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The Sewing Weekender 2018

Kate, Rachel  and Charlotte have only gone and done it again.

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Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.

Let me set the scene. Imagine a gathering of one hundred sewing enthusiasts. Bring them together in the wonderful setting of Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. Provide them with a smashing Janome sewing machine to use, should they desire, or allow them to bring their own and throw in several overockers, irons and ironing boards, and inspiring guest speakers.

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Provide lunch, tea and coffee breaks, evening meal suggestions and accommodation arrangements and breakfast the following day. Not forgetting some incredible sponsorship which allowed the event to take place (and provide a fabulous goody bag – eek)!

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Plus a great deal more… There you have it – the perfect weekend.

I was very lucky to have been able to grab a ticket when they went up for sale in May. I bought a ‘bring your own machine’ ticket and also booked one night’s accommodation at the college. I was lucky enough to attend last year also, so had a good idea of what a great weekend I had in store!

After the initial arrival and settling in, a well timed tea/coffee break was the perfect opportunity to gather together and catch up with old friends and new. Due to the increased ticket numbers this year there were two large separate sewing rooms in use.

 

 

My sewing project was New Look 6446, which I had recently purchased from Sewessential. I clearly did more chatting than sewing and barely made any progress on it all weekend, but it will of course feature on the blog some time soon – when I have finished it!

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Lots of excited sewing and chat followed and took us through until lunchtime when we all headed up to The Dome dining room.

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Saturday afternoon gave us the opportunity to listen to two inspiring talks from Sheona from Sewisfaction and Frances from The Maker’s Atelier. These fabulous women gave us all an insight into their businesses and how they were created.  Rather disappointingly my pictures of all the speakers this weekend are not the best, so I hope that you might be able to grab a glimpse of these on other blogs/vlogs on this event.

More sewing and chat followed, more chat than sewing in my case,  a further tea and coffee break, and finally at 6pm day one came to an end.

That evening we all gathered to head on out for an evening meal and some drinks. This gave us the opportunity to catch up with those that may not have been sewing in the same room, and it was a great evening spent with some lovely ladies.

 

After a comfortable night in the College accommodation, we all met for breakfast at 9am. Following this were more wonderful talks, this time from Harriet from The Clothing Care Co. who talked about how to care for your clothes – do check out her new book here, and Karen from Did You Make That who gave any aspiring authors amongst us some valuable tips!

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Myself and Sheona with the author herself.

Throughout the weekend there was a fabric and pattern swap table available to dip in and out of, and 2hr workshops were being hosted by Spoonflower where I understand they were teaching about designing your own fabric and the basics of a seamless repeat. Unfortunately these classes were all full so I didn’t get a chance to take part in this one but those that attended looked like they were having a great time.

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Check out all the patterns and fabric up for grabs!
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One of the Spoonflower workshops in full swing.

More tea and coffee was provided to keep us all going, some frantic last minute sewing took place, and all too soon the weekend came to a close at lunchtime, rounded off with the usual group photograph- this year taken indoors due to the rain.

Aside from all the wonderful things mentioned above, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed, the most precious part of the weekend was soaking up the company of so many fabulous  women. It was so lovely to catch up with sewing friends that I have already met before, those that I hadn’t met but felt like I already ‘knew’ thanks to Instagram! and a whole host of other lovely ladies.

Without the kind and generous sponsors, this weekend would be a very different affair, so at risk of missing anyone I will try to list them below.

Janome,  Spoonflower,  Pound Fabrics,  Minerva Crafts,  Sew Me Sunshine, Cotton Reel Studio,  Clothspot,  Sewisfaction,  The Village Haberdashery,  The Draper’s Daughter,  Fabrics Galore,  Sew Over It,  WeaverDee,  Sew Essential,  Remnant Kings,  Cocowawa Crafts,  Dragonfly Fabrics,  Fabricate,  Monaluna,  Sewbox,  Pavilion Books,  Prym,  Crafty Sew and So,  Love Sewing,  Stof and Stil,  Pink Coat Club,  and Simply Sewing,

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I cannot thank Charlotte, Rachel and Kate enough for the incredible amount of hard work and thoughtfulness that has gone into the planning of this weekend. I couldn’t be more grateful. I loved it.

For more pics and links to The Sewing Weekender do search the #sewingweekender tag over on Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe to The Fold Line and English Girl at Home to keep up to date with plans for (hopefully) next year’s event (fingers crossed).

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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A wonderful sewing get-together at The Stitch Room Sewcial and another New Look 6302 Jacket

Last weekend I was lucky enough to have attended the very first ‘Stitch Room Sewcial’ sewing get-together which was held at Loughborough University on June 15th and 16th.

It was organised by Lucy and Anne , who I know have been planning this for a very long time, and was attended by a small number of wonderful sewing enthusiasts that were a real pleasure to spend time with. Lucy and Anne were kindly helped by a friendly team of super assistants who were all keen to make sure the weekend ran smoothly and to schedule. I had met Lucy before and could not wait to spend some time again with this lovely lady, and although I hadn’t met Anne before I knew that she was going to be an inspiration to me as she has an impressive history of TV and theatre work, alongside her tutoring position at the University.

