Home

2017 Classes & Instructors

2016 will be the 32nd year of unique, small and personalized, hands-on classes presented at the Vashon Island Fall Sewing Retreat. Our experienced teachers are both locally and national known sewing experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and love of sewing.

Click on each of our 2017 class offerings to learn more about it 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

Psychedelic Baby Quilt



Psychedelic Baby Quilt

Improvisational Strip Piecing Quilt Workshop

Join author Katie Pedersen to break free from tradition and explore improvisational quilting in a baby size quilt. Merge one construction method with multiple string piecing techniques to simultaneously create large string blocks and mitered log cabin blocks that appear both chaotic yet controlled. Design one quilt or two with your blocks.

Drawing from her book: Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts, Katie will touch on fabric options and placement; and the unlimited design potential in making a finished original quilt. Her multiple examples will inspire you with how these quilt blocks can play together. All level of sewists welcome. More info at www.sewkatiedid.com

Katie Pederson

by Katie Pederson

Katie calls herself a maker. From her childhood, she played for hours with pompoms, googly eyes and a bottle of glue, gathering creative inspiration from her mother and friends. She dove into stacks of fabric and eventually fused the classic quilt designs she’d watched her mother create with her own quirky way of seeing and piecing. Her teaching and quilt designs combine that tradition rooted in her childhood with improvisational techniques and a modern aesthetic. In 2015, she realized a long-standing dream by opening her Seattle Quilting Studio. She truly believes anyone who wants to quilt can, no matter their skill level.

Back to Top

Return of the Dragon


Return of the Dragon
Return of the Dragon

Back - Again - by Popular Demand

Once again, Janice will share her love of fantastical creations by showing you how to produce the intricate detailing of Melinda Small Peterson’s multi-jointed, 1 ft. by 2 ft. dragon. You will have fun picking your fabrics and learning how to sculpt its head, body, feet, tail and wings, imbuing it with your own personal style. It is actually easier to make than it looks.
Pattern at www.smallwork.com/dragon.html.

Janice Gow

by Janice Gow

Janice’s imagination and quirky sense of humor provides her with a world of bags, dolls, animals, quilts, and unique sewing projects. Working at Pacific Fabrics for the last 10 years has only added to her knowledge, sense of individuality and her fabric resource stash. You will feel inspired upon entering her magical rhelm.

Back to Top

Chanel Style Classic Jacket


Chanel Style Jackets

Learn some of Coco Chanel’s own designer secrets and fine hand sewing techniques turned into faster machine methods for the construction of these classically elegant jacket styles. Peggy will guide you through the selection of soft textured wool fabrics, help you achieve optimal fit, then apply signature features such as braid or custom trims, closures and that chic little gold chain at the hem for a jacket you can proudly wear almost anywhere.

Peggy Garber

by Peggy Garber

Peggy Garber has long been our garment specialist. In 1985, as the Kitsap County representative on Seattle’s American Sewing Guild Board, she became a founding member and teacher of our Sewing Retreat. Peggy has taught everything from swimsuits to Tailored jackets, silk blouses to rain coats, pants to prom dresses and much more. In her sewing career she is a graduate of UW Apparel Design and has taught both adult education and community college classes. She also worked in the apparel manufacturing industry and for Fantastic Fit of California. Her classes are full of tips and techniques gained from her many years of sewing for herself and teaching others.

Back to Top

Up-Cycling Workshop

Up-Cycling Workshop

Bring your imagination and treasured fabrics, trims, accessories, clothes, etc. as well as books and magazines for inspiration and ideas. Vanessa will provide lots of additional materials, then brainstorm together with you and your fellow students to help you up-cycle your items into something wonderful for yourself or a loved one, achieving your creative vision and culminating in what's sure to be a fantastic show and tell!

Vanessa Barwick

by Vanessa Barwick

Comes from a family of quilters, sewers, and other fiber crafters from New England and Great Britain. She has an MA from NYU in Folk Art Studies. Currently the president of the Vashon Island Quilt Guild, Vanessa's main interests lies in up-cycling, creative mending, and repurposing garments and textiles into clothes and quilts. She lives on Vashon Island with her two young daughters and stone mason husband.

Back to Top

Garden Art

Garden Art

Something new at Sewing Retreat this year: learn to cast cement leaves or other objects into beautiful Garden Art creations, then paint them with a myriad of iridescent colors. While waiting for the cement to set up, you can either continue to make castings, join the ‘Do Your Own Thing’ group for your sewing fix or unleash your inner whimsy by painting a chair or other small object of your choice. $40 additional supplies fee includes cement, additives, sand, paints, and brushes.

Marlys Powell

by Marlys Powell

Loves challenges. She has taught herself many things and has rarely turned away an alteration. In 2016 she taught herself the techniques to make these beautiful pieces of garden art and has graciously accepted our request to teach us.

Back to Top

Do Your Own Thing

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!

Back to Top

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 1984, a change in the Guild's national policy caused the Seattle Chapter to disband. Lorraine kept the retreat alive by personally taking over the 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, indivudual sweatshirt jackets, that she wore everywhere.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

© 2017