Category Archives: Sew camps

Send Your Son to Sew Camp

Sewing is not just for girls, you know. There are loads of extremely accomplished and talented men sewists in the world, and one of them has been in my studio the past couple of weeks. He doesn’t have that big a following yet, but give him a bit of time and he might just blow up on all the social media channels.


That happened last week. Some.Serious.Concentration.


Boys wear pajama pants. Girls wear pajama pants. Both girls and boys enjoy sewing pajama pants!


Looks like happiness is making a drawstring backpack for the first time!


“Dad! Don’t make me laugh!”


Two cute models showing off their finished PJ pants before Mr. S. headed off to another gymnastic event. The guy has some moves, I’ll tell you! After making his first pair of pajama pants with the rest of the class Monday and Tuesday, Mr. S worked mostly solo on his second pair today. I’m willing to bet his mom and dad might get a pair before too long!

It has really been great to have Mr. S. sewing with the other kids the past couple of weeks. He is a very focused and motivated sewing student, and it has been really fun to watch his fast progress at the sewing machine.Thanks for hanging out in the sewing studio, Mr. S, you have been a very welcome addition!!

Happy sewing!


Summer Kids Sew Camp Update

It’s summer, so that means we are all Kids Sew Camps all the time around here. It is both a huge amount of fun, and extremely gratifying to help young students improve their sewing skills. As important as I think sewing skills are, students also gain self-confidence in being able to do things on their own, learn how to solve complex problems, and work cooperatively to help others. Sounds kinda like some life-skills, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

Kids Sew Camps by Sew Maris

Helping a friend….

Kids Sew Camps by Sew Maris

Operating a sewing machine is fun!!

Kids Sew Camps by Sew Maris

Love the concentration…

Kids Sew Camps by Sew Maris

Learning how to make a burrito pillowcase…..

Kids Sew Camps by Sew Maris

A finished kimono bathrobe and bubble skirt. These two have some mad skillz!

I hope your summer is as enjoyable as mine is turning out to be. These kids put a smile on my face every day, and I feel grateful and privileged to be able to teach them a little about the joys of sewing.

Happy sewing!





A common thread connects ruffles, skulls, florals, & geometrics

The variety of fabrics, styling, and pattern design that young sewists combine to make a garment always blows me away. They put so much of themselves into their creations—you really get a little glimpse into their hearts.

This week two sets of sisters and friends came for a mini sew camp, and their project-of-choice was aprons. Mix one pattern, McCalls 5720, four creative spirits, a huge variety of fabric and trims, add 4 sewing machines, and you will get something like this!

Four girls at Sew Maris Kids Sew Camp made aprons

There was a really wide skill level in this class, but zero shortage of enthusiasm and persistance. I say it all the time, and see it all the time too—kids learn so much more than sewing skills around here. It is really rewarding to watch them grapple with challenges.

And also have fun posing for a camera shot! 😉

Ruffles, florals, skulls and geometric aprons form 4 gals in Sew Maris sew camp

I wonder what they will be cooking up in the kitchen now with their new aprons? I bet the food choices will be as varied as the aprons, and as they are!

Happy sewing!


The results are in for Kids Sew Camp

Fun was had by all, and will you check out the ADORABLE dresses made by these girls in the Beginning Knits class. The pattern we used was McCalls 6787, and all the girls made view B with lace or sheer sleeves. I love how they are all so unique, and everyone was super happy with the outcome. Leggings or jeans underneath and they are styled for the day. Cuteness! I know you can’t see any detail, but the divine Miss M. also made a darling clutch bag during “free sew”, complete with lace trim, a button, and buttonhole. She is ready to go out!


Level 1 kiddos had a great time embellishing cuffs and a water bottle cozy. I love the “I hate having my picture taken” look on Miss L’s face.


I have a new respect for photographers who shoot pix of children. How in the world do you get them all to look cute and do what you want at the same time? Herding cats would be easier.  Anyway, drawstring backpacks!


Can you see the backpacks better in this shot? The girls any better? I gotta go practice shooting kid pictures. It’s hard!


In Level 1 we also made pillowcases, but managed to miss getting a picture of those competed projects. Next time!

If you are thinking about signing up your son or daughter for sew camp fun this summer, some of the sessions are already filled. Don’t delay if you want to get in on the fun too!

Happy sewing!


It’s a wrap


Have you ever wondered what sew camp looks like around here? Lots of giggling, lots of sewing, and plenty of girl chatter. This week four young sewists worked on kimono-wrap style bathrobes and adorable little house slippers. It is a never-ending joy to watch how excited they get as their creations start coming together. And they are so proud to wear something they made with their own two hands!


Love this floral print robe, and navy flannel slippers with a matching print toe cap. Nice work, O!!

Teal plaid robe

I am pretty sure someone is going to be extra-stylin’ at sixth grade camp this spring. Not to mention warm and cozy!

Navy plaid robe

This very classic navy plaid fabric makes a super cute robe, don’t you think?

What a fun week we all had, and it went by so quickly! Until next time…

Happy sewing!





Summer 2013 Sew Camps: learnings for all

Summer sewing camps have become the new normal around here. Every Monday a new group arrives on my doorstep, excited, eager, and often a little bit nervous too.

You know how it is—that first-day-on-the-new-job feeling. Not too sure if you will measure up, or have anything in common with your new colleagues, or be able to remember the important company policies and procedures. Kids often experience a bit of those feelings on the first day of Sew Camp. Or maybe I should say they do during the first half hour or so of the first day! Kids adjust more quickly than adults, and almost right away they are chatting with their table partner, asking questions, and comparing projects.

