Violette Field Threads Sewing Retreat 2017 has come and gone. Our retreat was held in the gorgeous City Farmhouse venue in the historic Factory of Franklin. Fifty attendees sewed and dined and "sewcialized" with us all weekend long. For those of you who weren't able to attend, we made sure to document every moment to share.   
What is a Violette Field Threads Sewing Retreat? In every sense of the word "retreat", our attendees experience a relaxing and stress free get-away weekend all revolving around sewing! Two sewing projects {this year was the Savannah dress & the Beatrice dress} using top of the line Art Gallery fabrics are supplied in a beautiful setting, whist being pampered with delicious catered (all local) food throughout the weekend. 
Our retreats are centered on providing what most of do not have in our normal day to day lives. Uninterrupted, pampered sewing time with friends. While our retreats are not workshops, with the focus on teaching, our attendees typically learn a few new techniques over the weekend. It's hard not to brushing elbows with other talented attendees!
And what is a get-away weekend if it doesn't involve the chance to do a little bit of shopping? Our break-away classroom featured bolts and bolts of the latest Art Gallery fabrics, notions, and amazing one-of-a-kind art pieces from Bari J. herself. 
The retreat started out on Friday evening with everyone's workspaces perfectly arranged.
Gift boxes full of sewing goodies were placed at each attendee's chair. Months were spent curating these gifts to make sure they were memorable! Each attendee received a beautiful antique style glass heirloom box to house sewing treasures sourced from one of our favorite stores, Anthropologie. Inside we placed delicate and beautiful laces, trims, and wooden buttons. Our thread sponsor, Auriful, so generously sent each of our attendees 3 spools of their luxurious thread. Also included were some of our favorite pretty little sewing tools; pair of delicate gold bird scissors, a bodkin and a few other odds and ends! This sweet little curated glass box was stacked on top of 5 yards of gorgeous designer Art Gallery fabric! 

Each attendee arrived, chose their stations, and set up their sewing machines in our beautiful venue. 

Once sewing stations were set up, "sewcializing" at our cocktail party began! Most all attendees are members of our Facebook Sewing Group, so matching familiar names on name tags with faces was quite the treat! It might have been helpful to have had pictures of our daughter or granddaughters as well, haha! An array of delicious appetizers and desserts that had been set out along with wine and cocktails. Every little detail was thoughtfully executed with the help of many hands! 

At the end of the station setup and socializing during our cocktail party, our attendees departed to get a good night's sleep for a full day of sewing on Saturday morning!

As the ladies returned Saturday morning, they were all greeted with a bountiful spread of gourmet breakfast food. We sourced a variety of delectable 100 layer gourmet donuts, from our favorite donut shop, 5 daughter's bakery. The menu also included made from scratch biscuit sandwiches. These homemade egg, ham and pimento cheese biscuits from Lucy's kitchen, are our local best kept secret. Lucy sells out of her famous biscuits at our local farmer's market every Saturday morning, so we were so thankful she agreed to do a special extra allotment for our event. Along with the donuts and biscuits, there was also a berry medley salad and mimosas and coffee.  

Once breakfast was finished, everyone quickly got to work starting on the newest pattern, Beatrice. 

 Our special guest, Bari J, was teaching small and intimate breakaway classes of 6-8 people at a time during the course of the morning. Each participant got an opportunity to learn some new hand embroidery skills. Some ladies were already well acquainted with this skill, and some were learning for the very first time. Of course Bari was an amazing teacher and taught everyone some new stitch techniques and each lady left with a sweet gift bag from Bari herself.
Lunch time was another delectable meal! We catered lunch from another local favorite, Franklin Mercantile Deli. They made us an assortment of sandwiches, delicious fresh made salads and gourmet chips. 

After lunch, finished Beatrice dresses started popping up all over the farm house, and were they ever beautiful! It was amazing to see each person's interpretation of the pattern come to life and their beautiful dresses they created for their girls. The creativity was impressive!

After a full day of sewing, attendees were invited to attend an optional dinner at Saffire, a beautiful local restaurant also in the Factory, and just a short walk from our hall. How fun it was to continue our chats with new friends we had made and take a break from our sewing while continuing to stuff ourselves with amazingly tasty food.  
Here are two of the tables from the dinner. 
Sunday morning brought us all back, to start on the second design, Savannah. 

The completed dresses were as beautiful as ever! Everyone's creativity was just shining through.

As each one of us finished up, we enjoyed a yummy lunch of gourmet pizza and greek salad from Mellow Mushroom to finish out our amazing weekend. 

Friends were made. Beautiful dresses were finished, many sewing tips were shared over coffee and mimosas. 

It was sad to part ways, but we made the best memories and hope to see everyone again! We hope everyone had as much fun as we did. A very special THANK YOU from Ericka and myself to our amazing helpers, Ashley, Amber, Tanya, Leah, and Michelle. They worked tirelessly to help us pull of this retreat and we couldn't thank them enough. They have huge hearts, fantastic senses of humor, and an incredible "can-do" attitude. We love you girls!!! 

XOXO - and until next time, 
Jessica & Ericka 
August 14, 2017 by Jessica Herning