Cat Walk to Cutting Table - The Skirt Edition

MINT MODA       Cushnie Spring/Summer 2019

MINT MODA

Cushnie Spring/Summer 2019

With it being New York Fashion Week, have you ever wondered how easy it actually is to make your own, ‘cat walk ready’ clothes. One of my favorite pieces from this years cat walk so far is a simple but effective skirt, from the Mint Moda Collection.

Although such a simple piece of clothing, a skirt is able to turn your body shape into something completely different. Hugging in at the waist and flowing down the body, is the skirt style that ‘Mint Moda’ went for at New York Fashion Week 2019. A simple design, yet with the colors they used, they have brightened up the cat walk.

Feel like giving it a go yourself, here are some patterns you may want to use. And you can make you very own cat walk ready skirt.



Feel like you may need some extra help or feel like you want to take your knowledge further, why not come along to one of our pattern classes. for more information on these classes please feel free to contact us .

Signing off Kirsty







Say hello to Kirsty!

We’ve recently been joined by another sewconfident team member! Kirsty is going to be with us for the next month!

Kirsty’s going to be coming along to one of our beginners classes as well, you can see them here if you want to come along to one too!

Here’s a little bit more about Kirsty . . .


What and where are you studying?

The course that I study is called Food, Nutrition and Textile Education. I study this at Perth College (University of the Highlands and Islands).

Why did you decide to study this degree?

I chose this course as at school I was extremely interested in Home Economics and every aspect that it offers young people. It is not only a fun and interesting subject, but it also offers many life skills for young people who may need them the most.

Why is Home Economics as a subject important to you?

I believe that Home Economics is important in schools as it teaches many life skills that most children may not be taught at home. These skills include knowledge on nutrition and a healthy life style, cooking skills that can be used throughout your life and textile and sewing skills that can always be helpful. All these skills are useful to everyone throughout a lifetime.

Have you always wanted to be a teacher?

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Being a teacher has always been what I have wanted to do. I enjoy passing on my knowledge and seeing others succeed after using the knowledge I have provided. I enjoy with both young and mature students.

While at school, what was your most liked and most disliked classes?

Well, of course my favourite class in school was Home Economics. The class I probably disliked the most was maths, it was never one of my strengths.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

With whatever free time I have, between balancing uni, part time employment and socialising. I enjoy spending quality time with friends and family. This includes going out for food and drinks and having cosy nights in, just relaxing and watching movies.

Have you done a lot of sewing/textiles? What is your favourite thing you have made?

Unfortunately, having only the limited skills that I was taught In my first year at High School, I don’t know a lot about sewing. However, I am extremely intrigued by it and can’t wait to learn more from my time at Sew Confident and throughout my four-year degree.

During my school placement that took course over four weeks, I was able to engage in many first-year textile classes. In these classes the children were able to make a pillow. They were asked to decide colours of fabric and, also the design that they wanted on the front of the pillow. I was also able to make my own pillow alongside the children, I decided to make it for my baby niece, and to be honest, it turned out great.                                                       

What about the cooking side, what is your go to dish?

Cooking is something I have always loved, and throughout the years I have massively improved on my cooking skills and knowledge. My go to dish is always pasta, my favourite being tagliatelle pasta with sweet chilli and garlic prawn, this one also never fails to impress.

 

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The Bothwell Studio and the Future...

Hello!

It’s with a bit of sadness that I write this blog today. Some of you might already know the news that our Bothwell studio is now closed. I wanted to let you know why and to do that I need to go back to the start.

Our Bothwell studio was always a risk. It’s 20 minutes up the road from our Glasgow one, it’s in a totally different area, and that is exactly why I picked it. You might know that our plans to grow our Sew Confident Community involve franchising. In order to franchise you need to give franchisees “territories” and in order to know how close studios can be I had to try it myself.

Did I think it would work? Yes absolutely but I was always aware of the risk - which is something you gotta just run with in business sometimes! The reality is it’s just too close to the Glasgow studio so we had a similar number of people coming to us but twice the overheads. We now know that our studios are a 1 per city kind of deal and that people are happy to jump in the car to come to their nearest studio.

If I could turn back the clock I would do it all again because what we as a company learned was invaluable, we met so many amazing people, had so many laughs and hours of sewing in that amazing space so thank you for being part of that. No regrets!

So what’s the future of Sew Confident?

Goodbye Bothwell!

Goodbye Bothwell!

Despite closing the Bothwell studio our Glasgow studio has NEVER BEEN BUSIER! Our Dundee studio is also offering more and more classes every month, surpassing expectations - they now have a massive list of classes for all our Dundee pals. And have you SEEN the Dundee studio? It’s absolutely gorgeous, there was talk of some of my Glasgow students jumping in the car to go and visit Sandra in Dundee just to hang out in that studio!

Big picture wise I want everyone in the UK to have a friendly, social, creative and safe Sew Confident space near them. That’s the goal. We’re creating opportunities for those who want to be their own boss and we’re making creative jobs where their previously were none.

I thank my lucky stars every day that this is my job. And I’m blessed to get to spend my working day with the amazing Colette, Rosey and the fab tutors - it’s a total dream team! Most of all I feel lucky that our customers become friends because we’re all on the same crazy fabric hoarding page over here and apparently that’s all you need to really click with someone! Seriously though, without you guys we wouldn’t be here so thanks for your continued support over the past 7(!!) years. Here’s to another 7 years of sewing, tea drinking and excessive biscuit consumption!

