Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Whole Lotta Sewing Going On

Chef Petey celebrates the sewing guild retreat
It was cold and blustery outside for the ASG Northern VA chapter sewing retreat in Winchester VA but inside it was filled with warmth and friendship.  Maybe it's because I'm getting older but I appreciate these times with my sewing gal pals more than ever.  And I'm so grateful to the chapter board and members who put so much time into making these events happen.  Here's a recap.

Ballroom before all the attendees and their projects
This retreat was held at The George Washington Wyndham Grand Hotel.  There were 39 sewers in the Grand Ballroom and our two meals per day were set up buffet style at the round tables in the adjoining room.  Audrey, you asked about cost and yes, it was more expensive than the non-profit conference center, but definitely not by much.  I attended the full four days, from 9am on Thursday until Sunday afternoon.  Three dinners, three breakfasts, coffee and apples available all day (apple  capital of VA) for a cost to members of $160 plus your own sleeping room arrangements.  The hotel gave us a rate of $85 per night with no limit on the number of people in a room so most people shared a 2 bed double bed room, some had three in a room and others simply drove in each day.   That's not much more money than the decidedly lesser conference center accommodations but sooooo much nicer.

Busy, busy sewers!

One of the loveliest parts of a sewing retreat is the generous spirits of the women who attend.  At my very first retreat, at the beautiful but rustic camp conference center near Appomatax, VA,  I sat with Julie as my tablemate.  Not only was she kind and gracious (which she still is) she was and is a remarkable seamstress.  Julie had recently made her own wedding gown (shown at the ASG national convention in Philadelphia a few years later.)  Julie has a blog as lovely and as artistic as she is and already she has summarized the delightful sewing projects demonstrated at this retreat.  Sewers love to share a good idea and these projects were quick and fun to explain and see in action.
Julie's blog and retreat project summary

I was able to sew a few finished items and came home with a few more to complete.
Jalie twist top for my upcoming trip

Nightgown made by lengthening Simplicity 3624 and making it sleeveless
Infinity scarf from silk chiffon for this Chicos sweater
Simplicity 3884 jacket (more about this one later)
Kwik Sew 3304 swing skirt which still needs lining and waistband
My fleece version of Vogue 2018 stayed up north so no picture at this time.  
Muslin of Vogue 8483 was very disappointing.  I'm not even sure it's worth revisiting since it is similar to this Simplicity jacket but not as nicely fitting.  I might try to copy the collar treatment at a later date.  No picture of this one.

I also enjoyed staying in the delightful town of Winchester, VA.  Even in the dead of winter I got out each day to walk the streets and see the city.  There's a downtown pedestrian mall area, struggling somewhat in this difficult retail economy so I want to support local merchants.  I enjoyed a scrumptious clam chowder at Patsy's Pastry Pizza for one day's lunch and a delicious shrimp bisque and salad at Brewbaker's the following afternoon.  I am a library lover and my visit to the John Handley library headquarters was a true delight.

Judge John Handley of Scranton, Pennsylvania left $250,000 in his will to " . . . open a Public Library for the free use of the people of the city of Winchester forever." The Handley Trustees hired architects J. Stewart Barney and Henry Otis Chapman of New York who designed the building in Beaux-Arts style. The Handley Library opened in 1913 at a cost of $233,230.28 for the building and furnishings. An addition was added to the building in 1979 and a complete renovation, designed by Dennis Kowal Architects, was completed in 2001. 

There are beautiful twin winding staircases on either side of that front entrance that take you upstairs across a glass floor in that dome to the children and young adult depts.   I could have spent hours there but my sewing machine and sewing friends were calling me back.

If you ever have the chance to attend a sewing retreat I hope you go.  Your happy heart will thank you for it.

Meanwhile, it's day 5 of 30 for Lucky the rescue dog's heartworm treatment.  It's not easy keeping a terrier relatively inactive but we're doing our very best.  The two dogs are being kept separate so there's no rough housing going on during this period.   We'll all be happy when the carousing can start again.


  1. Looks like a whole lot of fun!!!! Gosh I wish I could!! Love your pieces you were able to complete...very creative with the nightgown!

    Thanks for the very nice comment and stopping by!

  2. This looks and sounds to be a most wonderful (and productive) way to spend a few days.

  3. Hi Jane. It was SO good to see you. Those few days really renewed my spirit and fed my soul. While there I realized that the women in that room are the ones I consider my true girlfriends in the DC area. So glad to see the final pics of your projects. You got A LOT accomplished. Love that nightgown. Thanks for the kind words, too.


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