The Sewing Summit Part 1: Class is in Session


I’ve decided that in order to properly wrap up my experience at the Sewing Summit this year it was going to require 2 posts. One about the classes and one about the people. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not done talking about Riley Blake Fabric Fest either, I just can’t seem to find 5 minutes to sit at the computer and write this past month. I don’t know why, isn’t 3 trips in a months time normal? *wink*


Also you may be wondering…. why did I decide to teach at two Sewing retreats in a months time? Well mostly because of this girl. She started college in Utah in August and I figured that a trip to the Sewing Summit would be the perfect opportunity for me to be a bossy helicopter mom and go check to make sure she was still alive. I’m happy to report that she is alive and well, and seems to be thriving on ramen noodles.

For the Sewing Summit I only taught one class, English Smocking. So I had time to take some classes, relax and learn a bunch of new things.



To prep for my Smocking class I started a couple of new projects. Mostly because I wanted the technique to be fresh in my head while I was teaching so that I could share my best tips and tricks.

I started this dress the week before and will tell you that the smocking only took an afternoon. This type of dress with just a bit of smocking it the front is one of my favorites, you can read a bit more about it here. I’m going to save the wrap up of my class for my next Sewing Summit post.



Next to all of the wonderful people I met, my favorite part of the event was the classes. I love learning new things and I was so excited to learn from some of the best.

I took a Fabric Design class from Pat Bravo (she owns Art Gallery Fabrics). She was fantastic. The best fabric design class I’ve taken (I’ve taken a few). She gave us concrete, specific advice on what to do if we think we have an idea for a fabric line. She answered many of the questions I’ve always had about designing fabric. I love that her class was specific and practical.


Next up was English Paper Piecing from Kaye Prince. I vaguely knew how to paper piece but was glad to finally take a class. We started working on Kaye’s Donut Kiss pattern.  I found out during the class that I really love this technique. I think she’s found a convert. You may start seeing a few paper pieced projects on here on the blog in the future.

I ended up skipping my Saturday morning class because I was BEAT from teaching and dinner the night before. I needed to sleep.


Next up for me was Elena Roscoe’s frame clutch purse class. Let me just tell you that in my head this purse was 100000 times harder to make than it really was. I would have completely over complicated this project. That’s why it’s so great to take a class, always so many ah ha moments! I love this clutch and I loved having Elena as a teacher. So patient and knowledgeable. There are more of these in my future.



Lindsay Rhodes was there teaching a Sewing with Leather class (you can find the pattern for this bag here).  I had actually gone and bought some leather the month before and was excited to be taking a class to learn how to sew with it properly. Turns out it’s not as difficult as you think  (hint, use a leather needle).  Her class opened up a whole list of new possibilities for me as far as sewing materials go.  She’s even selling leather for sewists in her shop.  The gray is on my “list”.


I love how my tote bag is turning out so far, another hour of work and it will be done.

My last class was fitting sewing patterns with Sunni Standing. I knew I needed to take this class with Project Sewn coming up. Let me tell you that I know next to nothing about flat pattern drafting, but I was able to figure out most of what she was teaching. She really broke down the information in a way that made it understandable.  Hopefully this will help me venture back into the world of garment sewing.

Whew… see that was a long post.  Stay tuned for part 2 in a couple of days.



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  1. Melissa, that English smocking is gorgeous! I’m so used to seeing smocking done on pastel fabric with more pastel thread, but what you’ve done is just perfect! What is the name of the fabric you used for the smocking? I can’t wait to see the dress finished!

    PS- I loved the little black dress you made for Project Sewn

    1. Hi!
      Thanks so much for your kind comments on my dress! It was a labor of love to say the least. I think the fabric for the smocked project was by timeless treasures… I’m pretty sure, but it’s not printed on the selvage. I think they are based in Nashville if that helps at all!

  2. Why oh why am I just now seeing that charm for the first time! Can now only find on ebay for over $100 🙁 can you share the name of the doll fabric please. That is adorable! Thanks

    1. Ha! I was worried about posting it because I got it several years ago, but it was just too cute not to use. The fabric is Ballerina’s by Anne Kelle. You should be able to find it online.

  3. YAY! Great post! And I’m SO glad you enjoyed my class. Your clutch turned out great! And such perfectly styled pictures of it 😉

    I agree, i can’t wait to make more goodies with all the new skills I learned. Especially the leather!

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