the Makerie Sewing retreat

a few months ago i was down in NYC filming some new classes for Creativebug, and i got the lucky chance to have dinner with a fellow Creativebug teacher, the brilliant Liesl Gibson, who i have long admired. it was wonderful to meet Liesl in person after years of having a casual online acquaintance, and she is as warm and lovely as i expected. i think it was the very next day that an email appeared in my inbox, introducing me to Ali DeJohn and inviting me to teach at the brand new Makerie Sewing retreat in Colorado next spring. WOW! when i read the list of instructors, i couldn’t believe i was being offered the chance to join this illustrious group. Amy Butler! Jenny Hart! Tamar Mogendorff! Heather Jones! Kaari Meng! and of course, Liesl herself, whose idea it was to add a sewing-only retreat to the original Makerie concept.

i can’t decide which part of this i’m most excited about. i can’t wait to meet and hang out with some of these superstars of the sewing world! all of the classes sound spectacular, and as teachers we get to take some of the classes ourselves too. listen to this (from the Makerie blog):

Amy Butler, who couldn’t be more kind and heart-centered, will be taking her students on a journey to find their own unique color story. It’s really fun to imagine how this could affect not only your creative pursuits, but your life and home environments too! Amy rarely teaches classes and we feel so incredibly lucky she wanted to come to Boulder to teach you! The lovely Cal Patch, author of Design Your Own Clothes, will be teaching a fantastic workshop on how to create patterns to fit your own body. Won’t that be amazing to learn this foundational skill that can then be used to create your own wardrobe? The possibilities are endless and we are thrilled to have the talented Cal on board. If you’ve ever been curious about the improv quilting process, we’ve got just the ticket for you. The wonderful Heather Jones ~ improvisational quilter extraordinaire ~ will be sharing her tricks of the trade to help you create a one of a kind quilt project, guided by your design intuition. Besides being a wonderful technique to learn, anything that can help strengthen your intuition on any level is a winner in our book! The fabulous Jenny Hart, known worldwide for her dazzling embroidery art and author of seven Chronicle Books, will be leading a special hand lettering workshop that will leave you with an inspiring, permanent take home treat. All you need to bring to this class is a message in your heart (we love that!). If you’ve been a long time fan of French General like we have, well then you know the dynamic dynamo Kaari Meng who’s behind it all. She will be teaching natural plant dyeing, which is a very unique process and one that can take you in unexpected ways, maybe the very best part of it all. The lovely Liesl Gibson brings her world of sewing and teaching experience, as well as savvy style, into the classroom with a hand smocking necklace workshop. Liesl delivers a fresh, modern approach to all she does and these handmade necklaces will add a terrific touch to any outfit. And lastly, Tamar Mogendorff, whose work can be found in stores, galleries and publications around the world, will be teaching a soft sculpture class using an organic hand sewing process. She will share not only her insight on how to bring an object to life through your own unique personality and view of the world, but you’ll learn how to create a magnificent sewn mobile to adorn a special place. And if that wasn’t enough, we are so happy to announce that Fancy Tiger will be bringing their crafting boutique pop-up shop to Chautauqua once again, for the third year in a row for the Makerie Sewing weekend.”

as if the classes aren’t enough, the venue, the Colorado Chautauqua, sounds fascinating and adorable. i had never heard of the Chautauqua Movement before this and i can’t wait to learn more: “As its members and graduates spread the Chautauqua idea, many towns—especially in rural areas where opportunities for secondary education were limited—established “chautauquas.” These seasonal  establishments… reflected the intense desire for self-improvement through education that has always marked the American striver. “Chautauqua” had a degree of cachet and became short hand for an organized gathering intended to introduce people to the great ideas, new ideas, and issues of public concern.” i’ve never been to Colorado, and the pictures i’ve seen in the Makerie flickr group just knock me down. you may also enjoy reading the lovely Karyn of the workroom‘s testimonial.

the food (very important to me!) sounds perfect: “Meals for the weekend will feature local and organic choices (where possible), along with scrumptious homemade goodies of course! Mealtimes will range from family style gatherings to gourmet street food served picnic style” i love that last part!

lastly, and possibly most importantly, i want to make sure you know about the Makerie Sewing Scholarship program. one lucky winner will get to come on this journey for free! read all the details over here, and note the new application deadline of January 15.

hope to see you there!



  1. I am a big fan of yours, and Amy Butler AND Jenny Hart, so I am doing everything in my power to go to this. Seriously. I am dying ot be there!

  2. Chautauqua is awesome! There is a vibrant community every summer further upstate than where you are. The energy of the place is…. I’m lost for words… Have an amazing time in Colorado! If only it was closer….

  3. Oh I really want to go to this! I am going to apply for the scholarship. Thanks for the information Cal!

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