And goes out like a lamb

Or at least it feels quiet and peaceful and the temperature is warming up!

April is a new month and the flowers are on their way. I watched Peggy Sagers on her YouTube channel last night and was, as usual, inspired to get sewing for spring. She had a good overview of what the world says we should be wearing this season along with some sage advice on whether or not we need to wear it 🙂

Here’s our calendar for April. Hancock Fabrics will most likely be open for most of the month. We’ll keep you updated.

April 2016 Fashion Sewing Club Dates:
Saturday, April 9, 10:30 at Treadle
Tuesday, April 12, 10:30 at Treadle
Thursday, April 14, 6:30 at First Sewing Bloomington Hancock

Treadle Yard Goods: 651-698-9690,
Design And Sew:
Saturday, April 9, 16 and 23, 1:30-3:30

Fit That Matters:
Tuesdays, April 12, 19 and 26, 6:00-8:00

Kids After School Sewing Club:
Tuesdays, April 12, 19, 26 and May 3, 4:00-5:30

Serger Workshop:
Saturdays, April 16 and 23, 10:30-1:00

First Sewing, Bloomington Hancock Fabrics
*Please register in advance with Material Girls on their website or call us at 952-201-3863
Sew Studio:
Tuesdays, April 5, 19 and 26,12:00-3:00
Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21 and 28, 1:00-4:00

Beginning Sewing:
Thursdays, April 7, 21, and 28,6:00-8:00

Beginning Serger:
Thursdays, April 7, 21, and 28,6:00-8:00

Kids After School Sew Club:
Thursdays, April 7,14, 21 and 28, 4:30-6:00

Here are a few photos that have been waiting to be posted. So much creativity out there. Thanks for letting us be part of it!

First project :)
First project 🙂

Repurposing dad's jersey
Repurposing dad’s jersey

Not only did she learn to love sergers but she completed the Disney 5K in her Princess creation!
Not only did she learn to love sergers but she completed the Disney 5K in her Princess creation!

The family that sews together...
The family that sews together…

Some of my mom's old things...
Some of my mom’s old things…
..with all the embroidery silks still in the holder.
..with all the embroidery silks still in the holder.
Why we love our sergers!
Why we love our sergers!
Rub-a-dub-dub, four grand boys in a tub.
Rub-a-dub-dub, four grand boys in a tub.
The last snowstorm and who I spent it with :)
The last snowstorm and who I spent it with 🙂
Using up knit scraps
Using up knit scraps
Snowed in and happy to be
Snowed in and happy to be

Happy Spring Sewing!!

The fashions are great at the Puyallup Sewing Expo 2014 and best of all, there isn’t any snow!!

From Roving Reporter Kay Dole-

Joining a “Sew Many Options Tour” with Marsha McClintock for the sewing expo has turned out to be a good decision. Lee, from the Saturday Fashion Sewing Club, did this last year and recommended it. My day started with a two hour bus trip from Portland and a winning ticket for one of the door prizes on the way. Now if only my luck would hold out for one of those new sewing machines being given out at the expo…….
Classes, fashion shows and shopping filled the day. A leather sewing class by Peggy Sagers was filled with new information including that you can wash leather in the washing machine. Who knew?

The first fashion show I attended was narrated by Patti Palmer of Palmer/Pletsch fame and featured patterns from McCalls, Butterick and Vogue. Lots of dresses which seemed to fall into two major categories: form fitting sheaths or twirly full skirted dresses. Most were sleeveless which is not always the most flattering for those of us of a certain age. Trends were described as including either brightly colored solids or water colored or splashy prints. Dresses with interesting details were also featured. Check out these pictures and see what you think.





Also, the fashion show by Marcy and Katherine Tilton was delightful. Their choices are always interesting and include styles we can all wear while still including some edgy items only for the brave. See a few pictures from their show.



I did find a few pieces of fabric while shopping at their booth. Also, if any of you follow the blog “Communing with Fabric”, its author, Shams, was shopping while I was there and we picked two of the same fabrics. She has good taste!

