Going to a quilt retreat is both fun and a little intimidating! What do you pack for a weekend sew-a-thon? This post gives you my top 5 tips for making the most of your sewing retreat weekend!
For more than a decade, I have been getting together with mostly the same ladies for a weekend sewing retreat in March.
It is one THE BIGGEST HIGHLIGHTS of the year, because 1.) you will not even believe how much you can get done with uninterrupted sewing time and 2.) you cannot imagine how much fun it is to hang out with ladies who share the same passion, and 3.) the food and munchies are to die for.
Literally. The calories could kill.
What originally started as a “Friday afternoon check-in to a Sunday brunch check-out” has since evolved into us convincing our spouses, pets and employers that we should now check in on Thursday morning and leave as late as we can on Sunday.
You can imagine that preparing for this type of sew-a-thon requires a lot of preparation and packing, so I’m giving you my Top 5 Tips for preparing for your next quilt retreat:
Top 5 tips for packing for a quilt retreat:
Pick Your Project(S
You noticed I just said “Projects”.
With an ‘S’.
While you will want to narrow down the projects you are taking (unless you want to pack up an entire trailer…and believe me a trailer has been chatted about in jest), you will want to have multiple projects along with you.
Well, sometimes you run out of gusto for the particular project you brought along.
Like the time I only packed along paper-pieced blocks for my Farmer’s Daughter’s Quilt, only to stall out on it and lose interest because each block was taking me 18 hours and 4 different cuss words.
For that reason, I could have used a break and my time would have been wisely spent on an easier project that required less brain power.
There’s a chance – and I know this doesn’t happen to YOU, where you don’t follow the sage advice of “measure twice and cut once”.
One mis-cut or one mis-read of your instructions could result in you having to set aside your project for the weekend, so you want another project as a back-up.
I usually pack MULTIPLE projects with me in different colors and techniques just in case I’m not “feeling” it on some of them.
Pile up your projects
Once I have determined what I am taking, I set out my various projects on a table and I start gathering what I need for each one.
Make sure you have the pattern with you and any special notions or rulers that you need to complete it.
If you need to make any additional purchases for backing or binding, now is the time to gather it up because unless you’re onsite at a store, it is time-consuming to pull yourself away.
Pack up your bag or tote
In addition to your projects, you’ll want to pack up all of your standard sewing / quilting notions and tools.
A few years ago my sister gave me a Utility Tote + Insert from 31Gifts and it has been THE BEST tote for hauling my stuff around. The colors and patterns change seasonally and I love this one!
I have not found anything that works better for me yet!
In addition to the small stuff, you’ll want to make sure you pack rulers, irons, cutting mats, lights, power strips and extension cords.
With our group of ladies, we have it down to both an art and science on how we divide stuff out.
For instance, 2 us bring the cutting mats, and 2 ladies bring an iron each, and 2 bring the ironing boards and so on and so forth with the large items. Everyone brings their own Ott Lights or special things (like a small iron to use at their table).
It alleviates everyone from packing up the big stuff.
Pack Comfy Everything
We used to always joke that the retreat was a make-up free zone and elastic-waisted pants were the requirement.
Wear what makes you comfy. I pack only yoga pants, T-shirts and slippers and I live like that the entire time I am there.
If you do your best work in false lashes and a prom dress, then by all means, you do you.
Make sure your machine is serviced
If you go to a retreat annually, mark your calendar and about a month in advance plan to have your machine serviced so she is in tip top condition and ready to zig and zag (the sewing machine equivalent of rock ‘n’ roll).
You can’t imagine what a clean out and a little well-placed oil will do for your machine!
Treat her right!
One year one of the gals cleaned out her machine for the first time ever and she pulled out enough fur that we swore was the size of a mouse!
I hope this helps you get excited for a quilt retreat! Anything you think I forgot (besides the snacks and Diet Coke?) Drop a comment below!