Green Furry goodness

Today I thought I’d take you through my thought process of buying the fabric and getting round to making the thing.  Yes, it happens.  Mostly.

So normally when I buy fabric, if I’m with friends they also admire and encourage me to indulge in the most beautiful yardage.  When I bought my gorgeous green furry goodness, we were enjoying a lock-in at our local emporium Anglian Fashion Fabrics.

I fell in love at first sight and although we all loved it everyone said ” What would you make?”  I saw a jumper.  Warm, fluffy, soft and such a funky jumper. Oh yes this would be fabulous.

As I bundled it up and carried it to the counter my friends admired my bolt (where else could I use that phrase without further connotations) and then Jim Henson came up. Yes, I might well look like a muppet but I’ve never let anything like that stop me in my tracks before…maybe I should have once or twice.

Once home I perused my patterns to see if I had anything that would work or if I needed to indulge in the right pattern.  With the fur I felt it needed a raglan sleeve to make the most of the texture.  This cut most of my patterns out but the Hey June Lane Raglan was a good fit for me, it’s slightly shaped into the waist without being fitted and having used it a few times I knew it’d come together really easily.   I thought I wanted a cropped boxy jumper (I’d squared off the side seams) but when trialling in some fleece I decided on something a little more fitted and maaaybe a little longer. 

Reality Check- No make up and trying to see a black jumper while wearing dark jeans doesn’t make for a great photo.

 

Health and Safety note.

As with all furry/fluffy/velvety fabrics I wore a face mask whilst I was cutting and working with this.  The fibres are very fine and are very easy to breath in.  If you have any respiratory issues please use a mask.  Also, it gets EVERYWHERE.  Use a lint roller/ sticky tape and clean as you go to avoid it traveling around the house.

 

 

I went back to the original shaping.  I squared off the hem and left off the hood, I so missed a trick there.  I could have had ears and googly eyes galore.  Maybe next time…

I put side splits in, like those of the Toaster sweater so that the fabric didn’t have to stretch too much when I was sitting down or moving about to much.  Although this fur is on a knitted back it doesn’t have much stretch.  I used the ponte-roma I’d bought on the same evening to t-shirt hem the neck to give a nice smooth neckline.

Photo by @craftyclyde

 

Over all I’m quite pleased with the end result.  I’ve had lots of lovely comments when I’ve worn it or had it displayed and not so many muppet vibes.  I think I like shimmery mermaid best.

What do you think?  Muppet or Mermaid…

 

 

Photo @Crafty Clyde
Pin the above pic for later ^^^
Photo @CraftyClyde

 

 

 

 

 

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Party Fabric shopping

As we come around to Norwich Sewcials Fabric shop lock-in at our local emporium I start to think about my needs and wants.  What do I NEED?  I look though the patterns and start to plan my makes.  I search through my stash to make sure I don’t already have it and try to pare pattern to fabric before I go.  This way I don’t over buy and I can make sure I have all that I need to finish a project.  It’s sooo frustrating getting half way through a project to find I’ve not got the right zip or interfacing in the studio.  I’m more than 5 minutes away from any sewing shop so this can seriously stall things.

I’m also reminded when talking to my students that choosing THE FABRIC for a project isn’t always clear.  In a recent class we spoke of evening dresses.  As we come towards party season the special patterns come out.  The patterns we’ve bought because we fell in love with them but weren’t quite sure when we’d get to wear them.  They tend to have a large range of fabrics on the back of the envelope that we don’t come across very often and techniques we don’t use everyday.

 

I’ve spoken about fabric shopping in Shopping for fabric addicts, it’s something that troubles everyone when choosing pattern and fabric to match.  It’s not always easy, there’s rarely a straight answer and there’s so much choice.  Party wear is an even bigger mine field.   Here’s a few ideas on what to think about when choosing pattern and fabric for an evening out.

  • What sort of event is it?  Black tie? cocktail? Themed?  This can help you with your pattern choice.  Gather them all together.  Don’t dismiss that TNT pattern that you know fits and works with your body.  You know the one, everyone always says how nice you look.  Even the other half has noticed.  Using a different fabric can bling up a pattern for a party.  If you’re used to working with jersey and have a favourite dress try it in a stretch velvet.  (Tack everything and take your time)

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  • Comfort.  How long are you going to be wearing the outfit, are you going to be dancing the night away or eating a 3 course meal.  Now I know this sounds far too practical but trust me.  If you need to undo the zip the moment you get out of the public eye because it’s all juuust a bit too snug now, it’s worth a thought.  Don’t get me wrong, this outfit still needs to fit properly, nothing worse than constantly having to adjust or hoik a dress up because your strapless isn’t staying put.

 

  • Cop a feel.  Choosing the fabric.  Once you’ve narrowed your patterns down what are you going to use?  Check the back of the pattern, gather some ideas.  Are there layers to the dress?  Is it lined?  What sort of fabric do you like?  Lace, sequins, satin…I could go on.  I’m a textured girl, I like sequins or velvet.  What sort of texture do you like?  Smooth, pleated, velvet?  This is very much a personal thing and only something you can decide.  If you have layers then consider the weight of the fabrics to choose.

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  • The Fall of fabric.  How does it drape?  Do you need something that flows or fabric that holds it shape?  Pull a good metre of fabric off the bolt to see how it falls.  Gather it softly in your hand, does it fall into gentle folds or can you feel it fighting to stay straight.  Do you need it to hold it’s shape for a shift or to skim the body so that you can glide across the dance floor.

 

  • Colour.  Now we all need a little black dress but why not use a bit of colour.  Don’t be afraid to go for your favourite colour or that patterned fabric your eye keeps landing on.  We’re talking party here for goodness sake.  Naturally if you hate patterned fabrics and can’t quite bring yourself to go for the full on colour, use a beautiful wrap.  I’m not judging, I just like to see colour.  I feel it lifts people.

 

  • Get Sewcial.  Make fabric shopping an event in itself.   Take a friend, one that sews and is honest preferably.  If you’re both going to the same event, even better.  You can help each other choose.  Ask the shop assistant if you can’t see quite what you want or your still not sure.

How to choose fabric

  • Give yourself time.  Both in choosing the fabric and making up the outfit.  It’s really not so much fun if you’re still hemming half an hour before you leave.  Apparently it’s not just you that it stresses out.

So, I hope that my ramblings have helped.  Most of all love the fabric and choose a pattern that won’t frustrate you too much.  Challenge is good but consider your sanity.

Do let me know what you’re going to make,  I’ve got some fabulous hot pink stretch velvet to make into something….maybe a top?  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Toodle Pip x

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Sewing- Christmas!!!

Hello stranger I hear you  cry.  I’m back with more murmurings about fabric and life in the sewing lane.

I’ve started to muse seasonal stuff.  I don’t know about you but I try to put off the C word for as long as possible. As I’m getting older and having to admit to being a grown up I’ve come to realise that it can be easier to organize in advance.  That and it’s everywhere!  I can’t escape it.  If you can’t beat them, join them as they say.  It helps that the weather has now cooled off a bit.  I don’t like looking at Christmas stuff when I still fancy an ice-cream.

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As I browsed a fabric web site, just because, I had the sudden thought that I could make gifts for Christmas.  This is not an excuse to buy more fabric. Honest.  I have nieces, a nephew that the smallest of which would love a soft snuggly hoody for the winter months.  A mine field just opened up.  I only occasionally make for Christmas and when I do I have to feel that it would go down well.  Last years Tilda doll and whale went down a storm but Tilda did not stay dressed for long.  (No need for that wardrobe I’d planned)

There are so many things to think about when making as a gift.  I thought it might be worth mulling over.

  • Do I have time?  Not just how long have I got but when does it need delivering?  Have I got the ‘spare’ time?  When am I actually going to do this?

 

  • Will it be appreciated?  Now this could be a sticky spot.  Will they like what you’re planning on making?  Consider the giftees taste before committing to a project.  You’re going to spend time and pour love into this gift, ensure that it’s something they’ll treasure or wear.  If it’s for a small person consider whoever’s doing the laundry- it’s easier if it’s washable.

 

  • Budget.  Another minefield, everyone is different but make one and stick to it.  It’s so easy to get carried away.   Baked beans are very nutritious but can get boring after a while.

 

  • Size- when we talk clothes for people this can become interesting.  When dealing with youngsters consider their age and how true they come up to size.  Are they tall?  Are they due a growth spurt? ( toddlers and teenagers alike are good at this one)  Do they wear snug fit or loose?  Go up if you’re not sure, they’ll grow into it.  For grown ups you can be a little more open generally.  Ask or if you’d like it to be secret, check on the size labels of jackets/ jumpers etc for a peek.  Obviously not when they’re wearing them.  They maybe over a chair, you might even be out shopping with them.  This makes it even better as you can see the sort of things they’re drawn to as well as the size they pick up or the shops they prefer.  Another clue as to whether they’ll want what you might make.

 

  • Make a thing.  You don’t have to make something to wear.  If it’s for a small person then a toy or bag go down just as well.  Throws, cushions or quilts are always lovely gifts.

  • If in doubt, don’t make.  I’ve stopped myself making once or twice due to realising that I’ve either not got the time or it’s not really going to mean quite as much to the recipient as it does to me.  Not everyone ‘gets’ it.  Save that time and buy them something beautiful that they’ll love with your budget.

If, after you’ve thought through all of this you still want to make for someone then I say Yay!  Go for it!  Enjoy the process of choosing the project, hunting out the fabric (is it already in the stash)  and giving yourself the time to do it.

I’m off to find hoody patterns and check on sizes.  A nice soft snuggly sweatshirt fleece in a funky print…  I may need to make some mince pies to get me in the mood.  Sherry anyone?

Will you be making for Christmas?  Let me know in the comments below…

 

 

Creative Craft show-Excel

Hello!

It’s been a while and I’ve just been given this fabulous excuse to get your creative juices flowing.

I have a discount code for tickets to the Creative Craft show at Excel, London.  Whoop!

The show is full of all sorts of crafty things to get your teeth into be it knitting, paper craft embroidery or sewing (hello, fabric addicts).  This show covers them all plus a few more.

You could also make a contribution towards a giant 13ft knitted commemorative poppy to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.  As someone just learning to knit this could be a challenge but nothing should be easy all of the time right.

Anyone with a love of knitting and crochet can pick up their needles and wool and add a square to the feature in association with charity and knitting fanatics, Grans on the Make – it’s a really special project.

 

The discount is available up until the 16th of April.

If you make it to the show have a most fabulous time and let me know what treasures you find.  Obviously I need to see all the fabric.

Pippa x

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Head out of the clouds…

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?

I’m not big on January.  I think it’s something to do with the lack of light and the long list of to-dos I created.  Thank the Foo for February…

 

Some time before Christmas the lovely Laura from More Sewing asked if I’d like some fabric to make up.  Well, it’s fabric isn’t it. So, this is a collaboration piece with Laura donating the fabric but the opinions are my own.

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Such a variety to choose from, I decided on a jersey with clouds all over.  It’s what might be called a Cadbury purple but the pictures don’t show the colour very well.

I could see a clouded  Lane Raglan from Hey June.

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I’d made it in a sweatshirting which has been on regular rotation so I knew the pattern would be good for the soft jersey that arrived.

I made up a large which gives me a shaped but not close fitting top.  I normally work up a 12 but these can vary so always go with measurements and go up a size if you’re not sure.

It’s a good t-shirt weight and due to it being winter and all I went for a long sleeve.  A tad too long as it turned out but only by about an inch.

With this being a cotton/elastine jersey it worked up really nicely.  You just have to be sure not to stretch the neckband too much as you put it on.  Once stitched on and wizzed with the overlocker I used a twin needle to top stitch the seam allowance down.

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I twin needled both the sleeve and hem edges too.  It gives a nice finish and helps you hold on to the stretch of the fabric.