Jenny xxx

Sewing With a New Born - Guest Blog

Sewing with a new born…It’s not really a thing is it? I had grand plans to set my beautiful new baby in its bouncy chair and set to work sewing while the baby slept soundly.

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Ha ha…Reality came crashing down around me. Finding time to sew was impossible. I think the closest thing I came to being crafty during the first 6 weeks was knitting a single row on a scarf I was making (for myself).

Then came a rare day when my husband was off work and there was no housework to be done. Now don’t be hating on me, all this happened because of specific well timed events, mainly an in home lifestyle photo shoot for the arrival of our beautiful baby boy. I found myself with an hour to myself and I ventured into the sewing room and I made a garment. An actual wearable top. Sounds impressive I know but it was a pattern I’ve made twice before and I had already cut out all the pattern pieces pre-baby so all the hard work was done.

It’s 4 weeks later and I haven’t sewn anything else BUT I have had time to think. Sewing has now become just as much about the planning as it has the actual sewing. I find I’m taking more time choosing fabrics and thinking of what to use from my stash. I’m planning on investing myself in more quality sewing rather than too much of a sew and hope. Reading patterns before I sew them is becoming a thing, feels like I’m learning more.

Also I have booked babysitters to cover any upcoming classes and the sewcial for this month. Grans are awesome!!

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Have you seen my 'sewjo'? - Guest Blog

Hello pregnancy, goodbye sewjo !

I think that’s exactly how it happened, well I’m pretty sure of it anyway.  I was on a roll with my sewing, had a started my own sewing blog, curated my instagram, sorted out my sewing room and had sewing plans for the year made which did not include a new pregnant body I can assure you. 
 That’s pretty much what halted it, the pregnant body. All of a sudden I had to try and dress this bump. Everything I wore was stretchy. I had no motivation, no patterns caught my eye, it was either a pattern that suited pregnancy only or a pattern that I would need to wait until post pregnancy to measure myself so no point even embarking on it. I didn’t know what shape I was going to be once I had the baby so felt like I couldn’t even plan for new me made outfits. Meanwhile every insta blogger is churning out the latest patterns, it felt like there was a new indie pattern released every week.

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Then the hallelujah moment - enter Tilly and the buttons Stevie pattern. I adored this pattern while pregnant, it draped nice on my body and didn’t make me feel like a whale. I made four in total (two dresses and two tops, I've included a photo of one of the dresses) It’s best points being that it was simple and quick to make and felt like it could be worn as an oversized t-shirt dress post pregnancy, I’ve road tested it and it falls into the secret pyjamas category. Just throw an oversized cardigan on with it and wear it with tights and it looks fab.

The moral of the story - I don’t have one but does there need to be one? I lost my sewjo for a while but it’s coming back slowly. There are new ideas cropping up in my brain and suddenly fabric is making its way into my wish list again. I think I stressed out about having no creativity and thinking it wouldn’t come back but it did though plus I think I will appreciate my sewing time a little more now that it’s limited.

Baby news - We welcomed a baby boy on 13th October, Max, weighing 6lbs 4oz, literally a little bundle of joy 💙

(PART 2 OF LAURAS BABY BLOG COMING SOON!)

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New Year, Same Fabulous You.

Hopefully by now you have, sadly, gotten back into the swing of things at work/uni and recovered from the festive holidays! If like me you are probably sick of people asking the same questions; “How was your Christmas?”, “Do much for New Year?” and the worst of all… “What’s your New Year Resolutions?”

PERSONALLY, I don’t set life changing goals at New Year. I’m not going to tell folk I’m going to lose a stone and run a marathon because the chances are I’ll go to the gym twice this year, maybe three times if I’m lucky…then I’ll feel horrible about myself at the end of the year for not achieving my goals and it’ll be an endless cycle. I also feel that a lot of peoples (not everyone) goals focus too much on the ‘negative’ things about them rather than realising how great they already are! “I want to lose weight”, “I want to get my teeth done”, “I want to get a boyfriend because I’m lonely and bored on my own” …to quote just a few of my friends ‘New Year Resolutions’, and within the first few days of the new year people beat themselves up and feel they have failed for already giving into a slice of cake etc etc. (In response to the boyfriend ‘goal’ - YOU ARE A STRONG, INDEPENDENT GIRL/MAN THAT DON’T NEED NO MAN/GIRL.)

What we SHOULD all be doing this year, may it not be the start of this year…maybe not even next month over even this year, is to learn all about SELF LOVE. Focus on the things you are already interested in or good at, or even things you are bad at but enjoy & LOOK FORWARD to improving. In this case, being crafty.

Now i’m no life coach, I probably have a cheek to be talking about self love as I know I can be very hard on myself…BUT one ‘goal’ I do have for 2019 is to sew more. GROUND BREAKING, I KNOW, This isn’t even learning something new! I’ve had more downs than ups over last year, but the one thing that really helps is being creative and sewing, yet when people ask the last thing i’ve made I can barely remember. I’m so guilty for ‘knowing what’s good for me but ignoring it.’ I think that’s why I love the whole idea of Sew Confident so much. I can already hear everyone reading this saying I’m being biased haha - maybe I slightly am. Although class after class after class, the one thing that is always said is how people love that they have dedicated time to coming along and being crafty. That they are the same as me and often get distracted at home or feel guilty for taking time out of their busy lives to get creative.

