Monday, July 10, 2017

These are My People: Baby Lock Common Threads

 Baby Lock Common Threads 2017

This is my team.

I've never played team sports. It's probably why I got into crafting in the first place! But after 3 days at Baby Lock's headquarters for Common Threads, I'm happy and humbled and proud to say that these are my people. 

I love this group of brave, collaborative, creative individuals. From the staff at Tacony (Baby Lock's parent company) who put on this event each year to the attendees who share their stories and their time and talents to help others in need, I'm so thankful to count these guys as my friends and colleagues, each making a difference in the industry that we all love.

Day One


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We arrived Wednesday afternoon in our cocktail attire (a simple black dress for me, and I brought flip-flops as backup shoes) for a meet-and-greet with the other attendees. It was the annual tradition of "speed dating" with other sewists as a way to network and ask questions with industry pros, like magazine editors, pattern designers and seasoned teachers. I just wish there had been more time to talk to everyone on both sides of the table!

Night One: The St. Louis Fashion Fund


 
We hopped on a bus and departed as a group for Saint Louis Fashion Fund, an incubator for fashion designers. We had dinner and got to tour the modern facility, with workrooms, gallery space and inspiration everywhere. It was so cool to see and touch the garments, and talk with the designers. 

St. Louis Fashion Fund

Here's an overhead view of the party from the balcony. Like, really, how did I end up at this swanky spot on a Wednesday night? I promise, I'm not that cool.

St. Louis Fashion Fund

Here's the workroom, a very open, inviting, collaborative space. Baby Lock machines were everywhere, of course.

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Outside was a fashion truck. Like a food truck, without the food!
 
 Fashion Truck!

Inside the truck.... sewing swag. No one left empty handed!

Day Two: Sewing + Inspiration 


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We started the day with a serger sewing class. Each person made a camisole to be donated to a breast cancer patient. Melissa taught the class, and I learned a lot about her personal connection to the charity.

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Around lunchtime, we got to hear from a panel including Nancy Zieman, Mimi G Style, and Isabel Pastrana from Baby Lock. So many highlights.
  • I teared up during Nancy's story of her life and breaking into the industry against all odds (women didn't own their own businesses back then... look how far we've come)! 
  • Mimi G is a social media inspiration, and she highlighted the importance of being your true self, and also finding your unique niche. Don't just do what everyone else is doing.
  • Isabel spoke about diversity in the sewing industry, specifically in regards to Baby Lock's campaigns and how they are committed to making sure that everyone feels they have a place at the (sewing) table.
Everyone here was so generous in sharing their talents and insights. I left feeling inspired... but there was still more sewing to do!


We had a half-square triangles workshop with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. Takeaway? You can make thousands of quilts with just pre-cuts and simple blocks, just switched up a little bit.

Dinner and open sew was that night, and I was able to use a multi-thread embroidery machine for the first time to personalize this teddy bear for my boy.

SAM_1389 Last Day!


The next morning, we had our last class, a pineapple applique tea towel, and wrapped up with "What We Learned" in a round-table session. Everyone shared, and it's a great way to tie a bow on what I'd say is the highlight of my year in sewing.

I left with so many ideas for not only things that I want to sew, but stories that I feel need to be told. Business ideas I want to implement. New projects to plan ahead for.

And there's never enough time. But someday, there will be time. And for the gift of time, to be able to ruminate on creative things with creative people for a few days, I am extremely thankful.





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