Bay Area Sewists Meetup No. 3!

Bay Area Sewists - April Meetup

On April 19 Bay Area Sewists met at Lacis‘s classroom space in Berkeley for Meetup No. 3 this year! Not everyone who came is in the photo because I forgot to take the photo while everyone was still there.

Our topic was  Show & Tell, WIPs, Tour Lacis & Pattern Giveaway! I thought it would be a nice to talk about embellishing clothes because we were meeting at Lacis, where you can buy lace, ribbons, embroidery thread, and other notions.

We had a lot of fun seeing what everyone made. I took some photos – unfortunately, I didn’t capture everything because I was so busy looking at what folks made – but you can see a few of the things below.

Erin's purse - Bay Area Sewists - csews.com

Lindsay (@lindsaymarsh) (left) of Baking Making and Crafting is looking at an embellished and embroidered purse made by Erin (sitting next to Lindsay).  Veronica (right) is looking at a Christmas tree skirt made by Lynda (not pictured).

Erin's embellished purse - Bay Area Sewists meetup - csews.com

Pretty amazing details on Erin’s purse, eh? Erin’s philosophy is that if it doesn’t look right, just add more! She also brought a pirate jacket, which had all kinds of things going on – braid, ribbons, a tassel.

Beth of SunnyGal Studio - Vogue dress

Beth of SunnyGal Studio talked about the Vogue dress (8904) she is wearing and a black jacket (on table) that she embellished with fringe. You can read her post about this fun striped knit dress here. She said the dress was easy to make – you attach the panels to another piece of fabric. To her left is Lisa (@jlellis) who brought her Grainline Moss skirt, which she recently finished. She really liked the pattern and said it was easy to make. Lisa did a nice job on the top stitching. Oh, and I should mention that she’s wearing a knit dress she made from the Red Velvet Dress pattern by Cake Patterns.

Beth's Vogue jacket

The black jacket is from Vogue pattern 7975. The pattern didn’t look very exciting but the addition of fringe gave it a very nice touch. Beth added fringe to the edged and to the pockets. She used the jacket fabric to make the fringe.

fringe sample by Beth of SunnyGal Studio - csews.com

Here’s my out-of-focus photo of the jacket and the sample fringe, which Beth brought to the meeting. You sew the fringe fabric to a piece of silk organza. All of her fringe was along a straight edge but if you are going to put fringe along a curve, check out this post on bias fringe on the blog Communing with Fabric.

Renfrew cardigan - Bay Area Sewists meetup - csews.com

Here’s Lisa showing off the cardigan she made using Sewaholic’s Renfrew pattern. If you’re not familiar with it, the Renfrew is for a knit top with three different necklines to choose from, it’s not a cardigan pattern. So this is Lisa’s clever pattern hack. I have this pattern so I’ll definitely try making a cardigan once I get some tops done!

Allison  - Bay Area Sewists meetup

Allison (@allisoncole85) of i like candy talks about the things she made from the fabric she got at our fabric swap in March, including the top she’s wearing and a couple of the things in front of her. The embroidered and beaded fabric in front of her is a skirt that Veronica made. She’s often sitting around waiting for her kids at a practice or events so she spends her time doing some hand sewing like embroidery and beading. Her embroidery was very detailed and precise.

Pattern drawing - Bay Area Sewists

At the end of our discussion we held a drawing for Bluegingerdoll’s latest pattern, the Winifred Dress – and Lynda won the pattern! This indie pattern company, which launched just two years ago, is based in Australia. Lynda was excited to win because the pattern is drafted for larger busts. You can buy the pattern in paper or as a PDF download.

There are plenty of tutorials on the Winifred sewalong posts that were created for this pattern. The talented Heather (@knitnbee) of Handmade by Heather B, wrote up the various adjustments you can make, including one on full and small bust adjustments. I am in the middle of making my Winifred Dress and used the small bust adjustment instructions. [Full disclosure: Abby send me a copy of the pattern for me to try out.] Thank you Abby, Bluegingerdoll’s designer, for donating the pattern for our meetup!

After the pattern drawing some members continued to chat and others went on a tour of the smocking exhibit currently on display at Lacis and to check out the store. The smocking exhibit will be on display until October 4. There are docent tours on Saturdays – and if you go on a tour you can see the actual pink smocked dress Anne Hathaway wore in Les Miserables. It’s in a special room, separate from the rest of the exhibit. Only a few people at a time are allowed in to see the special items there. You can see a photo of it on this Jane Austen blog post Smocking: A Stitch in Time. But you can see it in person at Lacis! All I can say is that Anne Hathaway is very slender – such narrow shoulders!

Our next meetup will be a pattern swap and a discussion of indie patterns on Saturday, May 17, 10:45 am. If you’re in the area, I hope you can join us! I hope to finally meet Melizza (@Pincushiontreat) of Pincushion Treats. Our May pattern drawing will be for Lolita Patterns latest release. Thank you Amity for donating your pattern!

On another note, our June 7 meetup at Lacis will be on fitting. If you have any suggestions about how we should use our time, please let me know. We’ll have the space for four hours. Some folks will be bringing their sewing machines. I figure we could have an area where people can get accurate measurements, maybe an FBA/SBA area, or something like that.

