September – National Sewing Month

If you have been into a store that sells fabric in the last few days, then I’m sure you already know that September is National Sewing Month. National Sewing Month

What does National Sewing Month mean?  Well, the official site will tell you that it’s “a great time to indulge your passion for sewing and a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the craft if you’ve never tried it before.”  That’s not a bad message at all, but I think there’s something more to it.  National Sewing Month should be a time to celebrate that you are a sewer!  Indulge yourself by getting a new fabric you’ve been wanting, but just couldn’t quite justify.  Or try a new technique or pattern that you’ve been worried about getting started on.

Celebrate that you are a sewer – you can take two pieces of fabric, cut them up in various unusual shapes and sew them back together in a fashion that is not only coherent, but is pleasing to the eye!

Okay, now that the pep talk is out of the way, more about the holiday.  It’s nice to know where events like this come from, so I decided to look into the history of the event.  I was pleased to find that National Sewing Month actually has it’s own website, so the information below is primarily from that site.

Many people believe that National Sewing Month is only a few years old because of the intense marketing campaigns in the last few years. But it actually was declared by President Ronald Reagan on September 21st, 1982 that September would be recognized as National Sewing Month. This was done at the request of the American Home Sewing & Craft Association.

The American Home Sewing & Craft Association later became the Home Sewing Association (HSA) and in 2004 they renewed their dedication to National Sewing Month. In 2005, a full advertising campaign was launched to make the public more aware of this holiday, and for the first time a theme was associated with the holiday for the year: “Sewing… the alternative yoga.”  From that point, themes have been continued for the holiday each year:

    2005Sewing… the Alternative Yoga
    2006Sewing… Express Your Creative Spirit
    2007Sewing… it’s What You Make of It
    2008Go Green! Sew Green!
    2009Reuse, Remake, Restyle

In 2008 the American Sewing Guild (ASG) took over the promotion of National Sewing Month along with the Sewing & Craft Alliance. You can find out more about this history, and links to this year’s contest at the official website.

2009 NSM Logo

Yes, you read that correctly – there is a contest associated with National Sewing Month, and I encourage everyone who can to join in.  Even if you don’t feel that you can submit your final project for entry, I’d like to hear from those of you that do try to make something in the spirit of the month.   Details on the official rules can be found here: 2009 contest rules, but here is the challenge:

Reuse, Remake, Restyle Challenge
We want to see your most creative ideas for how you implement environmentally-sound sewing into your life.

Have you designed a clever method to reuse a garment that you made and no longer wear? Do you shop thrift stores and garage sales for designer garments that you restyle into bags, totes or ‘vintage’ style garments for yourself? Have you found a way to remake an everyday product into something unique and eco-thrifty? Sew up your best ideas for National Sewing Month and you could be a lucky winner!

My challenge to you – get out there and sew! Sew whatever you like, even if it doesn’t meet the qualifications for the official contest, you will have celebrated that you are a sewer! And I’ll be happy to post pictures of projects that are made this month – just email them to sewingheart @ (sorry, but to prevent a bunch of spam, I can’t give you a link to the email, just take out the spaces around the @ sign and use that as the email address).  By the end of the month, I hope to have so many pictures from you that we’ll have to make a series of posts about them!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Iowa State Fair: Quilt Sew-In

Hello everyone, this is Heather speaking…

It’s July, and in Iowa – particularly if you are anywhere near Des Moines – that means it’s time to start gearing up for the annual Iowa State Fair.  According to the countdown clock on their website, we have a little over a month until the fair kicks off.  So it was no surprise to me to find a preview ad about the fair in the Sunday paper this past weekend.

There are several new attractions, including a contest for sculpting butter (you have to have seen the famous butter cow sculptures to understand the appeal of this event) and the chance to learn about wine making.

But, there is a new event that really caught my attention – a quilt sew-in.  The Iowa State Fair has a long tradition of contests in the “Fabric and Threads” category, but this is different, not a contest at all.

Quilt Sew-In

According to the information posted on the Fair’s website:

Stop by the first-ever State Fair Sew-In to try your hand at simple quilting. Volunteers will be on hand to teach quilting basics. Each participant will receive a commemorative pin, and completed quilts will be donated to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and Iowa Angel Tree Camps.

Naturally, this prompted some questions from Yours Truly, so I sent an email and got a bit more information from State Fair officials.

This event will be free and open-ended, during the entire run of the fair (August 13 – 23, 2009), from Noon until 5pm, people will be welcome to stop into the Varied Industries Building and participate.  There is no registration, and no requirement to bring fabric or any other supplies (although donations are being accepted in advance of the fair) for this event.  You do not have to pay to participate, and you are welcome to be involved for as long or as short a time as you like (a great way to get into an air conditioned building and out of the summer heat for a while).

I also asked about patterns for the quilts and was told that these would be choosen in advance by officials, but that there would likely be several patterns being used at any one time during the Sew-In.

I think this is very exciting news, and if I get to the Iowa State Fair this year, I intend to participate (yes, me, the non-quilter) at least for a little while.  And, while I’m there I’ll get to stop into see the quilts that have been submitted for judging – always a treat!   If I go (subject to weather and scheduling), I’ll be sure to report back with some pictures.  Hope that I see a few of you there as well!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

PS – for more information on the Iowa State Fair, you may want to follow them on Blog Spot, Twitter, My Space or Facebook.

More from the Retreats

Sheila tells me that she had a great time at the recent Indianola retreat, and that finishes up the Spring Quilt Retreats for this year.  Of course, as mentioned in earlier posts, you will continue to see some great pictures – as the retreat participants send in photos of their work.

I have another group for you today – and they are beauties.  Some are finished, and some are in the finishing stagest (pinned or pieced together and waiting for their turn at the sewing machine).

Keep in mind, as different as they look, all of the quilts you are seeing were made using the “Scraps for You” pattern by Debbie Caffrey.  This will not be the quilt used in the fall retreats – and no, Sheila hasn’t told me yet what she has planned for fall.

Now, here are the latest batch of quilts from the retreats – and I can’t wait to see some more of these pictures – so keep them coming in!

Judys Quilt

Judy’s Quilt

Lisas Quilt

Lisa’s Quilt

Pams Quilt

Pam’s Quilt

Sues Quilt

Sue’s Quilt

Teresas Quilt

Teresa’s Quilt

Same pattern used to make these quilts – just a different layout of the squares… and some opted not to use all of the fabrics chosen by Sheila, as you can see in Sue’s quilt above.  But such differences!  Isn’t it great the way that quilting allows for individual expression?  I can’t wait to see what comes in next!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing