Dear ASDP Board
I hope everyone came home from conference rejuvenated, inspired, and motivated. If you were not able to attend, hopefully the contents of this newsletter will motivate and inspire you to set aside the time and money to attend our next conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Now it is time to close out 2015 and make plans for 2016. What will you do to move your business forward? How will you do it? As the board makes preparations for our annual Strategic Planning meeting, I have asked them to read two books, "Getting Things Done by David Allen and "The Trust Edge" by David Horsager. I challenge anyone to find anything in these books that is really new! Still, the authors present the concepts in their own voice and that is what makes them new and worth the read.
As dressmakers, tailors, alteration specialists, designers, purveyors of goods and services, etc. we are not doing anything new. Rather, it is our voice and how we do it that makes what we offer interesting and valuable. It has been suggested that we are part of a dying trade. Maybe. But, unlike the blacksmith who lost his livelihood to the advent and popularity of the automobile, people still wear clothes, as well as need and use many other sewn products (i.e. pillows, curtains, tents, etc.). What has changed is how people get their sewn goods.
Even so, in spite of the “casualization” of dress and outsourcing of sewing to cheaper labor markets, there remains a population who have unique desires and needs and who want customized/unique goods with personalized service. Furthermore, they have the resources to pay. To this population, we offer the breadth and depth of our skill and talent, our “voice” if you will. They will find it interesting and valuable - if they can find us.
May 2016 find you with great books on your reading table, interesting projects in your studio, extra profits in your bank account and an amazing “voice”
Written by Debra Utberg, President
We have some very exciting news for you – ASDP has a new chapter – the Metro Detroit Chapter!
The ASDP-Metro Detroit Chapter was installed in June. This chapter services the entire Metropolitan Detroit area and runs its operations in donated space from PonyRide, a small business incubator located in Detroit MI. The chapter was installed with five members. They are Monica Minor, Kenyetta Caldwell, Brenna Lane, Kathleen Tootell and Maxine Jackson. Monica Minor serves as the President of this chapter. This is their vision statement:
“To unify people while bringing new opportunities, new outlooks and new exposure to sewing and design professionals within the Metropolitan Detroit area.”
Monica says: “The chapter considers itself a unique addition to the association. Metro Detroit has tons of hidden talent in the sewing and design profession; one of our goals is to bring exposure to that talent.
Additionally, we are invested in preserving the integrity of our profession. With that, we aim to host several trainings, workshops, seminars, etc. aimed at (a) increasing our knowledge and skills and (b) fine- tuning and polishing up our business ethics and skills. Finally, we intend to start a program within our chapter that is aimed at mentoring our students of fashion for the future. The goal would be to recruit at the college student level with the intent of maturing the student members onto the intern level and to the professional member level. This will not only enhance the talent in the Metro Detroit area for our industry, but will ideally create a future generation of leaders for the chapter and association. All of these initiatives are obviously at the premature stages of planning and development, but we feel that this is where we should start to be of best service for the industry in this area via the association. “The remainder of the year’s meetings will serve as planning meetings as our core team of 5 also serves as our planning committee. We plan to ‘reintroduce’ the chapter with a huge Membership Drive meeting in January 2016. We should have the date set within the next couple of weeks. We will be advertising substantially to ensure a huge presence at this meeting. We also will have a presence at the American Sewing Expo with a booth which is in September in Novi MI where we will provide information about the association and our chapter.”
Susan Khalje has invited the Baltimore Chapter to her gallery for their first meeting of the new program year. She’ll be talking about lace and showing members lots of beautiful examples. An added bonus - Alice from Mendel Goldberg will also be there, so they’ll have the opportunity to see (and purchase!) her gorgeous fabrics. The Chapter is going to be focusing on ‘Topnotch Techniques’ this year to encourage members to participate in their Chapter’s evaluation program.
The British Columbia Society has been extremely busy getting ready for their Sew-Ed Conference in September. They have a great working team there, and all are working together for the common goal of a successful event in advance of the 2016 ASDP conference in Vancouver.
