The first Annual Beach Cities Retreat was a huge success!  Thank you so very much to each and every person who participated and contributed immensely to its success.  Thank you to the AAA Sewing Staff for all your help!  Thank you for bringing us cherished memories that will endure forever.

The retreat brought all levels of sewists together in the spirit of enjoyment, camaraderie and fun!  There were new techniques introduced, and projects comprising of sewing a handbag, top of the line machine embroidery, serging an apron and 10-needle embroidery.  All projects were able to be completed in class and the pictures have been posted on our Facebook page – AAA Sewing & Fabric.

Everything was furnished for this memorable event.  Top of the line machines were provided for the retreatees to utilize.  The guest hosts, Debi Kuennen-Baker, R. Larry Touchette, who are Baby Lock Educators, were present to teach classes, answer questions, give advice and provide excellent assistance for the attendees.  Not only were the hosts hilarious and delightful, but also thoroughly knowledgeable.

Kits and all necessary supplies were also provided.  Delicious, hot meals were catered from Hot N’ Tot Restaurant for breakfast, Olive Garden and Panda Express for the lunches.  The dining area was constructed in an elegant tent and meals were served buffet style.  There was a plethora of incredible door prizes and giveaways, including 4 Baby Lock BL9 machines!  Among the excitement, there was a multitude of new products in the vendor store, a trunk show from Lunch Box Quilts and numerous demos on the new Baby Lock Triumph serger and the latest version of Brother’s Scan N’ Cut 650 WX.  On Tuesday, at 5:00 pm, the retreatees attended a reception in the dining area, where refreshments and fresh hors d’oeuvres were served.

The sewists were in high spirits during the retreat and smiles were abound.  Their feedback and comments were extremely positive and all were in anticipation for next year’s retreat.  (You may view their comments on our Facebook page – AAA Sewing & Fabric.)  Again, a VERY special thank you to all those who participated in this event and undoubtedly, next year’s retreat will by far surpass this one!

Uncorking Your Creativity!

With the advent of the holidays in such proximity, we are all contemplating innovative gift ideas.  Why not unleash your creative juices on a unique approach to sewing, utilizing the versatile, durable, flexible and lightweight Cork Fabric?  Cork provides a fresh approach to mundane projects.

Cork Fabric is ideal for  so many reasons.  One can cut it, sew it, and wash it with ease.  No special needles are required and it can be sewn with a standard sewing machine.  It is hypoallergenic, water resistant, stain resistant, mold resistant, immune to micro-organisms (i.e. mites), dust, dirt and grease repellent, eco-friendly, and as durable as leather.  In addition, it does not rip or pull apart easily and can be cleaned with a damp, warm towel.

The cork may be dyed with regular fabric dye, as well as printed on and embroidered on.  Furthermore, as in the picture above of the green memo pad cover, the fabric can be cut using a Scan N’ Cut machine.  It can also be stamped on , after creating a stamp on the Scan N’ Cut – as in the picture above.  The fabric does not crack.

For the fashionistas, the cork fabric is currently trending.  The fabric is superb for adding accents or straps to bags and wallets.  It is perfect for tablet sleeves, notebook covers, cardholders, laptop cases, shoes, and phone cases.  Furthermore, cork fabric is excellent for gifts, particularly for men.  It is ideal for watch wristbands, belts, pouches, storage containers, journal/book covers, basket containers and trays, placemats, ornaments, upholstery, bookmarks, labels, bulletin boards, box linings…virtually anything.

As New York Times writer Kate Singleton states, “the appeal of cork…is the marriage of aesthetics and performance.”  The new year brings in fresh and new perspectives…why not try something new?  Cork fabric is the perfect contemporary twist to our favorite patterns.

Sewingly Yours,


Why Decorative Stitches?


Decorative stitches, according to Liz Johnson, editor at, “are tiny pieces of thread art.”  Although loved and adored by many, they are often forgotten and overlooked, due to the focus that we place on the seams of a project’s construction.  Just a few decorative stitches add so much to any project.  One may experiment with different colors and types of thread (i.e., polyester, variegated, rayon, metallic, neon), spacing of stitches and stitch widths, which will produce various textural effects.  The possibilities of what to embellish with decorative stitches are endless.  For example, aprons, matching bed sheets and pillowcases, pillows, purses/bags, bath and tea towels, appliqués, garments, wall hangings, heirloom sewing, basically anything!  Whatever the project, decorative stitches will enhance their aesthetic value immensely.

Other creative ways to use these stitches are when quilting.  One may utilize decorative stitches when stitching in the ditch or when sewing down bindings, to embellish ribbons or when sewing strips of fabric together (border stitch).  Outline stitches are used for outlining your design.  Detached stitches fill in open areas of designs and filling stitches can create shading or fill.

Decorative stitches add texture and will take one’s project from the ordinary to extraordinary.  One is only limited by the scope of one’s imagination.

Sewingly Yours,