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  • The Adventure Continues

    My Creative Adventure Continues. Next stop: Quilting Part 1

    I joined the Meissner Sewing & Vacuum Centers team in August, and after spending some time with a group of incredibly talented quilters, embroiderers, sewists and crafters, I was inspired.

    As a result, I decided to renew my creativity, beginning by establishing a strong foundation of sewing basics. I started in January with Dara Dubois’ Sew Fun and Easy! class at Meissner Sewing in Sacramento.

    Click here to read more about my experience in Dara’s class!

    It’s now mid-February, and I can safely say that I haven’t taken my foot off the pedal since then.

    I have consistently practiced the sewing techniques I learned in the class, stitching up several more tote bags, all in different sizes and shapes.

    But my creative adventure continues.

    Now, I am enrolled in Jeanne Powell’s Basic Quilting for Beginners at Meissner’s Sacramento.

    It seemed as though I was taking a huge leap, jumping from beginning sewing all the way to a quilt class, so I was a bit nervous.

    To ease my own anxieties and to increase the potential for success, I made sure to download the supply list from the class registration page and gathered all the tools I would need.

    I faced my first challenge, however, when I was tasked with selecting my fabrics. As an indecisive person, I struggled to choose just eight complementary fabrics from the several beautiful patterns and prints available in the Sacramento store.

    In order to find eight fabrics that I would enjoy working with for six weeks, I sought guidance from Jeanne, and together we laid out several different combinations of prints and solids until I landed on a collection that I knew I couldn’t live without. My finished quilt will have a mixture colors, including various shades of blues, reds and oranges, as well as a blend of solid and printed (with birds and flowers) fabric.

    With that fabric challenge behind me, my excitement for class grew. I felt as if I was in the third grade again, eager to begin school so I could put my new supplies to use.

    Bubbling over with both excitement and nerves, I walked into the classroom at Meissner’s Sacramento on Valentine’s Day.

    Jeanne checked in with each student who entered the room, confirming that everyone was equipped with the required supplies and providing the opportunity for all of us to get settled at our stations.

    She began class by introducing herself, explaining her background as a teacher and a quilter—both positive qualities that were apparent throughout the class as she was detailed in her explanations, incredibly knowledgeable in each topic, and patient with complete quilting beginners like me.

    I was seated in front of the (adorable) Janome Anna Maria Horner M100 Sewing & Quilting Machine, and after her Jeanne’s introduction, we quickly got stitching.

    We began by creating a sample 4-patch quilt block, a process which would serve as the foundation for the next three blocks we would complete in the first day.

    As the class went on, I became progressively more confident using a rotary cutter. I also became comfortable stitching with the AMH100, a machine equipped with all the features I needed and more. I even started picking up on some quilting lingo.

    Four hours later, I had three finished quilt blocks, including a rail fence block and two blocks made from half-square triangles, in hand.

    It was a good idea to begin my creative adventure by establishing my basic sewing skills first because the techniques I had been practicing in the weeks leading up to this quilting class were certainly put to use in Jeanne’s class.

    I look forward to watching my quilt come together in the next five class sessions as we go through the steps to construct six more blocks, baste the quilt top and apply the backing, stitch in the ditch, and then finish the quilt edges.

    Stay tuned for updates from the classroom as I continue on with this exciting creative journey!

    Note: This post is part of an ongoing series. Click here to read the first post in the series, and keep following along with the Diary of a Beginning Sewist! 

  • Calling All Quilters

    In 2017, it is estimated that there will be 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer among women in the United States, according to the Susan G. Komen organization. There will also be an estimated 40,610 breast cancer deaths among U.S women in 2017.

    These statistics show only a slice of just how many people in the United States are affected by breast cancer, alone. We all know someone or are someone who has been touched by this disease.

    Meissner Sewing & Vacuum Centers is calling all quilters to take action, inviting you to share your passion, talent and generosity in support of breast cancer treatment.

    Throughout 2017, Meissner Sewing will serve as a drop-off location for quilts submitted into this year's Sutter Breast Cancer Quilt Auction.

    According to the auction website, “The Sutter Breast Cancer Quilt Auction is a community service event to raise funds for Sutter Cancer Center’s breast cancer programs, services and equipment.”

    Jeanne Powell, Meissner Instructor, is a two-time breast cancer survivor and the Auction Committee Chair. Powell began her involvement with the auction as a volunteer and took on the role as chair, where she coordinates the event, three years ago, she said.

    In order to contribute to the Sutter Breast Cancer Quilt Auction, quilters can submit newly-made quilts in good condition of any size, shape or design at a drop-off location. Quilts must be submitted before September 1, 2017. All donations must include a hanging sleeve.