They have contacted businesses all over Canada in preparation for next year’s conference, not only for sponsorship but also to advertise the event. Their sponsors are sending e-blasts to their own client lists, and displaying posters in their places of business. Members of the chapter have also attended different types of events related to sewing and fashion in the Vancouver area promoting their event. They also had a phone campaign calling every contact on their mailing list collected from the spring sewing expo. Carol Lees and Brenda Breitenmoser have been busy promoting their Facebook page and the exposure has been amazing. Some of their class registrations are looking very good and they look forward to filling the classes. If you haven’t already, ‘like’ their Facebook page and you’ll see all the great classes and instructors they having at their event.
Brenda says – “It is an exciting and stressful time for us all. Looking forward to seeing everyone at this year’s conference.”
In June, Wisconsin chapter members met at Linda McCoy's studio in Oostburg, about an hour north of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan. Members present were joined via Skype with another Wisconsin chapter member, Lynne Williams, from her studio in Rhinelander which is in far northern Wisconsin, about 3-1/2 to 4 hours north of Linda's studio. It was a great way to meet another chapter member! Members also worked on their muslins for the Sheath Challenge.
In July, members met at Chris Kazmerzak's studio in Sun Prairie, near Madison. They discussed client relations, cancellation and refund policies. Several of the chapter members are planning to attend Conference!
The Colorado chapter has been busy upgrading their technical knowledge. They are using cloud computing and a web cataloging tool called LibraryThing to make its growing list of library resources available to members online 24/7. LibraryThing is a web application that allows you to create a catalog or database of library resources including books, DVDs, magazines, articles, and journals. Once created, you can share this catalog with others, and track whom you lend your resources to. Moreover, by assigning specific keywords and phrases (tags) and populating the review, comments and descriptions fields for each resource, it becomes possible to perform very specific searches and for members to share their knowledge by recommending best practices.
Accessing the Colorado Chapter catalog is fast and easy. All you need to do is type the catalog URL http://www.librarything.com/catalog/ASDP_Colorado/ allcollections in your Internet browser and click the enter key on your keyboard. A User Guide is available to demonstrate how to view, sort and search the library catalog. However, only members of the Colorado Chapter can borrow resources from their library.
Currently, Colorado Chapter members are busy reviewing their library resources and identifying additional key words and phrases for each resource so searching can be more targeted, thus saving members valuable research time. In addition, the Chapter Board is considering how best to vet and recommend specific sewing techniques as a best practice, raising the efficiency and level of quality of the Chapter as a whole.
The Colorado chapter has just uploaded a new website for their chapter. Check it out - http://colosewingpros.org/. This update includes better professional profiles for our juried members and a login area for all members to access chapter documents and resources (library). We will be using this tool to communicate with other seamstresses and potential new members.
In other news, the Board will be rolling out a new program at conference this year – Chapter of the Year. Chapters will get points for all kinds of things they do and the Chapter with the most points wins! They will be awarded a trophy, bragging rights and perks given at the discretion of the Board.
Our chapters are doing very fun and exciting things. If you live anywhere near a chapter, join it! You won’t regret it.
Written by Debby Spence, VP of Chapter Relations
Have you heard the buzz lately about the ‘Millennials?’ Many marketing experts have identified and labeled various generations for the purpose of understanding their characteristics and what motivates them to buy, act, work, etc. If you look at the demographics of our organization, you will most likely find that we are a ‘Baby Boomer’ and late ‘Gen Xer’ group. That means most of us were born between 1946 and 1970. Like every generation, we were shaped by the cultural norms of the time. We tend to have certain characteristics that cause us to respond in predictable ways. For a long time we ‘Baby Boomers’ have been the largest segment of the population and companies have catered to us. NO MORE! The Millennials are now the largest group and every brand and company is trying capture their loyalty!
So who are the Millennials? They were born about 1982 to 2004. Today, they range in age from adolescence to early thirties. The older Millennials have been in the work place for several years. As a group, they are on track to be the most educated generation in American history.. They have gotten along with their parents more than any previous generation. This generation tends to be ‘friends’ with their parents. Often Baby Boomers and Gen Xers will label Millennials as ‘entitled’ or ‘disrespectful’. If we think about it, these perceptions are not surprising, but there is another way to look at it. Millennials have grown up with abundance and choice. As a result,when they are given a task, they expect the right tools to be available to them. They resent having to ‘make do’ because there is a sense that ‘making do’ is setting them up for failure. Also, because they have been ‘friends’ with their parents, they don’t have a sensitivity to hierarchy. Whether it is a parent, boss, or the CEO a Millennial is likely to see him or herself as on equal footing.
