Starting a New Chapter

Developing a Contact List of Potential Members

If you are interested in forming an Association of Sewing and Design Professionals (ASDP) Chapter in your area, you might consider creating a team of two or more people to work on this together. Having a partner or a team helps keep enthusiasm going and lightens the load for each person involved.

The places that you would look to find a partner or team are the same places that you'll look to find your potential members. You first need to find someone who is as interested as you are in pulling the Chapter together. Item 1 below is a great place to find a partner who is already familiar with the Association.

The following are good places to begin to look for potential members:

  1. The Association's online Membership Directory for regional members who live nearby
  2. A local sewing group that may have members who run their own businesses
  3. Businesses in the area that cater to sewers, such as sewing schools, high-end fabric shops, embellishment companies, embroidery and quilting services, bridal and eveningwear shops, drycleaners that employ dressmakers, sewing factories, etc.
  4. Fashion departments in local universities, colleges, community colleges, and local art schools that offer sewing or fiber courses for faculty members in both their regular programs and their continuing education programs
  5. Local yellow pages advertisements for sewing businesses
  6. Business cards posted on bulletin boards at fabric stores, supermarkets, public spaces, etc.
  7. The Association's national office may be contacted for a listing of people in your area who requested information about the Association, and for a listing of previous Association members from your area.


People often respond better to a personal phone call than to a piece of unsolicited mail that may be misinterpreted as junk mail. During a phone call you can give information, ascertain the person's interest, answer questions, and gather information (mailing address, email, etc.). Once you know that they're interested, tell them the Association has a website where they can find more information (, and that you will send them some informational paperwork (a listing of membership benefits, an application form, an invitational letter to the first/upcoming meeting, a map or directions to the location of the meeting, and anything else you feel might be useful).

Potential members will be interested in learning of the benefits of joining the Association. It will also be helpful to have an idea of when and where your first meeting will be held. Letting these potential members know their ideas can impact the Chapter's decisions allows them to become excited about their part in the creation of a new Chapter.

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Chapter Start-Up Procedures

A minimum of five members is required to start a new chapter. Three of the five must be a Formal, Retired, Educational Institution, or Emeritus member of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals. These three will serve as temporary officers (President, Treasurer and Secretary) of the new Chapter until elections are held. Student and Intern members may be counted toward the required minimum of five members.

Contact the Vice President of Chapter Relations,, to request a Chapter Start-Up Packet.

Choose a name for the proposed chapter.

Read the document entitled Chapter Dues (in your Chapter Start-up Packet), and determine an amount for annual chapter dues.

A Chapter Start-up Advance of $150 is available from the national organization, to allow your chapter to open a bank account and cover start-up expenses. The initial chapter dues collected will be used to reimburse this advance. Once it is fully repaid, future chapter dues will be distributed to the chapter each month.

Complete and submit the items listed below to the Vice President of Chapter Relations.

  1. Chapter Agreement
  2. Chapter Roster
  3. Membership Applications for any chapter members new to the Association (with payment for national dues and application fee)
  4. Chapter Dues payments from all chapter members


Please keep copies of all pages of the Chapter Agreement and any additional documents for your Chapter's files.

Read and follow the instructions in the document entitled Chapter Business and Tax Matters (in your Chapter Start-up Packet).

Read and follow the Chapter By-laws. These bylaws are available on the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Website, and a copy is included in your Chapter Start-Up packet. This document outlines how the chapter will operate.

PROMOTE YOUR CHAPTER! See samples in the Chapter Start-up Packet.

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Organizing Your First Meeting

Determine a location that is willing to provide space at low/no cost. For example, try fabric or sewing-related stores, art or fashion design schools, libraries, museums, county extension offices, recreation council buildings, religious buildings, retirement community meeting rooms or someone's home.

Visit the location prior to the meeting date and make sure that it is easy to find. An appropriate location requires adequate parking, restroom facilities, tables, chairs, etc. Create a map and/or directions to mail to potential members.

Use meeting room walls to display:

  • posters showing membership benefits
  • lists of potential chapter events and activities
  • map showing locations of other chapters


Set up a tabletop display of written materials:

  • books and magazine articles written by Association members
  • Threads magazines containing the Threads Challenge articles
  • Association newsletters*
  • samples of National Educational Conference brochures*


*Available for download and printing from

Consider preparing a folder for each member containing documents such as the Association's mission statement, a list of membership benefits, the duties of each Board of Directors position, a personal information sheet to fill out, a Membership Application, the proposed budget (if you have one established) and an agenda for that month's meeting.

Even if you are successful in establishing a Chapter at your first organizational meeting, it is a good idea to repeat the description of the Association at the second meeting. New members will appreciate a second opportunity to grasp the details and potential members will be hearing it for the first time. Repeating the self-introductions also helps members begin to remember each other. An appropriate program at an early meeting is a Show-and-Tell - another excellent way for members to get to know each other.

Because the Association follows Robert's Rules of Order, it is suggested that Chapters adopt a business-like style with their meetings and purchase their own copy of Robert's Rules (the simple version is fine) for their reference.

Click here for a list of chapter programming ideas.

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