    The Auction will take place on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at the Buhler Specialty Pavilion, located at 2800 L Street in Sacramento. A Silent Auction will also run from Oct. 2 through Nov. 4, 2017.

    The quilts, spread among floors 2-7 of the Pavilion, will be hung for viewing on Oct. 1, 2017, Powell said, and they will remain on display and open to bids until the Live Auction in November.

    A minimum bid, which is determined by quilt size, will be set for each submission, Powell said.

    In total, there are 19 drop-off locations, including the entire Meissner Sewing community in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville and Santa Rosa.

    “To me, quilts and quilting is community and involving the community in the project,” Powell said. “Quilters are very generous people.”

    The Sutter Breast Cancer Quilt Auction is held every three years and has raised more than $650,000 in support of the Sutter Medical Foundation’s breast cancer treatment programs, including breast cancer navigator, patient and caregiver support, pre-treatment conferences, counseling services and various therapy programs, according to the Quilt Auction.

    In 2014, 475 quilts were donated to the Auction, Powell said.

    “It’s not only what it does for the patients,” Powell said. “But…when they see those quilts go up, what it does for the nurses and the doctors (too). It just brightens up the whole place.”

    The Susan G. Komen organization reports that all women are at risk for breast cancer.

    And all people, whether or not they are quilters and sewists, can show support for the treatment of this disease.

     

    To make a donation, please click here to download a donation form.

    Click here for Quilt Sleeve Instructions.


     

  • Celebrate National Embroidery Month

    February is National Embroidery Month. Meissner Sewing & Vacuum Centers invites you to celebrate with us all month long. Throughout February (and beyond) you can visit your favorite Meissner location for sales events, classes and hands-on workshops!

    Here is a quick look at just a few of the ways you can celebrate National Embroidery Month:

    Meissner Embroidery Expert Angel Chesney will guide program participants through the steps of creating a quilt with a center medallion similar to the one she began constructing.

    HoopSisters EmbroidaBlock of the Month 2017:

    The HoopSisters EmbroidaBlock of the Month program provides a creative environment where you will learn new techniques while constructing a charming quilt one block at a time.

    Meissner Embroidery Expert Angel Chesney will guide you through the steps, one week per month and one block at a time, of creating your own “Charming Adventure” quilt. The program, which will take place in both the Sacramento and Folsom stores, officially begins in March and will run through December.

    If you are looking for more information on the program, and you would like to begin planning your quilt, then you are invited to attend a free planning meeting. The meeting will take place in the Folsom store on February 14th from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. and in the Sacramento store on February 18th from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

    Also, make sure you plan to visit the Sacramento location between February 11th and February 20th to see the HoopSisters Trunk show on display!

    Click Here to Register for HoopSisters!

    Embroidery Garden Workshops with Dara Dubois:

    Are you inspired by Reen Wilcoxson’s Embroidery Garden designs? Do you love in-the-hoop embroidery? Do you want to explore more embroidery techniques and create your own unique variations of these designs?

    Then consider joining Meissner instructor Dara Dubois for the Embroidery Garden Workshops, beginning in February. For National Embroidery Month, you will make a license plate wristlet, and there are two opportunities to explore the design this month in the Sacramento store. (February 15th or February 21st).

    In the following months, you will explore additional designs.

    Don't forget to download the supply list for this workshop upon registration.

    Click Here to Register for Embroidery Garden Workshops with Dara!

    Hope Yoder Cutting Edge Retreat:

    You can round out your National Embroidery Month celebration toward the end of February with Hope Yoder’s Cutting Edge Retreat. At this hands-on crafting retreat, you will explore a variety of techniques in order to complete finished projects to take home. You will follow step-by-step instruction for projects including digital cutting, crafting and machine embroidery. You will also learn how to use your Brother ScanNCut machine in conjunction with your embroidery machine.

    The Santa Rosa workshop is sold out, but you can still register to attend the Sacramento event, which will take place February 24th and 25th.

    Click Here to Register for Hope Yoder!

    In addition to these classes and workshops there are several opportunities to join Meissner Sewing in celebrating National Embroidery Month, so check our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information. See you in February!


     

  • Meissner Sewing Offers RARE Opportunity

    This Spring, Meissner Sewing in Santa Rosa is offering a RARE opportunity.

    In partnership with RARE Science, Inc., Meissner’s Santa Rosa will be sponsoring a number of workshops where you can use your sewing skills and come together with other creative individuals for a great cause.

    According to the organization’s website, RARE Science. Inc. “is a non- profit research organization that focuses on accelerating identification of more immediate therapeutic solutions for kids with rare disease potentially through repurposing currently approved drugs and other therapeutic approaches.”

    As part of this mission, the organization offers its RARE Bear program, where individuals can join forces to create unique Teddy Bears, which are presented to one-of-a-kind children with one-of-a-kind diseases.

