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2018 Fall Classes & Instructors

2018 will be our 35th year of unique, small and personalized, hands-on classes. Our experienced teachers are both locally and national known sewing experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and love of sewing.
Special note: NONE of this year's Stitching Girls Society   sponsored Sewing Retreats will be on Vashon Island, for the first time ever!

Click on each of our 2018 offerings to learn more about each class and its instructor
then sign up on the Registration Page.

See Also About - Our Founder, Lorraine Kimmel
and her daughter, our Executive Director, Penny Kimmel

Machine Quilting



Machine Quilting

20 Students

Learn techniques to turn your pieced tops into quilted projects on your own home sewing machine. Class covers a variety of stitches and combinations to add a level of beauty to your work. Most of all, learn techniques that make the process easy and enjoyable -- this can be fun when you let it flow!

Colleen Blackwood

by Colleen Blackwood

Colleen Blackwood has taught quilt classes for a number of years and has been teaching machine quilting for a dozen years or more, using her home machine. The 2018 Sisters Oregon Quilt Show named Colleen their most Inspirational Instructor. (See more ...)

Colleen's patterns can be found at Laughing Lizzie's Patterns because laughter is part of the day.www.LaughingLizzies.com.

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Sassy Witch Doll


Return of the Dragon
Sassy Witch Doll

10 Students

"Hazel Quackenbush" is a young modern witch who loves a good party. Always bright and bold and ready to fly high. Pattern by elinor peace bailey, a little sculpting & face padding. Bright colors for her body and clothing and don't forget the frogs on her shoes, hat and her cat.

Janice Gow

by Janice Gow

Janice’s imagination and quirky sense of humor provides her with a world of bags, dolls, animals, quilts, and unique sewing projects. Working at Pacific Fabrics for the last 10 years, where she is now Assistant Manager, has only added to her knowledge, sense of individuality and her fabric resource stash. You will feel inspired upon entering her magical realm.

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Fit for Pants


Basic Pants Sloper Pattern

10-12 Students

Have you always wanted that perfectly fitting pants pattern? We'll start with measurements, fit the pattern, then cut & sew your pants with tried and true sewing techniques plus extra tips & tricks. We'll also talk about the differences between stretch and woven fabrics and pant styles from leggings to jeans to slacks. Take away a dependable pants pattern, ready to re-use over and over with many design possibilities to enhance and extend your whole wardrobe. There will be a kit fee of approximately $20 for pattern, book "Fashion Your Own Pants the Simple Way" and drafting paper.

Connie Crawford

by Connie Crawford

Connie will be teaching for the first time at our Retreats. You may know Connie from her patterns featured in Butterick. She is a nationally and internationally recognized lecturer, fashion specialist, educator and author of sewing DVD's, sewing and pattern textbooks. Winner of the 2016 Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award and member of the American Sewing Guild Sewing hall of Fame, her degree in Fashion Design came from Los Angeles Trade Tech, with teaching credentials from the University of California, Los Angeles. We are privileged she could step into Peggy's class. You can find her patterns at www.fashionpatterns.com.

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Up-Cycling Workshop

Up-Cycling Workshop

10 Students

Bring your imagination and treasured fabrics, trims, accessories, clothes, etc. to up-cycle for yourself or a loved one. Come with plans or look through books and magazines for ideas. Lots of different materials will be provided to help you achieve your creative vision. We will brainstorm together and create up-cycled projects.

Vanessa Barwick

by Vanessa Barwick

Vanessa Barwick comes from a family of quilters, sewers, and other fiber crafters from New England and Great Britain. She has an MA from NYU in Folk Art Studies. Vanessa's main interests lies in up-cycling, creative mending, and repurposing garments and textiles into clothes and quilts. She lives on Vashon Island with her two young daughters and stone mason husband.

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Do Your Own Thing

Do Your Own Thing

We provide the sewing space, the power and a chair. You bring your sewing machine, your projects, your knitting, your supplies and\or whatever and join in on all the fun, good food, and camaraderie at your own pace.

A real stress free vacation.

with No Instructor
& No Class Fee!

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Founder, Lorraine Kimmel

Lorraine Kimmel
(1920 to 2008)

Lorraine started the Vashon Island Sewing Retreat. Having a passion for sewing all her life and having owned the Plaza Fabrics store on Vashon Island, she became a founding board member of the Seattle Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. She talked the Sewing Guild into sponsoring a sewing retreat on Vashon Island, but before the first retreat in 1985, a change in the Guild's national policy caused the Seattle Chapter to disband. Lorraine kept the retreat alive by personally taking over the Retreat project. Shortly there after, Lorraine brought Camp Burton in as a co-sponsor. Over the years since then, many retreat instructors and attendees have pitched in to make the retreat the cooperative effort it is today.

Lorraine had a loving and friendly but firm way of managing this group of creative and independant individuals, so we soon came to affectionaly call her "Mother Superior." Gradually Lorraine handed the directorship duties over to her daughter Penny. Lorraine will be greatly missed, but never forgotten!

Lorraine had a flare for colors and styles, sewing her own clothes from an early age. Later, she concentrated on crafts, dolls and quilt projects, combining flashy new fabrics with the colorful stash left over from the closing of her fabric store, which she owned with her sister-in-law Sally. She was an active member of both the doll and quilting clubs on Vashon, plus part of a small group of island sewers who make hundreds of lap quilts for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center patients. Her later years were filled with quilting projects for American Hero Quilts. She will always be known for her unusual soft sculptures which she sold on consignment and her colorful, indivudual sweatshirt jackets, that she wore everywhere.

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Executive Director, Penny Kimmel

Penny Kimmel

Penny Kimmel is the Director of the Vashon Island Sewing Retreat, taking over from its founder, Lorraine Kimmel, her mother. She is also the first ever President and Executive Director of our sponsoring non-profit Stitching Girls Society.

Penny has been attending the retreat since 1988. With her Apparel Design Program training from Seattle Central Community College, she is also a well qualified instructor when needed. She has taught sweatshirt appliqué, purses and bags, adaptable aprons, and then for several years she became the Retreat's polar fleece guru, known for the mounds of Polar Fleece scraps she always brought to classes.

Before attending the Apparel Design Program, Penny was working full time in television production. She has combined her 2 loves on a number of sewing videos for Jinni's Personal Patterns, Kathy Ruddy Live Guide Series, Unique Measuring video, Clotilde, and Creative Feet. Her professional video abilities also make her the important Pen_y part of Pengy Productions, who has created this web site as well as the 20 year Retreat History DVD/Video and the 30 Years of Retreat History Video on YouTube.

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