The “Summit” a meeting of the “Very Crafty”

The Sewing Summit took place a couple of weekends ago, and it was good.  This annual gathering of the very crafty has always been a wonderful place to share and socialize.  Just like many other things in life, the sparkle has waned a little (in my opinion) with the Sewing Summit.  More about this later.

There are many things that bring me back to the Sewing Summit and the people are what certainly brings me back again and again.  Last year I met Leigh and Jessie at the Summit and they are why I returned!  I was lucky enough to call them both roommates and friends this year.  Here’s a photo of them,  Leigh from and Jessie from  Thanks to Leigh for the fabulous photo!

ss13 11

They put up with my crazy sleep screaming. Both were warned about my sleep “disorder” before the Summit, I even gave them huge boxes of earplugs!  They thought I was kidding!   Yes, it’s true, if you are to spend the night with me (like I do most nights with Mr. Swellsewing) you are very likely to witness my extremely strange sleep disorder.  This nearly nightly “routine” may consist of anything from me swearing like a truck driver to ear-piercing screaming.  Any of which is not a very pleasant way to be awoken.  All of my previous roommates, cousin Carol, Patty and now my sewing summit roomies have been exposed to this awful experience.  Sorry roomies…….. 😦

Another integral part for me, is to challenge myself and create a mini wardrobe of handsewn garments for the Summit.   I wore all of these items, except for the Grainline pajamas.  Other garments that I sewed were Colette Clover Trousers, Grainline Pocket T, Marlo Bloom reversible handbag, Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress and The Staple Dress.

sewinsummitmotagesewingsummitmontage2The classes offered by the Sewing Summit this year were top-notch.   I think that the third year for the SS has brought the best teachers and speakers ever! Our guest speaker for the last evening was Heather Bailey, a woman of many talents, but best known for her fabric designs and her charming patterns.ss137

When I found out that she was going to be our guest speaker, I was floored- she is a sewing celebrity that I have always wanted to meet.  I must confess, that I quickly got shy when I found myself around her- there were so many things I wanted to ask her and tell her.  I just couldn’t.  I did I snag a very quick selfie of her when she was checking out of the hotel.  I knew at that moment that it was now or never. Sorry Heather……


Heather looks great, me, not so much!   🙂 I didn’t care how bad I looked, it was all about her….

Here is the list of classes and brief descriptions of their contents.

I had  “fabric design” with Pat Bravo, she is such a delight and also the owner of Art Gallery Fabrics.  Personal branding with Olivia Omega where she told us on our blogs we should “attract and repel” folks,  a two part “sewing with leather” class taught by Lindsay Rhodes of lrstitches and an HTML class with the very cute Jenib from “In Color Order” both Lindsay and jenib are crazy knowledgable and talented!  There was also a sloper skirt class I took, I begged cute mom Jodi to hold baby Vinny so that she could draft her skirt.  A much better option for me, since it has been ages since I have held and rocked a little one to sleep.  That was truly awesome!

Here’s a picture of me holding baby Vinny.  I am so lucky!


The last 2 classes I took were the “embroidered hoop with pocket” class and “appliqueing a tea towel” class.   The embroidered hoop class was taught by the very cute, Amanda from A Crafty Fox and the etsy shop Westwood Acres.  Here is the UFO from this class.

embroirderedpockethoop I did finish the appliqued tea towel the equally as cute, Amy from vintage fern taught.  Both of these teachers were really great. Sometimes an hour and a half just isn’t long enough.

So now for the other part of the Sewing Summit that I felt like lacked a little luster.   I don’t like to be negative, really I don’t but the creativity just wasn’t there with the Summit this year, as it has been in previous years.

My first impression, and before even arriving in Utah (I was not alone in feeling this), was that information for the Sewing Summit seemed to be spread all over the place.  Before attending the Summit, attendees sometimes need to purchase and bring some supplies for specific classes.  Some teachers e-mailed us, and others from what I gathered, listed supplies on a supply list on the Sewing Summit webpage.   Common sense tells me, that if I am getting e-mails from some teachers introducing themselves and telling me what I need for class, then I should be getting e-mails from all of my teachers with what to bring.  It should be one or the other.