I always put a ribbon tab on the left side of my tops to avoid labels irritating my neck and so I can tell front from back.  How cool are these sheep which somehow work perfectly with the clouds.

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Over all this fabric worked up really well and I’m now of the mind that I’ll make more of my t-shirts than buy them.

It’s not always going to be cheaper and it most definitely won’t be quicker going by my rate of making up for me but I think everyone should give it a go.  Just look at the fabrics that are now available.

There’s a gamut of t-shirt/top patterns you can get hold of now.  The world is your lobster once you find a pattern that works for you.  My next is a Sew house 7 Toaster

Go on,  give it a go and let me know how you get on.

Toodle pip xx

 

Diving into Tilda’s Toy Box

When I was given the chance to review the Tilda Toy Box book by Minerva Crafts I heard Christmas bells straight away.

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It’s the perfect excuse to make my niece a dressing up doll. She loves dressing up so what better present. A whole wardrobe is coming her way.  I’ve found the perfect foil for all of those bits that are too big for me to throw away but not big enough to do much with.  I’ve curated fabrics for her and found I’m buying fat quarters too…everyone should have a dress with ladybirds on right?  It’s for my niece, honest.

I also found myself falling for the whale, there are soo many options to make for small ones and maybe one or two for grown ups.  I’m going to have so much fun.

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Check out the full review and find out how I got on, on the Minerva crafts blog

Fabric addicts unite!!!

It was dark, cool and we could see a glimmer of light on the street.  Our destination was in sight.  The lights were on at Anglian Fashion Fabrics and once given ‘The Knock’ we were let in.

Sounds quite dramatic doesn’t it but Tim and the team at the shop agreed for Norwich Sewcials to have a ‘lock-in’.   An evening with a fabric shop to ourselves!  What more could a girl ask for.  We were very excited and as we gradually gathered for the love of fabric Tim took us through the latest treasures that he’d had come in.  There were many jerseys and sweater knits, beautiful textured fabrics and colours to choose from.  I was so carried away I didn’t take any photos, despite reminding myself I needed to take lots.   Luckily Emma Of Crafty Clyde was ‘on it’.  I have her to thank for all of these.

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I instantly fell in love with some soft shimmery fur.  It was on the first table so, I fell at the first hurdle.  I didn’t stand a chance really.  I left it promising to come back for it.  Yes, I talk to fabric.  It was not allowed to go home entirely with someone else.

We stroked fabric, discussed ideas and pattern options.  Talked buttons, shiny/matt, ooh dinosaurs. They have such a nice range, it’s difficult to choose at times.  23518870_409508996131203_4054104019944175201_n

 

There were lots of oohs and ahhs as everyone moved around the shop.  Queries were made and decisions were finalised which kept Tim and the girls on their toes.  I’ll take cake if we’re allowed back to keep their sugar levels up.

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It was a happy evening with everyone there open to ideas and meeting up at such a nice venue.  It was lovely to see one or two new faces and bump in to some which I hadn’t seen for a while.  The sewing community is a lovely one, everyone is happy when talking fabric and sewing.

So, what’s the next project?  Yes, I went back for the furry goodness that I fell for.  along with some ponte knit of a similar colour which, just so happened, had been put right next to it.  Clever people these fabric bods.  There was sooo much goodness to see that evening but I had to limit myself to stand any chance of making something up before Christmas.

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I’m thinking a Toaster sweater from sew house 7 or a Talvikki from Named.  That’s a whole other decision.  I considered a jacket but it is a soft fur so I think it’ll be ok as a jumper.  Jim Henson was mentioned…I’m going to look like a muppet.  Well, I’m guessing it’s not Miss Piggy so I’m fine with that.

As for what everyone else bought, I watched many bags leaving the shop so look forward to seeing them made up.  Maybe we need to organise another sew day for sewcials.  Let’s get these made up.  The stash needs to flow, Ha! Who am I kidding.  I haven’t made up all of the fabric from the sewing bee yet.  I also have some viscose from fabric godmother to make into a Christmas shirt…The To-Do pile isn’t getting any smaller.

I’m going to narrow it down so that I don’t completely overwhelm myself.  Let’s see how that goes shall we.  I’ll check dates for a sew day.  Who’s with me?

Mnamna, Do dooo do do do, Mnamna…

 

Shopping for fabric addicts

Now you might have guessed this is a subject close to my heart. I love fabric.  I can quite happily look at fabric all day.  Like many sewists I have a substantial stash that I take in hand on occasion and actually use.  Sadly I don’t appear to make it up at the same rate as gaining it.  There are worse habits to have.

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At the beginning of each beginners course I talk of thinking about what you want from your fabric.

What do you want to make?

What’s your budget?  consider this very carefully if this is your first foray, but don’t start with the cheapest of the cheapest.  Unless you’re making a toile of your final garment.  Then I’d use an old sheet or something cheap to check the size and fit.  Charity shop duvets are a favourite.

What do you need in your wardrobe?  Make something you’ll actually wear.  We all get carried away with lovely fabric and who wouldn’t want a fabulous evening top or dress, but will you have the occasion to wear it.  I’m going to put a little thought of my own out there…If you’ve already got the me made sitting in the wardrobe with no-where to wear it, take it shopping.  I still have a problem with wearing pjs or a onesie to do the weekly shop.  Sorry if it’s just me.  Wear the fairy outfit instead,  Go Glam. I for one would find find that far more fun.

Start simple.  The big four have simple sections and a lot of the Indie patterns are suited to beginners.  Each of them work towards their own style and will appeal to some but not all of us.

Choose your pattern first, because it’s so much easier to buy fabric with a project in mind. Particularly at the beginning, there’s such an overwhelming choice of beautiful fabric. The soft, shiny, textured not to mention the colours…I could go on, in fact I probably have done already.

It can be a minefield if you not sure what you’re looking for.  That’s where the store can help.  Now, granted, if you can only make it in on a busy Saturday afternoon they’re not going to be able to give you masses of attention.  They will however be able to give you a rough idea as to the fabric that will work best for your project. If you’re shopping online then check out the description, give them a call and ask about it, more often than not they’ll send you a sample if you ask nicely.

If you fall in love with a fabric before finding a pattern then life does indeed become more interesting.  What does that fabric say to you?  Yes, really.  Sometimes it tells you exactly what it wants to be.  Does it drape?  Does it have body? Is it asking to be made into a dress, a skirt,  that perfect pair of trousers that seem to elude you.  Maybe just a scarf if it’s a beautifully soft silky number that you haven’t plucked up courage to sew with yet.   Note to self- I bring out the snakeskin silk chiffon every year but never get around to making the top up.  If I made a scarf it would at least get used.

Consider what you would make before buying.  If you have to have it, check to see how much that pattern might need.  Don’t buy blind.   I can see those of you that might know me, laughing, I know.  Will she be taking her own advice?

I’ve got better at it.  I now keep the TNT patterns on my phone.  I photograph the back of the envelope so that I can quickly work out how much I need.  It saves carrying the patterns around and it’s there at a moments notice.  Keep your phone charged.  Just saying.  I will only buy if  I know what I’m going to make.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still those impulses but I’m better prepared.

I’m girding my loins ready for the Norwich Sewcials open evening at Anglian Fashion Fabrics on Tuesday.  More on that over here  Locked in a fabric store!!!  Life just doesn’t get any better, well, maybe there will be wine after.

If you’re not local or can’t get out then More Sewing  are having a sale weekend.  If you’re near to Worthing on the south coast of the uk then get yourself down there.  If not,  then have no fear.  They’re having an online sale on Sunday!!!  20% Off ALLL fabrics!!!  Patterns at the ready people.

I hope my ramblings  might help, if you’ve made it this far I hope you had a cup of something to help you through.  If not, pop the kettle on.  Mines black with one sugar. x

 

 

 

 

A September of shows

Hello.  Anybody there?

It’s been a while.  I’ve come through the fog and out the other side to grasp the nettle.