I found some things at Linda Lee’s booth as well as a new pattern from Louise Cutting. Diane Erickson has some beautiful new upcycled items that are fun to see. She is so creative and is using Tee Juice markers to draw and embellish items. I had to buy some to try.
All for now as I have to rest up for tomorrow. They are predicting some snow, just can’t seem to get away from it.

Post Peggy Sagers Fit Workshop

From our California Material Girl, Carrie, after the whirling in her head slowed down 🙂
(To see the first two entries, see The Art of Fitting-Before and The Art of Fitting-In the Thick of It.

So, how does one feel after being enmeshed in fitting muslins for almost 4 days? Tired!
My head feels full of information that I didn’t even have time to get into notes. And I’m excited by all that I learned about how to fit patterns.
I still need to find time to take the adjustments from my muslins and adapt my tissue patterns according to the changes.
I brought 10 muslins with me to the training and all 10 came home fitted to me – first by another student, then reviewed, adjusted, and modified by Peggy.
I’m very happy with what I learned and am also happy to have 10 patterns fitted to me that I can use as a baseline going forward.

The training schedule is 80% hands on fitting. The other 20% is direct explanation and training from Peggy. There is no magic formula for fitting. Each wrinkle is unique to each individual, but Peggy has tried to create a common sense approach that breaks down the most common sources or reasons for wrinkles. I like that Peggy is all about taking a simple approach to fitting – what’s the fastest, easiest way to eliminate the wrinkles? Let’s not create a new arm hole shape that would require a new sleeve. Let’s not make several modifications to one garment – maybe we have the wrong size to start with etc.

After Day Two I think most people in the class felt frustrated with the learning process. Most of what we were doing to fit the muslins was still “wrong.” We were able to identify the wrinkles, but not always what was causing the wrinkle, so therefore, not fixing the wrinkle in the correct way. Day Three Peggy came in with a new class format and, in general, I could tell that by the end of the class we were starting to “get it.” Day Four, the last day, Peggy offered to start early and most people showed up early, already jumping in with a partner before Peggy even arrived. Each fitting was reviewed and corrected as needed by Peggy. She would often ask what the fitter saw before making an adjustment, then review what should be changed and why.

Overall, learning the fundamentals of fitting and the hands on experience is totally worth the cost of the class. Leaving the class with at least 9 fitted muslins- more if you have time to make more – is totally worth the cost of the class. If you want to become a fitting trainer and offer sewing classes – you won’t walk away with a packaged program or curriculum to do that. In my class about half of the ladies were interested in teaching fit classes. Peggy does share experiences and what works or doesn’t work from her personal experience and the experience of previous students.

So, am I a fitting expert now? No, but I have a really good set of tools in my tool box. From what I’ve heard and now experienced, it takes practice, practice, practice and I’m ready to jump in!

Thanks, Carrie. To find out more about Peggy’s class fitting class, click this link.

The Art of Fitting-In the Thick of It

Carrie writes from Peggy Sagers’ Fit Training Workshop-
(Read “The Art of Fitting-Before” blogpost first to get the full scoop.)

Here are my thoughts from day 2 of training.

Learning fit is not for the faint of heart!

The last two days of fitting classes have been exhausting. By the time we wrap for the day my brain hurts – it’s so full of information it feels like it might start oozing out!
Thursday we started off with an easy lesson, fitting tee shirts. Today, Friday, we took the full day fitting blouses, which was really a lesson on darts and armhole adjustments. The basic format of each session is to start with Q&A from the previous day or session, then we jump into fitting muslins on a partner. We have a large class of twenty ladies. That does affect the flow of the class and the information covered each day, but Peggy is dedicated to ensure each muslin is reviewed by her. However, the practice fitting other ladies is invaluable! Each evening I’ve worked on transferring the adjustments which have been pinned into my garment on to the pattern.

At times I question if I’m really “getting it”, but I’m beginning to understand fit is learned by repetition. The first time you make the right adjustment it almost feels like an accident- did I really know what I was doing? But after seeing it, hearing it, and doing it all day it does begin to imprint itself in your brain.
The class is a mix of ladies who want to teach fitting, those who just want to have muslins fit for them, and a few ladies who just enjoy classes with Peggy ; )

For now I’m signing off, it’s been a long, busy day!

