Pre-Conference Workshops


NOTE: All materials fees are paid directly to the instructors at the conference.

W1: Michele Belson

It’s All Very Basic: Designing Garment Patterns from Scratch

Description: Love to sew, but never happy with the way your garments fit? In this class we will use the techniques used by theatre professionals to create a Body Block and then learn to use that Body Block to alter commercial patterns or create your own original patterns, all personally fit to your measurements. Along the way, Michele will share some of the tricks of the trade from professional theatre costume shops to make all of your sewing more efficient and more professional. We will cover a bodice with sleeves and a skirt, plus you will get instructions for using these techniques for men’s wear. If any of you gentlemen join us, we will do a Jacket Basic, with sleeves. The skirt portion will be optional.

Student equipment/supply requirements:
 Pencils and erasers; colored pencils; tape measure; cloth scissors
 Sewing machine with bobbins, foot pedal, and power cord (Note: It is possible to share sewing machines as the time at the machine is limited)
 Thread to contrast with muslin
 Commercial patterns or pictures of blouses/jackets you would like to make
 French curve (optional) – If you have it fine; if not, no worries. Michele will bring the kind of French curve she likes, but is open to other options
 An open mind

Materials fee: $20 (includes patterning paper for 3 drafts, muslin, and CD or paper copy of the class Power Point presentation and handouts)
Skill level: Basic knowledge of sewing required
Duration: 2 days
Class size: 12

W2: Anastasia Azure

Weaving with Alternative Materials

Description: Tackle the challenge of loom weaving using unconventional materials such as plastics and wire. Each participant will dress a loom with a fishing line warp and play with plastics and wire in the weft. Basic weave structures such as tabby and twill will allow for courageous experimentation with new materials. Finishing techniques will be covered. Projects may evolve into small sculptures or jewelry.

Student equipment/supply requirements:
 4 shaft loom with metal heddles
 Preferably 8-dent reed (though 10 and 12 will work)
 Boat shuttles (preferably to fit 4” bobbins) and Bobbins
 Flat shuttles  Hot glue gun and glue sticks (preferably low-temp)
 Extension cord (for hot glue gun)  Scissors, tape measure, and wire cutters
 One spool of 30 lb. monofilament fishing line (approximately 200 yards) (buy a cheap brand – a spool should be under $5)
 Four 2 oz. bank sinkers
 Any unusual yarns that you may wish to incorporate into weft
 Any wire or unusual material you might want to try to weave (i.e., plastic straws, rubber bands, plastic bags, wrappers…)

Materials fee: $25 (includes steel rods, nylon cording, felt, poster board, crimps, plastics, wire, rubber bands, tape)
Skill level: All
Duration: 2 days
Class size: 12

W3: Rosalie Neilson

It’s in the Warp: Color and Design in Rep

Description: Two different colored warps (a pattern colorway and a background colorway) combine with thick and thin weft to form the elements of block design in warp-faced rep weave. Prior to the workshop, students will select a draft and pre-warp a loom. In the workshop, we will learn how blocks of rep, threaded on four or eight shafts, can be combined to expand design possibilities. Discussions will focus on profile drafting, use of color, movement of blocks in independent and linked fashion, skeleton tie-ups, different threading systems, and design considerations for fourshaft and multiple-shaft looms. Students will work exclusively on their own loom to understand the weave structure and weaving technique.

Student equipment/supply requirements:
4 or 8-shaft loom with 15-inch weaving width
List to be provided to students along with warping instructions in advance of workshop.

Materials fee: $30 (includes 45-page handout which will be mailed to participants in advance of the workshop; netting shuttle; color wrap supplies)
Skill level: Advanced beginner to Advanced
Duration: 2 days
Class size: 15

W4: Michael Rohde

Four Selvedge Weave/Wedge Weave

Description: Four selvedge weave is unique in that the whole warp is used, and there are no cut ends, hence no fringe or finishing! Wedge weave is a technique occasionally used by the Navajo in the 19th century. Unlike traditional weaving done on a grid format, wedge weave is done on an angle, starting with a small triangle and building from there. Angled stripes, chevrons and zig-zags are a few possible design elements. Most intriguing are the scalloped selvedges that result with the piece is taken off the loom. Students will use a small frame to set up the loom for a four-selvedge weave, then weave either a small tapestry using traditional weaving or a geometric image in wedge weave (student’s choice).

Student equipment/supply requirements:
Rigid heddle loom, or other small loom (Michael will have some small brass looms for purchase at $75 each)
yarns, 800-1800 yds/pound (a variety will add interest to finished piece);
tapestry or blunt needles
small shuttles or tapestry bobbins
tapestry beater (a table fork will work)
note taking materials

Materials fee: $25 (includes warp/weft/header cord, warping frame, needles, handout)
Skill level: All
Duration: 1-1/2 days
Class size: 20

W5: Connie Elliott

Indigo Dye Day*

Description: Indigo is a dye unlike most others. A dye that doesn’t require heat or mordant is called a “vat dye,” and indigo is the most famous of them all. Come and learn this method of dyeing, one of complex chemical reactions involving the very air itself. We will learn the basics of indigo dyeing, including what chemicals are needed and how to set up and maintain a basic hydrogen hydrosulfite/lye indigo dye pot. We will also have a pot of the new freeze dried indigo for comparison. We will work together to set up indigo pots and dye yarns and fabric. We will also explore some fun and funky resist techniques.

Student equipment/supply requirements:

Materials fee: $10
Skill level: All
Duration: 1 day
Class size: 10

* Workshop will be held at the Sugar Land Arts Center

Click here to download the Full Conference Registration Booklet:
Crossing Threads/Connecting Cultures Registration Booklet

PreConference Class Descriptions
Friday Conference Class Descriptions
Saturday Conference Class Descriptions
Sunday Conference Class Descriptions