Spring 2017 Sew South Retreat Recap

Monday, April 24, 2017

What a fabulous weekend of fun, friends and creating!

So many creative, fun, kind, caring and talented women came together to stitch, sew and laugh the weekend away!

Read founder Jennifer Mathis' recap of this fun weekend to get a feel for what Sew South is all about.

New Sew South Retreat dates coming early summer! There will be 2 Fall retreats! Stay tuned and don't miss any important info by signing up for the Ellison Lane/ Sew South Newsletter.

Sew South Retreat Spring Recap 2017


I can hardly believe it but this Spring retreat marked my 8th Sew South Retreat. What began as a simple idea and a dream years ago has become a gathering I hold near and dear to my heart.


I have made some of my very best friends through Sew South and each retreat brings so many kind, caring, talented, fun, engaging ladies together. Whether you're attending for the first time or the fifth, you will have a great time, make connections with others passionate about creating and enjoy a weekend for yourself.


Sew South Spring is marked with daffodils and tulips, a hint of warm weather and the happy chatter of friends old and new.


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We started the weekend with mimosas, introductions and hand embroidery and were enjoying a quick and satisfying make of fabric baskets in the afternoon. Open sewing time brought quilt blocks, bags and projects of every color.

fabric button baskets sew south retreat spring 2017
button baskets sew south spring retreat 2017 6 embroidery projects sew south retreat spring 2017 embroidery workshop sew south retreat 2017
Tacos and margaritas, elevator selfies, pajamas and lots of laughter rounded out the evening.

scenes from sew south retreat spring 2017 3
projects during show and tell sew south retreat

Saturday was for making totes- big, roomy, beautiful bags perfect for summertime. Kam Chin of Studio Chopstix taught this workshop and before we knew it, lovely bags began to take shape. I've used mine many times already and can't wait to stock these bags in my handmade shop this Spring!

scenes from sew south retreat bag making class 2017 scenes from sew south retreat spring 2017 4tote spring sew south retreat 2017

Group picture gatherings, heaping plates of Italian food, delectable cupcakes, basketball and lots more sewing rounded out the evening. As we blinked our weary eyes and dragged our happy selves to bed at midnight we giggled like school girls at a sleepover.

sew south spring group 2017 6

You see, Sew South is more than sewing. It's about friendships and connecting with people that understand ooohing and aahhing over favorite fabrics and new quilt designs. 

It's about finding your tribe- your people that understand your need and desire to MAKE things. It's about appreciating the differences in each other and the similarities that bring us together.

Sew South is about friendship

sew south retreat smiling faces spring 2017
Anna, Laura, Asha, Jenifer, Sara, Margaret

Sew South Retreat Spring Smiling Faces

sew south retreat spring smiling faces 2
Tiffany, Tracey, Jessica, Alex, Patrice, Beverly, Kam

Sew South is about connecting and creating

It's about friends old and new, making memories, taking time for yourself, and having time to sit and create.

I hope you'll join me sometime. I'd love for you to be part of these wonderful weekends.

my feelings about sew south and the friends I've made there
Sew South Retreat
New Sew South Fall Retreat Dates and ticket information will be announced early Summer. To ensure that you get all the Sew South news, sign up for my newsletter: www.bit.ly/EllisonLaneNewsletter

Thank You Sponsors! Sew South Retreat
Sew South is made extra special by our wonderful sponsors. 

A very BIG thank you to the wonderful and generous Sew South Sponsors and friends who contribute so much to ensure that our weekends are amazing. 

And a very big thank you to the friends of Sew South that send goodies for our attendees. 
Sew South Friends

You can find out more information about upcoming Sew South Retreats by following @sewsouthretreat on Instagram. 

So whether or not you come to Sew South, I hope you'll find your tribe and connect and create with others that share your passion. That's the greatest gift! 


Curious about Sew South? Check out tons of pics through our  hashtag on Instagram : #sewsouth 

Fall 2016 Sew South Retreat

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

As I'm gathering supplies and making plans for the upcoming Spring Sew South Retreat, I am thinking about all of the good times I've had with Sew South women in the past.

The most recent retreat was this past Fall and I realized I never shared it with you so here's a recap of all the fun.

New Sew South Retreat dates will be announced in May and there will be 2 retreats this Fall! If you'd like to be sure to get details and updates about upcoming retreats, be sure to sign up for the Sew South/Ellison Lane Newsletter. Click here to sign up.