Yes our classes cost money, which especially in the longgggggggg, poooor month that is January you might not have the disposable income. BUT, if you think about it long term, one of our knitting or crochet classes costs £40 (this is less than a normal night out for me - but i do go a bit OTT) and in one evening you learn a new skill that you can continue to use and improve for LIFE. I mention knitting and crochet as that is the only new skills I would like to hopefully master in the next year or two (See, again, no pressure to be a crochet queen by the end of 2019). As I also mentioned earlier, for me, using my creativity or learning a new creative skill is all about the positive effect it has on my mental state. Good Mental State = Positive Self Loving. Making things from scratch whether it be a quilt, a dress or evening a weaved wall hanging…getting to meet knew creative friends…or guilt free time to hang with current crafty friends -

IT HELPS MAKE THE SAME FABULOUS YOU, EVEN MORE FABULOUS.

Lots of loving and positive vibes,

Sew Confident Colette


A New Year, A New Sew Confident Employee. . .

Now that everyone is sadly back to work…We hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year!

Has anyone got any New Years ReSEWlutions? (See what we done there)! It is always good to set yourself a goal, whether its personal, work or relationship related! Want to be featured in our New Years ReSEWlutions blog? Send in your Christmas makes and ideas for 2019 to hello@sewconfident.co.uk , by the 14th of Jan.

THE IMPORTANT BIT…

There has been some changes already this year in the Glasgow studio…starting with a new staff member! Everyone say a big hello to Rosey, who has joined the team and is taking over from Colette as our new official studio manager -EXCITING!

Before Rosey introduces herself, if you were lucky enough to get any Sew Confident Gift Vouchers over Christmas make sure to book up soon as classes are filling up fast!


INTRODUCING… ROSEY

An outfit from my graduate collection!

An outfit from my graduate collection!

Hi everyone, I’m Rosey! I learnt to sew in high school and have been mad for it ever since! I recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art from a fashion design course. Whilst there I learnt how to machine knit, which proved to be crazy addictive! I knitted the majority of my final collection there as well! Creating my own patterns and making the clothes for that had to be the hardest things I’ve ever made!

I’ve always loved being surrounded by creative people so will be excited to meet all of you sewers, knitters and crafters and see your amazing projects! I’m still on my knitting craze so that's what I’ll be making at the moment, and whizzing everything together on the overlocker! I also like to make recycled outdoors wear, this is me in a recycled parachute windbreaker.

Frida Frenzy

Everywhere we look there is Frida Kahlo designs to be seen! What are your thoughts on this latest trend or are you still a little unsure on who this famous mono brow lady even is…?

Who is Frida?

Considered one of the Mexico's greatest artist, Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyocoan, Mexico City, Mexico.  Frida painted many portraits, self-portraits and works inspired by the nature and artefacts of Mexico. Inspired by the country's popular culture, she employed a naïve folk art style to explore questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class and race in Mexican society. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. In addition to belonging to the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity, Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist.


Sew Confident does Frida

Never wanting to miss a trend, here at Sew Confident we have created our very own, super cool item. DRUM ROLL PLEASE… Ladies & Gentleman, now available via the website or from our studios - A Frida hand embroidery kit!


Wanting to see what else we are loving? Check out below some of Colettes best finds! Just click the image to follow on to the website I found them on.

Have yourself a homemade Christmas.

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With Christmas FAST approaching it is time to start panicking about if it is acceptable to buy your Dad socks for the 4th year in a row.

To put it bluntly, NO! Gone are the days of buying pointless (often expensive) gifts that your loved ones might not even need.

With the word BREXIT bringing fear into peoples eyes and the thought of climate change ending the world by 2020, Colette & Jenny are here to tell you the best ways to save some pennies while still supplying the best Christmas gifts in the family and maybe saving a wee bit of the planet too!


Colette

For me, homemade gifts are a win-win! There are so many benefits to making your own such as;

  1. You often save some money because lets face it, we all have TONS of fabric lying around that we could use up.

  2. You have an excuse to take time out to sew/be creative

  3. No need to stress that the personal already has this item as it is one of a kind!

  4. People LOVE thoughtful, handmade gifts & even something like a simple tote bag is impressive to those who can’t sew.

  5. It can be good for the planet; This Christmas I want to create more eco-friendly, re-usable gifts!

When it comes to gift giving you should always play to your strengths (e.g. Sewing, knitting, painting etc) and if you haven’t yet found your creative strength there is still plenty of time. At our overlocker class you not only learn how to use these amazing machines, you also leave with a wear-able top - all in one night!! (I plan on making one of these for my cousin in a Harry Potter print since she is a BIG fan).

Time depending, I have made a rough list of what gifts I hope to make everyone, for example;

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  • Travel bag set for Dad, similar to the one I done for the blog ‘sew-along’!

