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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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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