 

September saw the opening of the Great British Sewing Bee live show.   Crafty Clyde and I  took the plunge and as Norwich Sewcials, booked a coach.   What if we were the only ones that wanted to go?  It’ll be fine!  Well, turns out we weren’t on our own. Phew!

I love a sewing show.  The opportunity to see different shops (we’re a little short in Norfolk)  the latest trends and exhibitions of other peoples work.  It’s good to get out there and see what everyone else is doing.

I know we now have this fabulous thing of the web but to see, with your own eyes, the beautiful work that is normally behind glass in a museum or shut away in a cupboard for storage is for me a treat.

Emma has done a lovely review of the day over on Crafty Clyde .  I found I was rubbish when talking into a fixed microphone.  I got the giggles big time.  I’d be no good at karaoke.  Crafty clyde was far better, Norwich sewcials DJ anyone?  Almost as soon as we got there we ran into Eliza-sew-little and Melissa of Fehr Trade whom I hadn’t seen since the sewing weekender last year.  Melissa does the most amazing active wear patterns and has a book coming out next year.  It was also lovely to see the The Fold line girls with their swap stop.  The show wasn’t as big as some of the others but I think this made it nicer to get around.  We could sit on a bench to eat lunch (something the other shows could take note on)  and Bubbles!  Just one honest, but how civilised.

I gathered a few treasures to add to the stash and the exhibitions were great. I feel a trip to the fashion and textile museum is in need.  I think it’s fair to say we enjoyed the day.   I’ll admit I was far more relaxed on the way home than on the way there.

Now, only a week later I made the trip down to thread Festival in Farnham.  It’s a show that I’d seen on Instsagram, as you do, and it looked really interesting but it was miles away.  It would probably just be one that I watched from afar in instaland.  Then I won tickets!  Whoop!!!  Well, now I had to go.

I booked a stopover and with a friend drove down ready for the morning of the show.  This is where it got quite interesting, once in Farnham it appeared near impossible to park.  We hadn’t realised there was also a food festival on in the town so all car parks were chocka.   Once ensconced in a spot, we witnessed a particularly ugly incident between two “ladies” after the same space.  We grabbed our scarves and scarpered.

We stumbled into a charitiy shop within 5 minutes of leaving the car park,  Lou picked up some very pretty lace.  We decided if we had time to come back after the show.

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It was held in the Maltings, a perfectly crafty place.  A beautiful building with several rooms to work our way through.

There was so much to see and before long I’d fallen in love with some cork fabric.  Yes, really.  Then the foxes, my fate was sealed.  Purple Stitches had such a fabulous range I could have just bought everything.

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It was all small independents so there were loads of different stalls.  From your fabulous fabric shops to vintage stalls and fabric designers.  The jewellery by Silverdashery was very tempting.  (Cough, Thimble necklace) If my other half reads this.

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I totally fell in love with Mama and Boo , the most beautiful illustrations which are then transformed into textile art.  My photo just doesn’t do her work justice.

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There was so much to see as you made your way through the rooms, sometimes we did them twice just in case we missed one.

There were of course tea breaks, and a very nice soup.  The Maltings had two areas for food and drinks so you didn’t have huge queues, though seating was limited.  It would have been lovely to sit outside and admire their garden but I can see how that may have been difficult to manage.

They had a wall of ‘I stitch because’ notes.  We added to these, some of the  reasons just ticked me.  One or two were even stitched.

Unfortunately we never found the exhibitions.  We did stumble across the Farnham quilters who were running small workshops and had a display of their beautiful work

Over all it was a lovely show, nice to see lots of small businesses getting the foot fall.  If you’re in the area it’s definitely one to take a look at.

Farnham itself was also a very pretty town and the food festival looked like a good one.  We caught it just at the end so everyone was packing up.  We did come across this display outside a restaurant, the most beautifully carved fruit and veg.

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I think if I made the journey again I’d make a weekend of it.  It’s such a pretty spot and there seems to be loads to see in the area.  Maybe next year…

Which is your favourite stitching show?

