April Magic was in the Air!
Spring is here and the Grand Rapids Chapter of American Sewing Guild finally met again in person. What a treat to be with our sewing friends and have Beth Usadel come to teach us how to draw a croquis! Besides using the 8 circles of height as a guideline, she discussed different methods of getting a proportional croquis for each individual. She had marvelous handouts that will help us long after the meeting is over. It was a fun exercise and found the room quiet as we all got into doing our sketches.
After break, we gathered around for Show and Tell. We have not been able to see projects in person for quite some time due to the pandemic and Zoom meetings, so stories and precious projects entertained us for a while.
Go to the photos tab and see all of the creative ideas and projects our wonderful friends have made.
We also welcomed new and returning CAB Members:
Rita Reimbold - Taking on the TAG Project (Teach Another Generation)
Ingrid Amonette - Organizing a fieldtrip to the Gr Public Museum to see the "Fashion and Nature" Exhibit.
Dawn Tarr - Organizing the fieldtrip to the Muskegon Art Museum to see the Downton Abby exhibit, "Dressing Abby" in July.
The Evening Neighborhood Group is starting up again. Renee Fries and Rita Reimbold will be leading the group on the third Tuesday evening of the month from 6-9pm at the Northview Senior Center. For the first meeting on Tuesday April 19, 2022 you are to bring whatever you want to work on. We will be meeting in the large meeting room where Chapter meetings take place. After the first meeting, the focus will be on FITTING. So grab a project, sewing tools and even your machine if you like, and join us for the evening Neighborhood meeting.
Upcoming Community Events:
The March GRASG Zoom meeting was another great learning adventure. Before the meeting, we received an email with notes highlighting the process. Dawn Tarr, from our local ASG chapter, demonstrated how to copy a ready-to-wear garment. She used clear plastic bags, exam table tracing paper, a sharpie marker, a straight ruler and a hip curve ruler. She made it look so easy! She showed the process, taking care to show how to get a good copy of the back, that folds under when flattening the garment to copy. She traced every feature: pockets, fly front, belt loops, seams, the whole thing on clear plastic. Then she traced the plastic drawing onto pattern tracing paper marking every detail and adding side seams and notches.
When finished with the demo, she showed finished garments she had copied. They were amazingly perfect replicas of the original fit and style! Voila! It was a great learning experience and a method a number of us members will be trying soon.
Thus far, 2022 has presented itself via Zoom meetings. In January, Susan Lighthart, who works at Jos A Banks, spoke to GRASG members about tailoring construction. She started with an explanation of the layers that help shape jacket fronts. From the inside out, there is lining, a cotton fabric somewhat like a thin batting, a shoulder pad, canvas and the outer layer. At the lapel fold, there is a ribbon of something like either twill or grosgrain to make the fold roll naturally.
Questions rolled in and Mary Anne's husband, Roger, was kind enough to model to make the whole thing more visual. Pants questions varied from a front bubble to the differences in alterations between Men's and Women's pants. Thank you Julie for all the valuable information.
RC Caylan shared his story with GRASG members like we were sitting in the room together just having a casual conversation. He explained his background and how he got where he is today at RC Caylan Atelier in Breton Village. He is a fashion designer with true class who has done runway shows in Los Angeles and New York. His designs for celebrities and for anyone who needs a special garment for a special occasion are truly phenomenal and made to reflect and complement the person he designs for. His presentation for ASG included a wonderful tour of his studio. The front entryway chandelier to the sewing and design areas including his fabric stash and racks of beautiful creations were all on the tour and a thrill to see with a video of his former runway shows playing on a screen in the interview area. It was truly a FUN evening! Thank you RC.
2021 SERVICE PROJECTS
After Covid 'Stay-at-home' restrictions were lifted, members started returning to GRASG events. Pam Smith, Community Service Project Chair, began setting up new service projects for members to work on: Santa Claus Girls Mitten Project and 'Sleep in Heavenly Peace' Quilt Project. As of December 1, over 100 mittens were donated and 4 Quilts.
Five ASG members gathered in November at the Senior Center to continue working on the Mitten Project for Santa Claus Girls. This ongoing project started with the August Picnic, when worker bees cut out, assembled kits, and sewed a few pair of mittens. Since then, members have sewn mittens at neighborhood meetings and at home. In all, there are one hundred kits /finished mittens to warm the hands of children throughout the community.
Retreat October 2021 - Shipshewana Indiana (aka Amish Country)
Nineteen ladies traveled to Shipshewana for the annual GRASG weekend Retreat. How much better does it get than sewing, friends, shopping, stories, laughter, an Amish ‘whodunit’ musical/play, prizes galore, show & tell, free sewing advice, water aerobics, food and so much more. That only begins to describe the wonderful variety of things that happened around and about the Blue Gate Inn and Yoder's. Thanks to Nancy Bender and Barb Marconi, organizers of the event, happy memories were made by all.
