A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the American Sewing Guild Conference in Indianapolis. I had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and met some fantastic people.One of my instructions was to fill my day with classes—what a burden, right?
I started off my Friday with a class on working with patterning software with Susan Lazear of Cochenille Design Studio. Susan coded her Garment Designer Software herself, and it looks so cool! I’m hoping to get an opportunity to play with it one of these days.
My second class was with Sandy Miller of Cutting Line Designs. It was about adding gentle shaping to garments via a selection of methods like darts, tucks, casings, and tabs. Sandy pointed out something to me that I had never realized before—darts don’t have to be triangles or diamonds! They can curve to give you the exact shaping you need. I don’t know why I never thought of this, but it was quite the epiphany!
I was lucky enough to have my Friday lunch with the amazing Rae Cumbie of Fit for Art Patterns and June Colburn of June Colburn Designs. They were delightful lunch companions, and it was wonderful to spend some time getting to know them. Friday lunch also featured the keynote speaker, Linda Przybyszewski, author of The Lost Art of the Dress. She took us on a journey through dressing expectations from the 1920s through the 1960s with details on the historical context for those choices. I love vintage fashion and I love historical context, so it was a fascinating hour for me!
My final Friday class was about tailored jackets with Connie Crawford of Fashion Patterns by Coni. She has an long and varied career history in the garment industry and teaching sewing to fashion students. She had a wealth of knowledge to share with us and I feel lucky to have had the chance to learn from her.
The rest of my day was spent in the exhibit hall meeting such talented people as Janet Pray of Islander Sewing and Gail Patrice Yellen of Gail Patrice Design and drooling over the pretty fabrics and atypical notions that were for sale. I barely stopped myself from buying an industrial iron such as the kind that I used to use when I worked in costume shops—it was only the prospect of packing it into my carryon and lifting it into the overhead bin that stopped me! I later discovered that they would have shipped it for free, so I’m kicking myself.
Saturday was just as full of great classes and people. Shirley Adams of The Sewing Connection gave a lecture on her alternatives pattern collection with bonus information about moving darts on a bodice that will be really useful when altering patterns. Cindy Losekamp of Sew Artfully Yours gave us a treasure trove of information about embroidering on anything and everything. I’m still pretty new to machine embroidery, so I’m always excited to learn something new.
I imagine the highlight of the conference for a lot of people is always the fashion show. It is a really cool event. I loved seeing the amazing things people can do with fabric and challenges, especially the guild members who aren’t professionals. The wow piece of the day was a wedding gown made by a guild member for her daughter, who graciously modeled it. I know I would never have the courage to make a wedding gown for anyone close to me (what if I messed it up?), so that aspect was especially impressive. The winner of the fashion show was announced on Sunday after I left, so I don’t know who it was. If anyone does, please let me know!
My final class at the ASG conference was Sewing with Silk with Kandi Christian of Sew Timeless. I thought I was just sitting in on this one—the class was full but they let me to watch—but a few ladies decided they didn’t want to pay the fee, so I got to sew for the first time all weekend.
It was really fun. Kandi gave us a selection of silk samples to try out techniques on and taught us how to keep seams from puckering, how to finish seams to prevent raveling and keep them neat, and how to inset lace. I admit I struggled a bit with the generously-lent computerized Viking machines (I have a mechanical Singer that’s about as old as I am, so the newer machines can throw me off when I first try to use them), but it was a great class and I learned a lot. And then I went to the exhibit hall and bought some gorgeous silk jacquard to try my new skills on.
Before I did that, though, I had a nice long chat with Ramona Baird, the education director of ASG and a contributor to Creative Machine Embroidery and hung out for awhile with Pam Demour, the Decorating Diva, and her business partner Betty Mitchell. One of Pam’s videos taught me how to make continuous bias tape, which is magic, so she’s a hero of mine.
I thought my conference was pretty much over when I went back up to my room that night, but I didn’t count on eating my breakfast the next morning with Janet Pray, Connie Crawford and Lynn Strobel of Synergy Art and Design. My last experience at the ASG conference was sitting around a table and listening to some incredibly knowledgeable and talented people talk shop. What a way to end the weekend! I’m so grateful that I got to participate in this wonderful gathering. The ASG put on a wonderful event, and I have to compliment them and especially the Indianapolis chapter for doing such a great job.