My Camp Sweatshirt

It's been a long time since I've had the chance to attend a retreat with my ASG sewing friends.  It has often been in the fall when I was busy at work...BUT...this year, no work!  

I went back and forth about whether to go.  I already had two other weekends away in October and the thought of packing up my sewing room and moving to 'camp' sounded like it might be that 'one thing too many.'  I finally decide to 'Nike it' (you know , 'Just Do It!'), but I decided that I would make it a 'slow sew' weekend and not take my sewing machine.  That's right, a sewing retreat sans sewing machine. 

Our home for the weekend was a Lutheran camp/retreat center in Northern Indiana in the heart of Amish country.  Lots of clotheslines and horse-drawn buggies!  

We started gathering on Thursday and by Friday evening most everyone was there and installed in the camp's dining room, AKA our sewing studio for the weekend.

This was my sewing table, note the absence of mechanical sewing devices!

It was Halloween weekend so there were a few 'ghouls' to contend with...

My 'bunkmate' didn't even realize that her folded up jammies and headphones looked like E.T. had stopped by for a visit....Apparently this boney guy has shown up at other retreats for some tricks and treats!

My 'slow sew' project started as a pile of over-dyed wool scraps.  I had chosen a red color for the accent, but one of my fellow retreaters suggested a turquoise color...it worked.  A trip into town and a visit to an amazing quilt shop provided the extra dose of inspiration, and a few supplies (wink! Turquoise houndstooth!) that I needed to really get going.  

I had a basic 'sweatshirt' shape in my head and started hand piecing the scraps into yardage.  It was a very contemplative way to work. Just connecting random scraps with no real plan, letting it grow organically and slowly.  (And also allowing lots of visiting time!) 

By the end of the day on Saturday I had enough 'yardage' to actually cut out my pattern shapes.  By the time I left on Sunday I had the basic outline of my sweatshirt...my dress form at home in my studio helped me figure out the final neckline details and hem lengths.

I thought about cutting a neckline, but when I opened the center front seam to get it over my head, I really liked the way the corners dropped down and looked like a shirt collar.  I just stitched over them...

I considered adding some of the turquoise houndstooth and orange wool to the neckline, but the interest seemed to be more at the hem, so I left the neckline with just the stitching.

My Lutherwald Sweatshirt...October's Artful-T...

It's hard to describe what happens when a group of sewists gathers to work and share their passion.  We laugh and eat too much and laugh and tell stories and laugh and stay up too late and...oh yeah, maybe even sew a bit.  Actually, several projects were completed and many others got within a hem or a buttonhole of finished!  But for me it is all about the fellowship that makes it such a special time.  I am so grateful to be part of such a generous and caring group of women.

...and I'm so glad that it will happen all over again in the spring.  should be rested up by then!


  1. Just discovered you through the G threads group, I love what you did with the sweatshirt, did you start out with a ready made sweatshirt? I have done several remakes of sweatshirts in the past, but always looking for new ideas.......thanks

    1. Hi Anna, thanks for checking me out!...I call it a 'sweatshirt' because it has that drop-shoulder-boxiness of a sweatshirt, but it's a pattern that I developed and use quite often, it works well for either stable knits or woven fabrics. I took a page from Diane E's book and made the fabric first, just overlapping and stitching until the pieces were big enough to cut my pattern shapes. Fairly organic. The fabrics are washed and over dyed (I didn't do the dying) wool scraps left over from another project. They are very soft and comfy.

  2. Great job, thanks for the info