Dress Forms Revisited-New Joann Fabrics Open

Peggy Sagers had over 300 people watching Monday night as she unveiled the new dress form she is offering on her website. It looks great and the price seems very reasonable, considering a custom dress form can easily cost $1000. The problem with a purchased dress form is that it doesn’t look like most of us-well, most of the Material Girls anyway. Someone has to be a standard size in order for one to exist but I don’t bump in to Ms. Standard Size often. Peggy had some tips on padding the dress form to look like your body-she fit a sheath dress to her body and then put on the dress form to aid in padding the dress form so it would be her double.

All of this led to a phone call I received this morning so I thought I’d put in a plug for a duct tape dress form-wrapped by yours truly, of course. Just kidding, I am linking our instructions so you can do it yourself. Either way-purchased dress form or duct tape, some work has to be done to get the form to look like your body so you can use it to fit garments. This was the reason we started doing the duct tape dress form to begin with. No matter what price I pay for a dress form, I have to do some shape shifting to be accurate and that takes time and probably another pair of eyes.

So here’s the deal, for $125 you come to class (or we can come to you and 3 of your friends in your home), we have the supplies and you bring a tight fitting garment that covers the part of your body that will be wrapped (neck to thighs). We wrap you in three layers of tape, cut it up the back to get you out and after lunch we will tape it back up and stuff it. You will go home with a body double that will hang in your closet or sit on the floor or a table. We take measurements as we go to keep things accurate and draw helpful points on your double to aid in fitting.

We don’t guarantee that it will be exact but you would be surprised at how the duct tape captures posture, etc. If you put close fitting garments on the dress form you will be able to see how tight or loosely you will fit garments as you make them.

It isn’t my intent to suggest that you shouldn’t buy a dress form from Silhouette Patterns, merely that there are other options. The next Duct Tape Dress Form class at Treadle is Aug. 1 or you can email Material Girls and set up a taping party at your convenience.

Joann Fabrics in Shakopee is open!!

Those of us that live on the southwest side of the Cities have been watching and waiting for the opening of the brand new store. I had to go today-the first day they opened-just to check it out. I was very happy to see a well-lit, visible classroom right inside the front door. There’s a Viking/Husqvarna dealership in back and the whole store is basically divided in half by a center aisle with fabric on the right half and sewing machines, patterns, notions and crafts on the left. Yes, about 3/4ths of the store is dedicated to sewing!

I talked to the manager and she is excited about offering classes-the old store had no visible classroom-neither does the store in Yorktown and the buzz among customers was one of excitement at the opening of a new place for sewists to shop. Everything was neat and tidy, the displays more at eye level-not much bending over to see things. The handicapped parking spaces are right outside the door so you don’t even have to cross traffic to get in the store-how thoughtful.

As I drove home I thought of one thing the classroom needed-a changing corner for trying on garments as you sew 🙂

Coffee Break Perusing

Guest Post from Kenzie Carlson

Dear Sewists,

Here are a few examples of how I use Pattern Review (

I’m having a great time experimenting with making knit tee’s in a non-bias fashion using the bias Burda pattern 7509. I wondered if there’s a simple men’s tee pattern…not that I want to switch gears to make something for my husband at this time. So, I looked at Pattern Review during my coffee break from sewing.

I found this posting that has directions on how to make a design on freezer paper, iron it to the shirt, and spray paint. Now, how cool is that!

I noticed that this sewer has 85 reviews, so I took a look to see what other creative things she has:

Then, THIS Amy Butler bag took my eye because MOST Amy Butler bags are made with colorful quilting material. This had wording and looked different! Turns out, it’s made with rice bags, plus there’s an inside insulated pocket for refrigerated items when using for market purchases. (This is a very creative sewer!!)

Weeks ago, killing time looking at Accessories on Pattern Review, I came across this Obi Bag from Sewing Workshop. Turns out the pattern is OOP, but by reading the reviews, I think I can duplicate it. I found material and it’s in the hopper, waiting to be made.

