This August Bank Holiday weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Sewing Weekender for the third year in a row. Organised by the lovely ladies at the Foldline and Charlotte of the 'English Girl at Home' blog it is a real treat. Find out what we did, who was there and why I love this piece of sewing heaven so much.
The event is held at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. A beautiful venue with green surroundings, flower beds bursting with bright blooms, waterfalls and cute features such as a free mini library, it is the perfect setting for a relaxing retreat.
This year we had the opportunity to take part in a Spoonflower workshop where you could learn to create your own repeatable print.
The Spoonflower workshop was also a lovely treat. Sitting at a table covered in brightly coloured card, paints, paper, props and fresh flowers surrounded by friendly sewing enthusiasts was a lovely way to while away an hour.
You could create any design you liked using as many or as few props as you needed. For a spilt second I had a mini panic about my lack of artistic flair. Then I threw caution to the wind and got stuck in!
Like the true magpie that I am I was immediately drawn to the neon card and chose two additional complimentary colours. I decided to go for a very simple design of geometric shapes. It was great fun cutting, sticking and chatting. Just like being back at primary school minus the kids and teachers!
It was a very simple process. We started by creating a design in the centre of an A4 sheet of paper leaving plenty of white space around the edges.
Next we cut the A4 sheet in half then stuck it back together with the designs at either end of the page this time. We worked to fill the white space in the centre of the page then cut it in half in the opposite direction and stuck it back together with the white space in the middle again.
Finally we filled the white space and were left with a repeatable print. Such a simple process and I was pretty pleased with the results. I mean I certainly wouldn't wear this print, but I would use it on an interiors project. I thought I might get it printed on fabric and make some cushions for the boys' bedrooms.
I thought it would be a fun little activity to do with the kids too.
We also heard talks from Karen Ball of 'Did You Make That?' blog, Frances Tobin owner of 'The Maker's Atelier' independent sewing pattern company, Sheona from 'Sewisfaction' sewing classes and Harriet of 'The Little Dressmaker' blog.
Sharing her vast knowledge and experience of the publishing industry, Karen gave an inspiring talk all about how to bag a book deal. With her very own sewing book due for release at the beginning of next year (you heard it here first!) she certainly knows her stuff.
I could see many a budding author nodding enthusiastically as she shared her top tips and points for consideration for anyone interested in taking the plunge.
Frances gave us a fascinating talk on the links between the fashion industry and sewing patterns over the decades. It was wonderful to hear about her career as a fashion designer and how her love of fashion stemmed from sewing magazines in the 70s and 80s. She remembers her sisters flicking through the magazines and choosing the designs they wanted her Mom to make. She took us right through the ages from the very first sewing patterns, which came without instructions (!) to her very own range launched in recent years.
Sheona shared her highs and lows of starting a sewing business giving a very honest and well rounded account. Harriet shared some very useful tips and thought provoking information on how to care for your handmade wardrobe.
Sadly my photos of these gorgeous ladies didn't turn out very well. I was obviously too busy listening intently.
I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back and listening to these wonderful women talk about what makes them tick. I mean, how often do you get to switch off like that?
In between these fun activities, of course, there was sewing! I amazed myself that I actually sewed something this year. I managed to get 3/4 of the way through sewing another pair of paperbag waist shorts in our gorgeous cotton lawn fabric whilst chatting to the awesome ladies surrounding me. Here is a picture of me and Claire the lovely lady who sat next to me.
Some of the attendees did incredibly well and actually managed to finish a make. Geo sat on my other side and managed to finish this fantastic neon striped blouse.
I also introduced the lovely Alice to my Babylock Desire 3 coverlock machine. My friend Jackie showed Alice the three thread overlock rolled hem I did on my slip dress and she decided it would be a great way to hem the Ogden cami she was working on. Alice was really pleased with the results.
Eating and Sewcialising
The breakfast and lunch at the venue was thoroughly enjoyable again as was the food at the local pub on Saturday evening. I sat with a lovely group of sewists and chatting all things sewing, gin, tea and knitting. There was a lady next to me knitting the most gorgeous pair of socks as we nattered away.
All in all a fantastic and inspiring weekend. I could not wait to get home and sew some more!
Have fun sewing!
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