ASG National Conference 2016


Sunrise in Indianapolis

Indianapolis was the birthplace of the American Sewing Guild and it was the site for its 2016 Annual Conference. Four Sew Chicago members were there to meet sewing enthusiasts from all over the country, expand our knowledge of sewing and design and add to our collections of fabric, patterns, books and tools.

We arrived late Wednesday afternoon, just in time to meet Jennifer Stern-Hasemann of J. Stern Designs. Then it was off to dinner with Sarah Veblen and Monica Walker.


On Thursday, three of us took Sarah Veblen’s all-day workshop designing flattering necklines. Monica assisted Sarah in this class. Steph and Wendy were roommates, and we had to test out our jewel-necked mock-ups we brought for class.

Everyone left the workshop with multiple necklines to try out.


Thursday evening was the opening of the vendor hall. The first booth was Anne St. Clair’s Needle Nook Fabrics. Anne had thoughtfully made up kits that are perfect for the lingerie sew-along we’re planning for the Sew Chicago sewing retreat in October.


We also found must-have trims at Soutache Ribbons and Trim and fabric – of course – at Cutting Line Designs and Fabrications.

Fabrications is where we’re having our retreat in October, so we’ll have an opportunity to shop with them again very soon. 

Friday was the official opening of the “core conference.”


Wendy and Liz started off with a hands-on class on Fine Finishes taught by Vaune Pierce. We made samples shown in Vaune’s article that was featured on the cover of this month’s Threads Magazine.

Stephanie took Fabulous Shirts and Blouses with Marla Kazell. Where the class started with a wonderful trunk show of the many ideas that you can make a single, well fitting shirt pattern into. The rest of the class was all about playing with ideas! The kit included quarter scale shirt patterns plus 3 different full scale hidden placket designs.

One of the highlights of Conference this year was the Keynote address by Linda Przbyszewski, Ph.D. (Professor P.), author of The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish. Those of us who have read the book have been inspired to make and wear day dresses. Her talk was delightful and the pictures she showed were chock full of inspiration. Autographed copies of our books and a picture with her was a must.

Steph & Wendy with Linda P

Friday afternoon saw several of us in the same class, Innovative Set-In Sleeves with Sarah Veblen.


There were over 50 students in the class, and many who hadn’t worked with Sarah before were highly skeptical at the beginning of her lecture. As the class progressed, it was fun to watch Sarah win over the skeptics. The new designs Sarah presented gave us lots of new ideas to try out.

Friday night, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at St. Elmo’s Restaurant, an Indianapolis tradition.

Bright and early Saturday morning, Stephanie and Wendy took Jen Stern-Hasmann’s class, Beyond the Boatneck, in which she led us through several neckline variations for her flattering knit top pattern.

Then it was off to an early lunch so we could change to model in the fashion show. It was a thrill to be in the line-up with so many nationally-recognized sewing educators and accomplished sewists from around the country. Stephanie and Wendy each modeled two ensembles. We’ll post pictures once they’re available.


Two other members of the ASG Chicago Chapter were in the fashion show. Jeanette, who won the editor’s choice award at the show, and Lori, who modeled the ensemble that won her first place in the Illinois Make it With Wool contest.

On Sunday, Wendy and Stephanie capped off the Conference experience with an all-day workshop with Janet Pray learning the Islander Sewing System method for inserting a zipper and attaching a waistband, all without pins.

We headed home on Monday, but first stopped at The French Seam to buy more fabric.

We had four very full days of learning new things, stretching our creativity, adding to our fabric collections, meeting new people who love to sew as much as we do and hanging out with good friends. What more could we ask for?

Here’s a last look at the view of downtown Indianapolis from our hotel window.


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