This is a sampling of what I have learned lately. My resources are Rob Charleton of Charleton Marketing (a Portland, OR company), KRM Information Services and the e-book “When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business” by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant (I highly recommend the book!). I’ll be sharing more of this information in future newsletters. In the meantime, what is my one big take-away? I need to watch my language! (and I’m not talking about the occasional swear word.) Some words that I use to describe people really do not describe them at all. Rather they betray my cultural norms and upbringing, for good or ill.
What does this have to do with ASDP? As we grow our membership and target the next generation of sewing and design professionals, let us be intentional and choose to ‘use our words’ for the benefit, support and encouragement of all! In the words of Stephen Covey and his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” let us “seek first to understand”.
You are used to hearing the words altering or re-styling associated with new bridal gowns, but for the past 9 months another word has surfaced in my work, the word “salvage.” In the fall of 2013 I started working as a volunteer with my local YWCA to open what is now called “The Bristol Bridal Station” in an un-used section of their building. The concept was and still is to contact upscale bridal designers and salons across the country (those that carry gowns in the $3,000 and up range) asking them to donate their sample and older year gowns to us rather than marking them down to sell. It is a win-win situation, as the donor gets a tax write-off and the Bridal Station gets the gown. At present we sell the gowns at about 25% of the retail value.
The majority of the gowns arrive in pristine condition, but others arrive with stains, dirt, perspiration/ deodorant, or makeup. If the gown is made of polyester we are in luck as all of those are simply washed in the washing machine, let air dry, and then steamed. Stain problems are harder to deal with if the gown is made of silk, as are many in the price range we receive. Deodorant is especially hard on these gowns and many have deteriorated in the underarm area to such an extent that they simply cannot be worn or sold in that condition.
This shows how some of the gowns come in with buttons and loops unusable. In this case, new loops and buttons are made or are simply removed and a zipper inserted. I keep new buttons in stock to replace old buttons, but I never discard a usable button. Many companies use the same buttons on all their gowns and I can usually match buttons from ones I’ve saved. In this situation a little ingenuity comes in handy.
In the case of the Vera Wang gown shown, the silk under the arm had rotted (see red arrow pointing to the replacement on previous image. I loosened the ribbon and removed the rotted silk organza at the underarm and at the bodice top edge. I then cut a new underarm piece using the removed organza as a pattern I sewed it in place at the top edge of the bodice, tucked the edge under the petersham and topstitched the ribbon in place. By doing this I salvaged what would have been an unsaleable gown with an original retail price of over $8000.
So far all the silk gowns have come in either ivory or natural. I’ve kept scraps of silk for years and also keep in stock bolts of silk organza so matching colors has not been a problem. One gown came in with huge rotted holes in the plain A-line skirt. To my surprise, the under layer was very ornate and was supposed to ‘shadow’ through the silk organza. I simply removed the torn layer and salvaged the gown.
Several gowns from designers such as Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta have come to us with retail values of over $13,000. I simply cannot allow a gown with a value that high to be discarded because of torn or rotted fabric. In the photo below is an example. The gown is a Monique Lhuillier that had severe rotting and discoloring, not only at the underarm but throughout the entire bodice.
You will notice the gown has one puffy layer at the top of the skirt. It originally had two puffy layers. I removed one layer and used the fabric to make a new bodice. The bodice is exactly like the original. In this case the fabric was so unusual that if the gown was to be salvaged, the fabric had to come from somewhere on the gown.
This gown is one of the very few silk gowns I’ve actually washed, as it was very yellowed. In this instance, I used Ivory laundry detergent and some Oxyclean in the bathtub, gently agitating by hand. Then I rinsed it until the water was clear and hung it to dry. It was a huge risk, but in this case the gown was unsaleable the way it was.