November 2021 Chapter Meeting
Joe Vecchiarelli, on his way to Novi for the Sewing Expo, stopped in at the November Chapter meeting to teach us tips and tricks. His stories were very entertaining. His fitting demos, draping with a dress form, and samples of things he had made, kept the audience very engaged. What a treat to have a known national sewing celebrity join us!
September 2021 meeting
Smiles walked into the room as more and more members spotted their long unseen sewing friends. It was wonderful to meet back in our normal space at the Plainfield Senior Center to kick off the 2021-22 ASG year. We were happy to greet and meet visitors who came to see what we are all about.
The speaker was a charming young lady named Ellen Leegwater, granddaughter of long time member, Barb Leegwater. Ellen delighted everyone with her heartwarming story of learning to quilt and really getting hooked during the COVID shutdown. But she didn’t end it at that. She displayed a trunk show of quilts, she calls her babies. As she went from quilt to quilt, she shared new techniques that she learned with each one. One of her quilts is called “Two Elephants.” She loves elephants and appliqued endearing representations of her and her Grandma randomly throughout the quilt. Ellen used social media to learn techniques and often called Grandma for advice. She is definitely a winner and a keeper in our GRASG family.
Fun and camaraderie filled the room at St Paul Lutheran Church in Caledonia where a group of busy ladies worked to make mitten kits for our Santa Claus Service Project. A tasty potluck and games followed the service portion of the day. For more photos, visit our Photos page.
July 2021 meeting
Tomorrow, July 13, GRASG will be meeting at the Plainfield Senior Center (5255 Grand River Drive, Grand Rapids, MI 49525) for games and Show and Tell with lots of time to catch up. Social time starts at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will run from 7-9 p.m.
Since we missed so many meetings last year, we decided to get together instead of skipping the month like we normally do. We would love to see the things you made during the pandemic. Even if you showed the item on a Zoom meeting, please bring it in person to share so everyone can enjoy.
Please come! Wear your nametag! We miss you. 😊
June 2021 meeting
On June 8, GRASG will have a social sew-in. It will be the first time we have been able to meet in-person, so we hope to have a lot of chatter among old and new friends.
While we visit and catch up on everyone's stay-at-home activities, we will be working on a community service project making mitten kits for the Santa Claus Girls/Toys for Tots program. Members will meet at the St. Paul Lutheran Church, 8436 Kraft Ave. SE in Caledonia. (Please note this a change in location from the previous announcement, when we initially thought we'd be meeting at D.W. Richardson Park in Plainfield Township). You can find patterns and instructions for the mittens we'll be making on our Patterns page.
An email will be sent with a supply list of things to bring for the first outdoor in-person meeting since last summer. If you are not yet a GRASG member and are interested in attending, please contact us for the supply list; we'd love to have you join the meeting!
As usual, the meeting will conclude with Show-and-Tell, so be sure to bring projects you'd like to share with the group.
May 2021 meeting
Kim Scherer from Kim Scherer's Korner presented on sewing activewear, including the places she shops for her fabric and notions, the types of fabrics she buys and how to buy online and get what you really want. She discussed stretch, needles, threads, stitches to use and how to test before you sew. Testing on a scrap of the same fabric is the key to avoiding skipped stitches, correct tension and thread breakage.
We welcomed several visitors to our Zoom meeting and hope they choose to join us again.
Kim recommends these online shops for fabric and patterns:
April 2021 meeting
The GRASG April Chapter met again on Zoom. The business meeting was followed by a lively group of our own members sharing. This meeting was the end of the Wool Challenge and definitely had some beautiful pieces that our members made. One item by a new member of our chapter was a most impressive wool coat styled after the red coat of Nancy Pelosi. We definitely have a lot of talent among our members.
Along with the display of wool items, members shared their favorite sewing tools. We had a lively display of many different items that make sewing easier. Seam rippers, in their various styles and shapes and functionality were mentioned the most. But, all in all, everyone took away at least one tool idea they had not thought of before.
March 2021 meeting
Our Zoom meeting this month featured Elizabeth Rasmusson from Fabric.com. Her very interesting presentation on wools was fascinating. She discussed about nine types of wool, where they came from, their properties and their most suitable uses.
Following her presentation, she let us know we're eligible to sign up for a 10% business discount on purchases from Fabric.com. Watch the meeting video in the Members-Only section to get instructions.
February 2021 meeting
Our Zoom meeting this month featured Maxine Steadman, who spoke about clothing adjustments for people with disabilities: how to alter existing clothing and favorite patterns to create garments that help individuals with challenges stay more independent.
The American Sewing Guild is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sewing as creative, rewarding activity for all.
Advancing sewing as an art and life skill