What an AMAZING Weekend!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013



Sew South was last weekend and it was AMAZING! So much creativity, talent, and inspiration in one room for three days - it was exhilarating!
The fabulous women that made up Sew South 2013
The weekend was about so much more than sewing. It was about taking time for yourself to create, to get inspired, and to nurture your creative spirit. My vision for the retreat was realized and magnified in ways I never would have imagined.

Women of all ages traveled from all across the country, some with friends, some alone and yet we came together, built friendships and encouraged and cheered each other every step of the way. 

Yes, we sewed, and sewed and sewed. Everyone came into the retreat ready to create and jumped in to each project with gusto.
Small sample of the wonderful women that attended Sew South
Friday morning kicked off our workshops and I (Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane and Sew South) led our paper piecing class.  New techniques were tried, tips were shared and before long, stars appeared in rainbow hues and bunnies in baskets popped up around the room. 




With Lindsey's expert guidance, tips, tricks and adjustments, we tackled the duffle and came away with fabulous bags. Check out this mountain of awesome duffles! 
Sew South Duffles

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Lindsey Rhodes and Jennifer Mathis

Every step of the way Lindsey (of LR Stitched) patiently walked everyone through the process and with every finish, the entire room cheered! That sound still echoes in my ears and the feeling of having 50 women cheer you on and celebrate your success is absolutely exhilarating! In fact we recorded the cheer so each time we finish a project at home or need a little boost, we can replay our tribe of sewists cheering on our accomplishments. 

The cheering embodied the spirit of the weekend. It was spontaneous, sincere and absolutely uplifting and our group of women became a community of friends. 

On Saturday morning Diane Stanley (of Random Thoughts Do or Di) led the frame clutch workshop and just look at the beautiful new bags that were made!

Diane's pattern was easy to follow and makes a lovely, roomy bag with a professional finish.
Frame Clutches made at Sew South

Everyone's interpretations and fabric choices were as individual as their owners and inspiring at every turn. It was a well-led, satisfying class with a quick finish and was a great start to the day.

Valerie of Between Quilts said best when she said, "It's like Pinterest in person" with all the handmade duffles, clutches, totes, purses and Weekenders in that room. 

The final workshop was a garment class led by Jennifer Roycroft (of We're Sew Creative.)

Jennifer shared tips on adjusting the pattern, adding a cuff, and shortening the waist and walked new garment sewists through flat felled seams.
Jennifer Adams using the serger and Jennifer Roycroft looking on
She demonstrated and encouraged us to try the serger she brought, and I have a feeling a serger jumped to the top of many wish lists. Her calm demeanor and expertise were the perfect touch to a fun project that rounded out the classes. 

Karen giving her new pants a test drive.
Saturday evening Leah Day (of Day Style Designs) spoke about free motion quilting and shared her tips and tricks for successful sewing, including the importance of habits, your work station set up and the proper tools to use.


What I found most inspiring was her philosophy on life, her project Express Your Love, and her belief in giving; it was super inspiring and I left feeling empowered and excited about creating and moving forward. 

Now with all of that sewing came seam ripping, broken needles and time-outs but all of those obstacles became triumphs when finished. Everyone dove in, lent a hand, a suggestion, a needle or a piece of chocolate.

The small size of the group meant there was ample opportunity to share, connect and get to know not only the person sitting beside you, but those behind and in front of you as well as those across the room.  Each evening was capped off with open sewing which was a great opportunity to see what others were working on, to finish a project or to just sit and chat. The energy was infectious and the room was hopping. It started with the field trip on Thursday and cocktail reception that evening and carried on through the weekend. Friendships were made, gifts and treats were swapped, projects were shared, tips were given and again, lots of cheering. 

On Sunday morning we gathered together to share thoughts on the weekend and many tears were shed. They were happy tears over having had the opportunity to take time for ourselves, to nurture our creativity, to sew until midnight for the joy of it, for the belly laughs, the friendships made, and the good times had by all. 

I even had the pleasure of giving away a brand new sewing machine thanks to Baby Lock and We're Sew Creative!
The lucky winner, Kim and her new Baby Lock machine!

Thank you so much #sewsouth sponsors!!! @pellonprojects  @joann_stores   @dritz_sewing   @oliso. @purseframes  @freespiritfabrics @westminsterfibers @fabricworm @artgalleryfabrics @studiocherie @fatquartershop @windhamfabrics.


I thank all the sponsors that made this weekend possible, supplied us with wonderful classroom tools (Pellon, Oliso, Dritz, While Baby Naps) and sent AMAZING swag for everyone that attended. I was able to have my Oprah moment and surprise everyone with a giant bag of sewing goodies that made it feel like Christmas morning all around. (More details on swag and how you can score some to come.)

