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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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Getting to know your Overlocker/Serger

This year for my birthday, my husband scored some serious brownie points when he bought me a Janome overlocker. What a gem! It is a Janome 9200D and I had wanted one for a very long time.  Over the course of the following couple of weeks Mr Sew Dainty asked why I hadn’t used it yet and honestly .. although I had wanted one for so long I had no idea how to use it, how to thread it or what to do! I was baffled and didn’t know where to start.

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I am very much a visual learner, so the idea of sitting and reading a book about it was not appealing. I turned to good old YouTube and whilst a lot of the videos were helpful, I still found the thought of using my machine intimidating.

Whilst searching the internet for inspiration I recalled that a little fabric shop not that far from me held workshops and decided to look into it. The Sewing Cafe in Hinckley is a gorgeous haberdashery shop with a great range of workshops and machine hire by the hour. Imagine my delight when I found that they were very conveniently running an ‘introduction to the Overlocker’ workshop that very weekend (£40) and they had one space left. Needless to say I reserved that place immediately. I’m so pleased I did.

The course ran on a Saturday afternoon in September for 2.5 hours, and was held in a lovely little workshop at the back of the store. Greeted with smiles, tea and biscuits, we were asked to select our favourite jersey fabric from the shop before we got started as we would be making a jersey snood/infinity scarf on the overlocker at the end of the session to take home with us.

The course was taken by Lucy who was incredibly calm, friendly and understanding of our individual needs and abilities. We were given a really thorough explanation of the machine, learned how to thread it and how the dials worked and affected the stitch, and I gained so much confidence by being show in such a relaxed environment. Oh! Also a little touch that I thought was superb was that the lovely staff at the shop asked what model machine I had at home so that they could match me with a similar machine on the day. Brilliant!

After more tea we set about making up our jersey snoods. I chose a grey jersey with a pretty turquoise polka dot, so cute. It didn’t take long to put all our new skills to the test and we were all pleased to have something to take home with us – who doesn’t love that?

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Since the workshop I have used my overlocker to make 2 dresses and thoroughly love the professional finish it gives not to mention the time saving element of it. I am no longer nervous about using the overlocker – in fact I can’t wait to use it again – it is definitely a case of how did I ever get by without it! I really love this machine which is not a surprise really as I already own a Janome sewing machine and it’s awesome too!

So a little bit about this machine. It can be used with 3 or 4 thread options, has wide, narrow and rolled hem functions, and a colour coded threading guide. Other features are differential feed and adjustable stitch lengths and widths. It comes complete with a comprehensive instruction book, DVD, and accessories which include spare needles, tweezers and screwdrivers.

I would thoroughly recommend this machine as a beginner, it is REALLY simple to use despite my concerns and it now has a very important place alongside my Janome DC3050 sewing machine. They make a perfect duo when it comes to my dressmaking needs.

 

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So pleased with the professional finish I can now get.

There are so many different ways to learn new skills now, reading, internet research and ‘hands on’ but this is a real  winner for me. If you are within a reasonable travelling distance of Hinckley, Leicestershire then I would recommend a visit to the Sewing Cafe.  They have a fabulous range of fabrics and haberdashery, indie sewing patterns and machines and you really should check out their workshop classes – you will be tempted by several I bet!

www.thesewingcafe.co.uk

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This is the snood I made at the workshop, perfect now the weather is turning cold.

I do hope that this might encourage you in some way to try something different. I am the worst at giving up before I even try, but stepping out to be shown something new has worked in a really positive way for me and it will you too! Do have a look at what courses and workshops the fabric shops have on offer in your area. Have you already tried something new recently? Have you recently started using an overlocker? I would love to hear about it.

Be back soon,

Kathy x