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2020 Fall Classes & Instructors

Stitching Girls Society   held our first ever Fall Sewing Retreat with classes at Camp Burton on Vashon Island in 1985. 2020 will be our 36th 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. This year's Fall Sewing Retreat with classes will be at Seabeck Conference Center on scenic Hood Canal.

Click on each of our 2020 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

Knit Know How


Knit Know How
Knit Know How

20 Students

Nothing beats the comfort of knits. And sewing knits can be quick and easy too. The wide array of knits and variations in their stretch can make fitting a challenge. Join Marla for this knit workshop and explore the world of knits. Learn about needles, thread, patterns and sizing. We'll get the fit just right - not too tight or too baggy. Start with a basic t-shirt, top or dress and practice sewing seams with a regular machine and/or a serger. See a variety of easy options for neckline finishes - bands, bindings, facings and elastic trim. Learn about fitting and sewing pants and skirts, including options for applying elastic waistbands. You'll gain some knit-know-how and will be ready to create a wardrobe of comfortable, easy sew, easy care garments.

Marla Kazell
Marla Kazell

by Marla Kazell

Marla Kazell has sewn since 7th grade and as a professional for more than 36 years. She began her career in the sewing industry at Stretch and Sew in Eugene, Oregon. As she developed her custom clothing business in Tigard, Oregon, Marla continued to learn from many well-known teachers, including 12 years of study with couture expert, Bobbie Carr. Her travels have taken her to designer workrooms in New York, couture showrooms in Paris and fabric stores everywhere.

Marla shares her expertise in classes and hands-on workshops in Portland, Oregon and across the country focusing on fit and fine construction. Her patience, humor and easy manner help students learn in a relaxed atmosphere. She also shares her expertise by writing for Threads, Notions and Sew News magazines. (www.marlakazell.com)

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Mariner's Compass



Mariner's Compass Quilt
Mariner's Comapss Sampler



20 Students

By popular demand, Colleen will show you how to create a fantastic sampler quilt based on a center medallion of Mariner’s Compass blocks created with a new ruler by RobinRuth Designs! This tool makes the process easy with instructions that are clear and concise. The sampler blocks that accompany the center are a blend of simple blocks made with basic skills. This is a scrap theme quilt, so many different fabrics can be used in foregrounds and backgrounds. You will need to purchase the ruler from Colleen as part of the class.

Coleen Blackwood
Colleen Blackwood

by Colleen Blackwood

Quilting is a passion for Colleen. She started making pretty quilts to keep her loved ones warm and decorate her home, then nature’s beauty inspired her to expand and inspires her selection of fabrics and colors. The 2018 Sisters Oregon Quilt Show named Colleen their most Inspirational Instructor. Colleen loves life and laughing, and her classes are full of fun. You can find more about Colleen and her many quilt projects at LaughingLizzies.com.

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Seasonal Table Runners & Placemats


Seasonal Table Runners
Seasonal Table Runners

10 Students

This class will be about creating fashion for your home for every season and learning quick quilting methods all at the same time. You will be able to create a quilt as you go table runner and/or placemats and learn a quick binding. You should leave the class with at least 2 completed projects and be able to use up some fabric from your stash. Bring your own table runner pattern as alternative.

Cheryl Scheeler
Cheryl Scheeler

by Cheryl Scheeler

Many of you know Cheryl as a long time Stitching Girls Retreater as well as Board Member and have watched with admiration as she whips up quilts and projects with ease. Cheryl started sewing with her Grandma when she was about 8, then learned more by watching her mom. By the time she started Home Ec in Jr high, she felt like she already knew how to sew. She made all her clothes throughout high school, plus sewed for friends. Cheryl caught the quilting bug in 1980 and she started doing craft bazaars, continuing through early 2000. She has collected dozens of craft patterns and made a thousand reindeer. This year, Cheryl will share with us some of her tried and true quilting techniques and her artistic ability at combining fabrics and colors into stunning quilted table runners and placemats.

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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, individual 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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