In September of 2015, I was chatting online with my good friend, Margaret, and she told me about a conference she’d just heard about taking place in Chicago the following year, Sew Pro, for sewing professionals. She shared the link, and within 15 minutes we were both signed up. I wasn’t a quilter, pattern maker, fabric designer, or any of the other professions this conference appeared geared towards, it didn’t matter. I was missing my good friend, I hadn’t seen her in over six years, and I’d never been to Chicago . . . girls weekend, birthday celebration (it was her birthday weekend!), and a little sewing talk, woo hoo!! I was sold!
As the days were getting closer, I was getting more and more excited. The Facebook page was buzzing and I was already meeting some fellow sewists. I still didn’t feel that any of the tracks were for me, but was glad to learn that we didn’t have to follow a specific one. I’ll admit, I’m embarrassed now to say, I wasn’t familiar with any of the names on the roster (sorry Pat, Tula, Sara, Kristin, Spoonflower, etc.) . . . except for Mimi G. I knew she had a line of patterns for Simplicity and I liked her style. My expectations of the weekend were nil . . . I’d lived in my own little sewing bubble for eons, I didn’t know anyone else that sewed. I always felt alone in this creative world of turning large rectangles of fabric into pieces of art that hug women’s curves. You see, I’m a sewist who creates clothes, mostly for others. And I’ve been doing it a long, long time!
I met my first fellow cloth lover at the airport . . . we were both arriving very early, hours before check in, and had connected online. From that initial meeting, I knew I was where I should be and it was just the start of developing friendships and networking that will continue for years to come.
It’s a jumble, still to me now, who I learned or heard what details from. I never realized there were so many avenues available that I could branch into and blossom my sewing brand. Like Mimi G said, pick one, get good at it, and then move on another. I think the biggest impact came from Roseann Kermes of Rosebud Cottage when she told me, “You can do this, and start with getting on social media!” I have my work cut out for me, but I’m happy to say that I immediately got on Instagram and Pinterest, got a new computer, and now I’m delving into the blog arena. I have so much to learn and even more knowledge to share.
After SewPro concluded on Saturday, there were a group of us that boarded the El train and headed into the city. Crazy photos at The Bean in Millennium Park, being tourists and snapping pictures of everything we saw on the streets, and getting six women to agree on where to eat dinner, so much fun and there was lots of bonding with new friends.
We walked several blocks and came across Bohemian House, a restaurant just over the river and down a little side street. We walked in and I exclaimed, “Sewing machines!!” Yep on the back bar, fate . . . and there have been more signs since, which I’ll save for other blogs, but I am confident I’m heading in the right direction.
I came home with a head full of ideas and plans and an email message, “I have a client, she’s a fabric designer, and attending Quilt Market in Houston, and looking for someone to create some garments for her out of her new line, are you interested?” Ummmmmm, yes I am!!!! The stars were already starting to align . . . I had just heard about quilt market at Sew Pro and had made a mental note that I’d like to work with a fabric designer (or two) on some clothing samples. Never did I expect to do so for an event that was mere weeks away!
From all my takeaways of this experience, I wanted to design something. Oh, okay, it was a requirement to participate in this blog hop . . . so, I quickly put my pencil to paper to see what transpired. I wanted something to wrap myself in that was my aesthetic, my style and would forever keep the memories alive. A jacket, perfect for the fall September days of Chicago, grey like The Bean mirrors, to always reflect who I am. Some chevron shaped inserts to remind me to always reach for the stars, these pieces should be colorful and pieced like a quilt, to remind me of all my friendships and how different people are entwined in our lives, placed close to my heart and waist, like a hug. A Mimi G pattern as my base, to always remember how she inspired me. A hi/low hem as I know there will be ups and downs. The SewPro experience is still surreal to me.
The gray suiting has finally arrived and pattern altering (Simplicity #1016) has begun. I’ll need to do a muslin first to get the fit right. The fabric designer, Jackie McFee of Camelot Fabrics, from Market has given me permission to use her scraps. One is a chevron and her line, My Gray or the Highway is befitting, don’t you think . . .
***Enter the Sew Pro Giveaway below to win a Fabric Bundle and Patterns***
Stay tuned for more on how my jacket is coming along and check out the other blogs from my fellow Sew Pro Stars from the links below:
Lisa Peterson – Lisa and Lorelai
Sherri Noel – Rebecca Mae Designs
Andi Stanfield – http://truebluequilts.com
Vanessa Behymer – https://vintagebarngirl.wordpress.com/
Pam Cobb & Lynn Rinehart – http://www.thestitchtvshow.com
Sherry Shish – www.poweredbyquilting.com
Joanne Kerton – www.canuckquilter.com
Lisa Nielsen – http://thequiltjam.blogspot.com/
Carmen Ross – seecarmensew.com
Anne Beier – http://www.hudsonvalleyquilts.com/
Jessica Caldwell – www.desertbloomquilting.com
Pamela Morgan – mysweetlittlestitches.com
Maryanna Powell – www.marvelousauntiem.com
Cathy Smith – Www.aquiltingchick.com
Lissa LaGreca – lovinglylissa.com
Paula Mamuscia – YOU ARE HERE https://creationsbypaulamamuscia.wordpress.com/
Angie Tackett – http://www.mystitchstory.com/
Becca Fenstermaker – prettypiney.com
Holly Stockley – www.lighthouselanedesigns.com
Teri Seal – daymoonquilts.blogspot.com
Trinia Braughton – www.penguinfeats.com
Deanna Wall – https://www.stitchesquilting.com/