It’s a challenging word for some, but not to me. I’m from a small Canadian city found on the border of two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan. I identify with being a Canadian first, and an Albertan second. The truth of the matter is that I am firstly Canadian…but I have a small secret, my birth certificate says I’m a Saskatchewanian.
What does that have to do with the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference (SSC)? Well, nothing, but let me tell you more about this conference.
Growing up in a small city, sometimes there aren’t a lot of opportunities. I never went to summer camp, or ‘sleep away’ camp as a child, only once participating in something camp-like, as a 16-year-old, in my own city… Anyways, I try to describe SSC as sewing camp and sleep-away camp for adults, who like to craft and sew!
The 2016 conference will be the 14th annual conference, and is a remarkable place to create and meet like minded people. I first attended the conference in 2010, where I fell in love. It was the first time in a very long time that I was pattern cutting, and the absolute first time that I made bras from scratch. I met some incredibly talented and passionate women (including a few men!) who love to craft and create.
The conference is put on by an independent sewing shop that is located in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. It’s nearly smack in the middle of Saskatchwan, which means it’s in the middle of nowhere, making it a perfect retreat. Wendy Toye, of the Haus of Stitches, has been the mother hen of this conference and puts on an amazing event, whether you’re there for one day, or all ten. Yes, ten days!
This isn’t just some small-time thing held in the back of a store. This is a full-fledged event with various classes and classrooms, instructors and students, including a small sewing store, spread out through a monastery. Yes, another shocking fact for you - the conference is held just outside of Humboldt, in Muenster, at St. Peter’s Abbey, the oldest Benedictine Monastery in Canada. On the peak days of the conference of the three years I attended (2010, 2011 & 2012) there were over 100 students.
What makes the conference so special?
Well, there are instructors that come from all over Canada and the USA to teach such things as knitting, crocheting, garment construction, rug hooking, quilting and so much more. Oh, and most importantly, bra making with Beverly Johnson from Bra-Makers Supply in Hamilton, Ontario! Class sizes are small, and instructors are exceptionally helpful and friendly, with years of experience teaching their craft. Here's the schedule of classes for the 2016 conference, and the registration form here.
It’s an incredibly supportive atmosphere, with students helping each other and sharing all sorts of hints and tips. I didn’t feel out of place there as a mid-20’s something woman, although, if I had to guess, most of the students were twice, or three-times my age. It was a place to meet other people passionate about your hobbies, something I have found difficult in the past as the majority of my friends and family have very little interest in crafts, let alone sewing garments, or bras! I have made a number of friends, some of whom I keep in regular contact with through Facebook.
What happens at sewing camp…stays at sewing camp…
That could be said, especially when bras are involved, but what happens at sewing camp is just truly incredible. The quiet (minus the church bells) and calm surroundings in a rural setting make it a perfect retreat. You wake in the morning, possibly in a shared room, enjoy a hot breakfast in the cafeteria with your fellow students and then begin your class at 9am. You’ll take a short break, maybe around 10:30 to refresh your tea or coffee, grab a cookie, browse other people’s projects, and return to your project. At noon, the church bells will ring, and you know it’ll be time for your hot lunch. The menu, created with wholesome food, prepared by the Monks with produce from their own garden, will leave you satisfied. You return to your class at 1pm, and continue working through until your class ends at 4pm. Supper is usually served around 5pm, if I recall correctly, and again, a hot, wholesome meal awaits you. You’ll have some free time in the evenings to wander the facilities, the grounds, venture into Humboldt for a trip to the grocery store, or attend an evening talk from one of the instructors, or participate in a show and tell type setting. You can also use this time to read, or perhaps even keep working on your projects. With no wifi, and one shared computer with a dial up connection, and limited cell-phone reception…and no dishes to wash, it truly is a retreat.
The goal of my blog was to create a place for technical information to share with fellow bra-makers, but I find it’s also a place for me to share more about my journey. I can certainly say I would not be where I am today without attending this conference. This was the launch pad to waking up to what I wanted to do with my life, and what I wanted to achieve. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with supportive people, and those that can understand, or relate to your passions. Attending the conference showed me how much I enjoyed sewing and making lingerie, enough for me to realise that I wanted to make it my career, and that I’d do anything to achieve this goal. The knowledge that was shared with me left me wanting more. So much more that I wanted to get a degree in it, once I found out that such a thing existed.
So, if you’re an aspiring bra-maker, wondering what to do with a week’s worth of summer holidays - I would certainly recommend a trip to Saskatchewan.
Educating women on the benefits of proper fitting bras is important to Kim. Designing lingerie that complements the fuller figure, and is comfortable, on-trend and beautifully constructed is her mission.
We are in charge of our bodies, and we make the decisions that are right for us, with no judgement. Kimtimates supports those who make their own choices about their own bodies. #yourbodyyourchoice #mybodymychoice