How was Sew South?” they said. “It looked fun on social media.” they added.
“It was awesome. So much fun.” I replied with an unstoppable grin and a humble heart. Because it is true. So true and every time I am awash with gladness and blessings at the gift that Sew South is to me.

Sewing Retreat – Sew South

It’s a sewing retreat and it is so fun but it is so much more.

It’s a gift to me- those women, the time set aside to create and connect.

It’s a gift to the women that come – to meet others that love to create, to enhance their skills or to make something useful and pretty.

It’s a gift to all of us- the friendships that we make, the time we take for ourselves, the getting away from our daily routine.

The gifts are small but mighty:
  • the gift of time to create
  • the gift of selfish sewing
  • the gift of friendships
  • the gift of new experiences
  • the gift of sewing into the late night in pjs with others that love it too
  • the gift of camaraderie with women that share your passion for making and creating
As women our days are often filled with taking care of others – our families, our careers, our commitments to school and church and neighbors but we also need to nurture and take care of ourselves.

And yes, it is a sewing retreat but it is so much more. It’s about connecting with other women that share your passion. It’s about friendships. It’s about being creative. It’s about laughing and chatting, pajama twins and eating cupcakes. It’s about being part of something and belonging to a group.

Because once you come to Sew South, you’re part of the family. You’re an alumni and you’re in our hearts.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sewists are the nicest people. They show and share what they know, share their fabric and their talents, share their tips and their tricks.

Sew South is about building people up. It’s about inspiring others to create. It’s about taking time to nurture your creativity for two days away from the normal tasks of daily life. It’s about looking for the good and getting to know others that share your passion.

I’m so blessed to be able to gather women together for these retreats. It fills my heart with joy and I am always so thankful. I tell God all the time, thanks so much for this opportunity- to share what I love, to share it with people that love to create too and for the gift of time together.

Because even though it is a sewing retreat, it’s really all about the people.
The people are what makes it special.

Friendships, sewing, creating, making, connecting. What GOOD things.

If you’d like to join me at a Sew South Retreat, sign up for the NEWSLETTER so you’ll be informed about upcoming dates, info and more! Click here to sign up for the newsletter.

Be sure to follow @sewsouthretreat on Instagram for all things Sew South as well!

Many, many thanks to the wonderful sponsors of Sew South (DritzCoats, Fabricworm) and friends of Sew South that treat our attendees so well! We truly appreciate the goodies you send, supplies, fabric and notions tremendously!

Thank You 2016 Sponsors!



Blessings. All of these women and all that have come to Sew South since 2012 are blessings indeed. Whether you can come to Sew South or another sewing retreat, take time to connect and create. It will surely be a blessing for you too.

Summer Sew South Retreat 2016 Recap

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Sew South Summer Retreat was so much fun! Read below for all the details and for info on how you can join me at a future retreat. 

sew south group 2016 summer

Sew South Retreat Summer 2016

14 women came together August 12 - 14 for a weekend of stitching, friendship and fun. For this retreat there were 10 women that were new to Sew South and only 3 that had come before. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sewists are the nicest people ever.

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There’s just something about a girls’ weekend away, time to be creative, to make and sew, to meet new friends and to eat together that brings out joy in everyone.

sew south scenes day 1 2016
Sew South draws women from all over the country and this group was no different. Ladies from Ohio, Virginia, Philladelphia, Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina gathered together for the weekend. There were teachers, lawyers, an artist, a retired air traffic controller and a cranberry farmer to name a few!

New Sew South Retreats!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I'm so excited to announce the next three Sew South Retreats for 2016/2017!

Since 2012 I've hosted Sew South, and I'm so happy to bring you three retreats for Summer, Fall and Spring.


I would love for you to join me! 

Sew South Retreats

Sew South Retreats are so much fun. Girls' Weekends are filled with sewing, creating, connecting and friendship.

Each Sew South retreat has 14 attendees. The small groups make for big fun and allow for friendships and camaraderie among the whole group. We have swaps, play games, eat together and sew together.

Check out this video recap of the retreats.

The workshops at Sew South are fun and interactive and you'll come home with some great finished projects. There is also time for open sewing where you can work on your own projects throughout the weekend.