Now we have a real showcase gown. Some gowns simply cannot be salvaged. We mark them as unsaleable in our inventory and I remove any item from them such as zippers, boning, lace, and embellishments that can be used to repair other garments. One lovely lace gown came in with the lace on one side perfect and the other side so rotted it fell apart in my hand. I salvaged all the stable lace.
I have found my volunteer work with this project to have been a great learning experience. I have stretched my imagination and skills to be able to salvage many of the gowns. To discard a gown that can, with a bit of ingenuity, be salvaged seems such a waste. All the funds raised by the Bridal Station go to help the YWCA with its many projects, mainly a top-ranked daycare center which is the only one in our region to offer sliding scale care. We also have a wonderful project to help at-risk teenage girls. So I see where all our efforts go. The Bristol Bridal Station is always looking for new shops to partner with, so if you know of any, please pass the word along to me. Please visit us on Facebook.
Written by Linda Stewart
One would think a costume shop has everything! Think again. No costume for a pregnant actress that looks authentic? When a friend of mine could not find the appropriate costume, she asked me if I would make a costume for her actress.
Because I make all of my shape wear (“Spanxlike”) I decided to use that as a foundation garment that could be “impregnated” and enabled stuffing to accommodate several stages of pregnancy.
With the help of ASDP experts Carol Kimball and Ruth Ciemnoczolowski I used my shape wear garment pattern and changed the fabrics used.
For the front I used swimsuit lining fabric and for back I used 4-ply Lycra. I raised the waistline almost to the bra line and added shoulder straps. I finished garment in same manner as my usual shape wear.
It was now fitted in back and legs and waiting to be stuffed in front. I made an insertable stuffed “baby” that could be enlarged as needed and added an elastic strap to move baby high or low. When the actress tried on her costume she looked ready to go into labor!
Written by Annie Barnes
If you’re doing bridal gown alterations for clients, at some point you’ll probably be asked to salvage a gown that someone else has already worked on. A bride called my studio at the end of July, a week before her wedding, and asked if I could see whether anything could be done to make her gown fit better. She said the gown was originally several inches too big. The bodice had been taken in, but now it was way too tight at the top while it was loose at the waist.
Here are some photos of how the gown looked when the bride brought it in, showing several issues I hoped to correct in addition to improving the fit. The “jog” along the top edge, created when the side seams were taken in, needed to be smoothed out. The gown had a layer of Alencon lace with Venise lace appliques on top, crossing the seams.
The Venise lace was sewn into the seams when the bodice sides were taken in, instead of being lifted and reapplied across the new seamlines. The satin belt was positioned 1/2” above the waist seam instead of being seated at the seam (the ruler in these photos is aligned with the waist seam). Also, the belt wasn’t extended under the buttons.
And opening things up to look inside, here is what I found:
Part of the reason the bodice was too tight at the top is that the side seams were curved inward. This may also have been the reason the top edge seam was not trued up.
I was happy to see that the Venise appliques weren’t completely cut off when the seams were trimmed.
There was just enough fabric left in the side seams to let the bodice out at the top enough to gain the amount needed for a more comfortable fit. I had to open the side seams up completely to release the Venise appliques so they could be reapplied across the seams. I straightened the bodice seams all the way up (recalling Ruth’s reminders that a bodice should be funnel shaped), and that brought things back into alignment enough to allow me to true up the top edge seam.
After taking the gown in at the waist (and altering the skirt layers to fit back on correctly), the satin belt needed to be shortened. Since I had to remove it to do that, I moved it down to align it with the waist seam. I also extended it beneath the buttons at center back.
Debra Utberg said on the Discussion List recently that our goal with alterations is for the work to be undetectable. I felt pretty good about the way this turned out, given what had already been done to the dress.
And that is what I was doing while you were all working on finishing your Threads Challenge projects!
Written by Tina Columbo
In recent days the discussion list has had “why I joined ASDP” as a topic. I love hearing why people join and hopefully stay members. I thought I would turn the discussion around a bit and write to you what I have gotten from PACC/ASDP. I became a member January 19, 1993.
