Join us in the run-up to Christmas to get your home ready for this beautiful time of year.
At the ‘Christmas housewarming sewing‘ sessions we’ll be sewing fun (or chic if you prefer): fabric wreaths, advent bunting, fabric ball-balls, reindeer head cushions, tea towels, placemats or table runners.
Check dates and book a session online to join us here.
We’ll also be making home-made Christmas gifts – easy but beautiful gifts for family and friends. From iPad stands, baby booties, stocking for every family member, lace cape for the celebration season and any of the above home warming makes from the too.
Bring your chosen fabric and top your colour scheme up with some fabric or buttons on sale from my haberdashery.
Check out the items that we’ll be making below on my Christmas Housewarming Sewing pinterest board.
So my mother-in-law gets the TV listings sent to her monthly – she then peruses it with great care and calls me with enthusiasm if she sees anything of interest.
So with excitement – I announce that there’s another series of (drumroll)
‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ which starts THIS coming Thursday on BBC2 at 8pm.
So stick it in the diary or set to record it – there’s always something to learn or even simply interesting to see how others tackle projects and sewing challenges and great to get the creative juices flowing!
Ealing Town Hall, W5
Wednesday 26 November
12 – 6.30pm
Bring and swap your pre-loved clothing, shoes and accessories at this free local event.
“Swishing extends the life of clothes and accessories, increasing value for money and reducing the impact of textiles ending up in landfill. According to research, an average of 30% of clothes in households, equating to roughly 1.7billion items, are not worn over the course of a year. That’s a startling figure.”
Fab for getting a new outfit for the work Christmas party. See you there!
OK, so if you now know where your machine’s flywheel is and know what a bobbin looks like, how to fill it and where it goes…. and perhaps getting to grips with how to sew a straight-ish line… then you might want to find a few projects that are not too hard and build some confidence using the skills you’ve learnt.
Tip: Don’t jump straight to a dress pattern as it’s important that you don’t get demotivated and throw your machine out the window!
Check out these 2 boards below on pinterest – I have gathered projects that are at the right level for beginners to sew a few projects from so that you can get a few wins under your belt:
Keeping motivated and doing smaller projects is best. Have fun!
Lillian Weber is 99-years-old and makes a dress for a small girl in Africa every single day.
By next May 6, when Lillian Weber celebrates her 100th birthday, her tally will reach 1,000 handmade dresses donated. In the past two years she’s finished more than 840 of them.
Purposeful sewing that makes a difference – love it!
Here are some tips to help you to get sewing between chores, after work, whilst your baby sleeps or when that strap breaks!
Get your machine out and leave it out. If your machine is easy to get to, then pulling up a chair and getting those trousers hemmed will be more achievable. This will help even if the spot where it stays is not where you will use it. Rather use the time it would have taken to find the machine to sew instead. Tip: Pop a cover or towel over it to keep it dust free.
Join a sewing ‘meeting’. Set time and money aside just like you would for a meeting, school run or coffee with a friend. Once a week/ month or even every second month will help develop your skills, wardrobe and sewing is wonderfully therapeutic. Groups are starting in W5 and W13 now so tell me when and how often you want to meet.
Keep all your thread in one place, close by – even if it’s a messy box of threads. If they’re in one place you’ll instantly know if you have the colour or not. It’s obvious but you can’t sew without thread.
Keep a little note book at your machine. Write down the name of each project and list the steps involved to get it done as you work it out mentally. This way you’ll immediately know what needs doing – even if you’ve only got a few minutes to do a bit of unpicking, pinning etc. Getting you sewing instead of using your precious sewing time to figure it out (again and again) and never actually getting it done!
More bobbins equals less bobbin filling. Don’t run small quantities of different colours over each other. Rather get a stock of empty bobbins and run the bobbin full. This way you’re more likely to have a bobbin with the colour you need for those quick sewing jobs.
Happy sewing 2014!
Know how to use your sewing machine but want to get creative? Learn how to do decorative freehand embroidery designs with your sewing machine.
Great for card making, gifts picture in a frame, fun appliqué on a dress or pillowcase, customise an old item of clothing with these techniques. So get started: book online – Freehand Sewing Machine Embroidery class with teacher Katie (pics of her creations!). Class includes sewing machine set up, different techniques, ideas to get you designing and practice your technique.
Don’t know how to use your sewing machine yet? Book online – Sewing Machine Skills class.
