The fashion show on Friday night was certainly a fun start of the conference weekend (read about day 1 here) but by Saturday morning we had shifted focus and got (sorta) serious and ready to learn. Waking up early for registration on Saturday was a bit challenging after a long night, but I did and it paid off. Who do you think was the first person in line?! Yup that’s right THIS GIRL! LOL
I was joined shortly after by my new buddies @naturalgurlygirl, @malori.a, @alicarene, @alwaybelle and @sewmuchtoy. Good thing we were early because that line got long quick! While in line waiting for registration to begin we sipped our Starbucks and talked natural hair. When it did we quickly signed in and snatched front row seats so we didn’t miss a thing.
After some quick pics we dug into our goodie bags (one from Mimi and her sponsors and one from Michael Levine). Micheal Levine gave us a piece of black scuba ( I haven’t measured it but it felt like 2 yards) and a travel mug in a reusable tote bag. Mimi’s leopard print bag contained her new Simplicity pattern S1066, the spring issue of Sewstylish, Jacinta knit dress pattern, a clover seam ripper, a sunglasses case kit, a coupon for a free creativebug class, a schmetz needle pocket guide, a conference program, velcro, flash tape, a sulky package, fiskar scissors, a fat quarter a spool of gradient thread and Dritz pins.
Tieko Nejon, image consultant and brand specialist, started up the morning as Mimi’s hype man if you will. She is hilarious and definitely woke us up. Mimi arrived to a warm applause and started as soon as she walked in the door. She made a few major announcements (some of which Tieko had already slipped).
- There is a second early fall pattern. It is a sharp coat with a removable cape. She shared with some of us a sneak peak and let me tell you it it FIERCE, but what did you expect. Mimi said that Olivia Pope ain’t got nothing on her and she is right!
- Mimi G tees are here! One features her hashtag #sewingissexy in pink on heather gray. The second says Hi Darlings in white on heather gray. To those that didn’t attend, don’t worry the tee-shirts should be coming shortly.
- Mimi is an inventor y’all. She has created the G Curve! This ruler combines a hip, waist and arm/neck curves. She said she was tired of having to grab several rulers when drafting her pattern and realized there needed to be one ruler for everything and the G Curve was born. Way to go Mimi, she can do anything. We were told that the G curve will be available online soon as well.
After all that great news she went over the days agenda which included break out sessions for the Beginner and Advanced participants followed by a Fabric Swatch book and Styling and Undergarments combined sessions. The beginner sessions included Basic Sewing Techniques taught by the amazing Kelly Horton and Pattern Fitting taught by the experience Deborah of Simplicity. Deborah also provided a session on Pattern Fitting for the advanced attendees along with Gentleman Jim who taught the Tailored Jacket course. I signed up for the advance because y’all keep telling me I’m not a beginner.
I learned so much from the Pattern Fitting session from Deborah Kreiling who is the Design Development Director for Simplicity. She has been working at Simplicity for 36 years starting as a sewing instruction writer. She shared with us a wealth of knowledge based on those years of experience to help us a custom fit from a standard pattern. The most common problem areas like crotch length, tummy pooches, wide hips and big booties were addressed first. Later she answered more specific questions addressing areas like broad shoulders, long torsos and widening sleeves. She also walked through techniques grading between sizes, when to add length vs circumference/width and adjust the crotch of pants. The one specific thing I will share seemed to be an AH-HA moment for everyone in the room. I believe it happened when someone asked about fitting for a larger behind in pants, Deb said “you can always cut a larger size for the back“. I feel like at that moment you could see the light bulb turn on for everyone in the room. I had NEVER thought to cut a 12 front of a pattern and then cut a 14 or 16 for the back to add some ease for my caboose. WOW that is the type of info I wanted to learn! Another great bit of info that she shared was that a size 10 is Simplicity master size, it is the size that sizes 6-22 are graded from. That is great to know for an advanced sewist to aid in grading up or down past the printed sizes. Thanks Deb!!!
We then broke for lunch, but most of us just stood in line to purchase the new announced T-shirts and G curve ruler. After
an extended the break I returned for my second session of the day with Gentleman Jim. Gentleman Jim is a master tailor from Savannah, Ga. He has 50+ years of experience as a pattern maker, designer, sewing instructor and clothing manufacture. This man had more sewing knowledge is his pinky finger than I did in my whole body so I can’t begin to share everything he shared with us. He did teach us the importance of not skipping corners and taking to time to make sure your garment is constructed properly because as he said “It takes just as long to sew it right that to sew it wrong“. With over fifty years in the business he was also able to share with us some of the industry standards. You know how you were taught things in school a certain way but then when you graduated and entered the real world your on the job taught you a quicker, better way to do it. Yeah he shared those industry secrets. Gentleman Jim is also a riot he had us laughing throughout the class. He shared that you really only need to master three things in sewing; 1 -sew a straight line, 2- install a zipper and 3 – make a pocket. He brought with him sample of coats/blazers in various states of construction along with besson (not welt) pockets and collar examples. If you are at the stage where you really want to master your construction of the foundation garments such as pants and blazers I suggest purchasing his DVDs from his website, The Lost Art of Fine Tailoring.
After the two breakout session we had a short break and then all returned to one room for the fabric swatch session. I found this to be most helpful. Most sewist have a good idea if a fabric will work for them if they touch it, but what if you need to order it online. How do you decipher are the terminology and predict what you are going to get? Mimi had the answer, keep a swatch book! Mimi provided us with 10 swatches from Michael Levine, that her and her team lovingly cut out for all 250 of us. The swatches were ponte, chiffon, denim, chambray, etc. She gave us the weight (oz/sy) and the content of each as well as her recommended uses for each fabric swatch. We were encouraged to continue to add to our swatch book by taking a small square of any fabric purchased and jot down the name, weight and content. That way if you buy a fabric that you love you can refer back to that card and find something similar for a future project. So be sure to take a picture of the end of the bolt when you buy fabric to complete your swatch book when you get home.
Last but not least was a joint teaching effort by Mimi and Tieko on Styling and Undergarments. During this final session both ladies share a great bit of advice “Dress for the body you have, not the body you want”. This doesn’t mean stop trying to achieve the body you want but just don’t wear those motivation outfits until its time :)! They address several areas from big busts to back fat and muffin top to plumbers butt. Both ladies, but Tieko especially, had me cracking up as they gave her stern and truthful but lovingly worded fashion advice. I believe the joint project they are working on will address this as well as defining your own style.
We ended with a Q & A and I can’t even begin to remember what was asked because my brain was on overload at that point. Everyone was dismissed and headed out to their own adventure. Naturalgurlygirl was so kind as to entertain Malori.a and I with a little tour of the area. I’ll write on that in a separate post.
Whew, this was a long one. As always share your thoughts and feedback in the comment (click the + sign at the bottom right). If you were there what did I miss?
Read my Day 3 Recap here!