Tuesday, April 30

Weekend Review - Creativ Festival

Kay at Gently Down the Seam (side note, I think this is my favourite sewing pun for a blog) sent out a little note to people who participated in the Toronto meet up that she was going to both days of the Creativ Festival, was anyone else going?  I didn't even know about it but it seemed my Saturday was free and I welcomed the opportunity to strengthen some online ties in person. Kay, Adrienne, and Debbie have already posted about it.
Picture from Debbie, myself, Kay, Debbie and Adrienne.
I have to say that without Kay pointing it out, I wouldn't have thought twice about it.  So often the focus is on crafts I find interesting but not me.  Like quilting, scrap booking or beading.  I was pleasantly surprised by the titles of the workshops, there did seem to be garment sewing content.

The  web site was a little challenging to find what I wanted.  At one point I thought I was on their web site but it was really the blog.  I read something about advanced group tickets and the cut off for that was Monday and this was Thursday, I assumed that was the same for advanced tickets.  I was busy at work and not looking too carefully, I thought I would just buy my ticket at the door.

One session I was really keen on was at 9:30 - Make Bra.  Sounds right up my alley.  Imagine the frustration when Debbie and I got there at 9:15 (she with e-ticket in hand) that the door sales didn't start until 9:30 and I couldn't get in until 10.  Their reasoning was that it was incentive to buy in advance.  I get that, there was a draw for $900 to spend at the festival open to Debbie and not me, that's a good incentive.  Letting people in to shop the booths early, also incentive.  But starting seminars before it opens for everyone?  It felt like punishment to me, not incentive to them.

Debbie is interested in tatting and I've always been a little curious about how it's done so we went to a free intro-to-tatting lesson.  Half an hour is not enough time to learn much of anything but I got the concept of what was involved so I'll appreciate the work that went into tatting I see in the future.

The main stage had two sessions that were a blur of clothing and sales pitches (and lunch for us).  Some of it was kind of interesting, but I found them a bit of a whirlwind.  The focus seemed to be:
  1. It's okay to eat cookies, just sew with elastic (that session was titled .Comfortable Clothes that Camouflage, but I could have used more camouflage and less "insert elastic here!")
  2. Sewing is easy, cut a circle in a square and you have a skirt.
  3. When in doubt, add embellishment (jewels, metallic, etc) but not the sleeves, you don't want to overdo it.
Now as my weight has changed, I appreciate knits and elastics, but some of it seemed beyond slapdash and into magic wand territory.  I am not a couture sewer at all, I'm just not in that stage of my sewing career.  Let's focus on me getting one thing done rather than soaking 30 hours of sewing into a winter coat.  But even I found this a little much.  You would think that if you went to the festival and you chose to join that session,  you have some knowledge of sewing already.  So why focus so much on making sewing look like magic because it's so easy?  And from a fashion perspective, well, it wasn't overly inspiring either.  I'm not interested in bejewelling my clothing and when I did see something I liked (lightly padding a lapel on a jacket that was puckering at the seams) it was so fast I didn't really have a chance to absorb what she did to make it work. 

Interesting though, I have found myself thinking about these two sessions a lot and what it means in the wider sewing world, so maybe my review is sounding harsher than it should.  This was like the opposite of Myrna Giesbrecht who will muslin many time to get what she wants and savours the process of getting there.  Or K-Line with her many muslined Spring Suit project.  But, there were times when I thought Myrna would like some of the embellishments (maybe not the Cirque du Soleil foiling).  I seem to remember a comment about using threads to add detail, something I know she would like.

As others have noted, the fitting session with Lorraine Henry was really awesome.  Half an hour was not nearly enough time.  I had traced out the Alma blouse prior to the show and done a FBA but still feeling a little insecure with it.  After sewing a few tents and potato sacks lately, I'm feeling hesitant.  It was great to see her discussing a FBA specifically, it really made me feel more confident that I'd put the extra space in the right spot. 

And while the session on sewing machine & serger maintenance with Joanne Brousseau sounds pretty dry, I spent a good 45 minutes cleaning my machine on Sunday.  Clearly it was inspiring.  Looking at the machine closely, I noticed the arm is a little pink.  I think the red ponte for Tiramisu has rubbed off.  I'll have to be careful when I wash it, maybe put one of the dye catchers in the wash.

If I had gone on my own, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it.  I would have sat through a few sessions (probably skipped the machine maintenance), felt overwhelmed by the people and the frequent sales pitches (I was starting to expect the as seen on TV kind of lines of "but wait, there's more!" or "with three easy payments of...") and left.  But with the ladies, I was open to any of the sessions, it was lovely to talk (and laugh) and break up the knowledge soaking that went on.  My brain felt full when I got home.
Both pre-washed, striped shirting on the right has been cut.
Sunday I ended up with a bit of a hang over (oops) and Mr. Lina had people over to record voice work so I had to be quiet, the microphone will pick up the sewing machine and foot steps two floors up.  But I felt the itch and interest returning through my headache.  As well as the machine cleaning session, I pre-washed fabric above, ironed 3m of one of the shirtings, cut out the Alma and started sewing the darts/stay stitching.  This morning I popped into my sewing room to get something and noticed one point from the V cut in (I'm doing View A) was curling a little and I started ironing and adding a little strip of interfacing to the seam allowance.  I never sew in the morning.  Never.

I take this as a very good sign.


  1. Great recap of our wonderful day! So true with the "cookies" comment! lol.
    But I also found the same. The greatest thing I've gotten from this weekend, beyond the fitting tips from Lorraine Henry even, was to have my sewjo back. I've been pretty much sewing non stop since Saturday.

    1. I don't think you can put a price on sewjo, it's a wonderful thing to feel.

  2. Look, I'm in Ancaster. I want to come next time, let me know (nothy lane 100 at g mail dot com) ....and I love the review - honest and thorough.

    1. Next time I'll be more organized and mention it here first. I'm really enjoying the opportunities to extend online friendships.
      Thanks for the feedback!


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