Monday, October 8, 2012

Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing Retreat - Part II

Finally, I can tell you more about the Sandra Betzina’s Sewing Retreat.  I had serious jetlag.  My brain was over-saturated, and I had a mid-term for my management course.  A five page paper with 50 questions on six chapters that I needed to read after returning from my sewing retreat.  I think the combination of all the learning, the late night sewing and school had me zonked out.

Today is the first day I’ve felt rested.  

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here is more on the retreat activities.

There were two rooms for our retreat, providing enough space for everyone to have an independent workplace.   We all met at 7:00pm Sunday in the Marine’s Memorial Club Heritage room.  You could feel the excitement.
The rooms were set up like a sewing studio/classroom:  several tables (sewing stations and cutting areas) and pressing areas.  The ladies, who lived nearby, brought their own sewing machines.  For those of us from out of town, a machine was provided along with two sergers.  Everyone also received a folder with instructional materials.  

I was happy to meet a very delighted group of women who shared the same passion as me.  This was a great place to be.  Some had recently started sewing again and others were like me, sewing for many years with no significant breaks.  All in all, we were excited to learn new skills and techniques.

Today, I wanted to share some of the sewing activities we did.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures because I was busy sewing myself.  

Sandra and Ron brought in two full racks of garments.  Ron brought several shirts, jackets and pants.  He used some to demonstrate a technique or process.  Sandra brought dresses, pants, jackets/coats, a little bit of everything.  Many of her garments were the actual garments used for the photo on the Vogue pattern envelope. 

This is one of Ron's jackets, beautiful inside and out.

I promise you, the pattern photos do not do her garment justice.  You really need to see them in person.  I enjoyed trying on Sandra’s garments and looking at how they were made.  It was a treat and an excellent teaching tool.

Ron's illustration of a corded buttonhole.  He showed me how for my french jacket.

On Monday, everyone was measured and was able to try on muslins made from Sandra’s Vogue patterns.  For each pattern, she had muslins in every size.  If you wanted to fit a jacket, you could try one on based on your measurements.  Sandra and Ron helped you determine what adjustments you’d need to make.  The fitting was not just for Betzina patterns, but for any pattern you wanted to make.  For example I brought my Vogue 8804 French Jacket to tissue pattern fit at the Palmer/Pletsch workshop.  Ron helped me tweak it a bit to get a better fit.  We started with making a muslin and worked from there.  

The fitting process and the lessons continued throughout the rest of the week.  But we still had time to sew.  Some of us finished one garment, while others were able to fit several muslins to use for a guide for the “real thing”.  I started two jackets, which I need to get back to soon.  For our convenience, basic notions and patterns were available for purchase.  For specific items needed, Britex was within walking distance from the hotel.
Here are some of the ladies in action.
Mary Lou (background lef),Colette, Monika, and Roseana

Debra (also a Haute Couture Club member.)

Patty working of a skirt.

Mary.  She gave me a beautiful purple and black ruffle knit.  I made Vogue 1292, which I'll review later.
Gay checking out some of Sandra's clothes.
Mary Lou; she makes french jackets and was able to give me some pointers.

Haldis at the work table.

Linda making the Vogue 1291, butterfly top.

Roseana; she was able to fit a few muslins during the retreat.

Parting Shot - The workroom after everyone has clear out.

More to come..,
Reviews:  Books and Fabric Stores
Patterns I plan to make
Other social activities
Projects I worked on at the retreat
Sandra’s House
Happy Sewing!

PS- I need to sew thing.  Wink, wink.


  1. What a fun trip. so happy you were able to go ;)

  2. Looks to have been a wonderful experience! How lucky for you. And thank-you for sharing.

  3. You are so right!!!! I attended Sandra's Trunk Show yesterday at the Sassy Sewing in Parkville, MD! Her clothes look so much better in person. She is awesome! We had 3 hours with her, so I can imagine how much more fun you had for a whole retreat! I ordered 3 of her patterns this morning from BMV Club. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow, you had the best teachers at your finger tips. I used to live in the same city as Ron and i took my first learn to sew class with him in 2006 . He's an excellent teacher. All the best with school stuff

  5. What fun! I loved seeing the green coat in person this past Saturday!

  6. When all is said and done I would love to know your assesment of tissue fitting versus fitting by muslin. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you and thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks everyone.
    Bunny - There is a difference. The tissue fit is not flexible and you will probably make additional adjustments in the fabric version. What I've noticed is the garment will need to be taken in a bit if you only use the tissue fit technique. I made a muslin for V8804 based on the tissue fit. It was too big. So we had to make a few adjustments in the back, waist, and hip areas to get a better fit.


  8. How fortunate you are. I would love to take a workshop with Sandra and Ron. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  9. You guys look SO productive! I wish I had come. I could have learned something too, for sure.

  10. Wow! You've been getting around. Good for you. Patti Palmer and now Sandra B. Must be a joy! I think I need to put some of what I have into action. I've gone to a couple of Sewing Expos (in this area, Chantilly, VA), and end up forgetting what I've learned...maybe some if it will come back once I pull materials out. :-).

  11. I loved meeting you, Cennetta, and hanging out with you!



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