These gals are intent on watching one of their pals work on her American Girl Doll Clothes project.

Medina Dolls Clothes gals helping

I love how sweet AND proud these sisters look in the new skirts they made in an Advanced Beginner Camp.

Sister skirts

In early August the morning and afternoon Doll Camp sessions were humming! And so productive!!

AG Doll Clothes August Baseball Ts

AG Doll Clothes Morning

I figured it out. Now I know why teachers stick with their jobs. It’s not because they are highly paid, or their “easy” schedule of working only 6 hours/day and summers off. Nope. It is because there is almost nothing better than watching a kid light up with new-found self-confidence. What a great, great summer 2013 has been. And can’t wait to implement some of what I learned along the way for next year’s camps. Because if you think I am giving up turning on kids to the joys of sewing, creativity, and self-expression, think again, sistah!!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

No relaxing during spring break for these gals

Spring break brings to mind relaxing somewhere on a beach, sipping a cocktail and reading a trashy novel.

That is pretty much the opposite of what happened last week at Sew Camp. Frenetic pinning, stitching up seams, ripping out mistakes, giggling, and having fun with other slightly obsessed sewists was how we spent our school break time. Wednesday was “twirly skirt” day, and I was so busy I didn’t have 2 seconds to snap a single pix. You are just going to have to trust me -six darling skirts were made on that day. Adding the bottom ruffle to the skirt nearly undid us, but we muddled through and the results were worth the effort.

Unimaginable though it seems, Thursday was slightly crazier still. Seven girls, 7 fleece ponchos, and one day to get them all done. Sounds like a Project Runway nightmare, right? Check out the concentration while they were pinning their pieces together – love it!


Who says girls shouldn’t operate power tools? I remind them “You are the boss of that sewing machine, make it do what YOU want.”  Yeah baby, they sure love being the boss of something. 😉


Focus, problem-solving, task completion, proper sequencing – all of that is going on here.


Ohhh, look. Someone is very meticulous about her sewing!


And how about these finished products? Cute, cozy, and individual!


They left tired, happy with their ponchos, and I headed for the couch! With a slight detour thru the kitchen to pour a VERY large glass of wine. 😉

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen




Kids know how to have fun

Fabric + sewing machines + kids = let the good times roll.

Ironing tubes for bag straps

There is really little that ismore fun that a studio full of kids working on a sewing project. The energy and comraderie is just amazing, and being around these young girls definitely makes you feel all is right with the world. They like to help each other. They want to share their knowledge.

Happy kids sewing

They are much more interested in the process than the outcome. They work hard, but don’t obsess over minor problems.

Stitching at Sew Camp

Did I mention they also giggle? A lot!

Turning tubes for bag straps

Do yourself a big favor, and pass along one of your gifts to a group of kids. You will gain much more in the process than they will. I guarantee it!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Want to become a bag-lady (or gent)?

Are you wondering what to do with your kids on Veteran’s Day, a “school-only” holiday when you may need to work or want to have lunch with a girlfriend?

I have an answer for you – sign them up for a mini-sew-camp! That’s right, a one-day, action-packed, fun-filled session on November 12th  from 9:30-3:30. The focus of this session will be BAGS. Depending on the skill level of the attendees, the project for this session could range from a lined drawstring tote to a mini messenger bag. You can always use another bag in your house, right?

The minimum age for attendees is 8, and the maximum number of students is also 8. Sign-up is easy. Just download the KSC Registration – OneDay form (Adobe Reader required), fill in all the pertinent details, enclose a check, and pop it in the mail.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

10 Lies Sewists Like to Tell Their Husbands about Sewing Retreats


  1. Drinking while sewing is not allowed.
  2. There is no wifi at camp.
  3. Fabric shopping is not possible – after all – retreat is at a summer camp in the mountains.
  4. Lights are required to be out at 10:00 p.m. every night.
  5. I don’t want to be away from you for the weekend, but since I am a board member I am required to go on retreat.
  6. No snacking between meals allowed, so it will be easy to stay on my diet.
  7. My cell phone has no service at the camp.
  8. There is a prize for the person who sews up the most fabric from their stash over the weekend.
  9. I will finish your <shirts> <pants> <jacket><underwear> before starting any projects of my own.
  10. Of course I’ll be home in plenty of time to make a delicious, home-cooked meal Sunday night.

Ready for the real story? Three days without cooking, cleaning, or household chores, and nothing but non-stop sewing time with all of your best girl friends – that’s what a sewing retreat is all about!

In case it has been more than 15 minutes since your last mouthful – the treat table!

Never enough treats

Yes, ANOTHER red jacket for Evelyn!


I hate Fran. Every stinkin’ thing she makes is beyond adorable. So cute I won’t even show you the darling baby bib she was making here.


Why is Wendy wearing Gaylen’s dress? Oh! Because it matches her socks!

Wendy modeling Gaylen's dress

Susy is so cheerful about making those charity tote bags. Oh, maybe it was really because she got to sit next to me all weekend. 😉

Susy is happy at sewcamp

Molly likes to concentrate while serging.

Molly concentrating while Paula and Saralynsew

How many pairs of scrubs did you make, Judy? Complete with embroidery?

Judy "Scrubs"

My gorgeous, elegant, talented roomie, Virginia!


It’s not that bad, Saralyn. Kate is almost done hammering.


Python pajama top for a 90-something mom, modeled by a much younger Donna. Cool!

Donna modelingPJ top

That’s it until spring, when we tell more lies about the discipline and productivity event known as a Greater Seattle ASG retreat!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen