19 Nov Made By Rae Studio Retreat
My mom and I embarked on a mother-daughter adventure to Ann Arbor last weekend. Rae was hosting a sewing retreat in her studio and we were lucky to be a part of it. I’ve only been back to the University of Michigan once since I graduated, a scary amount of years ago, so I was excited to get back on campus. Rae’s studio is located in the heart of Ann Arbor and it was a perfect place to spend the weekend. We arrived on Friday afternoon and got settled into her adorable studio. She somehow managed to mastermind her tables to fit 11 of us, our machines, and our embarrassing amount of fabric and other goods we couldn’t leave home without. It was incredibly cozy and such a happy place to sew. My mom and I shared a table and somehow made space for both of our sewing machines and gear. Major back pats for this one. I’ve never appreciated my little lightweight machine until I attempted to carry her big behemoth up the stairs. Hers does sing to her when she turns it on and sounds like it’s receiving a fax at times, so I guess it makes it worth the weight. It was fun to sew with her and spend our undivided time together. I got settled in and attempted to sort my ridiculously full suitcase of fabric. I used 2 fabrics all weekend. I’m not sure what i was thinking bringing 20+ yards and 10 patterns with me. Apparently I had planned on busting out more garments than is humanly possible in 2 days. It was nice to have choices though.After some introductions and basic housekeeping, we all went out to dinner at Sava’s on State Street. This is new since I was there and is definitely somewhere I would like to go back to. The atmosphere is super swanky and their Lobster Mac & Cheese is delicious!
After sufferring a minor food coma, we went back to Rae’s studio and did some late night sewing. Rae was nice enough to let me view her Washi Expanison Pack before its release so I decided to make a Washi with a pointed collar and elastic backing.
On Saturday, my mom and I filled up with a breakfast of champions at the Broken Egg in order to prepare for our day of sewing. Everyone worked on their own projects throughout the day: Josephines, Rubys, and Washis were in various stages throughout the room. It was fun to see all of the interpretations of the same patterns. I was in the midst of some very talented sewers and learned a lot from them as we all worked.
Rae would stop us at certain times throughout the weekend to teach us various skills and techniques. There were impromptu tutorials as well when things came up while we were sewing. Rae is an amazing teacher and I learned so much from watching her.
Rae teaching us not to fear the shirr:How to make a pattern from a favorite shirt: (brilliant) How to do a Blind Hem and pretend like you hand-sewed it:We took a much needed dinner break at Frita Batidos. This little gem is known for its Cuban inspired street food as well as an artery clogging delight. As you can see below, this was not the healthiest of dinners but it was worth every calorie and roll that came with it. I got a black bean frita with a fried egg on top with a side of garlic cilantro fries. Not sure what could ever be wrong with that combo. It was amazing. Other people clearly agreed because there was a constant line that wrapped around the restaurant the whole time we were there. After suffering yet another food coma, and happily unbuttoning my pants, I managed to continue to work on my pointed collar Washi dress until late into the night. I learned how to line the dress with the help of Karen and the hot dog-like method, which was pretty neat. Sunday
The weekend flew by and on Sunday we were determined to finish at least one project before going home.
Carolyn and Amanda revealing their hard work and adorable Josephines.I finally finished my dress (almost) with 20 minutes to spare and was really happy with how it turned out. Rae’s directions were really easy to follow and I can’t wait to make another one.
My mom bravely cut into her first Liberty fabric and got a good start on her Peter Pan collared Washi. Collette proudly photobombed her progress. Check out Rae’s super organized swoonable fabric shelf:Rae also spoiled us with some sweet swag that we got to take home:We sadly said our goodbyes to Rae and our new friends on Sunday afternoon and left with wonderful memories and happy Washis. Thank you Rae for such a fun experience and for letting us invade your cute sewing space!*If you ever get a chance to spend time with Rae, do it! She will immediately make you feel welcome and share with you all her sewing genius : ) I can’t wait to purchase her Washi Expansion Pack and I will tell you that from what I’ve seen, it’s amazing. I think it’s brilliant that she’s using an already established pattern and creating additions to make it look completely different. It’s like the Mr. Potato head of sewing.
*Side note: if anyone on the radio tells you to pull over as you’re driving and take shelter from the tornado that’s on its way, do it. My mom and I did the exact opposite, not so smart, and ended up driving through some pretty rough weather. We were determined to beat the line of storms in our path. My mom became a self-appointed Tornado Watcher from the passenger seat as we kept an eye on the weather from her iPad. It would’ve been a hilarious reality show to watch us throughout our drive. As my mom says, “we weren’t the smartest tacks in the tool shed” and probably should’ve pulled over (“It’s a cardigan, but thanks for noticing”)
We made it to Vandalia, OH (about an hour from home) before we determined that there was no way we could make it any further. I decided that not being able to see the lines on the highway and having the car whipped violently from side to side probably meant that I shouldn’t keep driving. We parked ourselves at Bunkers (ironic?) and hoped that the impeding doom would pass us by. All of the satellite TVs were down in the restaurant so we had no idea if we were safe or not.
Luckily, we had our trusty iPad with its Tornado Warnings, queso with homemade pretzels, and some wine to help us make it through. The next morning we learned that the storm hit Vandalia (exactly where we were) the hardest out of any area in our region. That would explain the scary driving. Thankfully we and our new homemade goodies made it home safely.