This sewer has 60 reviews and here’s more inspiration to tack onto my “to do” sewing list:

As I’ve mentioned before, daily (usually!), I scan the Review Gallery (under Sewing Reviews on the home page, 1/2 way down the left side) for inspiration. Pattern Review has a variety of garments and you never know what will be posted.

I look at other websites/facebook, too, such as Tilton and Sagers, which are wonderful for ideas especially on different looks for one pattern; how to change things up to get the most out of one pattern. To me, this is extremely important because the pattern work of fitting is the most time consuming. Once something fits (darts in right place, shorten/lengthen lines adjusted, etc), then the fun can begin!

Coffee break done – back to sewing!

In a New York Minute!

Contributed by Carrie Diamont

In 2009 I attended the MN Sewing Expo and watched my friends, the Material Girls, participate in the Peggy Sager’s customer fashion show for a chance to win a trip to NY to shop for fabric in the Garment District. In 2010 I attended the Expo again, but this time I was determined to have a fighting chance at winning the NY fabric buying trip. Luck was on my side – I was one of two customers to participate in the afternoon fashion show. And I had come prepared – I brought two garments with me so I had two chances to win the trip. Surprise, surprise, with a 67% chance of winning the trip – my name was picked out of the hat and I won!

I asked Peggy if I could join the next December trip as the December 2010 trip was already full.
Can you believe I waited just over a year to go on the NY Fabric buying trip? Although there is a spring option – I prefer fall fabrics of wools, heavy knits, darker colors, etc. Although it was a long time off -believe me I didn’t let Peggy forget that I would be on the December trip in 2011!

The trip begins officially on a Thursday afternoon and wraps up on Friday evening. You would not believe the amount of shopping you can do in just a day and a half! Peggy brought us into places that don’t sell to the public, and specialize in designer lines. As part of the trip we had a once in a life time opportunity to tour the design studio of Nanette Lepore, an American designer who still manufactures the majority of her line within the 5 blocks of the NY Garment District. While the shopping and the tour were awesome, the only thing that could top that was sharing this experience with 40 other sewists. Dinner on Thursday night was a room full of ladies chatting about sewing and sharing experiences. Who knew that a room full of sewing enthusiasts could get so loud! Of course the night ended with a round of show and tell of our best fabric finds from the day. The fun of the companionship was certainly as much fun as the shopping!

Luckily for me, my roommate had been on several of these buying trips. She gave me the inside scoop on the places we would be visiting – where to splurge because you won’t have the opportunity to go back, what types of fabric to expect to find in the different locations, and where to browse. A high number of the ladies are repeat attenders, some have been coming since the first one! It’s easy to see that this trip is a great value for the price and a wonderful experience. For those who have been able to attend the Material Girls’ hosted SR Harris shopping trips – The Peggy Sager NY trip is like that experience on steroids. Unforgettable is the best way to describe it ; )

Pictures include: Peggy and friends shopping in NY, me with two bolts of amazing Helmut Lang wool



Peggy Sager’s Blouse Webcast

Monday night was webcast of Peggy’s blouse construction webcast. We didn’t watch it at the Fashion Sewing Club that night because it was mostly on technique and not fit. The techniques in the webcast are also on her “Factory Tips and Techniques-2″ video (pant construction is also on the DVD).

So anyway, I thought I’d give it a try and bought her #600 pattern which she used on the webcast. I had the pattern all cut out and turned on the DVD. Slow sewing was all over the letters to the editor in recent sewing mags but Peggy is out there to git ‘er done! And she delivers. The webcast was 50 minutes long and she finished the blouse-well, except for fitting darts, hems and buttons. I also got that far on my blouse. I took time out for a long phone call and paused the webcast when she got ahead of me. All in all it probably took me an hour and a half. Not bad when I had to look at the pattern once in a while to see what she was talking about. Having said that, it was fun to just sew and have her telling me what to do the whole time. That in itself was a timesaver. I had also watched her DVD once so that may have helped me a bit.

