Monday, August 5, 2013

ASG Conference: Who I Saw, What I Learned, What I Bought

Every year the American Sewing Guild has a national convention with classes, a fashion show and vendors.  I've attended four of these conferences in the last 12 years: Birmingham, Philadelphia, and now the Virginia one for a second time.  The classes are longer and more detailed than at a typical "sewing expo" since the instructors are paid (still a pittance, IMNHO) for teaching rather than just making money from their booth sales....although booth sales are available.  I have taken many of this year's classes and instructors before so I spent my time volunteering at the ASG registration booth or as a classroom ticket taker/assistant for a few instructors. That's a nice benefit for the local chapter get to volunteer and get a free class for every three hours and admission to the vendor hall.  
For my own records and your small enlightenment, here's my report from the few sessions I attended along with my purchases.  
Gail Patrice Yellin gave a class on getting the most out of using your coverstitch and attendees got to rent the Babylock Evolution or bring their own machine.  She taught zipper insertion, tying off, the elastic foot and decorative stitching, my favorite part.  Gail has a book on embellishment and I like her subtle but sophisticated embellishment ideas with thread, beads and ribbon.  
Gail Patrice Yellin teaching the coverstitch

I'm going to use one of her embellishment techniques for my challenge fabric project.  I bought the book and enjoyed seeing her lovely garments on display.

Sarah Veblen demonstrates sewing, clipping and turning facings
My free session was with Sarah Veblen.  I sat in on her session on drafting, interfacing, sewing, clipping, turning and understitching facings.  Heck, I don't even sew many facings but Sarah's vast experience in custom dress-making means that you'll always learn something.  
After that session I slipped back into the vendor hall and picked up a useful set of tools from a new supplier, Zippershipper  Zippershipper  Wow, look at the huge array of zippers for all purposes.  I bought a tool for shortening zippers and some brass toned zipper stops.  I have a collection of zippers bought "on spec" from frequent visits to the PA Fabric Outlet for years.  I have stopped the buying habit and it's nice to have a tool that can make my collection the right size.  More on zippers later this fall, I promise.

On Saturday I was a classroom assistant for Lyla Messenger  LJ Designs  Lyla lives out west near lake Tahoe and her clothes patterns have a casual line with practical but stylish elements.  For example, she does lovely upscale details on plain polarfleece so that it is practical but also stylish without being cutesy or overly sporty.  She sews a great deal with knits and again makes them stylish with great fabric choices and design details.  Wonderful trunk show and generous explanations of how she achieves her effects on each garment.
Lyla Messenger
I bought two simple patterns, one for her Margarita tank top with wonderfully flattering lines and a simple shawl pattern as well as some of her very sheer 3/8 fusible tape and that plastic wire I've been wanting since I saw it on a jacket lapel this spring.

Oh, lovely readers, you've stayed with me this long because you knew that the best was last.  On Saturday afternoon I drove back to Baltimore so that Mr. Lucky and I could drive up to Stewartstown, PA for dancing and dining at the winery with our favorite band, Mood Swings.  They did not disappoint and it was a terrific, albeit late night.  Home by 11:30, walked the dogs then up again at 5:30am, walked dogs again and took off to go back to the conference. Why on earth, you might rightfully ask.  Susan Khalje, that's why.  Yes, yes, lucky, lucky me, I got to be the ticket taker for Susan Khalje's Lace Guipure skirt class that morning and had to be in Crystal City, VA by 7:45 am.  Mr. Lucky dropped me off while he headed out to play golf under clear, sunny skies.  I headed to the subterranean classroom but was cheered by the excitement of 19 sewists who brought their fitted muslin straight skirts, their spectacular guipure laces and their lovely silk charmeuses.  

Susan Khalje helps a student baste her muslin underlining to the silk charmeuse.
One of my personal favorites, from Britex in San Francisco  (How come I can forget so many things in my own life but can remember where almost strangers bought their fabric?)
From B&J in NYC
Also B&J, I think
I stayed almost all  morning, watching participants finalize their skirt fitting, cut out their muslin underlining and baste the underlining to the charmeuse.  Mr. Lucky came to get me before lunch so we could head home and take care of the dogs so I missed the other very detailed steps.  I'm not sure I want a guipure lace skirt in my wardrobe but I am definitely considering a lace top in my future sewing.  It was just special being around an inspiring teacher who is so kind, encouraging, challenging and lovely.  Great way to end the four days.  Now I am back home and filled with ideas.  The weather is cool and glorious for August so it's into the sewing room I head.  Hope your weekend was as enjoyable.


  1. Oh, what a glorious weekend! Love your fabric and I must find that book.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I got to attend the ASG conference a number of years ago when it was held in Dallas. Sure wish they would come here again! They are so inspiring and educational. Such a treat!

  3. It sounds like a fabulous time. Thank you for sharing it! Now sketch/write down all those ideas quickly..

  4. This sounds so wonderful-thanks for sharing a special time with all of your readers.

  5. Sounds like a fantastic time.

    I also met Gail and took some of her classes...I loved some of her jackets. I have her book and must look at it again :)

  6. Thank you for your review of this years ASG program/conference/classes. Do you by any chance happen to know whether Sarah V. talked about, when drafting a facing, its outer edge should be a bit smaller than that of the garment? For example, a front facing: same at the neck curved inside and outside edges, but smaller at the outer part of the shoulder line. I hope this makes sense. I have a recollection of reading that it should be smaller because of the (paraphrasing) biasness of the facing's outer curve with nothing further out to keep it from growing. Wow, totally paraphrasing.
    And I didn't see the Guipure lace I'm thinking about buying -- for a top. Thanks again!

  7. You had a lovely time. Thanks foraring.

  8. Thanks for sharing I meant to type.


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