Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Get Ready for our Summer Retreat!!

Save the Date this summer for three days of sewing fun with friends!


Retreat begins

 9 AM on Friday, August 12 , 2016

and continues through 

Sunday, August 14, 2016 until 4 PM.

Our Summer Retreat is located at National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia.

Pack your machines and any projects you want to work on.  
Set up shop at our spacious retreat and enjoy your craft among your sewing sisters.  
Fun and relaxed atmosphere.  



Stitch as much as you like, stay as late as you like.



ASG Members - Cost is only $40 to reserve you space.  
Non-ASG Members - cost is $90.

Rooms are available to stay overnight if desired.  
Separate reservations weblink will be provided to registered attendees.

and send in your registration form today!

Contact Sylvia for more information about our retreat, or contact Karen for help with registration.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Woodblock Printing

by Martha Walker


ASG NoVa is sponsoring a hands-on woodblock printing program at Artistic Artifacts Saturday, April 30, 2016.  Details are in the this flyer.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Embroidery Group New Meeting Time!


Life in the Hoop, the embroidery machine neighborhood group has moved to a new time. We will still be meeting on the 4th Tuesday of each month but from 1:00-3:00 pm. Each month we try to do a new project and explore a different topic concerning the embroidery machine. Last month we made tissue box covers. They had designs on one side and monograms on the other. Next week we will be starting free standing lace jewelry. Specifically earrings and a necklace project. We meet at the Hancocks fabric store on Mathis Ave. in Manassas VA. If you want more information you can call Adrienne at 703 868 7011.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Great British Sewing Bee Update

By Denise Marois-Wolf


The word is out that GBSB’s fourth season begins filming this spring, with an air date sometime in
May. Sewing teacher May Martin, one of the judges from the first three seasons, has reportedly left the show, to be replaced by costume designer Esme Young.

Anyone who watched the second season will remember Chinelo Bally, one of the runners-up who impressed the judges with her freehand technique. She has a book out from Pavilion, available on Amazon called “Freehand Fashion: Learn to sew the perfect wardrobe – no patterns required.”

Meanwhile, if your French is up to snuff (or at least somewhat better than mine), you can watch episodes of Cousu Main gratis on French TV M6.

I admit I’m not as enamored of this version. I like the way the GBSB host, Claudia Winkelman, interacts with contestants. I find Cousu Main’s host Cristina Cordula annoying and don’t like that she plays favorites in the workroom. The format is a little different, with two challenges done in a day rather than three challenges over two days. For the first challenge, contestants are given five-six hours and a pattern to make a garment. Episodes have included a basic pleated skirt, a duffle coat (which I don’t equate with French style), a pair of jeans, and lingerie. Repurposed clothing is the second challenge, and more interesting because it’s where some of the contestants truly shine. The judges, tailor Julien Scavini and couturier Ampara Lellouche, are precise in their critique and do a lot more hand-holding than May Martin or Patrick Grant.

There are two seasons of Cousu Main. The format is a bit clunky, but at least French TV M6 is making the show available to US audiences without forcing them to purchase Tunnel Bear. And it’s a nice alternative while waiting for the GBSB to come back.

In 2014 Love Productions announced it was looking for New York area sewers to take part in a US version of the Bee, but I haven’t seen any updates on that for a while.

There’s also a German version of the Bee.


Series Review – Atelier (Netflix)

By Denise Marois-Wolf


This Netflix original show about a young Japanese college graduate who takes a job at an exclusive lingerie shop is a window into the craftsmanship that goes into beautifully made lingerie. Reportedly, the series is based on The Devil Wear’s Prada.

Set in Tokyo’s Ginza District, Atelier (the title in Japan is Underwear) follows Mayuko Tokita (Mirei Kiritani), a self-professed “fabric geek” as she navigates her first job at a high-end and rather snooty bra store called Emotion.

At the helm is Emotion’s founder, Mayumi Nanjo (Mao Daichi who bears a remarkable resemblance to Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue), who’s careful, old-fashioned approach confuses and frustrates Mayuko. As time goes by, Mayuko develops a deep affection and loyalty for “the boss,” despite being told that her clothing is ugly and her overall appearance tacky. Mayumi is all about beauty. She designs and sews bras that make women feel beautiful. She herself is impeccably turned out, right down to the Wintour-style pageboy. To Mayumi, Mayuko dresses like she belongs in a corporate cubicle and is an eyesore.