Wondering what we'll be working on during the upcoming Sew South Retreats?
  • cute aprons
  • travel sewing kits
  • crafty project TBD
  • big travel bag (advanced beginner sewing experience required)
  • crafty project TBD
  • market tote with Kam Chin
  • travel sewing kit
  • crafty project TBD
Please note that you must bring your own machine to Sew South. 

Would you like to join me at a Sew South Retreat? 

Ticket Info

Tickets are available via lottery. To sign up for the ticket lottery please fill out this ticket formPlease fill out the form only once. 

The ticket lottery will be open until April 7. After that emails will be sent regarding tickets.

If your name is drawn for a ticket, you will be emailed. Payment is due upon receipt of the email. Depending upon space, you may have the option to purchase two tickets at once so you can bring a friend.

Summer Retreat: August 12-14, 2016
Fall Retreat: September 30 - October 2, 2016
Spring Retreat: March 31 - April 2, 2017

Tickets are non-refundable but may be transferable if there is a waiting list and a buyer for your ticket. Tickets are transferrable up to one month prior to the retreat. If you need to transfer your ticket you must contact me at jennifer@sewsouthretreat.com.

Tickets are $420 and include most workshop supplies, two lunches, snacks and beverages, and sewing swag. Not included are dinners and hotel accommodations. Sew South is held at the lovely The Hampton Inn Phillips Place in Charlotte, NC. There is a room rate of $135 for Sew South attendees and breakfast is included with your room.

Sew South Retreats begin at 9:30 on Friday mornings and end at 11:00 on Sunday mornings.

The weekends are great fun, full of creativity and friendship! You should join us!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at jennifer@sewsouthretreat.com. 

If you would like to sponsor Sew South Retreat, I'd love to work with you! Please email me for details. 

Happy stitching y'all! 


Sew South Retreat Video Recap

Friday, March 25, 2016

Want a taste of what Sew South Retreats are all about? Check out this short video recap and see all the fun we have!

Sign up for the ticket lottery and dates for the next Sew South retreats will be announced April 1!

I'd love for you to join us!


Sew South Spring Recap 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

The 5th Sew South Retreat was just over a week ago and what a fabulous Girls' Weekend! A lively, creative and kind group of women came together for a fabulous weekend of sewing, laughing, creating and relaxing. 

Time and again the people that come to Sew South are the nicest, most sincere, kind and generous folks, and I'm always honored to spend time with them.
sew south spring 2016 group
From L to R: Back Row: Sharon, Allison, Anna, Stephanie, Amy, Kelly
Front Row: Alex, Jenifer, Tracey, Tiffany, Patric, Kam, Me (Jennifer Mathis)
It's always such a fun group no matter who comes. You can count on laughter. You can count on joy. You can count on chatter and new friendships. You can count on creativity. You can count on making. You can count on shared stories and fun fabric and helping hands.

What is especially fun to watch are the friendships being made in real time, right in front of your eyes: old friends catching up and new friends bonding while they sew, chat and play.

Want to join me for a future Sew South Retreat? Sign up for the newsletter for all info. Ticket and upcoming retreat info coming early April!

Sew South Retreat

We started our weekend on Friday morning with mimosas, petit fours and conversation.
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sew south first day intros sew south retreat 2016

Then we jumped into a favorite fun craft - covered button magnets. These are completely addicting and so much fun to make. When you pop that covered button it feels like such a win! A big thank you to Dritz for the handy craft button kits and the wonderful sewing essentials they provided! 

sew south retreat button workshop dritz
Sew South-magnet workshop

Next up was hand embroidery with the lovely sampler pattern from Nydia Kehnle. Coats supplied the lovely Anchor threads and Dritz hooked us up with the needles we needed to dive right into this project.

sew south embroidery sampler
sew south scenes and projects sew south retreat 2016

Hand stitching is such a relaxing hobby and a portable one which makes it great for a retreat. It's easy to carry it around the room while you work so you can visit with friends that aren't sitting next to you.

After a yummy lunch we settled into stitching and worked on our own projects during open sewing time. It's so fun seeing what everyone is working on. We had quilt blocks, garment sewing and machine embroidery all happening at the same time!

sew south 5 groups

There was game time in the afternoon and dinner at PF Changs (a favorite of mine.)

sew south afternoon and evening sew south retreat

The small group size makes it so easy to eat and gather together. It's fun to sit with different people so you can talk to everyone throughout the weekend.

sew south selfie in the elevator sew south retreat

After dinner (and elevator selfies) it was PJs and cupcakes, sewing and a movie. We stitched the night away while Reese Whitherspoon and Sweet Home Alabama kept us company.

