Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Heather Ross Sewing Workshop in Palm Springs

Well, here goes... I am going to give a detailed account of my trip to Palm Springs this past weekend. Feel free to skim through, this will definitely be long... but I know at least a few people who are waiting to hear all the nitty gritty.

   I don't know about other mothers out there, but I feel like traveling alone is an opportunity for indulgence! I planned carefully for my hours of solo travel. With Anna Karenina playing on my audiobook app, I started making a litter of hexies... my first attempt. I used this tutorial and got my template from this free template generator (really cool-- endless possibilities!).
   I had to make a connecting flight in Texas. While I waited in the line to board the plane I realized that a little question I had been pondering was already answered... You see, I am a really (REALLY) big fan of Anna Maria Horner... and while I knew that before the weekend was over I would have to come clean and profess my undying love, I couldn't decide if I should play it cool first and avoid coming across as a scary stalker (yikes!). Well, turns out my wardrobe choice for the day made my decision for me... I guess you can't hide the truth. As I was standing in the boarding line who do you think walked up to introduce herself with a smile on her face?... oh yes, it was Anna Maria herself (and her super cute husband---we are both married to bearded men... I'm telling you, similar taste;-). I was wearing an outrageous patchwork twirly skirt I made with her fabrics a while ago... She knew from a mile away that I was a big fan... no playing it cool... but hey, my unabashed admiration landed me a little spot on her blog!
  So after giggling to myself like a preteen who just met New Kids on the Block, I finished basting my hexies all the way to California... and then met Deborah from Whipstitch and took a taxi with her and the Horners to the Ace Hotel.
  Deborah and I hung out by the pool for a little while and met Gretchen and Heather, and a few of the workshop attendants.  Then we had a little meet and greet and on to dinner.  After dinner we had a few hours to set up our sewing space and get started on projects.
  Unfortunately, though it was 2am east coast time when I settled into bed and I was completely exhausted-- sleep was not meant for me that night :-( The combination of some food poisening from the airport that hit around 1am, and the super cool hipsters staying in the room next to us who went in and out of their room every 5 minutes or so chatting up a storm, I didn't get a wink of sleep until the sun came up. 5 am was definitely a low spot for me... I cried a little and called the front desk begging for gatorade. But, the show must go on! I traveled across the country and had been looking forward to this for 6 months! I was weak as a day old kitten, but I made it out of bed and sewed up a storm.
setting up
Here is my little spot... the purple velveteen will be a perfectly fitted jacket soon.

 This is the view from my humble little breakfast of toast... Don't worry I got to taste the deliscious pancakes the next morning as I ate breakfast with Heather's assistants Vera and Lesley and Denyse ( I am going to have to go to one of her quilting workshops, it would be so awesome to have her guidance through designing a quilt.)
too cool for school

pattern tracing tools
 I must get a big sheet of carbon transfer paper to transfer papers onto fabric-- saves you the step of cutting out the pattern. I inherited a transfer wheel from my grandmother, but thought it was useless with the 8"X10" sheets of carbon paper I had.... the key is to use a large sheet of paper, something more in the 3'X4' range.
Denyse demo
Denyse demonstrated a string pieced zipper pouch... I learned a few very helpful tips!

making plans
 Can I tell you how fun it was to plan out a lovely dress and be able to walk over and get Anna Maria's opinion about whether to use this fabric or that... so fun! I worked on a sundress using her Evening Empire Dress pattern as a starting point. I wanted my dress to be a bit more adjustable in the size ( I would love to have a good reason for needing a larger sized dress ;-), so I made the back bodice as wide as the skirt panel and will be adding 4 or 5 rows of channeled elastic across the back. Do notice the ribbon that I will be adding to the strap... Anna had a table set up with all her lovely goodies for sale. Her new ribbon is ABSOLUTELY exquisite!

I feel like most of my sewing time was devoted to figuring out the fitting process... making up a muslin for a different style bodice to a jacket I started last year and gave up on b/c the fit was just so wrong. Instead of the raglan stye sleeves the pattern called for, Anna and Gretchen (of Gertie's Blog for better sewing ) helped me draft a pattern for inset sleeves. Deborah from Whipstitch was kind enough to photo document (where as I devoted all my packing space to fabric instead of a nice camera and all my time to sewing--oops!)... I am not computer savvy enough to figure out how to post pics from her flickr into this post, but if you are interested, here is a link to a picture of Anna adjusting my muslin and you'll be able to find more pictures from the workshop in Deborah's photo stream.
where the hipsters who don't sleep hang out at night
here are a few shots of the lovely hotel...
beautiful beautiful, wish you were here

w/ Gretchen Hirsch
Gretchen is coming out with a book in the fall... and let me tell you- she knows her stuff! I saw the amazing dresses that will be in her book. She is definitely the vintage sewing expert and she can get a dart just right... in this picture I am modeling the bodice piece for my jacket-to-be... She helped me get the dart placed just right- I told her that no one had every made my bust look so good, and I meant it ;-)
you should definitely check out her blog.
w/ Anna Maria Horner
Anna was so nice to me(and extremely helpful!) ... glad she didn't call in a restraining order ... hehehe!
w/ Denyse Schmidt
 photo op with the ever cool Denyse ( I, however look odd... i don't know what kind of smile that is?)
I was is such a mad dash to catch my taxi that I didn't get a picture with Heather Ross- the hostess with the mostess... bummer!
Palm Springs Airport
Ok. this is the view you have as you sit on a bench to put your shoes back on after going through security on your way into the airport... so lovely!
East of Eden
Here is a quote from East of Eden (some of my in flight reading)... I believe that creativity is SO important and I love how Steinbeck points out how it is inherent to humanity, what makes us different other creatures. He is correct that an idea can only come to one person and the group can't invent anything together, but it was very nice to be in a group this weekend extending upon each individual's creative thoughts.
  Thank you Heather for bringing together a lovely group of people to teach and learn together in an incredibly lovely spot! And thank you Andrew for sending me as an excellent birthday gift (just as wonderful as a minivan would've been ;-)


Annabel Wrigley said...

Lovely blog post and even more lovely to meet you!

Emily Steffen said...

Lovely words Jane! :) SO fun to meet you...you ooze creativity and inspiration for so many women! :) Can't wait to see that jacket AND dress once you are done! :)

Dorothy Peterson said...

Jane, your creativity is fabulous. And I enjoyed your excellently "crafted" blog post. Thanks for giving details and pics! I only wish I was on the path to such creativity, too. Oh, and ps- I have been drooling over AMH's ribbon, too!!!

The Hiltons said...

Great post! My favorite is the run-in at the Dallas airport. Not so fun looking for Gatorade...wish I could have returned the favor to you :) So glad you had a great time!

Adria said...

Jane, it was so great to meet you at the workshop. Your beautiful skirt and cardigan were totally inspiring to me. Hope I can match you some day for both creativity and sewing skills!

jane said...

Thanks y'all... I feel so encouraged!

jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brea said...

Jane, you're a rock star! :) Featured on AMH's blog! I'm so glad you got to go be a part of such a great weekend and come back more deeply inspired. Your creativity is an inspiration to me for sure! Sorry about the bout with sickness, but I'm glad it was short-lived. I LOVE your figure-8 scarf. I wanted to tell you so at Oasis on Thursday but I didn't get a chance.