How should I write about my Camp Workroom Social experience? Where do I even begin? What happens at Camp Workroom Social stays at Camp Workroom Social? It was such a great experience that I don’t really know where to start. I don’t use the word magical lightly, but it was so special and magical, that you kind of just had to be there.
How about I just start from the beginning? Camp Workroom Social was the brainchild of Jennifer Wiese of the sewing studio Workroom Social in Brooklyn, NY. I found out about it through someone I follow on Instagram who had made a pair of Ginger Jeans. The rabbit hole that followed, led me to a class that the Ginger Jeans pattern designer Heather Lewenza was teaching at Camp Workroom Social. I had previously said I never wanted to make jeans, but she got me with the promise of no more “peek-a-booty”.
Workroom Social, the studio, specializes in garment sewing (and screen printing) classes, so the camp was basically a big extension of that, where we got to be totally immersed in the class of our choice for a weekend. That is what I thought it was going to be, but what I experienced was so much more.
I don’t have a lot of friends at home that are as obsessed with sewing as me (a common thing I heard at camp), but I easily convinced my friend Cheryl to join me. Since I had only been to NY once for work, I wanted to go a day early, so Cheryl and I travelled to NY from Seattle together and then met up with some other folks on their way to camp and shared an Airbnb in Brooklyn with them.
Rebecca, Suzi, Cheryl and I in front of the Brooklyn Museum.
I felt a little like Kimmy Schmidt in NYC. We hadn’t even gotten to the actual camp yet and I was having so much fun that I couldn’t believe there was more. We quickly bonded with our Airbnb buds and we had a wonderful evening exploring Brooklyn together.
How I felt in Brooklyn. Photo by my new friend Suzi.
The next morning, we took the subway to the bus and that was an adventure in and of itself. My luggage was literally bursting at the seams and I sacrificed my water bottle to the streets of Brooklyn on the way. That was all that was lost though, so I thought we were off to a pretty good start!
Marrie, Suzi and Rebecca.
Cheryl and I on the subway to the bus to camp!
The location for Camp Workroom Social was a magical (yes I am using the word magical again) place called the Frost Valley YMCA. It’s a 5,000 acre, year round camp and is located in the Catskill mountains, just two and a half hours north of NYC. Not only was it amazingly beautiful, but it was just an impressive facility as a whole. They were super conscious of food allergies there, so there were plenty of non dairy options for me. They also strived for zero waste in the dining hall and had a composting system in place for food waste. We weren’t the only group there, so I was just overall impressed with the flow of things, how well they managed large groups and how nice the staff was.
Our sleeping accommodations were also great and I had the best roommates. I wasn’t as good with getting up and down from my top bunk as I remember being when I was a kid, but I got better at it as the weekend went on.
The wonderful ladies of bunk #12.
The first night we had “Camp Games”, which were probably exactly what you would think they are; goofy games meant for 6th graders at summer camp. Now picture a bunch of women who just met, walking around a gym acting like robots and saying sheep and boing without showing any teeth, and it basically ended up being a hilarious ice breaker.
The walk to the sewing hall.
Our beautiful well-lit sewing room.
My sewing station for the weekend.
As for my jean-making class, jean-making “intensive” was right. At times the pace felt like I was on an episode of Project Runway and I was always about a step behind, but I was having too good of a time to be stressed. Heather and her two assistants: textile designer Whitney Crutchfield and Sonja Gingerich of Ginger Makes (who I found out is the namesake for the Ginger Jeans) were so great and super helpful. Whitney spent hours staring at my butt (there was a lot of butt-gazing going on) to help find the perfect pocket placement and the pockets are perfectly placed thanks to her. Sonja was just so damn nice and answered all of my questions and never made me feel like any of them were stupid.
There were sample jeans in various sizes for us to try on and Heather took the time with each and every one of us to verify that we had the right size. She then gave us feedback on how to make alterations so they would fit better. She did the same thing at the end, with our finished jeans, and gave us tips for future pairs. She kept us on track and made sure we all went home with home with a finished pair of jeans. I don’t think we would have if she hadn’t.
Starting to look like jeans!
Posing in our finished jeans!
The Ginger Jeans really are an amazing jean pattern. It was so cool to see how well everyone’s finished jeans fit them. I can’t believe I made a pair of jeans in a weekend. I might have worn them for four days straight after that. 😉
View from the archery range.
The last day we had more camp activities. You could choose between a hike, rock climbing, zip-lining and archery and I chose archery. It was such a beautiful day and it felt good to relax a little bit and be outside.
Final meal at camp with awards ceremony. Jennifer gets presented with an award of her own.
Last day of camp. Packing up the bus to head back to NYC.
When camp was over and we arrived back in the city, Cheryl and I had one more evening in NYC. Since we still hadn’t been to Mood Fabrics, that was first on the agenda. There were a few other camp stragglers, so we all banded together for a shopping trip to Mood and some drinks after. I was already getting nostalgic, so it was nice to have one more night with a few folks.
Mood Fabrics in NYC. Imagine this times 3 floors of about 15 aisles of bolts like this! Crazy.
One of my fave new friends from camp, Miss Alex, amid the bolts and bolts of fabric at Mood.
We want ALL the fabric!
Before I wrap this is up, I just want emphasize what an amazing experience this was. The word “amazing” got thrown around a lot that weekend, but it really was the best word for how I think we all felt. It was such an organized event and felt flawlessly delivered. The were close to 100 of us there and when I first arrived at camp Jennifer greeted me by name. The communication leading up to and during camp was great. If something changed, she let us know. Jennifer Wiese is a mad woman when it comes to planning and I cannot believe this was the first year of this event.
I can’t remember the last time I got to be so care-free and I don’t think I was the only one that felt that way. The sewing nerd talk started on the bus on the way there and didn’t stop all weekend and none of us ever seemed to tire of it. Getting to meet so many lovely and like-minded women in one weekend was such a gift. This is definitely something I would like to become a yearly event that I attend, just like the summer camps of our youth were. Thank you Jen for creating such a wonderful, positive experience and I can’t wait until next year!