Mary Ray Workshop

This past weekend ASG Chicago offered a Friday evening trunk show and 2 half day workshops with designer, clothing maker and teacher Mary Ray.

Despite the bitterly cold temperatures there was a full house for this special event, including quite a few regulars from our Sew Chicago Neighborhood group. It was a special treat to spend a full day together learning, sewing and being inspired by Mary Ray.

This special event started with a trunk show on Friday evening at the College of Dupage in the Fashion department.


A sample of some of the beautiful garments that Mary Ray brought to show off during the trunk show and lecture.

Satyrdays workshops were held in the sewing room at College of Dupage Fashions department. This worked out great! No one had to lug their sewing machines around. Many of us worked on the industrial JUKI sewing machines. It sure was fun to try those out, most of us had to turn down the speed, we just aren’t used to sewing that fast on our home models.

The space in the Fashion department is quite lovely! Great big rooms with a wall of windows. SO much natural light and space to work in without being overcrowded.


The morning workshop was on Tucks, Pleats and Folds

Description from Mary Ray Designs website: Simple techniques often produce the most effective embellishment. In this class, you’ll explore numerous ways to create texture, emphasize style lines, add detail, or just jazz up a basic garment using easy-to-do tucks, pleats, and folds. You’ll learn the secrets of measuring, pressing, and stitching—and get lots of design ideas, too

Mary started the workshop off with a short lecture and demo and then we moved onto sewing techniques. She provided us with a very well put together kit. For each technique she first discussed its use and when applicable showed us either garments that incorporated this technique or showed us samples that she had made.


Wide pintucks with an insertion. On the left is the sample we created in class and on the right is a beautiful silk organza skirt created using this technique.


Inserted tucks. Left sample we created and on the right are 2 garments made using variations on this technique.


pictured clockwise from upper left: Waffle tucks in yellow, Easy pleated trim, Random fused folds and Slot seam.


The afternoon workshop was on Well-Crafted Edges, Plain & Fancy

Description from Mary Ray Designs website: The hems and outer edges of your garments deserve special attention. In this class you’ll learn many ways to a smooth, professional finish – including perfectly turned facings, beautiful bindings, decorative piping and applied trims, as well as how to leave edges raw and get away with it. You’ll pick up ideas for wonderful closures, too.

As in the morning workshop, Mary Ray started out with discussion about different techniques showing us both samples and the techniques applied to her own garments.


Example of a baby hem on a beautiful wrap belt on the left and the right shows my example of the baby hem. This was much easier to do then fighting with the rolled hem foot on my machine! It may take slightly longer to do but you are guaranteed a much better result.


Hong Kong seam finish in a quilted jacket, left and right is sample created in workshop.


I found this techniques to be very interesting. When creating an unlined garment and want to roll back a cuff to show off the other side of the fabric you can switch the side your seam is sewn on. Top is finished sample we created, a mini cuff. the 2 bottom photos show the seam allowances on each side of the seam.


We also created samples for various other techniques including Applique binding, miters, and tube trim.

If you missed this workshop you can always sign up for Mary Ray’s Craftsy class: The Fashionably Quilted Jacket.


Group photo of the afternoon workshop participants.

Thanks to ASG Chicago Board members  Valerie Koppenhaver, President and Elizabeth Houlihan, Education for putting this workshop together! And special thanks to Sharon Scalise and College of DuPage. Don’t miss out on future events, check in with your Neighborhood group leader or keep an eye on the Chicago chapter website special events page.





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