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2019 Fall Classes & Instructors

2019 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.
Continuing this year, none of the Stitching Girls Society   sponsored Sewing Retreats will be on Vashon Island.

Click on each of our 2019 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

Double or Nothing Quilt


Double or Nothing Quilt
Double or Nothing Quilt



20 Students

Colleen will share her special cutting techniques with the traditional 6" wide ruler to create this Double or Nothing quilt. The design alternates blocks of colorful stars with plain background blocks, each with lots of room for decorative quilting stitches. Choose a multicolored scheme for a cheery festive look or a more traditional look with a more controlled color selection. There are no special rulers or sewing techniques required. Confident beginners as well as those who have years of experience can make this quilt. The version pictured is 72" x 72" to which a border will be added.(Learn more about this class ...)

Coleen Blackwood
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.

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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A Menagerie for your Zoo


Return of the Dragon
A Menagerie for your Zoo

10 Students

Come join me and start your own zoo. Learn the many tricks and tips of 3D fabric sculpting that will give your zoo characters personality and bring them to life. We will start with the King of the Jungle and then you can pick the next member of his Kingdom. Your zoo will bring smiles to young and old.

Janice Gow
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 over 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.

For Questions, contact janicegow@comcast.net

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Tops & Dresses


Blouse Sloper
Basic Blouse Sloper Pattern

10-12 Students

Learn about fitting your body shape through draping with both stretchy and non-stretchy fabrics, starting with Connie's basic design pattern (extra cost of $20) and its personal fitting cup sizes. Then, using half size patterns, Connie will show you how to design and create patterns from your fitted sloper that manipulate darts, prevent neckline gaposis and shape collars, plus correctly fit armholes and sleeves. Apply key elements of design for balanced bodice and blouse patterns. Connie will reference her several books on fashion design and sewing. (Learn more about this class ...)

Connie Crawford
Connie Crawford

by Connie Crawford

Connie will be teaching for the second 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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Do Your Own Thing

Do Your Own Thing Group
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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