  • Cosy Jumper for my Mum

  • Toys for the dogs made from old denim jeans

  • Basic coat for my Gran

  • Tie/pocket square for Grandad

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I am even hoping to make my own gift tags. This will allow me to use up any scraps made from my projects and a good excuse to do some fun machine embroidery. The tags can then be kept and used as Christmas tree decorations for the following year!

The ONE gift I will be buying is a small beginners sewing machine for my 5 year old cousin Summer who can’t wait to ‘be a fashion designer like her big cousin Coly’. I am already looking forward to what homemade gifts I will be receiving from her in a few years time…!


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Jenny

Well how do I follow on from Colette? I’ll give it a bash!

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I’m definitely feeling more inclined to put more thought into this years Christmas gifts and not just because my favourite Martin Lewis told us to! Maybe it’s because I’m getting older(ripe old age of 31) but I’m starting to value peoples time more and more, whether they choose to spend it with me or if they use it to make me something lovely - so that’s what I plan to do this year!

In my household I am the crafty one - no suprises there but my partner is an amazing cook so as far as gifts go we’re actually a good team! He’s going to make loads of lovely foody things like chutneys, jams, fancy olive oils and flavoured alcohols. On the cooking front I might make some biscuits because I am pretty obsessed with the videos that keep popping up on my instagram of people decorating them…watch this space to see whether the decorating ACTUALLY goes to plan, or if any of them actually make it out of the kitchen without me or Steve eating them ourselves!

Sewing wise I’m going to be utilising my favourite machine - the embroidery machine - to customise some bits and bobs! Just like our Personalised Christmas Pressie class! I’m also planning some hand embroidery embellished items because I have been LOVING doing hand embroidery all cosy on the sofa in the evening! There’s definitely still time for you to get involved with our Hand Embroidery classes in November and December!

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I’m keeping this brief because I don’t want to give away TOO much incase any of my gift recipients are actually reading this :p

Whatever you end up doing, make sure you crank up the Christmas tunes and have a lovely festive time while you do it. And if like me you make biscuits and end up eating them all before they make it into the gift bag then make sure you take an Instagram of it before the get demolished so at least people know you tried!

💀3 Halloween Sewing Tips No Other Sewing Tutor Will EVER Tell You!🎃😁

Halloween is a Nightmare!

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As someone who doesn't even have kids I know Halloween can be stressful.

So here's my top 3 last minute sewing tips, to give yourself a break this Halloween!

Leave those raw edges raw!

Ain't nobody got time for the perfect Halloween costume, and I mean literally! You might never wear this again so why are you so worried about raw edges and perfection? The fact you are making it is AMAZING and will mean your costume totally stands out anyway.

If fraying fabric DOES really annoy you then opt for fabric that doesn't fray! Most stretch fabric don't fray and, well they're stretchy so you or your kid can wear it again next year haha!

Use the 3 S's - Staplers, Sharpies, Safety Pins...

I think I just heard some season sew-ers GASP at this one? Let me explain.

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Most people are time poor. Most people are feeling a bit of pressure to make a costume for themselves or their kids and can't believe how quickly Halloween has come around so give yourself a break. As your sewing tutor AND friend I am giving you permission to absolutely WING IT!

Not got time to applique the eyes on that dog costume? Use a sharpie!

Hem fallen down on a grim reaper costume making it trail on the ground at the last minute? Use a stapler!

Has a seam burst on pirate costume the night before the party? Safety pin it!

If all else fails, buy one!

You might be getting the vibe from this email is mainly to GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! So if you totally run out of time and you have to buy something, so what? You'll be more prepared next time right?

Sewing is a great skill, it's so useful but most of all it should be enjoyable and it should de-stress you, if the opposite is happening my advice is to step away. You're not a failed parent for not spending 3 weeks on your kids Halloween Costume, and if you own a sewing machine but bought a costume so what?

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Got any hilarious Halloween related disasters or confessions? I want to hear them to make us all feel a bit better about not being the perfect human. Get in touch and let me know!

We still have a few spaces on this Fridays Halloween Inspired Sewcial in Glasgow? Want to join Jenny? Go here!

10 Sewing Room Organisation Tips

Got a wee guest blog for you today all about organising your sewing room! Check out Annabelle Short's 10 top tips out below. What do you think and what would you add?

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Organising the sewing room is very important for a sewing expert. When things are arranged accordingly, not only does it make your work easier, it also shows that you know what you are doing. In this post, I will show you ten ways you can arrange the sewing room that’ll give you a professional edge above others who tend to wallow in the disarray of their sewing tools.

Apart from the fact that having your tools scattered here and there doesn’t portray you as an expert, it is also quite risky. You might step on a sewing pin that is not supposed to be where it is. Also, as a professional, you need to acquaint yourself with your sewing labels and tags and how you can organize them. Therefore, below are the tips you need to stand out as an expert in your sewing profession.

Store your sewing tools properly

First and foremost store all your quilting tools close to your work area. This is very important because these are the tools you frequently use whenever you work. For instance, your quilting rulers should be kept together in one place, like hanging them on a bar near your cutting table.

Close observation of patterns

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Carefully observe how you use your patterns. There may be some patterns you frequently use. These favourite patterns, however, should be kept in a 3 ring binder to keep them organised and easy to find. Paper patterns, for example, can be organised in a mini binder by using small page protectors to easily see both the front and back covers as you flip through them.