I have gotten:
The most important thing I’ve gotten from ASDP is the deep and lasting friendship of so many people. Not very many organizations can say that. It is one of our strongest points and best assets. I can assure you that many question asked on the discussion list are not only answered on line, but are answered by a phone call. We pick up the phone and try to help our fellow members. We care. When one of us wins an award such as Ruth did recently, we are all there to offer our sincere congratulations. When one of us succeeds, all of us succeed. Another example of our strong personal ties was watching members wait in the lobby in Philadelphia as our members arrived at the hotel. We just needed to be together.
To get all the benefits from ASDP, you have to give back. If you sit back and think things will just happen, they won’t. The more you give to the organization, the more you get. If you are on the discussion list, participate. If you are moved to write, then write an article. If you have an idea that would help the organization, let the board know. Please don’t think that just because you are new to the organization, you have nothing to offer. Not true. We want you here and we NEED you here.
I’ve had members call me ASDP’s cheerleader and I’ll take that moniker gladly. The above list is just a short example of how ASDP has affected my life. I quite simply would not be where I am today if I had not joined. And I like where I am today.
Written by Linda Stewart, ASDP Member
As part of my job responsibilities at the store I work for, I am often asked to do custom redesigns of wedding dresses. I recently had a rush job to do on a Watters Beilin bridal gown, style 7059B. At the first fit I understood that she wanted both volume and length so additional fabric was quickly ordered from Watters. I only had 2 weeks from my initial fit, really a week and a half with waiting for the fabric with a May 30th wedding. To complicate things further, the bride had to travel from New York City and I had a multitude of other wedding dresses due in May.
I knew I had to get my design idea solidified before the fabric came. My first thought was to add godets in the back seams to add length and fullness. Then I just had to figure out how to add length to the existing dress panels. I just joined ASDP last year and immediately reached out to the discussion group, figuring that they could help advise me with all of their experience. I was so excited to finally have someone else to “talk” to after working in a vacuum for most of my career. I was even happier when the responses started coming in. I received encouragement and support along with design suggestions, complete with drawings.
As the days ticked by waiting for the extra fabric to arrive, I continued communicating with the discussion board while I worked on my design. I received hints on creating the color of the ribbon on the dress. I made some muslin pieces to try with the dress.
I was still unsure about how to add volume and length to extend the existing skirt panels if we couldn’t get the right color of ribbon to match the fabric. In the end, with the encouragement of a favorite employee at the store and the confidence from my ASDP group, I forged ahead. I wasn’t sure how the bride was going to feel about it all but I had to trust my instincts.
The end result was very well received by the bride. The seaming was unnoticed and the lace edge I added was a hit! I was then given 2 days to finish it all up. I was so shocked when I was told that the mother had picked it up without a final fit, as the bride said that she was not worried, that it would be fine. I was astounded! After all the hubbub and expense of adding this custom train, it seemed to be taken as an afterthought! Go figure, sometimes the littlest wrinkle sends a girl and mother over the edge and other times nothing seems to bother them.
I cannot express strongly enough how helpful and supportive all the ASDP members on the discuss board were, with many suggestions on size and placement of the godets, tinting the grosgrain ribbon, and being sure to be paid enough. I am so happy to have been able to benefit from and contribute to this organization of ASDP.
Written by Jann Young, ASDP Member
This year at the Strategic Planning meeting, the National Board accomplished quite a bit. One of the ideas that came out of it was to bring back the Chapter of the Year award. Parameters for this will be discussed with the Chapters at a later date, but in plenty of time before the start date of October 1. I hope that all Chapters will participate, but it is not mandatory.
Unfortunately, due to the nasty winter weather this year, many of our chapters had to cancel meetings. However, they made up for it with some exciting programs and activities once the weather got better.
The Great Plains Chapter had to cancel their December, January, and February meetings due to weather.
For their March meeting, they saw the Katherine Hepburn exhibit “Dressed for Stage and Screen” at the Durham Museum in Omaha. This featured 35 costumes from 21 films she had starred in. At the Durham, they also saw an exhibit from the Omaha Community Playhouse featuring costumes from some of their productions. Following dinner, they attended that evening’s runway show for Omaha’s Fashion Week that is considered to be the fifth largest fashion event in the United States. It was a full and wonderful day especially since they had had to cancel the three previous meetings.
