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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!
Take care, and I’ll be back soon,