Securely backup your patterns and designs

There are thousands of patterns to be used. For future use and easy access, always save a backup of your PDF/Epub patterns on your hard drives or Clouds. You can quickly get to them and print any kind of pattern you want to use. After printing, however, you should store the hard copies in cardboard magazine holders. It would be very unprofessional just to leave them lying around.

Maintain a minimalist workspace arrangement

Every once in a while, probably yearly, try to sort through all your quilting magazines and books. To avoid littering your holders, give out the ones you think you don’t need anymore. Local quilting guides are perfect places to donate the quilts you don’t need. I wouldn’t advise you throw them into the trash or incinerator for there might be people seriously in need of those books. It is noble to give them out to people who want them. You never can tell; you may even find what you need in these local quilting guides.

Keep only parts of a magazine you need

There are some situations where you would like some particular magazine patterns but do not want the whole magazine. What you have to do in this situation is very easy; just cut out the parts you want and put them in page protectors in a 3 ring binder. Simple.

Store your fabrics according to the frequency of usage

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In fabric storage, always store your fabrics according to how often you use them. This solely depends on your style of usage. Some experts reach for certain designers first while some others try to work within a specific style. Just store your fabric in a manner you find comfortable whenever you work with it.

Keep your buttons sorted and organised

Sort your buttons in two ways. You can separate them either by their sizes or colours. For instance, you can store bigger buttons in 5-inch jars and smaller ones (including other trinkets) in 3-inch jars.

Keep your threads and other tools handy

In creating your sewing station, put folded and spools of lace on the shelves close to the thread rack. This will allow you easy access to your thread and your materials. Also, set your sewing machine in a position where you would not have to be rising up much whenever you need to make use of a material or tool. You can set your station in the middle of the room where you can have easy access to thing around.

Sort your stored scraps

Like the buttons, scraps can also be stored based on color and size. Saving your scraps in scrap bins is easy. When you want to sort through your scrap project, you will quickly know which bin to carry out and sort through. Sorting through them is fun itself as you can effortlessly make a colorful mess in the course of searching for a particular size (or color) and just stuff everything back into the bins, close the lids and put them back in their shelves after finding the perfect scraps for your projects.

Keep accurate records

Lastly, always keep track of your tools, materials, and projects. You can have a book to input all the stuff you have; and as you use them, you keep a record of your usage. This will allow you to know which particular tool or material is getting exhausted and you can easily restock those ones you think have been expended. Keeping records of your sewing and allied activities is very important.



 

About the author: Anna Carter Short is a freelance writer and a seamstress of more than 5 years. She is a craft lover and would like to start an Etsy store soon. Annabelle is a mother and she loves making crafts with her two children, Leo (age 9) and Michelle (age 11). When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. You can check here blog here: https://wunderlabel.co.uk/blog/ 

Quirky Quilting

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Hi - let me introduce myself! I’m Jo and I have started working with Sew Confident to spread the word about the wonderful world that is Quilting. We started with some beginners’ classes on the Bothwell and Glasgow studios this autumn (with Dundee already being up and running) and hope to bring you lots of exciting and new classes in 2019 so I hope we can find something that will suit everyone. Not just quilts too – you’d be surprised what you can make with so many scarps of fabric from repurposed shirts and the like. If you fancy giving a class a go we’d love to hear from you, or if you have any ideas what you’d like to try do let me know and we can see what exciting ideas we can come up with!

As you might be able to tell already I am somewhat of an enthusiastic quilter and have loved having this opportunity to bring this great and addictive hobby to some new stitchers. I’ve been quilting now for about 20 years, having previously been a keen dressmaker and cross stitch fan. However, once I started quilting there was no going back, and my wardrobe has sadly had to stay high street based, and the dressmakers form was resigned to the loft. (I have to say though its seen the light of day again recently have been inspired by the goings on at Sew Confident). I struggle to put my finger on it exactly, but there is something slightly magical about the whole quilt process that I adore and sitting surrounded by lots of little pieces of fabric and a reel of thread puts me in a very happy place. Of course, friends and family are very happy about this as not only does it keep me quiet and out of the hair, but they know they will never be cold and reckon they save hundreds on heating bills, having been bombarded with shed loads of quilty loveliness over the years….Learning to quilt is not as daunting as you may think and once you have the basics you can make quilts and lots of other great things which your friends will find instantly very impressive. The Sew Confident beginners course starts with a baby quilt, but back in the day I, like a mad woman, decided to start with a full blown double bed sized quilt!!

Looking back now it is a very traditional quilt, in very traditional colours, and I still love it, but now though, you’ll find me in a far more colourful world as we have seen a revolution in the quilt world, with the arrival of social media and the very active on line quilting community. Not only is this spreading the word to a wider and younger audience, but its giving us all so much great inspiration, with colour, shape and textures we may not have found in our local shop or book shop. Do check it out- you’ll be amazed.

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At the moment I am trying to design a quilt to submit for my first ever competition at QuiltCon (this probably sounds like the quilt world’s equivalent of being a geek but is in fact a fantastic annual get together of the Modern Quilt Guild). It’s quite a scary prospect but a good way to stretch myself, so watch this space! We’d love to hear from you if you think this is a craft that’s calling to you so why not drop us a note now.