I’m excited to give you a run down of the latest classes.. doing the class timetable right now.. we have small classes of 4-6 people and offer classes on Saturdays, Tuesday & Thursday mornings and weekday evenings for the 2 hour classes. Why not spend the holiday making some beautiful things. Let me know which you’d like to join us for!
2 hour classes cost £25 – Tuesday/ Thursday evenings
3 hour classes cost £35 – Tuesday/ Thursday 10am-1pm or Saturday 10.30am-1.30pm / 3am-6pm
(Current prices expiring 30 Sept 2013)
…for all levels
Supervised Sewing Groups – 3 hour session, £15 bring own project
Know how to use your machine but lack confidence to start (or finish) a project on your own? Join us for cake, tea and most importantly advice and guidance at hand.
- Machine sewing skills – 3 hour class, £35 (Skill: Beginners/ Refreshers)
Threading the machine, sewing in a straight line, which stitches to use when, technique, troubleshooting, basic concepts of making things. Hire a machine for £5 or dust yours off and get back into the swing of things again.
- Cutting & choosing fabrics – 2 hour class, £25 (Skill: Beginners)
Understanding different fabrics: characteristics, buying, cutting, how much to buy. Which needles, thread, foot pressure to use. (Related class: Following a pattern for intermediate)
- Alterations – 2 hour class, £25
All skill levels. Find out how to tackle those repairs & alterations you didn’t think you could do yourself! Take garments in/out, hemming, darning, broken zips, etc.
- PJ bottoms – 3 hour class, £35 bring own fabric (Skill: Beginners)
Make a pair of comfy, chilling-out-on-the-couch PJ bottoms.
- Zips & button holes – 2 hour class, £25 (Skill: Beginners)
Zips made easy! Make neat buttonholes on your machine easily.
- Make a little girl’s dress – 3 hour class, £35 bring own fabric
Make a little girl’s dress pillowcase dress or pinafore including button hole.
- Following a pattern – 3 hour class, £35 bring own fabric
Learn what all the abbreviations and terms mean. How to cut the fabric out and steps in using a clothing pattern. Including basics of sizing a pattern to your measurements.
- Curtains – 2 hour class, £25
Learn and practice the basics of making your own lined hanging curtains and save hundreds of pounds. Fabric calculations also included.
- Little girl’s dress theory only – 2 hour class, £25
Learn the basics of making little girl’s dresses which are size adjustable ideas and tricks to make them fit for longer.
See you soon for a cuppa tea and some sewing!
Buying a new machine should be fun – after all, you’re excited about all the beautiful things you see yourself making once you have it! But making a decision can be rather daunting.
New vs 2nd hand: I find my clients are usually surprised how affordable a new sewing machine is and often consider buying 2nd hand before looking at the prices of a new machine. Currently, you can buy a new machine for the same price as a sewing machine service would cost. So I suggest buying a new machine as you just don’t know which parts are worn and may conk out at any time (this might not be the case for industrial machines and overlockers).
But please DO save any sewing machines your family might not be using anymore – a good clean and oil can do wonders for an ol’ gal.
Function: You only need 3 stitches on your machine to do basic and even intermediate sewing – clothing repairs, alteration, making garments and interiors (not upholstery which requires an industrial sewing machine due to the thicknesses of fabrics):
- Straight stitch: Basic stich used to sew
- Zig-zag stitch: is used to sew around the edge of fabric (to prevent fraying) if you do not have an overlockering machine. You don’t need an overlocker – it simply looks neater and more professional and saves time by combining the straight stitch and anti-fraying stitch into one, so saves time.
- Button hole stitch: At some point you will need to make button holes (not as daunting as it might seem) so good to have.
- Adjustable stitch length: This allows you to set your machine to any variation of stitch length – machines without this can only be set to specified lengths: usually small, medium or long stitches. It is definitely a benefit to have complete control of the length, especially for appliqué. If possible stitch width adjustment on all stitches (not only on zig zag) is also preferable but not necessary.
Bobbin position: Top-loading vs front loading: Generally speaking, if you can afford a machine with a top-loading bobbin slot, then get it. Front loading bobbins are more fiddly and there is more chance of getting thread jammed with a front loading machine. If you have one of these – it’ll work perfectly fine so don’t worry.
