23 January 2014

Sew exciting!

Some of you may recall I signed up for a 10 week 'Sewing for Beginners' at the Bristol Folk House at the end of December. No? Well, I did. And last Thursday was week 1.

Feeling apprehensive and excited in equal measure, I left work early and trudged up Park Street for the 5:30pm start. Thanks to Amy, I felt just the way I used to as a teenager when I started a new year at school; I had all of the relevant tools and equipment (including the correct quantity of fabric, lining, type of zip and thread for my first project), and I was pretty damn excited to get going.

Karen, the course leader — and wedding dress designer by day — asked each student what they hoped to achieve from the class and if we had any prior experience. Between myself and the other four women, there was a broad scope from nothing at all to owning a sewing machine and already having made some items.

The class then began with some basics about sewing; types of fabric, where to buy, some terminology. Next came how to set up a sewing machine and experimenting with different stitches. Some of the other girls' attempts were very neat. Mine, on the other hand, was just a little haphazard:


The main section of the class was to begin our very first project; a scissor bag/pouch using some provided fabric. This involved sewing along three sides of two rectangular pieces of fabric to create a pocket or pouch.


I'm sure to many this pouch is very little to be impressed by. But, considering two hours prior, I didn't know my arse from my elbow in terms of machine sewing never mind how to set one up, I was more than happy to walk away with just a pouch. The final step is the addition of a button and button-hole.

When 7:30pm rolled around, I really didn't want to leave. And you know, one of the best things about it is feeling like a 'student' again. I really do enjoy learning! I have subsequently spent many an hour on Pinterest and the internet drooling over fabrics.

Today, I shall return — with the button I have chosen for step two — and I cannot wait!

Jen

12 comments:

  1. Great start, well done! My Mum recently showed me how to use her machine to make cushion covers .. it was really simple stuff but I was so proud of my achievement, as it was the first (and so far only) time I'd made sewn anything, bar a disastrous attempt at a skirt in my school textile module aged 13...

    I've been tempted by the courses at the Bristol Folk House for a while - based on your experience so far with the sewing couse, would you recommend it?

    x

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    1. Hi Scarlett, thank you! Well, cushion covers are pretty impressive; I am still yet to flirt with making one of those. You should definitely be proud! Pfft, I barely remember what I managed in high school textiles, probably nothing.

      Cool, which courses were you looking at? I think it's great that there are so many. Oh yes, I would definitely recommend the course! The sewing for beginners course will run again for the Summer term (April 22 - July 7). If you were interested, you'd want to ring up at 9am On the day the courses are released, as the course is reasonably popular. I plan to sign up for the dressmaking course for the summer term. :D

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    2. I think I'm going to give the Yoga for Sleep workshop a go. I can't do the week day courses as I don't finish work in time annoyingly, but fingers crossed this workshop will be as good as how you're finding your course. Seen on your blog some of the things you've made so far - I'm impressed! x

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    3. Thanks Scarlett. Oh that sounds great. I hope you find the Bristol Folk House nice (Most of the baked goods in their cafe are worth a taste!) and hope you enjoy the course. I'd be interested to hear how it goes.

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    4. Sadly when I got round to booking it it was all booked up! But I've been told they are re-running it next term, and there new prospectus will be out Tuesday. I'll have to get a wriggle on and get it booked up! Especially now I know the cake is so good...

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  2. I can cross stitch and embroider, but I cannot use a sewing machine to save my life! Apparently sewing a straight line is utterly beyond me :P

    Your pouch looks pretty good to me, especially as a first piece of work! Will we be seeing you on The Great British Sewing Bee in a couple of years?

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    1. Yes, I can cross-stitch too. (I've been trying to finish one for 10 years but it's the trees and the grass, and I just cannot motivate myself!). I've not tried embroidery though. Oh, I reckon you'd be good with a sewing machine with that experience.

      Thanks! My pouch is OK lol. I very much doubt you'll be seeing me anywhere near anything like the Great British Sewing Bee. However, with my new found interest/hobby, I may watch it this year.

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  3. Getting the tension right is the big issue for me. I can never quite get it right.
    My sewing machine has a button hole setting but I haven't got round to using it yet. This will be the year I do!

    I'll be looking forwards to seeing your progress.

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    1. Which sewing machine do you have? I am thinking of investing as I am struggling with the idea that I've found a hobby that I can only do for 2 hours a week in the sewing class. I'm eager to get going at home! And there are some very reasonably priced machines.

      Oh I've not sewn a button hole either! Let me know how you get on.

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  4. Congrats on your first project! You'll be churning out couture dresses before you know it :) Pinterest is dangerous -I can lose hours at a time browsing fabrics / projects!

    As for machines I love my Bernina but to start with the basic straight, zig zag and buttonhole stitch is about all you need (everything else is a bonus). Janome do some great sturdy basic machines which are simple to use alternatively if you just want a super inexpensive starter machine to play with before committing yourself then Ikea even sell them for £45 http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/30208975/ -I can't comment on the quality though as I've not used one. Happy sewing!

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    1. ...a little after-thought! The Make & Do Emporium have in store Janomes which are usually £3 per hour to use but free during the 'Stitch & Sip' on the last Sat of the month so you can try one out with a cuppa!

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    2. Thanks Marie! I am quite excited to get onto dressmaking and becoming a dab hand at other projects.

      So, as you have now seen, I went and bought a Janome sewing machine from Direct Sewing Machines, which is just across the road from The Make & Do Emporium. And it was at about the same time as you were commenting. How crazy is that?! Afterwards, my housemate and I popped into The Make & Do Emporium; it's so cute and there are so great fabrics! We both had to resist.

      Thanks so much for your comments. :D

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