The other thing about the supply list is that I didn’t realize it existed until the Summit was over.  I even Instagrammed one teacher asking “what should I bring?”  never getting a response, I came  to class unprepared.

A lot of information was posted on the Sewing Summit Facebook Page.  This is good, but I joined it late, not knowing that I would be missing out on private swaps because I had to join the page. If only an official e-mail would have went out informing us to JOIN the facebook page to recieve all the up to date information reagarding the summit.   I thought that just visiting the page was enough to get the information I needed.  I missed out on fabric and bag swaps, which is always a fun way to meet all the other sewing gals. Honestly though, after joining the facebook page there were so many “facebook e-mails” coming into my e-mail that it became even more confussing.   For me, being a forty-something, it just isn’t the way I communicate. I guess I am just old school.

Another part of the Sewing Summit is registering and getting your name badge.  This has in the past always been fun!  This was my third year, so I was very excited to see the familiar faces of the Summit staff for check-in.  unfortunately the welcome counter was very disappointing,the desk was slightly decorated with bunting but there was barely any eye contact or even a cheerful “welcome back”.  The staff this year seemed disjointed and unwlecoming with a low morale.  There didn’t seem to be any celebrating happening, I can’t put my finger on it, but something has changed.


As you can see, in the first year of the Sewing Summit, someone took the time to handcraft lanyards!  They did an amazing job, whoever these people were, it made a great impression.  Also it made for a hard act to follow.  Right?

Year two followed with a lovely Coats and Clark lanyard, which we were pleased to don during the festivities at the Summit!  Finally year 3, a sad little lanyard, you had a choice between 4 or 5 colors but no mention of the Sewing Summit anywhere to be found on the lanyard or on our name tags.  We were given washi tape and markers during the opening mixer on Thursday night  to decorate our name tags and write our blog names.  It really felt like someone dropped the ball on this part.  On a positive note though, with all three years, my first and last name has been spelled correctly, which for even some of my friends and acquaintances proves to be difficult, as they spell my first name T-R-A-C-Y.

There was a definite feeling of stress throughout the entire event.

The large rooms from last year that housed our dinner events became much smaller(1/2 the size) and very cozy.  Maybe this was purposely done to help the Summit attendees to socialize more? The room  felt cramped and waiters were constantly bumping into our chairs and struggling to get around us.  There was a lot of construction happening at the hotel, so maybe they needed to squeeze us in to accomodate us?

The Summit staff had many technical and supply problems.  Some hands on classes went without important notions because those items weren’t delivered on time to the Summit.  Technical  problems took over many of the lecture classes that used a screen/computer connection to assist the teachers.   Sometimes those technical problems would delay the class starting 20 minutes or so and other times, there wasn’t anyway to get the screen/computer to actually connect and work.

If it were your first time at the Summit, you probably left happy as a clam.  Many made new friends, (I did too) and had a whole new crafty rejuvenation!  This is why we want to go to something such as the Sewing Summit. to get and give great ideas and friends, that speak your “language”.

Referring to what Olivia Omega said in her Branding class, you want to “attract and repel” folks to or from your blog.  You should always be true to who you are.  I don’t want to be phony, and I didn’t want to sugar coat this, but I also don’t want to be mean.  My intent is not to be mean.  This was a very hard post for me to write, I must have saved this draft 50 times, and rewritten most of it 20 times.  So please know that I didn’t approach this lightly.

I just don’t want the Sewing Summit to lose that quality it began with.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.

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  1. Tracey
    What a great post, I’m so glad that you posted what you really felt. I don’t think you where being mean. I noticed these things as well and since it was my first summit I wondered about it. When I asked someone about the lack of email about supplies etc and things missing in class, I was told that it was running smoother then the last years.

    Great post, glad that you wrote it.

    I love the clothes you made and wore to the summit. Also is Vinny a cutie.

      • I think that honesty is the only way forward! You were honest, factual and polite, and people who haven’t been before and are considering going next year should have the opportunity to read “everything! about it, and not just the good stuff! Great post!

