During one of the most dramatic rainstorms I’ve seen in a long time, I packed my car full of sewing paraphenalia and drove off to the Seattle BurdaStyle Club’s first sewing retreat. Eight of us gathered together for a day of sewing, chatting, snacking and clowing around (my specialty).

Even though I packed my huge camera for the event, I didn’t end up taking many pictures, which was a shame. I was too distracted by all the sewing!

Here’s our fearless leader, Christina:


She finished a pair of yoga pants and put the finishing touches on a gorgeous Burda jacket.


Vinetta worked on a lovely blue wool coat. I want to make one just like it!

Here, Diana is helping Cheri learn how to use the blind hemstitch foot on her new sewing machine.


You can see a few more pictures of the event on Christina’s blog. Try to ignore the picture of me with the crazy hair. Like I said, it was raining hard and my coiffure suffered.

During the retreat, I worked on a fleece jacket using some fabric my mother had given me awhile back. I have enough of the stuff to make a cozy for my car, so I didn’t worry about making a muslin before starting. I altered the dimensions of the shoulders directly on the pattern tissue. No testing was done beforehand. Much to my surprise, the shoulder area of the garment fits better than any other top I’ve made for myself.


Just because I had that bit of good luck at the beginning of the project didn’t mean it was smooth sailing from that point forward. I hadn’t really looked at the picture on the envelope carefully enough to notice how much the jacket looked like a clown outfit…big ruffled collar, poofy sleeves. All it was lacking were pom-pom buttons. Barnum & Bailey would hire me on the spot if I showed up for an interview wearing this.



Yes, I laugh at the styling, but I actually do like the collar. I’ve decided cut the sleeves so taper down to the wrists. Hopefully this will minimize the clownishness.

I’m also having trouble with the facing. I should have read up on sewing with fleece before starting this project. Had I done so, I would have realized sensible people usually eliminate this piece from fleece jackets, because they end up too bulky and won’t lay flat. Mine is now trimmed and hand-stitched in so many spots that it would be a nightmare to rip out. I’m going to try topstitching it down. It’ll be a style element. Wish me luck!

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