You’ve booked your first sewing retreat – hooray! It feels great to set aside time to craft and create with fellow sewing enthusiasts, and to get away from the hustle and bustle (and even the hum-drum!) of everyday life.
Except that you may be thinking … okay, now what? Booking the retreat was one thing, but preparing for it is another thing entirely! Never fear – we’ve got your back, as always. Here are some great tips for how to prepare for a sewing retreat.
How to Prepare for a Sewing Retreat
Tips for Sewing Retreat Participants:
Prepare for any kind of weather, even if it’s not “normal” for this time of the year. It could rain all weekend, or be sunny and hot. There could be a cold snap, or a heat wave! And even if you could predict the weather outside, you’ll never know for sure about the temperature inside the retreat facilities. The best way to prepare is to pack layers – that way you can always add one or take one away if you get uncomfortable in the current temperature. And don’t forget a jacket and an umbrella, no matter the season.
Be ready to lose some sleep. Whether you stay up all night focused on a sewing project, or hanging out with your fellow retreat-goers, you will probably end up staying up later than you would at home. Add to that the fact that you’ll be sleeping in a strange bed, and possibly in a room full of strangers who have their own nighttime noises to contribute to the ambience – yep, you guessed it. A lack of sleep is par for the course. There are things you can do to help yourself out, though – pack your own pillow and blanket, bring ear plugs or sleeping pills, and there’s always a double dose of morning caffeine to get you going. You can sleep when you’re home, right?
Pack a snack, or several. Whether you’re attending a retreat that will provide meals for you or one where you have to cook your own, sometimes you’re not going to feel like eating at mealtimes (or eating what they’re serving). Other times you’ll find that you just really need some healthy food to fuel a marathon sewing session, so pack your old reliable favorite snacks. The best options are single-serving packaged snacks such as granola bars or nuts. Fruits and veggies are also great, and make sure you bring plenty of your favorite beverage if you’re picky about what you want to drink. While you’re at it, you’ll probably need a travel mug or bottle to drink from, too!
When in doubt, over-pack. You may think you’re going to use this retreat as a chance to really buckle down on that one project that you haven’t been able to finish, but the reality is that you might get bored with that project. Or frustrated, even! So pack several projects with a variety of skill requirements, and that way you’ll be able to follow your inspiration throughout the retreat. Always pack more than you think you can finish, too – you never know how much you might be able to complete with a few days away from your family members!
Keep comfort in mind. Whether you’re choosing your wardrobe or thinking about the bedding you want to bring – go for comfort, every time. A sewing retreat isn’t a fashion show or a beauty contest. You can skip the makeup, wear PJs all day and relax! If that’s not your thing, at least know that you should pack comfortable clothes and shoes so that you can focus on the sewing and not on the way your clothes make you feel.
Know where you’re going. Keep directions handy so you can find your way to the retreat center. This tip is actually twofold, because the other side of this is that you need to understand the type of retreat you’re attending – will it be free sewing, or full of classes + workshops? Do you have to have a certain skill level to attend, or is it open to all sewing enthusiasts? Are there extra fees to sign up for certain bonus features? Find out the answers to all of these questions to make sure you get the most out of your retreat experience.
Be Open! This is kinda of a big one for me. One of the biggest take aways for me was just how friendly everyone was and how much I enjoyed their company. While it can be overwhelming to meet new strangers, you should be open to making new friends. You never know you may just walk away with so much more than a finished UFO.
Get ready to have fun! A big part of any sewing retreat is meeting like minded peeps. That’s right, you all share a common interest so, expect to make new friends along the way.
Keeping the above list in mind here are a few of my favorite things to bring:
-Snacks to share: since I like the sugar high, they are mostly candy based.
-Fun stickers or pins to hand out to new friends.
-PJ’s! I know what your thinking but sometimes, I like to sew in my pj’s & flip flops.
-An extra tote bag to bring home extra goodies I made while stitching the night away.
-A note book to write down contact information so that I can keep in touch with my new peeps!
This spring, I will be bringing my mother to her first sewing retreat and I’m sure she is going to be blown away on so many levels. Like the amount of creativity and the open arm welcoming that our community offers. I’m totally excited to see it through her eyes!
You can find a fun list of sewing retreats for
2017 here, 2016 here and 2015 here.
How about you – are you a sewing retreat veteran, or planning your first-ever retreat experience this year? We’d love to hear how you’re preparing for a sewing getaway – leave us a comment below!
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Comments & Reviews
Which retreat are you bringing your mother to? I’m taking my daughter to her first retreat which is Sewtopia in Chicago. I live in DC but she lives there.
We went to a retreat in NC and are now on the hunt for our next adventure together. Fingers crossed you had a blast!
Jodi Wolff says
Heather, Do you have a list of retreats you would mind sharing?
I went to a sewing retreat once never again
Heidi Story says
I have never been to a sewing retreat and I wanna go! I’m afraid to go alone part of the time. Then when I feel brave, I can’t find one anywhere close to me. There needs to be a clearinghouse for sewing retreats to make it easier.
Heather , thank you for your insight! I have a quilt retreat on my bucklist!!
Heather, I am looking for retreats to attend. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks
Jodi Wolff says
I can’t wait till April as I am heading to my first retreat. Thanks for the insight.
You will have a blast Jodi!
Christine Ishmael says
I’m hosting my first sewing retreat on April 30 – May 1st, 2015! I’m very excited! http://www.reclaimyourselfretreat.com
Wanda rayfielf says
Go 3 times a year and look forward to each one jan, middle August, late sept
Wow, I’m jealous Wanda. I would love to go a few times each year. I loved being able to just focus on my sewing and chat with new friends for a few days.
Rochelle Laurino says
Good evening and thanks for the packing tips. I live in Georgia and we are having our first sewing retreat in October at the Comfort Inn Suites in Macon.I’m so excited hopefully we will complete some projects.while we are eating,talking, and having fun.
You will have a blast Rochelle! Enjoy the company of friends new & old and be sure to live in the moment. Soak up your surroundings and fill your creative tank!
I’ve been to one in France, Arkansas and Alabama. I’ve loved each one and plan on going on a textile tour in London in April 2019!
Thanks for the note Rhonda. My goodness, I can only imagine the fun an overseas retreat must have been. Sounds like your upcoming textile tour will be an incredible treat. Enjoy!!
Going to my first sew retreat ????Great info ! Thank you !
Oh how fun, Tina!! Have a blast.