Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"High-End Embellishments" Class at Summerhill

A weekend getaway in a beautiful location with good friends, great food, and nothing to do but relax, have fun, and learn lots of great new sewing techniques -- sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it was a reality for the six women who enrolled in my October 8-10 "High-End Embellishments" class here at Summerhill. They traveled from as far away as Arizona and Massachusetts to get together and learn all about free-motion quilting, trapunto, applique, fabric origami, tucks, and lots more.
It was a perfect fall weekend here in western Pennsylvania
Summerhill Weekend Sewing Retreats are geared toward professional drapery workroom owners who want to learn how to incorporate traditional embellishment techniques into the custom home furnishings they fabricate for their customers. Guests stay here at my home and enjoy great home cooking, pretty guest rooms, and instruction in my sewing studio.

On Friday afternoon, after everyone got settled into their rooms, we did some smaller projects like yo-yos, ruching, prairie points, and fabric origami. Then we tackled an elaborate Celtic applique project. Look how beautifully they turned out! It's amazing how much you can learn in a short time, isn't it?
Francine, Laura, Jacqui, Nancy, Irene, and Suzy

Friday night dinner was great, and the dessert was to die for!
The girls can't wait to try Chocolate Pavlova with Whipped Cream and Fresh Raspberries
Saturday was jammed full of learning. The ladies practiced free-motion quilting, hand stuffed trapunto, machine trapunto, and freezer paper applique.
Laura and Suzy work on hand stuffed trapunto

Irene, Laura, and Francine stitch their quilted trapunto sampler
Don't they look proud of themselves? Well, they should be - their work was amazing!
TA-DA! Freezer paper applique with origami
One of the things everyone enjoyed most was not having to cook for three days, or think about laundry, soccer practice, homework, or housework. All they had to do was enjoy themselves.

Sunday morning breakfast
Sunday we worked on fusible applique, double needle pintucks, and several other types of sewn tucks. It was a busy, busy morning. The weekend was winding down, and we still had so much to accomplish.
Francine proudly displays her fusible applique with fabric origami accent
We took a quick break for lunch ... and, of course, dessert ...
Everyone loves my cookie sampler tray, including me!
Too soon, it was time for everyone to head home. We had such a great time laughing, learning, and sharing with each other. It's wonderful to be with people who share my love of creative design and sewing. It always impresses me, when I'm teaching, the way my students keep coming up with ways to add their own personal touch to the projects we do here. My instructions are just a starting point.

They come to Summerhill to learn new skills, but the weekend winds up being about so much more. As  "Everyday Artists", we inspire each other to create ... organize ... laugh ... try harder ... appreciate life ... strive to be better ... slow down ... take time ... enjoy life ... be gentle with ourselves. I hope my students learn that their best efforts are good enough, and that they can do amazing things when they put their minds to it.

(For more photos of this and other Summerhill classes, go to
www.lesliefehlingdesigns.com and click on the Summerhill Weekend Sewing Retreats album.)


  1. I would love to do this! There is something special about gathering, sharing, creating and living in the moment. Looks like a wonderful time.

  2. It was a lovely weekend....Leslie, I am in the middle of my first Celtic design and will post it soon. Keeping my fingers crossed. And the origami is soon to follow....like the idea of adding it to a pillow I want to make for a fundraiser. Jacqui Carrion


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