Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What is this? Why is this?

Many years ago I had a boss who labelled me and my friend, Mary, "activity tootsies." We were always trotting off to classes, where we'd learn things such as how to make creamed corn, Southern style. For anyone who's interested, that would be fresh corn scraped off the cob and dumped into a skillet, along with a healthy slosh of heavy cream. Heat it up til it bubbles around the edges, add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper, and eat.

But I digress.

To this day, I remain an unapologetic student, and last week I had the pleasure of learning from Loes Hinse in beautiful Carmel, California. As a longtime fan of Loes's patterns, I used to sew my entire work wardrobe using her streamlined pieces. Over the past few years I've spent less time in workwear and more in momwear, and somehow I lost touch with Loes's wonderful little jackets and softly tailored pants.

The path to Loes's seminar began last summer, when I attended her day-long seminar for the Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild. That day I got all fired up about her sewing methods, and afterwards I couldn't stop thinking about attending her hands-on intensive. As an added incentive, one of Loes's longtime students contacted me and encouraged me to come.

So I signed up and headed south with a carload of supplies and as empty a mind as I could muster. Why go empty headed? Because Loes often throws conventional home-sewing methods under the bus. Interfacing? Bah! Pretreating your fabric? Phooey! Endless tissue fitting and muslin making? Piffle! Just cut and sew, the success of which was helped along immensely by trying on garments made for her lovely little Carmel boutique.

And if you ran out of fabric or just needed something new, Sharon Lyon was there with all her Casual Elegance goodies. Sharon and Loes make a terrific team,  often playing off each other with questions and joshing around.

Here I am wearing some of Loes's clothes. I finished a pair of these pants, and I have fabric for the lace top and black jacket. Hoping to get to them this week, and when I do I'll share.

While I ripped almost as many seams as I sewed and wouldn't have won any productivity awards, I came away with many ideas and new skills. Of particular value were the way Loes finishes her necklines and sets in her sleeves. I also got familiar with my serger's five-thread stitch, which I plan to use from here on out on all my garments.

Also, I cannot over-emphasize the delight found in hanging out and sewing with other like-minded enthusiasts. We had so much fun at our machines that I forgot to eat dinner, more than once. Unheard of.  

When I complete an outfit, I'll post pictures, but for now here's one that only die-hard sewists will appreciate. This is a sample I made so that Loes would demonstrate how to set in a sleeve.


  1. I am very curious about how she said to set in the sleeve. Really, you did pique my curiosity.

  2. Now I want to know how to do that sleeve. How I miss taking classes and always learning new things, I think lifetime student is the only career goal I have managed hold on to.