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Sewing workshop reviews

sanderson | Posted in Talk With Us on

There are many of us who come together to learn techniques and get inspired by what we learn at retreats and workshops.  From Sewing Expos to sewing circles that meet in homes, I’d like to read about what you and threads readers think about what makes for a great learning/sharing experience.  Maybe each issue could feature a sewing circle or creative retreat in hopes of inspiring like minded sewers to grow one for themselves.  This forum could even help to get like minds together on a physical plane.  The political world is now as ever depressing in its use of war and destruction to settle issues.  The quiet creativity and functional progress of sewing circles has historically been a positive effort in times of stress. 


  1. Bernie1 | | #1

    I'm headed to the Sewing Expo in Worcester, Mass. in April and I'll let you know how that is. I usually go to the one in Va. but opted for a different venue. I most often take Cynthia G's classes which are fun. The thing you have to keep in mind is that the instructors really plug their wares. You get as much advertising as you get instruction.

    1. SewTruTerry | | #2

      I really like taking Cynthia's  classes as well but that is because she is not always trying to sell her wares so to speak. Or someone elses for that matter but I think that if someone is as talented as her there is bound to be some urge to start a line as there must be so many people out there asking for it.

  2. Merryll | | #3

    When I lived in Portland, OR, years ago, I was introduced to good sewing classes. They seemed to be offered everywhere, and instructors took it seriously.  It was the first time since junior high school and that terry bathing suit coverup, that I'd had classes.  It also was the first time I heard an instructor refer to the sewing classes she took growing up as "lessons." And when another well-known instructor asked how many of us were sewing the way our grandmothers did, I recognized the inestimable value of ongoing sewing instruction.

    Since then I've been a junkie.

    I haven't been as fortunate as others here who've attended the big sewing shows. But I love Sandra Betzina's seminars.  I love her books and continue to reference them.  In her seminars she's enthusiastic, high energy, and her examples are large enough to make sense of the technique she's demonstrating. She introduces  sewing notions I may not have seen or known about, and uses them to demstrate techniques in her sample garments. These aren't her products, just things which make the finished garment look more professional and constructing them easier.  She always asks the sponsoring store to have extra supplies of these items on hand for attendees like me who may not live near wonderful fabric or notions stores.

    She has a spot-on eye for color and fabric, and I find her sample garments the most inspirational. Sandra also has an encyclopedic knowledge of fit, and as most sewers know, has her own line of patterns for Vogue. As she has aged, she empathizes with real women with figure flaws who can't make a garment without first adjusting the pattern. And pattern adjustment is her specialty.

    Sandra also is candid about her opinions of sewing machines and products.  She'll sit with you at lunch and chat just like one of the girls about her preferences.

    My greatest disappointment is that I have not been able to fork over the cash to attend one of her weeklong personalized sewing seminars in San Francisco. But after being with her for one or two days at a seminar, I go home with a notebook full of notes and enough inspiration to carry me for a year.

    I have attended other seminars taught by such noted instructors at Palmer Pletsch and Kathleen Spike, but none has the articulateness and contagious enthusiasm  of Sandra.


    1. carolfresia | | #4

      Merryll, did I already ask you if you're planning to attend the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Worcester? If you have a chance to go even for a day, just to do some shopping (and see the Threads Design Challenge fashion show!), I'd recommend it. It's a lot of fun, and not too terrible a drive from here.


      1. Merryll | | #5


        No, I won't be attending the expo, but I am looking forward to attending Sandra Betzina's seminars in May at Hartsdale Fabrics in nearby Hartsdale, NY. I'll be there with bells on!


        1. carolfresia | | #6

          You'll have so much fun....but then you already know that!


      2. Bernie1 | | #7

        I'm going to the Worcester Expo!!! Can't wait.

        1. carolfresia | | #8

          I wish I could be there to meet you, but please go and say hello at the Threads booth anyway. I'll be on vacation that week, so I'm missing the expo--and I had such a good time there last year.


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