End of 2017 Thoughts
Looking back over 2017, the Colorado chapter included a variety of activities. Our program manager has provided us with a new topic for each meeting, including field trips to museums, technical presentations, and parties. Our president led bimonthly business meetings open to all members after the presentations. Our web manager worked on updating our chapter’s web site, and her four-member team is working toward additional improvements (https://colosewingpros.org). We also had a multi-Saturday couture class for an extra fee, and held a multi-day retreat where we concentrated on our own sewing projects. In the spring, we presented National ASDP and the Colorado Chapter organizations to the general public at the annual sewing festival in Denver.
In a new ongoing program, members volunteer once a week for an afternoon of assistance at Denver Public School’s year-long high school sewing program. This program is the only surviving in-depth sewing course in any school in metro Denver, and all of us want to help the students succeed and also to convince the school administration that the program has community support!
Our program topics are posted on our web site (https://colosewingpros.org); the first session of this new year will cover Working with Lace, presented by member Mary Beth Davis.
Our annual holiday meeting again was a potluck, and this time it included door prizes: several duplicate books from our library, and a free fitting for a moulage (a body-tight sloper). Everyone enjoyed the camaraderie of catching up with good friends in a beautiful holiday setting. (Special thanks to Jane and Harve Stoeck, our hosts!)
Our November presentation was about cleaning furs. Chapter member Dot Treece demonstrated the process by cleaning half a fur coat while she told us about the process. The transformation was dramatic, with the cleaned side smooth and glowing. Unfortunately the solutions used to clean and glaze the coat are proprietary, so it is best to have valuable fur items cleaned professionally.
In October our group met for our annual community service session. Our leader, Sandi Harmon, brought the quilt squares from our previous year’s Quilts of Valor. Sandi stated that the large blocks of multiple strips were too busy when laid out in a full quilt, so she had us sew each block to make half-square triangles. These were then assembled into two quilt tops. (see photos)
Chapter member Karen Bengtson brought a quilt for Show and Tell that she made for her son, Aaron, who is a wounded veteran. (He was to receive the Quilt of Valor quilt that we made two years ago, but he wanted colors that matched his décor).
The activity in September did not have a specific sewing presentation; instead the meeting was more of an extended business meeting, with presentations about the functions of the various board member positions and elections for new and/or renewing board memberships.
The sewing-related activity at the August meeting was the viewing of the documentary movie “The True Cost of Fashion.” This fascinating and sobering documentary covers the costs to the workers who make the clothes, in terms of low wages and physical abuse, and the effects of environmental risks on the workers and their families. (e.g. leather processing chemicals, cancer, mental retardation). Because clothing is worn against the body, organic fibers were recommended to avoid pesticide contamination. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to visit the web site https://truecostmovie.com/.
Our annual picnic again included current and past members with a guest if desired. Conversations covered a wide range of topics. This year the picnic was held in the early evening to avoid the mid-day heat; the skies darkened but only a few raindrops fell leaving us to enjoy the many salads, deserts, drinks and grilled items.
Our July meeting was a change from the usual speaker presentation. Instead we had an extended show and tell. Items included using a fur collar to cover where a vinyl jacket was damaged in the washer, a French outfit for a small dog, a fancy lace suit with non-functioning front jacket buttons (to avoid embarrassment) and an invisible zipper in back, a quilt, the success of a Sewkeyse commercial pattern, a comparison of stay tapes, several garments made from second hand fabric (including a woman’s shirt made from a man’s shirt turned upside down to reuse the front placket), and examples of Sashiko (Japanese for “little stitches”) made by a special sewing machine.
The June meeting of the Colorado Chapter continued its focus on business issues. Our feature speaker was Ann Andrews, a CPA for small businesses. Because she has spoken to our group in previous years, this time she focused on frequently asked questions. She spoke at length about the home office tax deduction and various retirement plans. She also took questions from the group about the different forms of business incorporation. The discussions wrapped up with her experiences helping small businesses and the pitfalls that sometimes affect these businesses (e.g. borrowing too much money and expanding when the skills of the owner can’t be duplicated easily).
At our regular meeting in May, our guest speaker gave us a new perspective on getting started on a business plan. Marcia McGilley, from the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) presented the Business Model Canvas www.businessmodelgeneration.com). We looked at the who, what, where, why, how, and with whom aspects of our businesses. This involved asking ourselves who are the customers, why do we want a relationship with them, where can we reach them, what are our special contributions, how do we create what we offer, and with whom can we partner. All this led to our income streams, how to weather changes in economic conditions, and the need for plans to shift focus when necessary to maintain income.
Our field trip in April was a return to the Avenir Museum in Ft. Collins, CO, followed by a visit to the Zipper Lady. The museum, which is part of the University, has a huge collection of textiles. Although the museum is small (5 rooms), the exhibits are changed regularly to show the wide variety of garments. During this visit we saw turn-of-the-last-century garments from the time when people often held semi-formal garden parties. Another exhibit displayed the evolution of wedding dresses from the 1860’s through the 1940’s. The final exhibit displayed garments from a student challenge in which the students produced garments using recycled materials. Some garments used playing cards, bubble wrap, or even plastic construction fence material. One striking dress was a flapper-style, steam-punk inspired dress decorated with beer tabs.
At the Zipper Lady’s warehouse www.thezipperlady.com we heard many fascinating stories from owner Alicia Werner. She told us about specialized zippers that are made to survive the high heat needed to kill bedbugs, zippers that keep fish in their section of a pond, and water-proof zippers for scuba gear. We also toured the well-organized warehouse and saw thousands of zippers of all colors, sizes, and styles.
In March our presentation was by member Carol Phillips was about making and using Moulage, which is like a sloper by closer fitting. So close, in fact that it has no ease. Hence the name Moulage, which is French for “casing” (as in sausage). Carol demonstrated the difference in fit by modeling her custom Moulage and her sloper. Her slopers and moulage in full and quarter size can be seen in the photo below.
March also brought the annual Rocky Mountain Sewing Expo to Denver (http://quiltcraftsew.com), and we again had a booth to exhibit samples of the work done by the Colorado Chapter of the ASDP. We met with many curious sewers; some were interested in connecting with a sewing professional and others were interested in our group and what they might learn if they attended some of our meetings or special classes. (It also gave us a chance to display the beautiful ASDP Chapter of the Year Award that we won for our work in 2016.)
February was a busy month for our members. First a group of us went to the Denver Art Museum to see and exhibit of Japanese textiles and the Star Wars costume exhibit. The Japanese exhibit, entitled Shockwave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s-90s, were very beautiful and creative. Included designers were Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons). The Star Wars and the Power of Costume Exhibit was incredible. The exhibit included a design studio showing the process of design, but the stars of the show were the finished garments with unbelievable detail work. Both exhibits were exceptional and very educational.
The following week was our annual Sewing Retreat in the mountains north-west of Denver. We were treated to excellent food and plenty of space to sew for as long as we wished each day Each participant brought her own projects and machines, and several members brought pressing equipment to share. Projects included pants and shirts, quilting, a quilt-like basket, repair work, children’s clothes, and even a small billfold. We anticipate returning again next year, as we have for many years.
In January our featured presentation was on the Chanel Jacket. Melanie Knoblauch started with info on available patterns, books, and websites for us to examine. The presentation included samples of completed jackets and jackets in progress. Among the ideas that differ from the average jacket included horizontal quilting in addition or instead of vertical quilting in the body of the jacket, and using hook-eyes for a hidden front closure.
Members can view the complete National Newsletter here.