Creative Opportunities

Teaching and Learning – Sew Expo 2019

I’m back from the 2019 Puyallup Sewing and Stitchery Expo, rested up and ready to roll again! The week was spent teaching, learning, meeting up with friends and being INSPIRED. So, I’ll make this quick, follow up with more and then I’m off to my Sewing Spa to SEW!!

Attendee with bag
An excited attendee with her 2019 Sewing Expo tote!

For the first time, I started my Sew Expo experience by taking hands-on classes. Although, I LOVE teaching, it was absolutely delightful to be the student for a day. On Wednesday, I took two classes with my dear friend, Fonnell and had so much fun. We worked hard, but it was still relaxing and I learned great techniques.

Photo Feb 27, 10 47 51 AM

Soy Wax Batik Ice Dyeing with Nick Coman

Nick Coman of Dragonfly Dyeworks is an amazingly talented and very personable gentleman. It was fun to meet Nick, compare some dyeing experiences and learn his technique for Soy Wax Batik. In high school (yes, it was the 70’s), I took a Batik class and learned the traditional method with beeswax and jhanting (a copper tool that creates fine lines). It was fascinating, but tedious and lengthy, so I looked forward to learning Nick’s method in a three hour class.

This really deserves a whole post, so today I’ll just touch on the highlights. We used good quality muslin pre-treated with soda ash to set the color. The heated soy wax serves as a resist and we applied it to the muslin with an eclectic mix of tools.

Once the wax had set, we crinkled and twisted the fabrics and set them in plastic shoeboxes. Next, we covered the fabrics with a layer of ice and carefully (with a mask on) sprinkled dyes on the ice and put lids on the shoeboxes.

The idea with the ice is that it slowly melts and infuses the fabric with dye. This took several days as the boxes sat in the back of my car. I loved doing the dyeing, loved Nick and there will definitely be more of this in my future!

Bow Loom Fonnell
My friend Fonnell enjoying her Bow Loom Weaving

Thai Bow Loom Weaving

My Wednesday afternoon class was Thai Bow Loom Weaving with Marilyn Romatka of Taproot Folkarts. Marilyn’s mission is to help preserve traditional arts from various cultures by teaching others and encouraging them to teach, too. As a long-time weaver, I thought this would be fun and easy. It was both, but there are a few tricks to it that made it a very slow process!

Bow Loom supplies

We used colorful pearl cotton as both the warp (lengthwise) and weft (crosswise) threads on our Bow Looms. The looms were made from soft wood dowels that bent easily into a bow shape as they were warped and beads were added. The weaving is slow when done properly. Several people in the class side-stepped the instructions, took a shortcut and actually finished their project in class! (Where was I when they figured that out!!)

Bow Loom my 3 inches

I got about 3 inches done and have woven another 6 or so at home. Yes, it will be a while before mine is done! I do think this is an interesting techinque. The one I’m working on is destined to be a bracelet, but I see potential for creating trim in this way, too. We’ll see!

Time to Teach!

And, then it was my turn! I taught 4 classes, one each day at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo.  I totally LOVE teaching! It’s exhausting and exhilirating all at the same time and I’d love to do more of it. So, here’s a hint . . .  yes, I’m willing to travel!

Kantha stitched cuff

Modern Kantha Stitching

On Thursday and Friday, I taught 1-1/2 hour classes on Modern Kantha Stitching. The Thursday class filled up in the first hour of registration in January and Sew Expo was able to find room for a second class on Friday.  It is such an honor to have people want to take my classes! Modern Kantha also deserves a post of its own, so watch for that.

My hubby was tremendously helpful and we spent hours and hours and hours prepping materials for this class. The class kit fabrics contained upcycled clothing fabrics, handstamped and stenciled linen and upcycled tie fabrics. Threads provided included embroidery thread, pearl cotton and wonderful Tim Holtz Craft Thread donated by Coats and Clark.

It was fabulous to see the different fabric combinations created by those in the class! Every piece was different and everyone was smiling. Some people struggled with the rustic, not perfect nature of Kantha. It was rewarding to see them eventually relax and enjoy the slow, uneven, relaxing rhythm of this traditional style of hand stitching!

Buttons holding bracelet

Button Bracelets

Let’s skip Saturday for a minute and talk about my Sunday Button Bracelet class. So. Much. Fun! The class met at 12:30 and was full of people ready to relax at the end of a busy four days of Sew Expo. There were mother/daughter, aunt/niece and friend/friend combos in the room and it was marvelous seeing them all work together.

The bracelet we worked on is simple – stacked buttons handsewn on elastic. The stacking, re-stacking and and planning are the enchanting parts of this project!

Buttons giraffe
This sweet giraffe came to class straight from the button box it has lived in since this student was a child.

Many people brought their own collected buttons, so there were sweet memories floating through the room. There’s more to tell, so another post is due on this one, too!

Pre Yukata back facing


Common Sense Fitting

Saturday was my Common Sense Fitting class, another full room. My style of fitting is designed to be easy, quick and fearless. It’s about using your common sense to think about what you’re doing before you cut and understand that YOU are the boss of your patterns.

Styling Design Ruler
My favorite fitting tool – the Styling Design Ruler!

My mission here in The Sewful Life is to encourage and empower those who think they can’t successfully sew their own Handmade Wardrobe. We spent our time in class talking about how to measure ourselves, measure our patterns and measure clothing that is comfortable and fits us well. And, yes, there will be more posts on this!

The Truth and Nothing But . . .

As part of my mission to encourage, one of the first statements in the Common Sense Fitting class is “The Shocking Truth” and that is:

Not too wide to sew meme

So, I’ll leave you with this for today. And, yes, feel free to share that truth. Truth is powerful and it should always be shared!

Toaster and fabric

I’m off to sew my first Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater! The fabric’s a little crazy, but it’s French Terry from my CCFS and I think it will work. (Carefully Curated Fabric Stash) Plus, I’m up for an adventure! I hope you’re sewing, too and I hope you’re having fun and feeling fabulous in everything you make. Because, why not? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

I’ll be back soon! Sew. Enjoy. And, Repeat!!

Annette signature

Moment of Further Truth:
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