Where to shop: In store or online is fine. I suggest you buy your machine from a sewing machine specialist (as opposed to online 2nd hand websites or a department store or your cousin Vinny) who has after sales support, technical advice and helpline, parts and sometimes offer a free session to get-to-know-your-machine once purchased. You may never need these services but if you do you’ll probably get them free in many instances.
Machine supplier prices are not more expensive so it’s a bargain to have this peace of mind and support at hand and you might even speak to the technician directly in some cases whereas a department store is more likely to send their product away for repair etc.
Can sew, but not touched your sewing machine in many moons? 3 hours away from the chores – remember how to thread your machine and make a cushion to get you back into the swing of things again. Tea, cake and lots of tips at hand. Book now for Saturday 13 October, 2-5pm @W13 8JE
Supervised Sewing Groups:
Wanna get back into sewing or build confidence working on a project on your own? Bring your own project and machine, I’m around to guide you if you get stuck – and of course there’s tea and cake!
Saturdays – 10am-1pm – 3 hour session, £15 @ W13 8JE
1 September, 13 October, 10 November
Group sewing classes:
Can sew but wanna learn a specific skill? These pay-as-you-go style classes teach a specific skill. Feel free to suggest other classes which I’ll include in the schedule in the next few months.
Sewing refresher session – Get back into sewing – 3 hour class, £30 fabric provided (or bring your own)
Can sew, but not touched your machine for many moons? How to thread your machine and make a cushion to get you back into the swing of things again.
Saturday 1 September – 2-5pm @ W13 8JE
Zips & button holes – 2 hour class, £25
Zips made easy! Make neat button holes on your machine. Discover different ways to insert a zip – bring one to have a try on.
Saturday 29 September – 11am-1pm @ W13 8JE
Alterations – 2 hour class, £25
All skill levels. Find out how to tackle those repairs & alterations you didn’t think you could do yourself! Take garments in/out, hemming, darning, broken zips, etc.
Saturday 29 September – 2.30-4.30pm @ W13 8JE
Classes in the (possible) mix for the next few months:
(Please register interest so I can schedule classes you’d like to attend.)
PJ bottoms – 3 hour class, £25 bring own fabric
Make a pair of comfy, chilling-out-on-the-couch PJ bottoms. Easy pattern so join us!
Short fur cape – 2.5 hour class, £25 bring own fabric
Look totally glam this winter! Easy to make pattern.
Following a pattern – 3 hour class, £25 bring own fabric (and pattern is optional)
Learn what all the abbreviations and terms mean. How to cut the fabric out and general ‘how-to’ follow a clothing pattern.
Little girl’s dresses – 3 hour class, £25 bring own fabric
Learn the basics of making little dresses with size adjustable ideas and tricks. Start making one of the designs you like.
Curtains and cushions – 2.5 hour class, £25 bring own fabric
Save hundreds by learning to make your own lined hanging curtains. Fabric calculations explained. Make a cushion and learn about trimmings.
I simply don’t wear pull overs as much as I wear cardigans and zip up jumpers. So when I saw this pull over I almost didn’t buy it BUT instead, I sliced it open up the centre front and sewed a zip in – using my zipper foot on my machine to get right in as close next to the zip as possible.
Check out group class dates and book or express interest. Classes start this weekend.
Classes: Zips & button holes, Cushions and curtains, Alterations, Little girl’s dresses.
So this bag was simply a big hole and everything just bundled into a mess at the bottom. Need some dividers here!
I now have a bag with 2 big divisions and I have more options to put the contents.
1x Dish cloth (with a fun design or colour)
2-4 meters Ribbon to match1 reel Thread to match
- Hold the dish cloth to up to your body as you would like the apron to be positioned when finished.
- Pin the desired positions for the waist ties and measure the desired length.
- Measure the length of the neck strap at the correct height. If you making a gift you could add neck ties to be tied instead of a neck strap. Pin the position of the neck strap/ties.
[Optional: if the dish cloth is too wide across the bust you could add a pleat to the top left and right, under the neck strap positions.]
- Cut the ribbon to the measured lengths and pin and sew in place.
- Remember to edge the ends of the ties to prevent fraying.
Ta daaaa! Have a fun weekend!
Well done Joshny. ‘A’ looks great in her new dress mommy made – especially as this was your first sewing project! Just in time for the spring sun that’s just appeared.
