Adventures,  Projects

Sewing Retreat

Completing a quilt has been a dream of mine, and I can’t believe I did it!!! I was thinking I’d match my newbie level and start out with a simple design, but I’m stoked that this quilt exceeded what I thought I was capable of! It’s a stunning design, vivid colors, made with quality materials, and a reminder of the beauty in imperfection. I feel like I can confidently try those simple designs now!

Can’t imagine how long this project would take at home without so much allotted time and space, and someone I could come to when I ran into issues or had questions. I also loved having all the fabric and batting there at the ready and pre-cut for me!

This sewing retreat is from Kloth Studio was 4 days at an AirBnB with sewing machines lined up. Come away with finished projects, the fabric precut and your supplies ready for you to sew away. A chef and snacks/drinks so you don’t have to cook or go anywhere to eat. A pool for down time in between. And skills / knowledge to last a lifetime. The boost I needed to get back into sewing.

I want to thank my Aunt Julie from Kloth Studio, who told me all about this amazing experience and supported me through the entire process. I was a recipient of a scholarship/donation to be able to have some of the supplies within my budget, and that was an incredible gift and surprise- thank you!

Things I Didn’t Expect

My Machine: I was able to use my own basic sewing machine I’ve had for 12 years to do this! It was broken prior to this retreat, so I wasn’t sure it would make it or have all the features I needed. They had a backup machine ready for me in case. Now I have confidence that I can create with what I have at home.

Pajama Party- Got my 20 squares done at 11:59pm!

Midnight Madness: Sewing hours were scheduled for 7pm to midnight, but I didn’t think I’d be sewing so late at night. I ended up sewing until midnight or later every night, just so excited with progress! Time flies during the day, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way that took time and patience. Ironing is also not my strong suit, haha! We watched movies (all the best ones!), listened to music, and laughed ourselves silly in the wee hours.

All the Math: This is precision work with lots of measuring and cutting. I didn’t realize how much I need various rulers and even this rotating one to make repetitious tasks or batches so much easier. I was able to borrow these and really enjoyed using them!

Almost there!! “Flag Day” theme

Slow Finish: There were 4+ projects for us to work on at the retreat, but I chose to only work on the quilt because I wanted to finish at least that. I was still slow lol! As the last day drew nearer and my energy waned, I made more mistakes and had to get over my frustration. I was given really helpful advice and encouragement in the end, and my instructors even helped me sew while I packed up my car to leave in time. I left as soon as we finished binding!

New Friends: Such a bonus to be surrounded by good company. What amazing women I met here! One was a female airline pilot who was getting back into sewing after having won a sewing contest in high school. Another was away from her 7 kids and hadn’t really sewed since before having a family when she made costumes in Vegas. One owns a farm with horses and has her own sewing room. Two were sisters who got each other into sewing, and who inspire me with their patience and determination. Even though one had only been doing it for a couple of years she was so fast and we all looked to her on how to do things haha. We celebrated each other and there was always something to cheer for.

Local flora on a morning walk

Balance: Wanting to meet goals or make progress meant I sewed for long periods of time, with back and neck muscles needing stretching. It was so nice to have meals together and have that built in break. The one day I didn’t go outside at all made me feel icky so I made sure to also include a swim, a walk, or an excursion for the day and that helped recharge me.

Sewing Things I Learned

  • How to wind / refill a bobbin with thread on my machine correctly
  • Which direction the sewing pedal goes 🤦‍♀️
  • Increase the stitch length when working with bulky layers so it doesn’t shift as much
  • Pins are easier to remove if the pinhead is near the edge of the fabric
  • Sew quilt pieces into blocks faster by “chain sewing” them in a continuous line without snipping thread
  • Friction pens are the best way to mark fabric! The ink disappears with heat, so you can iron the marks away
  • The parts of a quilt… “piecing”, “sashing”, “binding”, “backing”
  • A method to create corners on binding
  • How to manually adjust the position of my sewing needle if I need it a “scant 1/4”
  • The direction you press the seams sometimes depends on bulk and embroidery plans- when you make them open it’s like slicing right into the seam
  • How to replace the needle with a quilting needle meant for sewing through many layers of fabric and batting
  • Which layers to sandwich in a “quilt as you go” (batting goes on top)
  • Tools and supplies make a big difference in the enjoyment of the project! I ended up buying “nice thread” and the “nice pins” because it meant they weren’t getting caught or having lint accumulating in my machine. I noticed and appreciated the quality of a good iron when I had 80 things to iron over several phases!
  • Bring a nice pillow for your chair and the long hours at the sewing desk!
The quilt sandwich with batting at the top

This has been such a rewarding journey for me. My sweetheart was so supportive taking care of things at home so I could come. To Aunt Julie and everyone who helped me, I’m so thankful. Thank you to my instructor Keegan, my cheerleader and sewing master Mrs Bryan, my floor mates who let me watch them and included me in walks or dress-ups and even let me borrow a special pillow that helped me be able to sit. I sure appreciate them. I’d love to go on another retreat someday maybe with my Mom. I’m already looking at plans for another quilt to do in the meantime 😉

Love, Kat

You can check out what classes and retreats are going on at Kloth Studio, they have options for learning remote and getting kits shipped out if you’re not local: Kloth Studio

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