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After we had all arrived, we were welcomed to ‘The Stitch Room’. We each had a domestic sewing machine to use over the course of the two days, and this was the first glimpse of all the the industrial machines that we could also take advantage of too.

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I have never used a Bernina machine before, so it was a good opportunity to try something different.
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Lovely Vicky was my beautiful view for the two days.

Shortly afterwards, and after separating into two groups, we were shown around some of the textile work rooms in the University by the lovely Zara  who used to work at the University before setting up her own screen printing business down in Weston-super-Mare. If anybody is thinking of learning a fun new craft or wants an unusual party idea, and is in that area, then do head on over to Zara’s website for some crafty inspiration.

We started off in the print rooms and were shown a demonstration of screen printing and some wonderful examples of designs that had been produced by the students. Hila gave it a go and produced a lovely example on her very first attempt – impressive!

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Next came a visit to the weave shed, a fabulous room filled with stunning wooden looms (and other equipment), and we were shown around by Rosy. She showed us how traditional looms worked, including sharing with us a stunning scarf that she is currently working on, followed by a noisy demonstration of a machine producing Rosy’s pineapple jacquard. Just beautiful!

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Traditional weaving looms.

Following this, we were treated to a tour of the Stitch Room by Anne, who I quickly found out is the sweetest lady and just bursting with knowledge and kindness. She showed us how the industrial machines worked and how we could use them on the sewing projects that we had brought with us if we wanted.

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Lunch was a very welcome break and gave us a chance to process everything that we had seen that morning and also gave us the opportunity to have a rummage through the fabric and pattern swap table that we had donated items for earlier on in the day. This fantastic cake was made by Becca of Calico and Cake – how talented is she?

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Who doesn’t love a good fabric and pattern swap!

I am still a bit overwhelmed with the contents of the goody bags, and cannot thank all the generous sponsors enough for their lovely gifts. A list of all of the sponsors can be found later on in the blog post.

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Friday afternoon gave us all the opportunity to have professional photographs taken. We each brought 1 or 2 items and had a bit of fun in the photo studio at the University. I look forward to sharing a couple of my latest makes with you when the photos come back. Amongst all these activities there was plenty of sewing and chatting and before we knew it, it was 5pm and time to call it a day. As I live fairly close to the University, I drove home that evening, but I know that those who stayed in the nearby accommodation had a super evening out and a comfortable night in their hotel.

Sunday started with a bang as we had the chance to wander around the Textile Shows and view the work displayed by the students as part of their open day exhibition. I feel any photos will not do these inspiring displays justice, but take my word that the whole experience was pretty special. It is easy to see how the University is so highly regarded in this field.

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A photo session outside later in the day was the cause for more laughter, and here is a rather failed ‘boomerang’ attempt which is too funny still not to share. Thanks to Kara for taking this for me.

Also love this still shot taken by the lovely Corrie, which pretty much sums up the mood of the weekend!

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The rest of the day provided the opportunity for lots more sewing and a chance for myself and Heather to spend some time with Bee who helped us create some wonderful pieces on the University embroidery machines. So thrilled am I with this that it is already mounted in a hoop on my wall to remind me of this time spent with inspiring women.

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Also in the embroidery room there was the opportunity to see Lucy demonstrating one of her machines from Sew Essential. At the time that she was doing this I was having my embroidery lesson from Bee, so didn’t manage to check this out, but I believe it was a coverstitch/overlocking machine with a jersey neckband attachment. Correct me if I’m wrong. How incredible! I am always quite amazed with the amount of machines that Sew Essential have available, do head on over and check them out, I know that Lucy and the team are always more than happy to answer any questions that you may have on any of their items.

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A tempting display from Sew Essential

Lots more sewing and chatting took us to the end of the day, when at 5pm it was time to pack up, say our goodbye’s to old friends and new, and head off home. I cannot thank Anne and Lucy enough for this super experience. Their kindness and generosity is very much appreciated, and spending time with them both has been my absolute pleasure.

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As mentioned, the kind sponsors were also very generous and I would like to link them here for you if you would like to check them out:

@simplicitynewlook,  @mccallpatternuk,  @gutermann_creativ,  @janomeuk,  @tillybuttons,  @colettepatterns,  @jalie_patterns,  @brothersewinguk,  @husqvarnavikinguk,  @pfaffuk,  @sewessentialuk,  @new_vintage_sewing,  @lborouniversity,  @zaraemilydesigner,  @so_sew_beejeu, #babylock, #madeirathread

Finally, although I did not complete my sewing project over the course of those two days, I have since finished it. It’s another New Look 6302 jacket which I recently made and blogged about here, but for this version I used a lovely linen look fabric from Sewessential in this pretty French Navy. As the fabric is fairly light, (and I was too lazy to line it), I decided to have a bit of fun and finish off all the seams inside with some homemade bias tape that I made from some ditsy floral fabric that I picked up from Stuarts Fabrics on Leicester market. I also used it to make some piping to use on the hem and cuffs of the jacket too. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out and plan on wearing it ALL the time!!

