1. Take way more stuff than you think you will be able to work on.
I want to be sure that I take projects of all kinds and at various levels of being finished so that if I want to work on something quick I can. I will also be taking something that I can do away from the sewing table -- like binding or crochet. This time around I had packed 10 projects, 4 things to bind and have several fabric bundles if I stall out on all my other projects. Now I didn't get to several of them but I was able to complete quite a bit thanks to organization of the projects (i'd really like to make some of these project folders that Crazy mom has made).
2. drink lots of water, eat healthier snacks and take walking breaks
This decreases the likelihood of sausage feet (when the ankles and feet take on the characteristics of water balloons and walking becomes excruciating) and it allows for more time to socialize and see what everyone else is doing. Hydration also keeps the brain flowing and when you are sewing at 2 am you need all the extra brain power you can muster.
3. take an additional work surface
Folding side tables are a must for these events. It was one of the first things I packed this time. This is also a great place to tie off or tape a trash bag. It's extra space to lay items out on and the padded ones are great if you have a mini iron (also packed).
4. don't worry about cute clothes
Comfort is king with marathon sewing. t-shirts / tank tops and yoga pants are dress code. you might want a pair of jeans, if you plan on leaving the event. Do take a sweater or coat --the more clothes that you take the less room for sewing stuff (especially if you are flying or sharing a ride).
5. precut projects if you can
the cutting and ironing stations are usually busy places and sometimes it's hard to get a few things cut out / ironed let alone a whole project. Keep those maybe projects on hand though -- you never know when inspiration might strike and you pick up that uncut bundle to start something completely different. Also if you have moments of insomnia this can be a great time to cut a whole project.
6. a chair cushion might be your BFF
(this is the one I made for Mallory -- it's overstuffed and gonna be a great addition to her sewing space) Aside from dreaded sausage feet, back pain was the other thing slowing me down because those chairs are not good for lengthy sitting periods. Take a large throw pillow -- it also can help if you have a height issue with the table (I'm a shortie).
8.Teach someone something new / learn something new
Quilters are awesome people and sharing knowledge is powerful. I usually take my accuquilt and teach several people how to use it, which lead to teaching people about piecing curves. Quilt tools are awesome and this is a great place to find out about new ones. This is also a great avenue for meeting new people.
My first stash bash was a great experience but this 2nd time around I knew more of what to expect and it was even better. Every retreat is different and teaches something new but I know that I will be able to use these tips each time and have a successful retreat.