I debated back and forth with myself about writing this post because although I had a great time with my mom at this seminar, my little point-and-shoot camera was new to me and I wasn’t in the habit of taking commemorative photos of the event. I hope the photos are enough to give you an overview. We attending about three years ago, but the seminars are still taking place and I (we) would recommend checking this out for yourself.
My mom and I had been contemplating which sewing seminar we wanted to attend together and this one came out on top as a way to spend time together sharing our sewing, lunching, shopping. The format of the seminar appealed to us. Five days of open sewing with Loes’ (pronounced ‘Loose’) supervision and instruction in Carmel, California, and Sharon providing fabrics for purchase from Casual Elegance Fabrics. Their partnership also was intriguing…how does that work? Loes in Carmel, Sharon in Chico, CA?
I had been introduced to Loes Hinse (pronounced ‘Hin-sah’) years before when she came to Tucson to do a trunk show at a little fabric store called Buttons & Bolts (great name) now-defunct-fabric store. I started with a few of her patterns and got hooked. I wanted to learn more from her. Mom was game. The seminar lodging was within walking distance to shopping, dining, and the beach. Beautiful surrounding area accompanied by gathering with ladies who sew..what could be better? To top it off, it was more affordable than other seminars….let’s try it.
Since the time we attended, both websites have undergone big changes and Loes’ prior website had a little more information on it about the lodging and seminar details. Now, the information is on the new Casual Elegance Fabrics website directing you to call either Loes or Sharon for most details.
Anyway, all questions were answered by Sharon, who was warm and friendly. The recommended lodging was a local and quaint Dutch-inspired motel, where the seminar would be held. We packed our sewing machines up and shipped them to the hotel, where the staff were more than happy to store them until our arrival.
We landed in a small airport in Carmel and took a taxi to the motel. We arrived a day before in order to get checked in and walk around a little. After settling into our rooms, we ventured by foot to the local deli for snack foods for our room and then lunch.
The seminar room was a conference room overlooking the pool with large tables set up for machines and all the accompanying sewing paraphernalia. I think there were 8 women total? Not sure, but we all squeezed in with enough room for Loes to do demos and for Sharon to set up her portable fabric store.
Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. I hope you get the idea anyway. This is the conference room with a professional iron, cutting tables, and a few of us getting set up. It was quite messy by the last day after we had been working feverishly on our projects.
Talk about time flying! The objective for everyone was different. For a few ladies, completing as many garments as possible was the goal, some wanted to have one-on-one fitting assistance, some wanted to be in the company of other sewers and so a little sewing, and others wanted to be there to get as much out of the whole experience as possible. There were a few women who were ‘returners’–this was their third or fourth trip back for more.
One of the many exclusive benefits for attending the seminar is the access to Loes’ newest pattern(s) recently drafted. These may be designs that may or may not ever make it to press, but we could get to trace it anyway (for free). She had the pattern pieces prepared out of the manila pattern paper there to trace onto whatever paper you brought with you and then sew it up right there with her verbal instructions. The collection of all patterns were there for sale and she offered ‘tweaks’ to change up some of the design details to some of the patterns. Because Loes’ training is in European pattern design, fitting and construction, you can help but be inspired by her quick approach to building a timeless, classic wardrobe in limited time. She also shares so many tips on how to care for the fabrics, the reasons for not using interfacings, wardrobe planning concepts with her patterns, and new ways to approach sewing in general.
I learned of a simple pattern weight idea using huge washers. When I arrived home, I showed my husband these and we purchased some from an industrial supply store to pick a few up. When not in use, they hang on a peg hook in my sewing room.
There were so many tips and product ideas to take away from the experience. We found the environment cozy and intimate with enough time for everyone to get a little of Loes’ personal advice, coaching and humor. The interplay between Sharon and Loes was great-an example of opposites attracting and complimenting one another.
On our off time, we walked down to Loes’ store front shop where she sells the garments for retail. Most, if not all, of the garments she sells come from her patterns. She also sells coordinating jewelry. We had to take a peak.
My suggestion would be to try a Loes pattern out and get a sense of how her drafting, fit and instructions work. Although I have almost all of her patterns, my favorites are The Gore Skirt Group, The Tango Skirt, The Tank Dress Group (which includes tank tops), The Sweater Set, The Oxford Pant, The Perfect Tee, and The Kimono Jacket. Many of these styles are in my wardrobe. Whenever I want to whip something up quickly to get that immediate satisfaction, I sew up one of these favorites.
I really enjoyed going with my mom and having someone with whom to pal around, although it isn’t necessary to go with a companion. Going alone suited many of the ladies because it was a creative get-away. If you are interested, check out the sites and learn more about Loes Hinse and Sharon at Casual Elegance and also by signing up for the newsletter, “The Look”.