 

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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The Sewing Weekender 2017

If I could describe my perfect weekend, it would probably be a couple of days spent sewing and chatting with a group of wonderful sewists, perhaps with an embroidery workshop thrown in and maybe a few inspiring talks given by some wonderful creative women.

This pretty much sums up the weekend of August 5th and 6th.

Tickets for The Sewing Weekender went on sale back in May, and sold out in minutes. I was hugely disappointed, I mean REALLY disappointed to have just missed out on getting a ticket, and although there were two chances of a ‘golden ticket’, I was unlucky there too. Sad times. Unbelievably though, out of the blue a week before the event, I was given the chance to attend due to one of the attendee’s being unable to come. Phew! – so glad that I had put my details on the wait list.

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The venue was Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, and we arrived to a room full of sewing machines, overlockers and ironing boards. Thoughtful gifts from the event’s sponsors were waiting for everyone in the biggest goody bag you could imagine. Dreamy.

It’s up to you how much or how little sewing you actually achieve.. I took two projects with me, and only managed to complete one – a Colette Patterns Sorbetto top. I expect I will write a little blog post about that sometime soon.

Throughout the day, you were welcome to attend two embroidery workshops. The pefectly wonderful Elle from Sew Positivity was getting all fancy with a snazzy Janome Memory Craft Embroidery machine, and we all had great fun choosing which sewing related design to pick for our cute badges.

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Elisalex from By Hand London, was super sweet and encouraging with her hand embroidery workshop. My hand embroidery skills are fairly dodgy and I learned how to chain stitch and started a hoop project that I will continue and finish another day.

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At any point you were able to dip into the fabric and pattern swap. Spoilt for choice, I only chose one length of fabric, but I managed to grab some really great patterns – not that I need any more of either, but well, you know…

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On Saturday, guest speakers were Portia Lawrie, who gave a great talk about refashioning. Definitely food for thought. I was particularly excited to meet Portia, as I had admired her refashioned jacket so much that won her the Dressmaker of the year title. I was also so so happy to finally meet the adorable Harriet from Hobbling Handmades , and it was great for the 3 of us to get together since we were all finalists in the Dressmaker of the Year competition, with Portia going on to win!

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Myself, Portia, Harriet (and waiter) with that winning jacket!!!!
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What a sweetheart

Also speaking was the sweet Fiona from Diary of a Chain Stitcher. Fiona is a theatre Costume Supervisor and gave us a glimpse into her duties at work. Totally fascinating, I really enjoyed this talk. What a high pressure but rewarding career she has.

Lots of sewing, chatting and tea drinking saw us through to the end of a great day at 6pm. Most of us had accommodation in the College overnight, so after a tiring day it was so lovely not to have to go far to reach our rooms. The rooms were basic, but comfortable.

The evening consisted of a walk into town and a pub meal.

On Sunday we were treated to more sewing time and guest speakers. This time we enjoyed Melissa Fehr talking about sewing for movement, and not necessarily garments for exercise, but how our bodies move and what our clothes need to do to accommodate daily movements that we make. Something else I have previously given little thought to, but was an interesting discussion.

The final speaker was Elena Rosa Brown, who chose to talk about mindfulness and generally taking the time to be kind to yourself enabling you to get the best out of your sewing times. Difficult to summarise, I was totally blown away with every word of this talk, and could identify with so much of what Elena had to say. What a beauty she is and her talk was a totally unexpected highlight of my weekend!!

After more sewing, tea, biscuits and chatting it was time to unplug the machines and call it a day. Although I could not stay late, the day rounded off with a little early afternoon walk through Cambridge, a perfect end to a perfect weekend!

Oh, and you are probably wondering what the goody bag looked like.. well here you go..

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Thank the organisers and sponsors. I am certainly going home with considerably more than I came with, and I am so grateful for their generous gifts. If I may I would like to mention the sponsors below:

Adam Ross FabricsJanomeCocoWawa CraftsSew Hayley JanePlush AddictSew Now MagazineBloomsbury Square FabricsSew Over ItThe Village HaberdasheryBeyond MeasureCotton Reel StudioRemnant KingsMinerva CraftsSew EssentialFabric Punk, Suzy MagazineMerchant and MillsTilly and the ButtonsFabric GodmotherFabrics GaloreThe Makers AtelierStoff and StilThe Draper’s DaughterSimplicityJenni Smith

CraftsySimply Sewing MagazineThe Sewing QuarterFashion Enter and Fashion Capital.

Finally the most important thing to say is that this whole thing would not be possible without an unbelievable amount of work and thoughtfulness that has been put in by the incredible Kate and Rachel from The Fold Line, and the wonderful Charlotte from English Girl at Home. Thank you also to all the prefects and speakers who made it all so wonderful and last but not least, thank you to all the wonderful sewing friends who I met and whose company I thoroughly enjoyed all weekend. Let’s do it again.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x