BYU to host sewing conference

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    By Sarah Bastian

    Two hundred fifty women armed with scissors, thimbles, pins, tape measures and seam rippers will arrive on campus Wednesday, June 6.

    The Intermountain Sewing and Needle Arts Conference will be held at the Conference Center from Wednesday, June 6, to Saturday, June 9.

    The conference will hold classes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Wednesday, June 6 to Friday, June 8. Two day-long classes will be held on Saturday, June 9.

    Classes include instruction on sewing techniques and projects, how to get designs published and how to run a sewing camp for children. The Saturday classes will be on fitting fundamentals and beginning smocking.

    “There”s lecture classes where they just go to listen and learn,” said Catherine Burham, an associate professor in the School of Family Life, who organized the conference. “Then there”s hands-on classes where they”re sewing a project.”

    Burnham said the participants of the conference are mostly women who know how to and love to sew.

    “A lot of these women do it for their families, for personal enjoyment and some have their own businesses,” she said.

    Burnham said major sewing machine companies are going to be represented at the conference, as well as several national teachers.

    There will also be a vendor area for participants to shop if they have extra time, she said.

    Laurel Hornberger, program assistant at the Conference Center, said the sewing conference has grown since last year, when there were fewer classes, instructors and participants.

    The sewing conference is both old and new to BYU.

    The original sewing and needlecraft conference began in 1982, organized by Della Steineckert, then a professor in the Clothing and Textiles Department.

    “Back in 1982, sewing was a big deal,” Steineckert said. “There were no opportunities where people that wanted to learn specific skills could learn it without having to go to a university to take a full semester course.”

    The conference was very successful over the 14 years she was in charge of it. Nationally known lecturers would contact her for opportunities to teach and speak, she said.

    At its peak, the conference attracted over 600 participants, Steineckert said.

    “We just had a good time,” she said.

    Steineckert began having health problems in 1996 and was unable to plan the conference anymore. No one took her place, so the conference was not organized for four years.

    It was restarted a year ago.

    Last year, one of the directors at the Conference Center thought it would be good idea to get it going again, Burnham said.

    “There are women who are so excited we are doing it again,” she said.

    Even though the conference has a history at BYU, Burnham said they will have to see how successful the conference is.

    “We used to have a national attendance,” Burnham said. “We just have to see if we keep improving.”

    Even though Steineckert has not helped organize the conference, she also has not completely broken all ties to it. She said she is teaching a flat pattern design and pattern alteration workshop this year.

    The conference is sponsored by the School of Family Life, Home Economics Education and the Division of Continuing Education.

    The conference costs $130 for the full conference and $74 for one day. It costs $170 for students getting 1 credit hour of Family Life and Home Economics 395R.

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