In April, Ruth Ciemnoczolowski presented a wonderful program for them in which she shared her experience in the Passion for Fashion contest at Novi. They were able to see her beautiful winning bridal ensemble. She also talked about her participation in the half scale competition at Novi and showed them her gorgeous Charles James inspired gown. Ruth also did a presentation on body types for them.
For their May meeting, they are planning to go to the Hillestad Gallery on the University of Nebraska campus and see a costume exhibit of Bill Blass, Geoffery Beene and Oscar De La Renta creations. This exhibit establishes the mood of American fashion in the latter half of the 20th century.
The New Jersey Chapter was happy to bid adieu to winter weather and welcome spring with open arms!
Several professional workshops were held to update patternmaking and fitting skills. Chapter member Sharon Zydiak helped members and guests draft and fit a personal moulage and then create a sloper. Another weekend found them traveling to former member Susan Kolar’s Pennsylvania studio to learn how to draft different types of sleeves for their slopers.
They also spent a busy Saturday (and many hours afterwards) altering prom gowns and tuxes for area teenagers at a local Cinderella’s Closet boutique. Being a fairy godmother (or godfather) is a very rewarding experience!! It’s great hearing about how our Chapters give back to their local communities.
They are also in the process of developing a chapter website, and appreciate the fine jobs done by the Colorado and New England Chapters!
The Wisconsin Chapter has had a busy late winter and spring! In February, they met at Sue Tenney’s for muslin fittings of the Tabula Rasa jacket by Fit for Art Patterns, which they hope to wear to Conference (can’t wait to see them!) In addition, Linda McCoy shared a technique she used to support a backless gown.
In March, members met at Denise Severson’s and viewed a fascinating video on Neapolitan tailoring.
In April, because Katherine Merkel was recovering from surgery, they met at her studio for muslin fittings of their sheath dresses for the Threads Challenge, and had a discussion on general business practices. Of course, at each meeting they also had great food and camaraderie, meaning they always left later than the planned meeting time, but time always flies when with great friends!
This from Katherine – “Our chapter members are like a family, and when we don’t meet, we get withdrawal symptoms! Some members drive from a couple of hours away, so it is no light thing for us to get together each month. But it is worth it to each of us as the support, education, and camaraderie is invaluable!”
In March, the Baltimore Chapter meeting was held at A Fabric Place fabric store. They usually hold one meeting a year there. The store is very supportive of the Chapter and ASDP and usually gives them a discount when they meet there. The program for the evening was a Project Runway-type challenge. Attendees were asked to design a cocktail dress for the Preakness. Everyone sketched a design and then looked around the store for suitable fabrics for their design. When all were finished, they showed what they had come up with. It was interesting to see the diversity of designs! And of course, most of us purchased some wonderful fabric while we were there!
At the May meeting, several members will be demonstrating some alterations techniques – shortening, tapering and adding a vent to pants; raising the armhole on a jacket; altering lace seams, etc.
The Heartland Chapter has been very busy so far in 2015. With the exception of January, they have met each month to discuss chapter business and to do some fun activities together. Earlier in the year, the chapter voted on purchasing a college level DVD class on color. They will be watching lessons throughout the year.
Their biggest activity this year was a trip that five of them took to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC in April to see the grounds and the Downton Abbey costumes. They said it was so much fun! On the front end of the trip, they took time to visit with member Judy Gross. Not only did Judy graciously open her home to their group, but she gave them the most interesting and in-depth tour of her factory. She also introduced them to an amazing restaurant in Asheville called Salsa’s, where they all had their most delicious meal! After visiting the Biltmore, they made their way to Gastonia, NC to visit Mary Jo’s Cloth Shop. It was well worth the 1.5-hour detour. Finally, they finished up their trip by swinging by member Cisa Barry’s wonderful new digs. They were all thoroughly impressed and envious of her amazing and wellorganized space.
In May, the chapter plans on visiting a docent-led exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art called, “Cutting-Edge Fashion: Recent Acquisitions.” They also have plans to continue their color lessons and will make a visit to Chicago in July.
