thoughts on “2019 Sew Sistas Retreat

    • It’s amazing how quickly we forget ALL the wonderful things we saw. A good reminder all in one blog!

  1. I dreamed about all of this while I’m sewing 4 doublets and pumpkin pants for my show and WISHING I was there! Thanks for all these lusious pictures, so inspired to make something as cool as these. Such talent in one place is just overwhelming. Love seeing these and your descriptions. Looking foward to October with delight!

    • We always miss you, Kay! But we know that the show must go on. Look forward to hanging out with you in October.

  2. OMG what awesomeness… I do love this type of thing I would love to try to join you I love everything… so much talent.. Keep doing what you love..
    Vernita Francis – COLUMBUS, Ohio

    • Hi Vernita! I’m so glad you have found the Artistic Alchemy website. We have our yearly retreat the first week in September. It always starts on Labor Day. Our big announcement for this years retreat will be posted around the first of February. That’s when we list the new classes and sign-ups begin. We would love to have you join us. It has been wonderful to have women from all over the country and Canada come to our retreats to have their imaginations sparked and creative abilities enhanced. Stay tuned!

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