Just a few comments-She talks about sewing on the sleeve and turning off the differential feed. In my experience, all differential feeds are neutral in the middle and turned in one direction to gather and the opposite to stretch. Not sure what serger she’s using… The sleeve did go in very well-not much extra fabric. I really didn’t need much from my differential feed at all. Sewing on the collar with her method is pretty slick and I must say it looks good too. The front plackets add a nice stability to the garment and certainly is quick.

Trying the blouse on this morning I probably should have used a size 3 instead of 2. I went for 3 inches of bust ease-measuring my favorite blouses as she suggests. I forget that she has that 3/8” seam allowance so there’s no grace. The blouse fits-even at the bottom. Bust is great. There is just a bit less ease of movement in the shoulders than I’d like.

Sometime today I will watch her fit webcast for this blouse and I’ll let you know how that goes. Anybody else try this pattern and methods?

Sewing Events and More

Lots of things going on here, trying to winnow the things we do and try to do only what we do best. There was some talk of going to the sewing expo in Novi, Michigan. It’s supposed to be the best for fashion sewing. After looking at the vendors and classes, I’ve decided that it looks alot like the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo that will be here in November so I’m going to pass. I’m taking it off of our calendar.

The event I’m really looking forward to is the Creative Connection. It’s September 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. Amy Butler and Mary Jane Butters (do you know who she is? I’d call her the Martha Stewart of the back to the farm movement-she’s got a great mag but, come ‘on, who could possibly do all she does and look that good-my main complaint about Martha-like we all need another perfect woman to emulate!) Where was I? Oh, yes, wonderful creative women will be speaking; there’s a handmade market that I’m guessing will look like something out of a Somerset Studio/Stampington & Co. magazine. The part I am personally excited about is “social media and your business” speakers and panels. There are also classes that look like fun but are mostly handwork as far as I could tell. If you live in the Shakopee area, the Eagle Creek Quilt Shop is taking a bus downtown on Friday and Saturday. Too bad the Sewing and Quilting Expo people can’t see what’s going on and change their focus a bit.

Peggy Sagers (Silhouette Patterns) has a new set of 4 patterns for fall. I’ve ordered them and especially want to try the cape pattern. There are so many in the fashion magazines for fall but they’re not that great for a pear figure. Check out her version. The set of four sale ends today (Wed.).

After a frustrating jacket fitting, I’ve decided to take the plunge and get a dress form. Any advice out there? Uniquely You was recommended as I was searching for answers to my jacket fit problem. Bernina has one. What do you have?

On the subject of fit-check out The Fashion Code. It’s a $30 option for getting your perfect neckline, hemline, sleeve length. You take your measurements and upload them on the website and get your perfect measurements, based on the Golden Proportion, and a pdf file of a 30 page book to explain your best look further. The measurements are taken from the floor and are a bit tricky to do alone. If you’d like we’ll do them before or after Fashion Sewing Club for you.

Hope to see a bunch of you at Hancock tomorrow!

Making a muslin

Recently I went to the movie “Coco and Igor”. The storyline piqued my interest and I ended up reading “The Gospel According to Coco Chanel”. I highly recommend it. Short, funny and lots of facts (which I’m not sure the movie had a lot of). At one point there was mention of Coco always using a toile or test garment to make her creations. I had only ever heard of calling that test garment a muslin. That same day I was reading a blog and the word was used in the same way. So I took the time to look it up and, sure enough, one of the meanings of “toile”-pronounced twal-rhyming with ball, is a test garment.

Which brings me to my second wedding dress. Several of us Material Girls attended the Peggy Sagers event in July at Hancock Fabrics. I was struck by how easily she altered the muslins on the women and decided that, in the future, I would try to use them more often. According to Peggy, “If you get the wrinkles and puckers out of muslin, they’ll surely be gone when you use fashion fabric that has body and drape.” I have now completed the muslin or toile (very cool word if you’re feeling particularly Coco-ish) for the dress for the second wedding. There’s a sleeve in one side and not the other. I’m still deciding which I want but have plenty of time to think while I cut and sew.

I miss everyone this month and wonder what you are sewing….