Sew on your own project with guidance, advice and a slice of cake at hand – join us for monthly Supervised Sewing Groups in Ealing.
Stitch & Craft show – London Olympia
15th – 18th March 2012
10am – 5.30pm (closes 5pm Sunday)
I’m excited as it’s another Supervised Sewing Group tomorrow morning but am wondering what to bake – naughty lemon meringues or beautifully healthy muffins?!
I am looking to offer short 2 hour group classes where you learn specific techniques or skills. A bit like pay-as-you-go learn to sew, I guess.
These group classes will be £20 or £25 per class and thought these classes would be useful:
- zips and button holes
- interiors – curtains & cushions
- upcycle your clothes
- understand the planning and constructing of a sewing project
Be great to get feedback please – what do you want to learn?
Watch this space as these classes will be starting in the next few months – probably in a Saturday afternoon or mid-week evening class.
Check out this easy method of making a strip of your favourite fabric or ribbon into a 3D creation that you can attach to a boring t-shirt or cardi to give it new life. Send me a pic of your creations.
Making something you can use or simply something beautiful is very satisfying. But getting half way through a sewing project that is taking A LOT longer than anticipated is horrible – it takes a long time to get the motivation to finish the project or start a new one.
So… make sure the project you start is one that is mostly within your skill but is still a bit of a challenge and allow enough time as I find sewing takes longer than you think. I’d much rather have too many items that are completed than a heap of uncompleted projects starring you in the face! (Having said that – I think of the heap of my own alterations that I never seem to get to!)
Here are a few easy sewing project ideas for beginners:
- Bunting is perfect accessory or gift this year – with the Olympics and Queen’s Jubilee. Fabulous in different brightly coloured fabrics stitched onto ribbon or bias (binding).
- Scatter cushions for the lounge or your bedroom – you can add pretty lace, frills or piping as you advance too.
- Tote bags are handy and practical – fold the bottom of the bag in a few inches before stitching to create a wider base. (Your mum said she’d like one for Mother’s day.)
I just fell in love with this character I came across in a friends house- look how his tail is wrapped around the door handle(below). He’s really easy to make for yourself or a gift – and would look fab in many different patterned fabrics you probably have around the house. You could even stuff him with a bit of dried lavender if you want a smelly cat like the one Phoebe sang about on Friends!
Transform your wardrobe out of the naughties. Why buy more when you have great sewing projects at home. Make a skirt from an old pair of jeans or make a wide pair of trousers skinny and ‘in’. Check out the web for fab ideas like a T-shirt tote bag or mittens made from an old jumper!
I am such a hoarder! So I am rather relieved and chuffed when I can upcycle something instead of throw it away. This was a quick job that I managed to get some time to stitch before this old duvet found its way into my cupboard of STUFF waiting to be transformed – some items in there I have trekked from South Africa 10 years ago!
This is a pic of a bought cardi but can easily be replicated on an old cardi or T-shirt – would look great with a pencil skirt this season.
Don’t like floral print? Why not try contrasting colours or add a few pearls/ beads.
Watch this space for other ideas on how to upcycle your wardrobe.
Well done to Shilpa for beautifully making a hot water bottle cover as her first sewing project at the first of our Supervised Sewing Groups.
If you are not confident sewing on your own and need some guidance or just want to get away from – why not join us for the next Supervised Sewing Group on 3 December. Call me to book a spot!
It’s great to see people getting excited about sewing and getting right stuck into projects. It’s not too late to make some bespoke Christmas presents! Contact me for some fab ideas.
…but I’ve been busy developing another way to get more confidence in sewing as I find it takes people a while. So you can now join other creative people in a group setting and sew on your own projects with me at hand to advise (whilst feeding you cake).
Really experience working on a variety of projects gives you the confidence to regularly take on (and finish) projects on your own. Also getting out of the house and away from chores and responsibilities helps to get those projects done and you learning from others in the group too.
Why not pop along to Supervised Sewing Groups – only £5 for your 1st session!
Currently 1st Saturday each month, 10am – 1pm @ £15 (discounts when you bring a friend)
Let me know when would suit you as we may have others interested too.
Yay, so I’ve been very busy getting Sewwhat? looking a bit more professional…
check out Sewwhat? chilling on the couch before the Easter Fair in Ealing tomorrow.
How exciting – sun, shades, jumping castle and hopefully there will be some mums
who wanna learn to sew!