You can also follow Jo on Instagram here!

Our Dundee Superstar, Sandra

As Sandra prepares to become our first EVER Sew Confident FRANCHISE! (How exciting) Here is everything you need to know about this Dundee Sewing Superstar.


So Sandra, What made you want to start sewing?

I'm a bit of a craft addict! I have tried out so many creative projects over the years and love to throw myself right into them, buy all the supplies and then fall out of love with it a couple of weeks later, i dread to think about the amount of money i must've spent over the years. I'm glad to say that sewing seems to have stuck around and i'm still discovering new things to make and new techniques/tips all the time.

Don’t worry it is safe to say we have all been there with the changing of hobbies! (Sewing is 100% the best anyway). How long you have been sewing?

My mum gave me her old Singer sewing machine to try out as it was just lying around the house gathering dust. I used it to make some soft toys which I sold at craft fairs before I managed to break it oops! I then bought my own machine and used it on and off for a few years making bits and pieces but never really got to know it fully or try out many new things. I would say I really got into sewing properly around 5 years ago when I made a quilt for my little boy. I'd never done anything like that before but I followed a weekly quilt-a-long on a blog I liked and in 6 weeks I had a quilt - he still uses it to this date and it still hasn't fallen apart yet haha!

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Aw that is lovely that your son still uses your first ever quilt! Do you have your own sewing space?

My sewing space until recently has been a small box room / cupboard upstairs in my house sandwiched between my two boy's bedrooms - it's small but does the trick! I guess the only problem is i can't really sew at night while they boys are asleep, this is one of the reasons i got hooked on hand sewing quilts and into English Paper Piecing my quilt tops. I'm now lucky enough to have an amazing garage conversion i can sew in - i'm still moving all my bits and pieces in there but it'll hopefully become a nice little creative hub for the Sew Confident Dundee gang!

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I am SO jealous of this new sewing space of yours! It also sounds like you have made a LOT, but do you have a favourite thing you have ever made?

That's a difficult one. I start a lot of projects and finish very few but I think perhaps my favourite quilt might be the Altitude Quilt i made for Dashwood Studios to showcase their Altitude fabric line. It was my first large hand pieced quilt, unfortunately it is no longer with me - it has gone missing somewhere boo hoo! Although my Poppies quilt and Polaroid quilt are strong contenders too! Quilt's aside it might have to be the top i made recently at the Overlocker class - i'm now totally in love with the overlocker and how quickly you can make clothes on it - complete convert!

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Wow, Those quilts seriously make me want to give quilting a go!! With ‘vloggers’ & instagram etc being more & more popular, do you have anyone or anything that inspires you?

I can spend hours trawling through hashtags on Instagram and getting lost discovering new ideas, colour ways and people to follow. 

I’m sure there is many, but what is your proudest Sewing Achievement?

I was recently asked to be featured in a book all about English Paper Piecing written by Florence Knapp (she's a bit of a big deal in quilting circles haha). There's a wee interview in there with me and a photo of one of my quilts. It was such an honour to be featured and amazing to see my work in print.

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No way, that is so cool! Well done!! So for those of you who might soon see you at one of our Dundee classes, How long you have worked at sew confident?

I taught my first Beginners Class in May 2017 and fell in love with teaching straight away, i mean what can be better than spending hours sharing your passion with lovely people and getting lots of tea and biccies at the same time! I have since taken the Beginners class, Baby Accessory class, Hand Embroidery, Machine Doodles, Rope Bowl, Memory Blanket. I mean i love it so much i have just agreed to take on the Dundee Franchise and cannot wait to get stuck right in and see just how much more sewing we can bring to the City - exciting times ahead!

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Cat Walk To Cutting Table - The Denim Jacket

The denim jacket is an indispensable wardrobe basic. Each year the denim jacket can be seen on the Cat Walk as a designer tries to put their own twist on the classic. Lately we have seen some classy, embellished jackets on Elie Saab A/W 18 catwalk.

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Here are some images from my first attempt at a 'denim' jacket which I made for my holiday. The pattern is from seamwork & called 'Audrey'. I also used the brand new Sew Confident original printed fabric - it looks so fun, I want to make one out of all 4 prints we have!

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It wasn't actually that easy to source heavy weight/good quality plain denim but having made this Jacket now myself, you might want to start with a lighter weight material until you have gave it a go. There is a good few layers, button holes etc so do also consider what your sewing machine can handle! The Elna 340s which we use in our studios worked great with my jacket.

To create your own version of the embellished Elie Saab jacket, you might want to go through your cupboard of rubbish & see if you still have one of these beauties.... (TOLD YOU IT WOULD COME IN HANDY ONE DAY MUM!!)

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Crazy For Corsets

Corsets Today

In todays society, corsets are usually only seen when it comes to costumes, stage performance or "waist training"; although a few do still buy or make them for the uses that they were designed for hundreds of years ago. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Madonna & Beyonce often wear corsets on stage while touring to add drama and femininity to their performances. High fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen have been seen regularly using corsets or similar in their collections. Among many celebrities, reality star Kim Kardashion uses a waist trainer to "achieve a small waist" (DO NOT TRY THIS NONSENSE AT HOME!)