 

End of term musings

I’ve made it to the end of term! Whoop, whoop!

Cheers!

So it turns out I don’t just contemplate in the bath, I have time to think on my car journey to and from my classes. In the last couple of weeks I’ve finished all of my classes for the summer holibobs. The realisation hit’s, that…I’m going to miss them. Yes, really.

Grab yourself a cuppa,  this is a long one.

Whether I see them for a term, a days workshop or a whole year, they become part of my life.  Granted, we have our ups and downs.  It’s noted I’m not infallible but generally we rub along ok.  As we all get to know each other we learn how each person ticks.  Well mostly.

That awkward first night when no-one knows each other, I feel it too, grows into something more, we’re all here with something in common.  We all want to sew, create something.  I try to wheedle out any good or indeed bad experiences to gauge which way it’s going to go.  Will everyone get on?  I always hope so.

As we all get to know each other people relax, friendships grow and it’s no longer just a sewing class.  It’s sewcial.  People, generally, want to get on.  Each class becomes a community, small granted but they’re all supportive of each other.  It’s a nice atmosphere to be a part of.

Humour plays a large part in my class.  I have to hope most people have a similar sense of humour to me or I’ll be apologising quite regularly due to my general ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome.  I hope I’ve not overstepped the mark but I also hope someone would say if I’ve offended.  We laugh.  It feels like a lot, so I think we’re ok.  I’m not naturally a serious person, I try but it doesn’t last long.  We discuss many  things in class, the fabrics we love and occasionally hoard.  Where we might go to add to our collection and how to avoid buying the wrong type for a project.

Life in general gets an airing as we get more comfortable with each other.  As straight lines are stitched or zips put in we cheer in celebration of the achievement.  We commiserate when handing over an unpick and occasionally smile  at a wonky seam.  Well I can’t help myself when it’s been sewn around the pin.

The new names given to things.  Technical language can be very overrated.  Squash rather than press, ‘ Wang’ when a facing or collar doesn’t lay straight.  I think ‘stiffy stuff’ might be my present favourite as the new name for interfacing.  (Pipe down with the giggles at the back there.)  The double entendres, that’s a whole other blog post.

No two classes are the same.   Some will have a gentle buzz as they sew in quiet concentration while others will roar in laughter at yet another wonky stitch line or the sewing up of the armhole.  It’s a look but not a comfortable one.

I’ve been told by one or two of my students that they feel ‘safe’.  It’s ok if they’ve had a bad day, in class they can have time to themselves.  I think it’s often given the term mindfulness, when you can just do.  Physically doing allows your other brain time out.  We all need that from time to time.  It was once described as a ‘Zen-like feeling of calm’.  This was a tongue in cheek dig when given paperwork which asked a student what she hoped to gain from such a class.  I wish I’d photocopied that sheet as the phrase has been used many times.  Sometimes it’s having a chance to vent, to reflect on the day and just let go.  To enter the sewing zone.  I’m not here to judge.  What happens in the sewing room stays there.  From size measurements to health issues and divorce proceedings.  We’re in this together.

As skills and friendships develop I see people grow, blossom even.  It’s taken me a while to realise it but that’s what I love about this job.  It’s not just me sharing my skills, which is essentially why I’m there.  It’s being part of that community of support.  We laugh with each other and occasionally at me,  apparently I make faces when I’m thinking.

We drink tea, we eat cake and put the world to rights.

It’s not just the student that grows though.  I also gain from this gathering.  Over the years I’ve also gained in confidence, they’ve encouraged me to ‘grasp the nettle’.  I’m more likely to say ‘I’ll give it a go’.  What if?  Sod it, I’ll give it a go anyway.

I’ve met many students I now count as good friends.  I guess it’s because we all have something in common but just occasionally it goes deeper than that.  We connect.   I’m pleased to bump into any of my students in a fabric shop,  Yes that’ll work for that top.  No, I think you’d be better with a softer drape…Yes, that’s very pretty, buy it!

Don’t underestimate the power of sewing or the ‘community’ it creates.  It’s a positive pastime.