Saturday morning we jumped right in to the cute snap pouch project with Flex Foam from Pellon and Essex linen and Cotton and Steel Basics from the Fat Quarter Shop. We embroidered the linen and used the bright basics for pops of color inside our pouches.

lovely fabric from Fat Quarter Shop Sew South Retreat

sew south snap pouches sew south retreat snap pouches
sew south snap pouch line-up sew south retreat

scenes from sew south retreat spring 2016

We stitched away the aftternoon and before we knew it, it was time for our coin purse workshop. Many thanks to While Baby Naps for the great 3.5" metal frames!

Sew South-coin purse class sew south retreat

While the glue dried, we snacked before freshening up for dinner at Harpers Grill, a local favorite.

After dinner, cross-walk selfies and lots of conversation, we donned our PJs and played the Dirty Santa game with some super cute potholders.

sew south group pics crosswalk selfie

It was hard to believe that it was already Saturday night and our fun weekend was rolling to a close.

sewsouth 5 cute stuff sew south retreat
sew south 5 busy bees working sew south retreat

As  I lay in bed late Saturday night, I said my prayers and thanked God for these women and all of the wonderful women that have come to Sew South in the past. It truly feels like a blessing to be able to connect with all of these wonderful sewists. I feel so lucky to be able to bring these groups together, to have time to get to know them, to chat and sew with them. 

Sew South Retreat

sew south group shots sew south retreat 2016

All too soon it was Sunday morning and time to say goodbye. Hugs were given, pictures taken. Snapshots of moments in time so we can look back and remember the fun we had and the friendships made. Thank goodness for social media and the ease of which we can all stay in touch.

Sew South Group 2016 spring outside

Thanks for the memories ladies!

And a big thanks to the Sew South Sponsors that make the retreats extra special:
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If you would like to join me at a future Sew South Retreat, sign up for the Sew South Newsletter so you can get info on upcoming retreats and tickets!

New retreat dates will be announced in early April! :) Stay tuned.

Happy Stitching! 

Sew South Retreat Recap!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sew South was last weekend, and it was fabulous. The girls' weekend retreat was everything I had hoped it would be: relaxing, creative, inspiring and FUN! I had a permanent grin on my face all weekend and belly aches from laughing so much. Although this was my 4th time hosting Sew South, the small group size was new and a total win!
sew south group october 15
The Girls' Weekend Retreats are friendly and personal- 14 women - and the smaller size allows for lots of conversation, connection and friendships.
nametags for sew south retreat
With a group this size, we can all eat together, chat and laugh together and get to know one another. There's yummy food, great snacks, good music and of course, lots of sewing.

Scenes from Sew South Retreat

sew south works in progress
quilts at sew south retreat
Quilts from Sew South Retreat: Kate's Star Wars Quilt, Carlie's Feed Sack Quilt, Melanie's Kate Spain Quilt
sew south set up collage
snacks at sew south retreat
We kicked off the weekend crafty style on Friday morning thanks to the wonderful Sew South sponsors. (Great Sponsor Giveaway at the end of this post!) 
sew south 1516 sponsors
Dritz graciously supplied rotary cutters and mats along with the covered buttons we needed for our first crafty project.
sew south weekend sew south retreat

I'm completely smitten with these button magnets and have already made a TON!

button magnets 2 sew south retreat

button magnets sew south retreat

Benzie Design sent adorable wool felt garland kits and half of the fun was deciding how to string them. Everyone had a different plan but all agreed they were awesome! Check out Benzie Design for kits and lots of wool felt in beautiful colors. 

benzie felt balls collage

After lunch we got settled with our sewing machines and dove right in to projects. Machines hummed as quilt blocks were pieced, costumes were made and conversations flowed.
Everyone was happily content working away without distractions. How lovely it is to have hours of uninterrupted sewing time!