It's a rare thing, to dream a dream and have the reality surpass your expectations but that is indeed what happened. I thank each and every woman that came to Sew South, that believed in my idea and wanted to share in a special weekend to sew, connect and create. You have all inspired me in so many ways and I am so thankful to have met you all.  

The wheels are turning and I have a page full of notes on things to do and plan for Sew South 2014. I can hardly wait! 


PS: Stay tuned for more info about sponsors, swag and pics of the retreat! 





36 comments:

  1. Standing ovation for you friend! You gave us each something amazing, not just swag, but something intangible and precious. Thank you for your vision and for allowing me to be a part of it! xo

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  2. Oh yay--Sounds like an amazing time! So happy for you, friend!

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  3. You did a FABULOUS job. I was truly amazed by the talent that surrounded me all weekend. I made new friends, relaxed and enjoyed some down time even though we were busy. I came home exhausted and refreshed at the same time. Thank you!!!

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  4. I just got sad reading this because it really is over. BUt it is a new beginning for all of us who were there and I can't wait to see what the future holds for everyone. So many beautiful and talented ladies.

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  5. It sounded like such an amazing time! I'm so sad that I got so close to going but ended up not being able to. At least I got to be there vicariously through your Instagram and blog (even if it made me even more wanting to be there!) :) You did such a fantastic job of putting everything together and making the premier Sew South event a great time for all attendees, and it seems like Sew South 2014 will be THE place to be for us in the South next year! I hope to see you next year! <3

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  6. I agree with the standing ovation-you deserve it friend! Like others, I'm finding it hard to put into words what happened this weekend, but I think you've done a beautiful job here. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you. And now I can say I've sewn 29 hours in a 48 hour time span:)

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  7. Amazing isn't a big enough word to describe it all Jennifer. Now . . . as a strum my fingers on the desk top . . . can't Sew South 2014 hurry up and get here??!!?

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  8. You pulled off the perfect sewing weekend my friend, well done xxx

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  9. Jennifer you did an amazing job. All of the details were so well planned and I just loved the format of being able to connect with so many women and we all shared in the same experience. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for everything you did. I can't wait until next year!!

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  10. It was seamless and beyond any "expectations" I had! A beautiful, fun time was had by all. I still can't fully find the words to express all that I experienced there. Thank you again Jennifer for everything! I am very excited for 2014!!

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  11. Count me in for 2014! I won't have Rotary president-elect training again, so no more conflicts!

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  12. It was an amazing weekend! You did a great job of planning every detail. I'm so looking forward o 2014.

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  13. A huge thank you to you, Jennifer! You did such an amazing job with this retreat. The sponsors were so generous, the hotel was so gorgeous (loved the lunches they served and they were so kind in checking on us so often), and all of the participants were awesome. Sewing alone can be fun, but I know know that sewing and learning and laughing with a big group is wonderful! I don't know the last time I stayed up past midnight sewing- two nights in a row (OK, maybe the second night I was up drinking wine and watching other people sew- no matter!) I will be in line when the 2014 tickets go on sale for sure!

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  14. Looks like it was an amazing weekend! Maybe 2014 for me... :0)

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  15. Would love to join in for 2014....sounds like new friendships were made and allot of fun was had by all...wish I could have been there.

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  16. What a fabulous giveaway. As a single mom of five sewing in not only my therapy but a luxury. Winning this giveaway would be a perfect Mother's Day gift, from the kids of course!

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  17. Sounds like a wonderful weekend! Thanks for the chance to win great prizes.

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  18. Congratulations on what looks like an amazing retreat!!

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  19. I would love to go to a quilting retreat!

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  20. If I'm a little closer for 2014, attending would be a blast :)

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  21. I'd love to come. It looks like so much fun.

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  22. Thanks for a chance to win. I buy the most of my supplies from Joann's........Good Luck to everyone.

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  23. I would love to come to a retreat!

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  24. Looks like tons of fun! I'd love to come.

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  25. It looks like everyone had a blast! I'd love to come!

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  26. Wish I could make it, it looks like so much fun!!!

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  27. Looks like a ton of fun, would love to attend if it were closer to home.

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  28. I should would love to come but I can't.

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  29. Looks like an amazing time! Thanks for sharing and the great giveaway....

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  31. Looks like a lot of fun but I don't think I can afford the trip!

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  32. that looks amazing ...where and when is the next one?

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  33. I would love to come, it looks like a blast. But too far away.

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  34. Wish I were closer so I could come - but, I could put it on my bucket list!

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  35. Yay!!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

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