People will bring their muslins, etc. and we’ll all muddle along. If Loran of Loran’s World comes (if she’s not too jet lagged after her trip to Australia!), she can really help folks. She’s had plenty of fitting experience. My experience is limited to SBAs, wide shoulder adjustments, and a little waist tweaking.

I’m excited about this meetup because I’ll finally get to meet Angela (@bonnechanceblog) of Bonne Chance! She just moved up to the Bay Area from Los Angeles. She had wanted to come to our meetup this month but had to go apartment hunting instead.

Anyway, feel free to offer any tips about holding a fitting session! Thanks for visiting!
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Organizing a Fabric Swap

Fabric swap - cotton wovens

In March I organized my first fabric swap for the Bay Area Sewists, a meetup group originally founded by Meg of Made By Meg. I took over as organizer of the group in January and we had our first meetup in February, a pattern swap at the Berkeley Public Library’s Community Meeting Room. You can read about that here. (If you’re a resident of the city, your group or organization can use the library’s meeting room space for free.)

I thought I’d share a couple of things I learned about putting together a fabric swap. Once you have a venue (make sure there are plenty of tables!), tell folks to organize their fabric beforehand. I initially told people to sort by type of fabric (cotton, knits, home dec, etc.) and be sure to bring pieces that are at least 1/2 yard so people would have enough to make something. I said that any leftover fabric would be donated to the nonprofit East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.

A few weeks later one member sent me an email, asking  if there was a reason that the un-swapped fabric would be donated. She asked, “Is it just logistics? If we had the option to take home the fabric that is not swapped, I think it would be a real incentive to bring more fabric pieces, and also bring larger fabric yardage. That way we would have a lot more options to trade with, and it would be a true swap.”

This was an excellent point. So I updated the meetup description and asked members to note the yardage and type of fabric on a piece of paper and to put their name on it if they wanted it back. Not everyone got this updated message but all the fabric was sorted. I also brought a tape measure, masking tapes and a sharpie so folks could label their fabric in case they hadn’t done so beforehand.

The day before I wrote out labels for all the tables on sheets of copy paper: cotton, knits, wool, linen, silk, home dec, rayon, polyester, and mystery fabric. Meg arrived early to help with setting up the room. The tables are all on wheels, which made it easy to place around the perimeter of the room.

Cotton wovens took up more than two tables worth of space. There was a surprising amount of home dec fabric, some of which were smaller pieces but they could be used for bags and small items.

Fabric swap - home dec fabric

At the actual event, I told members we would follow the same procedure at the pattern swap: Each person has an opportunity to pick one fabric per “round.” Then I asked if they wanted to keep track of yardage or just have rounds like we did for the pattern swap. Most members just wanted to pick fabric and not worry about yardage.

The only difference  from the pattern swap was that I decided to play a song on my iPhone per round. We didn’t have any music during the pattern swap.

When I saw that everyone had picked their first fabric, I picked a different song and shouted out, “You can pick your second fabric!” I can’t recall which songs I played but the artists were Raphael Saadiq, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. I was mostly picking fast tunes with a strong beat.

All the “mystery” fabric – fiber content unknown was put in one corner of the room, which I dubbed “mystery fabric corner.” It had all kinds of synthetic, poly, shiny and loopy fabric.

Fabric swap - mystery fabric corner

Everyone brought fabric so everyone picked something in the first round. If someone arrived who didn’t bring any fabric, then I would have had them wait at least three rounds before they could join in. After four rounds, I told folks they could take whatever they wanted. When we hold meetings at the Berkeley Public Library, the meetings must be open to the general public.

We held a drawing for Sewaholic‘s new pattern – the Gabriola skirt, which was won by Liz! Thank you Tasia for donating your lovely pattern for our giveaway!

Sewaholic Gabriola skirt pattern

We drew up a circle of chairs, sat down, and everyone showed off their new stash and told about what plans they had for the fabric. In this photo Daiyo (@bydaiyami on Twitter) is going over her stash. I think she went home with more fabric than she brought! I brought about five pieces of fabric and took two home – one printed mystery fabric, which I think was cotton and a berry-colored bit of wool crepe (yes, I was really limiting myself because I didn’t really want to add a lot to my existing stash at home).

Fabric scored at fabric swap

Meg took a great group photo using the timer on her camera. I’m the one wearing a hat, standing behind Meg on the left. Here’s the caption info I took from Meg’s great post about this Meetup:  Front row – Meg, Ali, Jessica, Megan, Cassandra, Liz; Back row: Me, Sara, JanaLoran, Sarah, Leah, Daiyo, Kelina, Allison, Veronica

Group photo - Bay Area Sewists

Everyone pitched in to clean up and the room was put all the tables back in place in about 10 minutes. And a member with a car offered to drop off the leftover fabrics to the East Bay Depot. Bay Area Sewists members are great!

Have you attended or organized a fabric swap? What was that experience like? I’d like to know how other people put theirs together.

Our next meetup, “Show and Tell, WIPs, Tour Lacis and a Pattern Giveaway,” is on Saturday, April 19 at Lacis in Berkeley. We’ll be holding a drawing for Bluegingerdoll’s latest pattern – The Winifred Dress. Thank you, Abby for donating your pattern! It’s free to join Bay Area Sewists. You can RSVP to this meetup here.
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