Fabric Challenge ASG Sew Much Fun LA Retreat

By Marilyn Morgan

Recently, a group of women traveled from all over the U.S. to Los Angeles to attend the ASG Sew Much Fun Tour, led by our own Judy Kessinger of the FitNice Systems. You can read all about the retreat on a previous blog.

One of the fun and totally unexpected experiences given to us that week was a fabric challenge. 

It all started while we were finishing our tour of FIDM (Fashion Industry of Design & Merchandising). The campus tour ended with a stop at the school’s Scholarship Store. Proceeds from sales go to help fund the school’s scholarship program.  This retail store offered fabrics, clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes, sewing notions, etc., etc.  Their inventory is ever changing and is priced way below the cost of wholesale. They receive donations from the fashion industry, so you may find 10 blouses of the same design one day and 3 boxes of zippers the next. The day we were there, we stumbled upon lengths of fabric all rolled up onto long tubes. I’m not sure if Judy planned it or if it was serendipitous but she soon latched onto a roll of colorful knit fabric. Did I mention that she only paid $5.00 for the whole roll?  See picture  The colors in the print were varied enough to flatter everyone. Judy knew what she was doing . . . . .

Back at the retreat hotel – Judy issued the challenge:  You have one month to design and construct a “FitNice” garment piece from a 1 ½ yards of the challenge fabric; then post a photo of yourself wearing the piece on the FitNice Sewing Sisters Face Book page.  Challenge accepted!

I took the long plane ride back to Ohio to doodle and think about what I wanted to try.  I have lots of ideas . . . they don’t always transfer to workable designs . . . .   I had wanted to try some sort of pleating detail and sketched out a few tops. My sister Sharon, who also accepted the challenge, was leaning toward color blocking.  Ideas were flying everywhere. Do you know how hard it is to draw sketches on an air plane while making sure your drink doesn’t slide off the fold down tray? Seat mates can be so cranky at times. Anyhow, by the time we were back home and unpacked, we still weren’t sure what we were going to design. After a week of overthinking, I laid out the fabric to see exactly how much I had to work with. The 1 ½ yards was plenty for a top with sleeves, but not leaving a lot of extra to play with. I decided to do fewer pleats and highlight the pleating with buttons.  Side note – the buttons came from Linda the Button Lady – an interesting lady who visited us at the retreat. She brought in tables loaded with buttons for our viewing . . . and all for sale. My sister found coordinating fabrics in her stash (imagine that!) and was off and running.

So, what do you think?  I don’t see a duplicate in the bunch.  Judy’s system truly inspires endless designs from the Master Pattern. Fun Fun Fun . . . we’re ready for the next challenge !