Posted on 5 Comments

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.

thumbnail_8AA88D70-4F41-4C44-8B55-A86A41882354

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.

thumbnail_31EB0D79-999E-4F3C-BC9D-FB593F6004F0
I have never used a Bernina machine before, so it was a good opportunity to try something different.
thumbnail_9BE899F9-FB1F-450C-B9E0-23BAD54538C4
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!

thumbnail_5EBDA3D0-EA42-485B-ACCC-D56EC9E05EAF

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!

thumbnail_AB82B4C5-5BEF-4A26-8116-445CE8829046
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.

thumbnail_B5615939-8AAE-4CB3-8FB5-6404003D9008

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?

thumbnail_810E5065-5F2D-4DE6-9269-3DFD88B9DBDD

thumbnail_b53a49f7-95d5-48b6-aed1-57dfd4b79d32.jpg
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.

thumbnail_C577A65C-04DA-428A-AC87-C4FF4A055CF6

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.

thumbnail_BF2A5EE7-CA0C-400D-8436-55443160918C

thumbnail_DDDCD85D-35DD-46D7-984F-D6254FC0DF30

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!

35339210_219393735334091_7841389279128322048_n(1)

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.

thumbnail_0614D0AC-7E7E-41A1-99B1-D4E23C0695B8

thumbnail_8C5AA4C7-2263-461F-9C84-28C77C518E64

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.

thumbnail_FFFB0B6A-71C5-430F-ABB5-2DFAF4741A04
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.

thumbnail_8D517075-2120-4914-B125-9907FAC65F7A

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!!

 

thumbnail_5DACDA19-9931-4197-A099-2E96277A715B

 

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

Posted on 6 Comments

A lovely day out at #sewbrum

download

Saturday 28th October 2017 is a date that has been eagerly anticipated by a great deal of the sewing community in the U.K

It was the date of the annual ‘Sew Brum’ sewing meet-up organised by the wonderful Charlotte from English Girl At Home and as it’s name suggests it is a friendly gathering in Birmingham of sewing enthusiasts from all over the U.K  which consists of lots fabric shopping, tea drinking and chatter!

Our meet up point was at the John Lewis restaurant where everybody gathered between 10 and 11am. The restaurant quickly filled up with lots and lots of excited chatter and it was wonderful to meet up with old friends and make new friends too. I believe that over 130 people had signed up to attend and many had travelled a very long way to be there.

retry3

thumbnail_c3327a44-5ed3-4d6f-be0a-d44133325c57.jpg

thumbnail_ce32839a-15cf-4dd3-b275-cf1d11fc4e24.jpg

retry1

retry4

The itinery was fairly relaxed. Charlotte had provided a list of suggested fabric retailers in the City and it was a case of deciding where to go during the morning before reconvening in Moseley Village at Guthrie & Ghani to meet for lunch and an afternoon at this wonderful fabric shop.

Myself and my group of friends decided to start off at the famous Birmingham Rag Market, and we were not disappointed. I purchased my first ever piece of African Wax fabric, and also some pretty navy floral jersey which will probably end up as another Agnes Top.

Next it was off to Barry’s Fabrics.

thumbnail_E92D507A-746F-46C6-B8F5-6E5B9B8BE4B9

Barry’s is a short walk from the City centre, but the weather was dry and it was totally worth it! It’s a small warehouse style fabric store and is packed from floor to ceiling with hundreds and hundreds of rolls of fabrics. Bliss!

thumbnail_90EEDD0C-0575-4CF3-85B2-EBFDDB7F643E

thumbnail_f73aa108-0fb2-4c16-aa53-8d7a7360feee.jpg

We spent quite some time here. So much fabric to look through! Hard to believe – I did not find anything that I wanted particularly and decided to save my pennies for a special fabric from Guthrie and Ghani later that afternoon.

thumbnail_26A7AEEE-8E6B-45A5-8E7F-D6E5E40C3794

Outside Barry’s was this beautiful wall and I could not resist a pic of my ‘partners in crime’ for the day. In the middle is Kate  and on the right is Vena. We did not stop laughing all day. Such great girls.

No time to rest, and it was off to find the bus stop to take us on a 15 min journey to Moseley Village to tie up with the rest of the sewists at Guthrie and Ghani.  It was a bit of a squeeze in the shop, but great fun and we were made very very welcome by Lauren and all the team. We all bought raffle tickets and had a little browse around the shop. It’s so beautiful. It’s a pretty black and white timber framed building on the main through road and houses a great range of superb quality fabrics, patterns and haberdashery items downstairs and another room upstairs where a lovely range of workshops are normally held.

thumbnail_c8e1246e-1dbf-48ce-bd3e-504d58272632.jpg

I could not resist purchasing a super soft pink fleeceback jersey fabric, and I will share what I make with it here in the next couple of weeks or so.

A fabric and pattern swap was held at the shop, I took along a couple of pieces of fabric and two patterns that I didn’t want and swapped them for two patterns and two fabrics that I wanted from the swap table! Thank you to whoever donated these pieces – I am going to enjoy them very much!

thumbnail_BEDBBE96-C127-4D3F-BEF7-6067065D90A0

The raffle prizes were amazing. Fabric suppliers, pattern houses, sewing magazines and the like had generously donated some wonderful prizes and I understand that the outcome was that £431.50 was raised for The Eve Appeal and £80 to provide a toilet for a village in Africa who doesn’t have one. Pretty great I think.

thumbnail_5add8e89-168e-43c8-a5ad-97a7f895c2ae-e1509399687228.jpg
This is Lauren, the owner of Guthrie and Ghani selecting the raffle prizes, and Charlotte picking out the winning tickets!

The day was over in a flash. It really was disappointing when it was time to go, especially as I felt that I hadn’t had the chance to chat to everybody that I had wanted to. I know that everybody I spent time with said that they had enjoyed their day immensely, and it is so very generous of Charlotte to give so much of her time to organize such a great event. Thank you also to Lauren and all the team from Guthrie and Ghani for looking after us all in the afternoon.

thumbnail_4b4e507c-b8b8-4476-b791-fa5389fa8496.jpg

thumbnail_27f16dec-e3cf-44ce-9f65-3722f6d1a8c9.jpg

thumbnail_B6E089D3-DB08-4FE1-ADA5-27378E09D59B
Sewing friends are the best friends don’t you think?

I feel I was quite restrained in my fabric purchases considering all the temptation of the day, but what I brought home I am thrilled with and am looking forward to sewing up.

thumbnail_39C44F91-9434-470E-9FED-DF9A5CC19A99
My fabric purchases on the day were: top – fleeceback jersey from Guthrie and Ghani, middle – jersey from the Rag Market and bottom – African Wax from the Rag Market.

After a tiring day it was time to say goodbye to all, I was especially sad to leave Vena and Kate, and hope it won’t be too long before we see each other again.

I, for one, am already looking forward to #sewbrum 2018!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Posted on 16 Comments

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.

IMG_9793

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.

IMG_9775

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.

IMG_9774

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…

IMG_9787

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!

Portia, Harriet and me
Myself, Portia, Harriet (and waiter) with that winning jacket!!!!
Harriet and Me
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..

IMG_9799

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