The British Columbia Chapter, besides being hard at work planning our 2016 conference, had a variety of programs this past year. They sponsored a jacketdrafting course taught by Sabine Davis that was well attended. They hosted a draping workshop and also enjoyed a presentation by the Society for the Museum of Original Costume and hope to attend more events of this type. At the Sewing and Craft show in Abbotsford, the Chapter set up an exhibit and felt that the demos they did there were useful, as they drew people into discussion.
The Chapter recently held elections with the following results:
President – Sandy Dunn Treasurer – Marion Goosen Secretary – Carol Lees Members-at-Large – Brenda Breitenmoser and Diana Consell
Every year at their annual meeting, the New England Chapter honors their longtime members by giving certificates to those who have been a member for 5, 10, 15, or more years. This is a lovely practice that other Chapters may want to incorporate into their annual festivities. It is greatly appreciated by the recipients and is an inspiration to the newer members.
Sadly, the Appalachian Chapter will be disbanding this year. Sometimes, when Chapter members live at a distance, it is hard to maintain the energy needed to keep a chapter going. Hopefully, they will all stay in touch with each other and do things on an informal basis. The good news is we are looking forward to the birth of a new chapter in Michigan! They held their first planning meeting on April 30; we hope things will soon be rolling along for them soon. I’ll keep you posted.
Sandra Betzina, 2015 LAA
It always amazes me when one simple encounter has a profound effect. When I was starting my alterations and custom sewing business nearly 25 years ago, I hesitated because my sewing skills were almost completely self-taught, with a few lessons from middleschool home-ec class and time spent sewing with my aunt. I had some books in my reference library: the Singer Sewing Reference Library, the Reader’s Digest Complete Sewing Book, and several Palmer Pletsch paperbacks. I resolved to take every class I could manage in order to advance my skills.
After joining PACC (as ASDP was known then) as a charter member, one of the first well-known sewing celebrity lectures I attended was with Sandra Betzina. Her enthusiasm for garment sewing was, and is, infectious. What keeps her teaching today is her drive to help sewists learn to create garments that look wonderful and fit beautifully, while truly enjoying the process of sewing.
Sandra’s path to teaching sewing also began from an encounter. She always loved to sew, but meeting a neighbor who’d worked in a couture house is what led her to teach others. She felt that other sewists would want to know the techniques her friend shared with her, to make their sewing more rewarding. That led to her decision to open her sewing school (with detours and side trips along the way), to write a sewing column for the newspaper; and to host a weekly segment on a TV news magazine. She has longrunning television shows on two different networks to her credit as well as almost 200 online sewing classes through her Power Sewing website. Five of Sandra’s books are on my shelf now, and several of them are probably on most of yours as well.
Sharing the joy she takes in sewing is what keeps her traveling, teaching groups around the country and beyond - I caught up with her by phone while she was in Calgary, BC for a seminar. Her favorite way to teach is to spend several days with her students, so she continues to offer week-long seminars for small groups at her space in San Francisco, seven or eight times a year. She laughingly told me that she was slowing down a bit, at age 71 - but from the schedule she’s keeping, I can only hope I’ll have the same kind of stamina. The message Sandra would like to pass along to those of us who spend so much timesewing for others is this: take time to make yourself something special every year - it doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to be special, but it’s a way to remind yourself why you love to sew. Sew for yourself and sew with joy!
Our website describes the Lifetime Achievement Award in this way:
“The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award is given annually to a person, organization, or business that has made a profound contribution to the goals that ASDP promotes: sewing, fashion, pattern making, writing, and/or education in the field of sewing and design.”
During my years as a member of the association, I’ve been privileged to meet so many of our past awardees, and to count them among the teachers who helped me along the way. I was very pleased when Debra Utberg informed me Sandra Betzina had been chosen by the board as the recipient of the 2015 ASDP Lifetime Achievement Award, because of my nomination. Sandra is thrilled to be receiving this honor, and true to her constant desire to learn, she can’t wait to hear what classes we are offering at this year’s conference. I look forward to seeing her in Minneapolis this October.
Written by Janee Connor, ASDP member
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