    • Thanks! They were great with a black cardigan! I bought the fabric last year in Utah at the sewing summit shop hop at the Yellow Bird! If you want to see if they have any more fabric. 🙂

  2. What an insighful post, Tracey! I also noticed that some things were “off” compared to last year, but had trouble putting a finger on some of the more subtle things. I think you nailed it. I still had a great time, and the classes were amazing, but there are always ways to improve, right?!? It was great to see you again!

  3. Good on you! Have you sent the event coordinators the link to this post? If they are wise….and want to continue the show….they should get in touch with you!
    I think you have been very constructive and specific in your comments.
    I once sent a similar note after being disappointed with a conference…and ended up helping to set up the next year’s event….which went off much better …not because of me! but because they listened and addressed the points raised. Hope the same happens with this event!

    • Thanks, no I haven’t e-mailed them yet. My other friend from the sewing summit Leigh from has…. and she hasn’t heard anything yet- They have access to all things tagged sewing summit, so they might just happen along it. One of my worries is that I think one of the main staffers my be ill- she just didn’t look healthy to me….. anyhow.. it’s great to hear from you! What have you been up to? Sewing lots?

  4. I been thinking, dreaming and scheming about sewing…way more than actually doing it! Though I recently made Sewaholic’s Cordova jacket…sewed it beautifully (If I may say so myself)…then decided it was too big. But today I had a brainwave and think I can resurrect it …stay tuned…

    • Ugh… I hate it when I sew something and it doesn’t fit right but it is sewn perfectly…. the sewn perfectly thing doesn’t happen that often- but when it does, it’s awesome! I will stay tuned to see how you rescue it! Good luck gal!

  5. T R A C Y
    It was great to see you. The classes were great this year I agree. It is always fun to see old friends. My sister is an event planner and the details are what
    Make the event. The little things do not go unnoticed. Friendly smiles and check ins with attendees are important. Thanks for coming and I hope you are enjoying the conference make attendees want to return. I know a lot of people this year were not there in the past so they did not know the difference for the material things, but like you said they can see when a class does not have what they needed, lack of personality, and lack of hospitality. These all make attendees not want to return. I would love to see you again… It will probably be at a different venue. Take care and inspire to create beautiful things!

    • I am sure we could meet up again- if not at the Summit again! I had so much fun with you and my roommates! I saw a picture of you somewhere maybe on instagram… of you rolling on the floor laughing! So funny! xxoxo

    • I am so pleased more people are coming out of the woodwork and really saying what they thought! I think more people should feed this back to the organizers (although in saying that I still haven’t had a response at all). Maybe next year people will vote with their feet? Lovely to see you both (and madam Jessie of course), you made the event for me, and I miss you lots and lots xxx

      • Yep!! Being honest is the only way forward. You know someone here at home asked me the other day how my trip to SLC was.. and I said it was “awesome”!! I stepped out of myself for a second and looked at myself and WTF did you just say that?! Yes I did , because my time there was awesome! I had so much fun with you and Jessie and Shawn and all the other gals at Olive Garden- those ruins of guacamole and the head lice.. funny! I can’t remember exactly what we called those pyramids?

  6. Hi Tracey, it was so great to meet you at Sewing Summit. It was my first year, and although I did have a wonderful time, I was so frustrated because it was so, so unorganized! Right from the start. Anyway, I have to idea to organize such a thing and I’m glad someone did it, and I’m glad you mentioned all of these things and the differences from the previous year. I just blogged about it and left my comments about the actual Summit organization unsaid, and only comment on what I liked. But…. having done that, I haven’t helped to possibly make it a better experience for next year. I wish I had been able to write what you did, and do it as eloquently as you did. I was hoping for a comment or feedback card or survey! Ah well, good to meet you Tracey. Janelle

    • Hi Janelle, it was really great meeting you at the Summit. The Summit organizers did have us fill out some kind of a survey the last two years. It is interesting that we haven’t heard anything at all this year. There really were so many great things about the Summit as well, though- I don’t like to spread the icky- but I just really felt like something was off.
      All the best to you, I hope we cross paths again. Take care.

    • Hi Olivia- you had so many great ideas! I loved your class and I really learned so much!!!

      Thanks again for everything. You have really opened my eyes to many things!

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