Before we broke for dinner we played the fat quarter game (aka Left, Right, Center.) We split into two groups, oohing and aaahhing over lovely fabrics and laughing over passing the same FQ around and around. The winners were quite pleased with their new stash and even graciously shared some special fabrics with those in the group. Sewists really are the most generous people I know.

fat quarter game at sew south retreat
sew south people collage

Evenings at Sew South are really relaxed. We had pre-dinner drinks at a local wine bar then walked to dinner in the evening sunshine. Lots and lots of talking ensued, friendships formed and solidified over good food and good fun. 

Pajamas, Ferris Bueller and cupcakes took us into the evening as we stitched until midnight, chatting away.

pouch class sew south retreat

Saturday morning we jumped into our second workshop using fabulous supplies from Sew South sponsors DritzFat Quarter Shop Pellon, and Zipit

I love a good zippy pouch- can you really ever have enough? Using some fabrics from Fat Quarter Shop and the amazing fusible Flex Foam from Pellon, we whipped together some fabulous pouches.

zipit zippers for sew south retreat

Zipit sent a big rainbow pile of zippers for everyone to choose from so they were sure to find one that matched their fabric. Plus there were extras to take home for future zippy pouches. We all know once you make one, you want to make more!

Nydia Kehnle sent some beautiful embroidery patterns for us stitch up during free-sew, and I couldn't wait to dive in. I curated a special group of Coats/Anchor floss and put together kits for everyone. Thanks Dritz, Pellon, Coats and Anchor Threads for the embroidery supplies!

Look how lovely Carlie's is!
carlie's embroidery sampler sew south 2015
Carlie's beautiful embroidery sampler from Sew South

After open sewing in the afternoon we completed our final workshop of the weekend, the coin purse. While Baby Naps graciously provided the frames for our class and Pellon sent the interfacing.  How cute are these guys? I love how they all turned out.

coin purse workshop sew south coin purse workshop at sew south retreat coin purse sew south retreat

Interspersed throughout the weekend were door prizes and Secret Sister gifts and honestly it is better than Christmas morning!

sew south door prizes
door prizes!
door prizes 2 sew south retreat

Treats magically appear with your name on them, specially curated and made just for you. The element of surprise, the delight in receiving something special and the joy of the final reveal is a special time-honored tradition at Sew South that everyone enjoys.

sew south wip 3
handmade at sew south

While we sew and sew and sew at the retreat, Sew South is really about the relationships. It's about building friendships and getting to know folks that share a passion for sewing like you do. It's connecting with people from all over the country over handmade bags, learning tips and tricks from each other and bonding over pajama twins.

sew south fun with friends
sew south works in progress

I've made some of my dearest, lifelong friends at Sew South and am blessed beyond measure every time I host a retreat by the women that attend. There is just something so special about being together, taking time away from the rest of the world and the business of our every-day lives and coming together in a kind, caring, creative group that feeds my soul and makes my heart sing.

sew south attendees and names 1015

To come together and be known for yourself, not your role as mother, wife, or co-worker and to have a chance to connect with others, create for the joy of making and relax is heavenly. I'm forever thankful and grateful for the opportunity to host these special retreats.

If you would like the opportunity to join me at a future Sew South, sign up for the Sew South Newsletter!  I'll be sending info about how to sign up for the lottery for future retreats. :)

Sew South wouldn't be possible without the amazing sponsors that generously support our fabulous weekend.

sew south 1516 sponsors

Be sure to take advantage of the special one-time 15% discount to shop at the following Sew South Sponsor Shops using the code SEWSOUTH.

sponsor discount shopping code
Sew South Sponsors are the BEST! I have an extra bag of goodies to give away to one of you. To enter to win visit EllisonLane.com

Your prize includes Designer Solids from Free Spirit Fabrics, Artisan Cottons from Imagine Gnats, zippers from Zipit, notions from Dritz, a thread kit from Coats, embroidery floss from Anchor Threads, embroidery pattern from Nydia Kehnle, interfacing samples from Pellon, quilt pattern and Aurifil thread from the Fat Quarter Shop, wool felt garland kit from Benzie Design and a charm pack from Dear Stella! 

sew south swag giveaway october

The giveaway is being held at Ellison Lane, the blog of Jennifer Mathis, the host of Sew South and is open until October 25. 

Good luck!

PS: Don't forget to SIGN UP HERE for the Sew South Newsletter to get all the updates on upcoming retreats!

To check out past Sew South Retreats, see the links on the sidebar!