You are more likely to see a corset 'inspired' fashion piece such as the one pictured below which can be purchased from ASOS.com. (I must admit I am not a fan of these 'fashion corset/wasbie, over the tshirt' looks but each to their own!)

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The History of Corsets

If you read online there is various conflicting reasons for why corsets were created. Was it to change a persons body shape? Was it to supports ladies chests? WAS IT TO HELP WITH BACK PAIN? I just don't know the correct answer so I am just going with what wikipedia says since that is OBVIOUSLY true...

"The earliest known representation of a possible corset appears on a Cretan figurine made in c.1600 BC. The article of clothing depicted might be perceived as a corset, but is worn as an outer garment, and leaves the breasts exposed."

"The corset first became popular in sixteenth-century Europe, reaching the zenith of its popularity in the Victorian era. While the corset has typically been worn as an undergarment, it has occasionally been used as an outer-garment; corsets as outer-garments can be seen in the national dress of many European countries


Want to know more or learn how to make your own corset?

Whether you just want to push your sewing skills to the limit, have an interest in historical fashion or want to wear your handmade corset this is the class for you! Our fabulous tutor Emma with take you through the practical corset making process whilst also telling you all about the history of corsets - she's an expert!

At this course you will learn:

  • Corset Tailoring
  • Toile fitting
  • Pattern alterations
  • Working with synthetic whale boning and steel boning.
  • Hand finishing skills
  • Inserting eyelets.
  • History of corsets

To find out more or book on, follow the yellow bric...ok just follow this link: https://bookeo.com/sewconfidentglasgow?devent=42552P9MXRP164ACFAFAD4_2018-10-20_8cCcV6gciO0w

Tracey The Terrific Tutor

HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY? 2018 is sure flying in, but another month almost over means its time to meet another lovely Sew Confident customer...or in this case, past customer and current Sew Confident TUTOR x

Everyone say a big hello to Tracey! Now some of you may recognise Tracey, as after starting out as a Sew Confident customer she is now actually one of our tutors!

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1.    So Tracey, How long have you been sewing?

Nearly 6 years

2.     Why did you start sewing?

My son has Down's Syndrome, and when he was born and diagnosed one of the first things I read was that his legs and arms would be shorter so I had a sudden need to sew, so that he would never have baggy trousers

3.   That is such a great reason,  What sewing project are you most proud of?

I made a coat for a little boy with additional needs that was adapted to incorporate the framing on his arm

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4.     That jacket is AMAZING, that was so nice of you! What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

I'm not sure, they don't ask me to do much for them, they know me too well...

5.     I'm sure they are all very impressed with your skills! What sewing accessory could you not live without?

My quilting ruler, I use it for EVERYTHING!

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6.     If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Stop doubting yourself, stop being afraid to try something and fail, it's how you learn

7.     That is some great advice! Talking of failing...Have you had any sewing disasters?

I could write a book, many many sewing disasters. One made my son a pair of jeans and when it came to near the end I had to over lock the edge of the faux fly, I forgot to turn the blade off on my overlocker and cut the leg in half 🤣. I once sewed a circle skirt to the bodice of a dress, but to the neckline instead of the waist. It was stretch velvet so impossible to unpick

8.     Haha, You could have passed it off as some over exaggerated clown coller! How many classes have you attended at Sew Confident?  What was your favourite and why?

I'm not sure actually, quite a few. The intermediate class was really the point where I gained the confidence to sew without supervision. I love the sewcial too, it's great to sew with like minded people and make some new friends.

9.     What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

I really want to start tailoring and make a gown. I just want to keep improving and trying new things

10.  Well you defiantly have the skills to tackle a gown, that's for sure.What projects do you have on the go right now?

Im a master sewcrastinator. I have a few jersey dresses, a woven dress and a purse on the go and I'm. Putting together a pattern for a pair of jeans.

11.  'Sewcrastinator', love that haha! Finally Tracey, What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

Do it !! Don't be afraid to give it a go and don't be afraid of making mistakes, it's how you learn!

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If you think Tracey seems great fun (which she is!) be sure to join on our beginners or hoodie classes to say Hello!

RELAXATION

As every day now seems to be 'international something another', today is actually International Relaxation Day! Sadly due to this fast paced society we now live in it is easy to forget to take a few minutes to yourself and actually chill out. 

1. Being Active/YOGA

Now if you are anything like me you will be sick of hearing people saying to you, 'You should go to the GYM it will make you feel so much better!!'. YES I KNOW THIS BUT IT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!! Seriously though, if you have the dedication to get into the gym it does actually help. If you struggle to find dedicated time or not got the funds to join your local gym, I have found watching Yoga/Pilate videos on youtube great. Even better you can find ones which are as short as 5 minutes...Perfect to do inbetween waiting on your microwave meal to cook! 

Or... You can be like Jenny & fit your yoga poses in while reaching for your fav bottle of wine!

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2. Having a hobby

Not that I am biased or anything...but what has helped me a lot over the years when it comes to trying to relax is anything creative such as SEWING! It is so easy to zone out & not worry about lifes stresses since you are too busy making sure you don't make a mistake & need to dig the seam ripper out!

Good ol' Science also has many studies which say activities such as sewing, knitting etc are very good for not only relaxing but also improving brain function - WIN WIN!

