Virtual Retreats

GillyMac Designs is delighted to announce the Winter 2019 Virtual Retreat is now open for bookings. The Winter 2019 Virtual Retreat will take place from Friday 1st November to Sunday 3rd November and it all happens from the comfort of your own sewing table! Read on for more details.    

Normal retreats take place away from home, often with people that you don’t know and can be quite costly. For many people this is perfect, but for others, one or more of these factors is prohibitive. It is for this reason that GillyMac Designs has devised the Virtual Retreat.

What is a Virtual Retreat hosted by GillyMac Designs? 

Winter 2019 Retreat – Christmas Wreath Project

This is a weekend of sewing with 15 hours of mixed live tuition and personal sewing from the comfort of your home. During the Virtual Retreat, the group will be making  the  GillyMac Christmas Wreath Quilt which could be used as a wall hanging or additional borders could be added to make a gorgeous lap quilt. The Quilt measures 35 ½” x 35 ½”  During the weekend, we will also practise the simple doodle designs that form the quilting for this project.

GillyMac ZipAway Tote

There is also a bonus smaller project – for Saturday night – and this will be the ZipAway Tote. The ZipAway tote is a tote in its own integral zipped pouch … very clever indeed. Included in the price of the retreat is the pattern and a full kit for the ZipAway Tote.

GillyMac ZipAway Tote

The weekend will kick off on Friday night with the reveal of your Bespoke Retreat Box which will be sent to you in advance. This box has been curated for Retreat participants and contains a mixture of quality sewing supplies and mini gifts to get you buzzing from the very start.  

The event will be held over Facebook in a closed group which is only available for the participants. The live videos will all be saved to this group and they can be watched as many times as you like, even after the retreat is over. 

What are the logistics of the Winter Virtual Retreat ? 

Winter 2019 Virtual Retreat Project

The Winter Virtual Retreat will run from 7pm on Friday 1st November to 3pm on Sunday 3rd November.

The Facebook group will open to participants at least a week before the retreat and will be open to re-watch the videos for a further 6 months after the retreat is over.

Active cutting/sewing/creative time will be from 7pm-9pm on Friday, 10am-7pm on Saturday and 10am – 3pm on Sunday.  Facebook lives will be instructional, like regular classes. If you want to replay these instructional videos, this will be possible as soon as the ‘live’ is over. This will allow you to see something again immediately or watch it at a more convenient time if this suits you better.  

What’s included in the price of the Virtual Retreat?

  • 16 hours of mixed live tuition and personal sewing over 2 days and 1 evening
  • A pattern for the weekend project (the GillyMac Christmas Wreath Quilt) 
  • Bonus Pattern for GillyMac Christmas Pouch
  • Bonus Pattern (and full kit)  for the optional Saturday Night Project (ZipAway Tote)
  • A Bespoke Retreat Box, full of quality goodies delivered to you for the weekend’s enjoyment.  
  • Spot Prizes throughout the weekend

What you’ll need to have for the weekend ? 

  1. An internet connection and Facebook account.
  2. Fabric for the GillyMac Christmas Wreath Quilt  (requirements will be sent to you at time of booking) – kits will be available to purchase in September
  3. Sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat and a ruler.

How much is this Virtual Retreat and how do I book it ? 

The price of the GillyMac Virtual Retreat is £135 and places are limited. An early bird discount rate of £110 for the retreat is available for bookings taken from 22nd July  to 31st August. Click here to book your space on the Virtual Retreat. Places are limited.

Will fabric kits be available to purchase?  

Yes, kits will be available to purchase in September.

What happens if I get stuck with the sewing, who will help me ? 

Throughout the weekend there will be live instructional videos and Gill and a colleague will be online answering your questions and cheerleading your progress and helping you get the very most from the experience. 

What happens if I can’t be available for the whole weekend or miss a part of the retreat?  

All the instructions and Facebook Lives videos will available in the group for you to replay at your convenience, meaning there is no chance of you missing out on the tuition.   If you need to pop out or do something else for a short time you will be able to catch up with all the teaching when you get back.

Who is GillyMac Designs ? 

Gill Towell

Gill Towell set up GillyMac Designs in 2014. In those few 5 years, Gill’s classes have won awards for their work. Gill provides classes from her studio in Berkshire as well as at the Festival of Quilts and also for Liberty of London. Gill has a large online community of sewists and quilters and is very familiar with providing instructional teaching over Facebook lives.   

If you have any further questions please contact Gill on mail@gillymacdesigns.com

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What Past Retreat Participants are Saying …….


Such a fabulous idea – I really enjoyed working on a project with other people from all around the country……can’t wait for the next one. Tracey F

Summer 2019 Retreat Participant


The virtual retreat was a fabulous weekend idea, masterminded and managed expertly by Gill. From the arrival of our Goodie Box, through the cutting out, Smarties Challenge, reverse sewing, fabulous fabrics, cats & dog, great encouragement, getting A & B mixed up, hints and tips and regular video tuition catch-ups I cannot enthuse enough about how much I have enjoyed the inaugural GillyMac Virtual Retreat. Oh, the Bingo too – how can we forget that! Gill’s generosity is fabulous- I can’t wait for the Winter Virtual Retreat. Thanks you all Elaine C

Summer 2019 Retreat Particpant


The Retreat has been great fun and given me the confidence to try something completely different, it’s been lovely to be part of a fab team without having to leave home. Can’t wait for the next one! Lx

Summer 2019 Retreat Participant


Valuable experience for anyone who finds travelling a barrier when getting to a venue. Being able to go back and view a video session again makes it easier to catch up. This also means that you don’t have to make copious notes. Everyone was so encouraging, especial Gill

Summer 2019 Retreat Particpant


The virtual retreat was a wonderful idea and something great to try! Really looking forward to the next one!

Summer 2019 Retreat Participant


Gills a awesome teacher. I’ve been blessed to be on a residential three day retreat and just finished a virtual 2 1/2 day retreat. What I know about Gill is she really meet you at your ability she doesn’t make you feel silly if the others are advanced she is such an encourager & inspiration. I’ve been blessed to be on a residential three day retreat and just finished a virtual 2 1/2 day retreat. What I truly know about Gill is she will meet you at your ability she doesn’t make you feel silly if the others are advanced she is such an encourager and is willing to help you on a one to one. Nothing is too much of a problem for her. I’m quite disabled and no feeling in my hands. But I’ve always found my way around those problems with her help. I Must mention the glorious GillyMac box 📦 of goodies that turned up just before the virtual retreat. Like Christmas. It’s a no brainier GillyMac Retreats are worth it for the teaching And comradeship. Mrs J. M Marsh

Summer 2019 Retreat Particpant


A lovely experience and an excellent new concept. Brilliant idea Gillymac. Jill


Not only an excellent lesson but also a lovely box of quilting goodies. Nice touch. Maureen Aspinwall