Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sewing Summit 2012, Salt Lake City

I was so looking forward to the opportunity to go to the Sewing Summit in downtown Salt Lake City this weekend. And it was every bit a fabulous that I thought it might be. I have been in a slump with little enthusiasm about my craft. But this weekend gave me new ideas and avenues to explore. This is my friend, Jennifer ( is the most wonderful, creative girl. I had such fun discussing our creative journey with her on the opening night and found so much in common with her.

This teacher, Mena Trott, has a blog @ She spent a whole year sewing her own wardrobe. She sewed new clothing every week and used vintage patterns and materials in most cases. She was inspiring and funny. She really got me interested in finding some patterns and making some vintage dresses for myself. This is something I have never done. I was so excited when someone brought a couple of boxes of vintage patterns to sewing summit and let my friends and I take from the boxes. I got about 6 that I really like. I am mostly interested in the 50s and 60s.

This is Jeni Baker. She has a blog called She taught me a lot about balance and tones and saturation. I am not a quilter, but I was very inspired by how I can find a color palate and mix a lot of different prints and colors to make something really lovely. 

Perhaps my most useful and needed class was by this pattern design class by my cute new friend, Carrie Lundell of She taught me things that should be intuitive but of course were not before the class. Carrie used to design children's clothing for Old Navy in New York City, and as it turned out she lived just one block from my apartment in Manhattan (I was on 119th/Amsterdam). Later I moved to Astoria. She moved there too. She now lives in Orange County, where of course I grew up. I appreciated her energy and her effortless ease and sensibility in her work as well as her cute personality. We ended up spending a lot of time together at the conference. 

After Carrie's class on Friday night, we went to dinner with more of our friends. Katie Deshazer is in Pink ( She is crazy talented. She makes the most amazing clothing that is tailored and sophisticated. She is also a doctor. So cool. And in the middle is Deborah Moebes from This girl is wonderful and talented and almost completely lost her voice, which almost made it harder to get to know her. But somehow we managed just fine. I sewed until late at night with these great girls and wish I had them around all of the time to meet for sewing... or at least once per month. Is that too much for a girl to ask?

Of course everyone seemed to be very excited about Joel Dewberry's new line, Notting Hill. We were all super excited to have him make an appearance and speak to us about his line and his design process and his inspiration. I was not very excited when I found out at the last minute that I would be introducing him. I feel like I roped him into speaking in the first place, but I didn't think I would get so nervous just to do an introduction. But anything in front of 250 is sort of a big deal. So I couldn't eat my lunch. But I made up for it at dinner time.

Joel was gracious as ever and a lot of fun. I could tell that people were very impressed by his work and who he is as a person. I am grateful to count him and Laurie as my friends because the Dewberrys tend to make me look good. I hope that I don't do the opposite for them. Oh shoot! I better be careful!!

Joel was super nice to stick around and talk to the mob that looked forward to meeting him. It was a wonderful experience, and I will try not to get him roped into these things in the future just because I know how busy he is. Still, he has to admit it was rewarding.

This is my dear friend, Erin ( She is also my neighbor. This girl changed my life and introduced me to this whole blogger/sewist world. I am so glad she did. I met her a couple of years ago and now I feel like she is my partner in crime. I love my adventures with her. Though most people would not consider staying up late and discussing fabric lines an adventure, for us it is exciting and inspiring.

More of my sewing summit friends at the closing dinner. Oh, I should mention Melissa Esplin on the end in navy ( She is young and funny and full of energy. I so enjoyed my time with her. I met her last year and took a refashioning class from her, which was super inspiring for me. I didn't realize at the time how useful the class was, but it panned out later. That night at dinner, we had a wonderful and inspiring keynote speaker. Her name is Nancy Soriano. She has major experience in the New York City publishing world. I identified with her journey, starting out working for a big name in New York (Cosmopolitan Magazine) and following her heart in her career for many years since. 

I loved the wisdom she shared about finding your path and what is right for you. She said things like: start down a path and see where it takes you, stay near people that keep you on edge or that don't quite rub you right and learn more about them, put yourself out there and see what comes and who you make connections with that might change your life, when things aren't enjoyable anymore, take a break and try something else, always be kind and treat people with respect, etc... I could identify with every nugget of wisdom she imparted. After the dinner, I stayed late talking to her and enjoyed her so much. 

I am way too lazy today to PhotoShop my pictures, but this gives you the idea. The class I attended that was the most amazing (though not exactly the most applicable to me) was Special Occasion sewing by the very lovely and graceful Sarai Mitnick. I enjoyed her so much. She is edgy and deep, two things that I know I am not-- but yet when Sarai showed us the lovely vintage gowns that demonstrated different fabrics that we discussed, I recognized that vintage brings us all together. Sarai and I have more in common than one might think. 

This woman's class was more technical than any of the other classes. She came prepared with take away cards with samples of each fabric and information under each one describing the needles to use, the hems to use, and tips for how to best cut. Amazingly helpful. I would never know what to do with Chiffon if I hadn't taken this class. Then again, I am not sure that I will ever actually sew anything with Chiffon. She painstakingly brought examples of each fabric with hem and seam finishing details on them so we could see what they look like. I was floored by her professionalism and felt like the class was worth so much more than my ticket to sewing summit. It was so kind of her to go to the trouble too because I am sure she wasn't making a fortune teaching us. On the contrary. 

This is my friend, Stephanie Woody from West Virginia (

Oh and Leigh, on the left here, who I knew before sewing summit because Erin introducted us. Leigh  is just a gem. I am glad to count her my friend. Leigh Hansen ( is one of those people who makes me feel like I have a good friend in the room and adds that bit of comfort that we all want when we go to something like this and know very few people. I have gotten to know her over the past year and look forward to knowing her for a long time. On the right is Deonn Stott who has done tutorials for Riley Blake for quilting. I felt like I knew her because when I was preparing my Riley Blake tutorial, I watched her online to see how it is done.  She is very experienced and a very nice person. 

Overall, I left sewing summit inspired and uplifted and excited to sew new things in a new way. Now I am off to make a dress from a vintage pattern!!! Not really. I have to put the kids to bed, but that doesn't sound as exciting.


  1. Wow! I am impressed that you have already written a post! I might get around to it one of these days. (I think last year I wrote it 2 weeks later or something). Also - thanks for saying such nice things about me! I loved hanging out with you too and now I wish I would have had a little more time because I didn't meet many of those girls in your post. We will for sure be hanging out more in the future :)

  2. Great wrap up April, well said! So happy I got to meet you, and look forward to following along!

  3. Awesome post, April. We talked a few times at the Sewing Summit. My friend Lynn and I were gushing over your ruffle skirts. Now I'm a new follower!
    Jen (Piggybaby) :)

  4. I am impressed with how many pictures you took at Sewing Summit. I only took 2 this year...pretty sad. Oh well. I really enjoyed meeting you at the closing dinner on Saturday night. Thanks for reposting the highlights of Nancy Soriano's speech. I didn't remember hearing her say those things so I appreciate the recap. It kind of makes you stop and think. Great post.