    Alys Hay, Meissner Instructor, extended this opportunity to the Meissner community after hearing about the program through a blog belonging to well-known quilters Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, Hay said.

    “I knew immediately that this was a cause that I wanted to support and signed up to make a bear,” Hay wrote in an email. “While I was making it, I realized that I wanted to share this opportunity with others.”

    So Hay presents an opportunity to join the program to the Meissner community.

    “The RARE Bears bring such joy to the children that I knew that the Meissner community would want to be part of helping with that cause,” Hay wrote.

    In preparation for the workshop, students should check the Meissner Sewing website to download the supply list. Meissner Sewing will provide RARE Science logo fabric, RARE Bear labels and the project pattern, but Hay asks that students bring other various sewing supplies. The full list can be found with the class listing on the Meissner website.

    According to Hay, this workshop will take students through the process of creating the RARE Bear “skins.” The organization has enlisted a team of volunteers to embroider the bear faces and Girls Scout troops to stuff them. During the workshop, each group will choose to make the bears individually or to work collectively in an assembly-line style, and the goal of each workshop is to complete the bear skins, Hay wrote.

    Each bear will have a serial number sewn into it, and when it is presented to a child, the bear’s creator will receive a photo of the child with his or her bear, Hay wrote.

    The full workshop description and registration can be found at www.MeissnerSewing.com, and the next opportunities to attend a free RARE Bear workshop are the following dates and times:

    ·         February 11, 2017; 10:30am-1:30pm

    ·         March 25, 2017; 2:30pm-5:30pm

    ·         April 11, 2017; 10:30am-1:30pm

    Register at: http://www.meissnersewing.com/household/rare-bears-workshops-santa-rosa

    “Almost all of us have a family member or friend that has been affected by a ‘rare’ disease,” Hay wrote. “This is a very effective way to show those children and those families that they are loved and not forgotten.”


     

  • My Creative Adventure Begins

    Diary of a Beginning Sewer: The Adventure Begins

    I’m embarking on an adventure. A creative adventure.

    Growing up, I was never a sewer. My mom and aunt sewed, and I always had them to thank for a closet full of beautifully constructed costumes and clothes.

    But despite the fact that I was a crafty kid, I could never get the hang of sewing.

    My mom made several attempts at teaching me how to stitch up my own projects, beginning with small, simple patterns. I always wanted to learn but never actually saw a project to the end.

    I have started but never finished several sewing projects. Until now.

    In August I joined the Meissner Sewing & Vacuum Centers team, and since then, I have seen what amazing things modern sewing machines can create. I have witnessed the even more amazing abilities of the quilters, sewists and crafters who put them to use. I have also been lucky enough to hear the stories behind the projects and the people.

    Simply put, I have been inspired.

    For this reason, I have a renewed desire to sew, and I want to do it right. So I embark on this creative journey, beginning with the basics and expanding my skills to reach my ultimate goal of constructing a quilt.

    After some thought and plenty of time spent looking at the Meissner class calendar, I finally decided that the perfect place to start would be with the Sew Fun and Easy! class, which is taught by Meissner instructor Dara Dubois.

    So, I signed up, took the class, and finally completed my very first sewing project.

    Thanks to Dara, this class really was “sew fun and easy.”

    At the beginning of class she laid out the plan for the next three hours: We would make a tote bag adorned with two straps and a pocket. The pocket would be embellished with an embroidered monogram.

    And then we got to work.

    For this class, we were provided with the Brother 990D sewing and embroidery machine. The machine itself was easy to use, and I quickly became comfortable operating it.

    As we progressed through the steps of the project, I stumbled in a few places. I mismatched my fabrics. I poked myself with my pins. I struggled with the straps. And I got the full beginning sewer experience when I made good use of a seam ripper.

    But I'm a girl on a mission, and I didn’t let myself get discouraged. Plus, Dara handled both my own mistakes and my fellow beginner classmates’ errors with ease.

    The three hours felt more like 30 minutes, and before I knew it, class had come to an end. We had already created and monogrammed the pocket, formed the reversible bag with boxed corners, sewed the straps and then attached all the pieces together.

    Walking out of the classroom, I felt proud and accomplished as I tossed a completed tote bag over my shoulder.

    After taking this class, I fully intend on completing many more sewing projects, including more practice with this particular bag pattern. I now have the skills to confidently tackle more projects and classes. I'm officially on my way to ultimately learning quilt construction.

    I’ve truly begun my creative adventure, and I have the finished project to prove it.

     

    Follow along with my creative journey here, on the Meissner Sewing blog and on our Facebook page! 


     

  • Meissner Sewing Receives Small Business Excellence Award

    Meissner Sewing is honored to have received the 2016 Sacramento Small Business Excellence Award in the Fabric Stores category by the Sacramento Small Business Excellence Award Program.

