Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first Sewtopia retreat. It was an awesome experience, with lots of personal sewing time, great food, and really nice, hilarious, and talented people.

Sewtopia is twice a year. The fall event is open-sew the entire time–there are no instructors, classes, or presenters so you can take as many projects as you want and, if you’re anything like me, finish about a quarter of them. Sewing machines for the event are provided by Bernina and their great staff is there to help, so there’s no need to bring your own machine.

We started off with a shop hop to 5 Portland-area fabric stores. The first stop was Modern Domestic, where Sewtopians were welcomed with mimosas and donuts. MD always has amazing quilts on display, this time by Jen Carlton-Bailly and Elizabeth Hartman.

Shop hoppers could walk the 10 blocks from Modern Domestic to Bolt and if they were smart, stop at Salt+Straw for ice cream or the Grilled Cheese Grill for a sandwich along the way.

After visiting Bolt and Modern Domestic, Sewtopians boarded the bus and headed out to Fabric Depot, one of the largest independent fabric stores in the country. From there they went on to two other amazing Portland shops–Cool Cottons and Josephine’s Dry Goods (while I went to pick up the kids, so sadly no photos.)

On the scene at the hotel, lots of beautiful things to see including @euphoria_jessica, @acraftyfox_amanda’s baby, the dining room, and a bunch of Carry-All Pincushions from @noodlehead’s book.
Happy swappers showed off the amazing things they received in one or both of the Sewtopia swaps.
About 6 weeks before the event, attendees received a pack of Violet Craft’s Highlands collection from Michael Miller and were challenged to use the prints + any other Michael Miller fabric to create something awesome for a chance to win prizes.  Many of the challengers had a lot of fun with the cat theme from some of the fabric prints, including first place winner, Megan Callahan @wholalacrafts, who won for her big pixelated cat face quilt in the bottom left photo.
Sewtopians also competed in a pajama contest, which included a conga line.
 Even with all the fun activities, a lot of people made good progress on their quilts!

Sewtopia Spring 2016 is already sold out, but tickets go on sale in February for the fall event in Austin so be sure to get on the mailing list! It’s a very affordable, well-organized, relaxing retreat. Amy, Jemellia, and the rest of the Sewtopia crew are kind and gracious hosts who will do anything to make sure you’re having fun.  If you’re lucky, you might even get some sewing done!