The only marketing Mayumi believes in is word of mouth and the occasional in-store trunk show. Mayuko wants to get the word out by hosting a runway show and make the product available to a wider clientele. Mayuko’s youthful wonder as she fondles the beautiful fabrics and laces is fun to watch, and over the course of the 14 episodes she injects modern ideas into Emotion’s stuffy sales tradition while making herself over into a more stylish and attractive presence.

There’s plenty of the usual drama, youth versus maturity, selling out for profit versus maintaining product integrity, mass-production versus quality control. There are stock characters that include a snooty new high-fashion magazine editor who doesn’t publish stories about lingerie, a reporter who’s been covering Emotion for decades and is fighting boredom with every trunk show, a tough outside, soft inside male office manager, the talented but frustrated designer who’s creations the boss consistently rejects. Staff loyalty is tested, profit margins sink leading to desperate measures. Corporate sabotage is a persistent and real threat. Mayumi, forced to confront the realities of a modern market, must decide if it’s worth giving up some of her cherished methods in order to save her shop.

There are plenty of personal back stories and some interesting secondary characters. A down at heels model who passes out at her Emotion job interview helps Mayuko in her quest to learn bra making and makes a surprising contribution at a crucial moment. Mayuko befriends an aged geisha who suffers from occasional dementia, but still cherishes the Emotion bra her husband bought her 30 years ago. Watching Mayumi lovingly repair the bra is a beautiful moment.

I’m not a fan of Mirei Kiritani’s wide-eyed acting, and I found her character at times more than a little annoying. Given the Japanese work culture with its emphasis on respect for the boss, it lacks credibility that she would question Mayumi’s way of running a business. After watching the entire season, I’m still not sure she gets what couture means. She comes up with an idea for lingerie marketed to young women, an ugly camisole and panties that in the real world would have gone in the trash.

For me, some of the best moments involved close-ups of Mayumi hand stitching lace onto a custom bra, and watching Mayuko’s first attempts at making a bra using Mayumi’s original single stitch machine, hidden under a cloth in the atelier’s basement like a relic. The photography is lush and beautiful, with some gorgeous scenes of Tokyo. I wish every street corner had a coffee bar like the one Mayumi frequents.

If you don’t make your own lingerie, this series might encourage you to do so. If you own beautiful lingerie, it will encourage you to get it out of the drawer and wear it. And feel beautiful.

Atelier is a product of Netflix and Fuji TV and is in Japanese with English subtitles. You can find it by searching Netflix under original series option. There is no information yet on whether Netflix plans a second season.

Winter Retreat Pics!

Winter Retreat was a huge hit this year.  The space was sold out at 39 sewing friends for the weekend.



Confessions of a Retreat Newbie

By Bonnie Firestone – Springfield Sharing Threads Neighborhood Group Leader

I have never had any interest in going to a retreat. I didn't need to go away to find time to sew. I certainly didn't think I could enjoy concentrating on sewing for hours and hours. So when I ended up in Winchester at the George Washington Hotel for the retreat weekend (it's a long story), I brought my swimsuit and my exercise clothes and figured when I couldn't stand sitting anymore that I would enjoy the facilities and do a lot of shopping in the town of Winchester. That never happened!
What I hadn't counted on was the warm, friendly, infectious atmosphere among a group of enthusiastic women whose love of sewing is matched by their enthusiasm for helping others enjoy the retreat. I was welcomed by my table mate who promptly invited me to join her group for lunch.Then I got the “tour” of where the snacks were hiding, when to ring the cowbell, where the best restaurants and shopping were. That was before my machine was even plugged in.
The sewing room in Winchester was superb! I had expected a windowless ballroom with adequate lighting. Instead I entered a beautifully appointed space with large windows and several sparkling crystal chandeliers that left no shadowy corners. The room itself lifted my spirits.
You will notice that I haven’t talked about sewing yet. At our dinners, with our open seating and large tables, the conversation occasionally drifted to sewing, but also to a myriad of other topics. I discovered that my table mate’s husband went to my brother’s high school. Another member was able to supply me with my favorite Dutch licorice that I haven’t had in years. And there was the tale of the fur collars – but that’s another story altogether.
So, want to hear about my sewing? I used my sewing machine for about 5 minutes.
I was making a robot costume with a control panel. In the end, it was a collaborative project. My table mate helped brainstorm several “engineering” issues and went to the store for supplies. My fellow retreaters donated beading needles and thread, and safety pins. It did take me two days to get it done, but if I had been working at home alone, it would have stretched out to weeks. Each setback would have sent be scurrying out of the sewing room to do laundry or play candy crush. I returned home, refreshed and relaxed. And looking forward to another Winter Retreat.