    According to the press release, "The Small Business Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding small businesses that serve the Sacramento area."

    Read More: Small Business Award 2016 Press Release


     

  • Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge

    In the new year, Baby Lock is sharing the creative journeys of 12 "Sewlebrities," including TV personality Nancy Zieman, blogger Heather Valentine and author Pam Damour.

    In the "Love of Sewing Challenge," you will follow these "Sewlebritities" as they embark on anew creative process, sharing their projects and techniques for using the Destiny II sewing, quilting and embroidery machine.

    Each week Baby Lock will update you with a new project or video, featuring one of these 12 individuals. Follow the journey here, on our Facebook page and with Baby Lock.

    Sewlebrity 1: Nancy Zieman

    Nancy Zieman is the host of PBS television show Sewing with Nancy. She is also an author and is currently a spokesperson for Baby Lock sewing machines.

    Project: Embroidered Hobo Tote

    Sewlebrity 2: Pam Damour

    Pam Damour, also known as The Decorating Diva, is a blogger and home décor expert.

    Project: Buttonhole Pillows

    Sewlebrity 3: Pat Sloan

    Pat Sloan is commonly referred to as "The Voice of Quilting." She is a quilt and fabric designer, an author and the host of a weekly "All Quilting" Internet radio show.

    Project: Golden Coins Quilt

    Sewlebrity 4: Lindsay Wilkes

    Lindsay Wilkes is an business owner, author, blogger and pattern designer. She is the designer behind the clothing and patterns featured in her boutique, The Cottage Mama. She also shares  her "love for sewing, cooking and crafting and all things domestic" on The Cottage Mama blog.

    Project: Love You to the Moon and Back Embroidered Pillow

    Sewlebrity 5: Joi Mahon

    Joi Mahon is an award-winning fashion designer, author and educator.

    Project: Destiny Dress

    Sewlebrity 6: Amy Smart

    Amy Smart is a blogger, quilter and pattern designer. Her website, Diary of a Quilter, features her patterns, quilts, tutorials and more.

    Project: Mini Patchwork Quilt with Embroidery

    Sewlebrity 7: Heather Valentine

    Heather Valentine is the owner and designer behind The Sewing Loft, a source for sewing inspiration and growing creativity.

    Project: Subway Embroidery Art

    Sewlebrity 8:  Simple Simon & Co.

    Simple Simon & Co. is a blog run by two women named Elizabeth. The blog features inspiration for sewing, quilting and homemaking.

    Project: Adding Decorative Stitches 

    Click here to visit the Baby Lock Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge website.


     

  • Get Started on the Right Foot: The Ruffler Foot

    One of the most intriguing presser feet you will find on the Meissner Sewing and Vacuum Center’s wall of feet is the Ruffler Foot. Unusual in appearance, this foot easily manages many different types of fabrics to create ruffles.

    Simply put, the Ruffler Foot is a tool for creating evenly spaced pleats in fabric.

    “The function of the ruffler foot is to make tucks that are nice and even where you want consistent ruffles,” Angel Chesney, Meissner instructor, said.

    One project where the Ruffler Foot can be put to good use is on a hand-made minky quilt. 

    While it is possible to create a ruffle by hand, the foot simplifies the process and brings consistency to the results.

    “The biggest advantage of the foot is a really even ruffle,” Chesney said. “Everything else is technically gathering."

    With a Ruffler Foot, the user has control over the number of stitches that occur per inch of fabric, and having this control is another advantage of the Ruffler Foot because it produces the consistency important for projects such as window drapes.

    The anatomy of the foot allows for the creation of small tucks as the fabric feeds through the foot.

    With the up and down movement of the needle, the fabric is pulled into the foot to create an even tuck, according to Jennifer Campbell, sales associate in Sacramento.

    Adding this accessory to your creative toolbox simplifies the Ruffling the process, eliminating the need for hand basting, and improving the overall appearance of the finished product.

    This post is part of the "Get Started on the Right Foot" series. As part of this series we will be diving into the topic of presser feet, as well as specific feet available, here on our blog, on our Facebook page and on our Instagram. Stay tuned!

  • Creative Inspiration for the New Year

    Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017.

    This is the year for renewed excitement and refreshed creativity.

    We are bringing the inspiration right to you. Here are a few video tutorials (some of our own, too!) we’d like to share to get you started on the way to your most creative year yet!

    Expand your skills by creating a Minky Quilt of your own:

    Start simple with a DIY Tissue Holder from Baby Lock:

    Try out this Right Turn Bag from Anna Maria Horner and Janome:

    We invite you to share your creative process with us throughout the year. Come show us your projects, post images to our Facebook page and get creative!

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