 

3. Nature

Ever experience those 'awe moments' were you just let out a happy wee sigh? I find I get that most often when out and taking a minute or two to just take in the nature around me. Might sound ridiculous but you should give it a try! Seeing a squirrel running about in the garden, a massive belter of a sunflower or, my favourite, amazing sun sets/sun rises will easily put a smile on your face & let you relax for a moment!

4. Good Company

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Sometimes it is hard to get out of a rut/relax on your own as you sometimes need a bit of motivation or someone to vent to. It is an obvious one but hanging out with family or your best friends doing something you all enjoy is one of the best ways to chill out! Your friends are often busy? Well linking back to number 2.' Having a hobby', you will find various classes or groups which will allow you to be in the company of like minded folk & even let you make some new friends! 

This was the idea behind our monthly 'Sewcials' as, from personal experience, I have never had any friends who enjoy sewing & I could get together with. Now I have tons who often come along to our monthly sewcials which I can not only talk all things sewing with but it motivates me to get creative!

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5. Cooking

I can't say I have any experience with this one as the best thing I can make is a cheese toasty, but I have been told from many that one of their favourite ways to relax is to get cooking! I suppose it is similar to sewing in the way you can get so in to what you are making you don't have time to worry about anything else & you have some yummy food to enjoy at the end!

PS. Thank you to Laura (@missyouonamonday) for sending us this AMAZING looking cake from her latest baking blog post!

Sewing Room Tour - The Sewing Room That Wouldn’t Make it on Pinterest

The Sewing Room Tour

Guest Blog by Sew Confident Customer Laura

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My name is Laura and I have a pink sewing room with flamingo wallpaper.

I say this like an announcement at a fabric addiction meeting.  Never have I been girly, never have I been into pink and goodness only knows where the flamingos come from but I tell you something - I love it!!  Myself and my husband have a small converted farmhouse in the beautiful Ayrshire countryside and at the moment double the rooms than there are people to sleep in them so we converted the smallest into my beautiful sewing room.  My husband has a 40ft by 15ft outbuilding and I have an 8ft square room but I tell you I wouldn’t swap, well maybe just a few extra foot for a cutting table but you can’t have everything. 

Laura's amazing flamingo wallpaper and handmade kimono!

Laura's amazing flamingo wallpaper and handmade kimono!

I done some pinterest and other sewing blog research before decorating the room and deciding on layout but like most things it really depended on what I could fit in there.  My large white desk is from ikea and is used for both sewing and cutting, I usually take the sewing machine (bought from Sew Confident as a 30th birthday present from my mum) off the table to cut so I have plenty of room. 

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My pin board and all the little hooks etc on it are also from Ikea.  In the top right corner is usually my next planned project, at the moment it is Tilly and The Buttons latest pattern, Stevie, the fabric on top of the sewing machine is what I plan to use, a beautiful black floral viscose from like sew amazing.  The book in the bottom left hand corner is my bible (The Dressmaking Technique Bible – Lorna Knight) open at the bias binding page, for some reason I drew an absolute blank while constructing a kimono that needed some.  All my essentials are basically right in front me when I sit down to start a project, all my scissors, pins and thread are at arm’s reach.  I also normally have a laptop with Netflix on watching a girly film or a podcast on in the background. 

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My book shelves aren’t too busy either, realistically I know I won’t read many books so these are the ones I found had patterns I liked and would be able to teach me something:

Love at First Stitch – Tilly Walnes

A Beginners guide to making skirts – Wendy Ward

Learn to sew with Lauren – Lauren Guthrie

Girl with a Sewing machine – Jennifer Taylor

 

 

 

The white chest of drawers behind me is just a spill over from our bedroom however I’d like it to be fabric storage.  All my fabric is in the corner, proud to say it does normally sit quite neat like this. 

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I also have my great aunts sewing box that contains a lot of her sewing things such as thimbles, threads, zips, elastic and buttons.  There are also some of my grans sewing items in there too.  You can see my knitting bag popped on top of it too, another birthday present from my mum, I’ve never been very good at it but now that Sew Confident has a knitting class maybe I will be able to put this bag to use. 

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On top of the chest of drawers is my red house sewing box, another 30th birthday gift this time from my friend Yvonne, it’s from Cath Kidston.  How cute!!!!!! Also I love my jam rolly polly tin from TK Maxx, that’s where I store all my zips, I hate zips and quite often just do some sort of tie closure instead, hence why I have a few in there. 

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This is a realistic tour of my sewing room, this is the tidy version but it’s also not that well organised and a bit scattered but I didn’t want to tidy lots of things away and give an unrealistic pinterest friendly view.  All I need to complete it is a nice desk chair, I’m being very fussy, any suggestions please post the link!!  Any questions on where I got anything that I haven’t mentioned please let me know. 

Laura and her Husband Ally

Laura and her Husband Ally

I also have a blog on called ‘miss you on a Monday’ and the same name on Instagram if you would like to see more of my sewing adventures. 

 

Sewing Projects for the Final Week of the Sew Confident Beginners Class!

You're looking for inspiration for the final week of your beginners class right? Good you're in the right place! Our beginners class has some time at the end designed for you to be able to get help with your own project. You can either make another tote/cushion/make-up bag etc OR you can make something else entirely! 

Have a look at some of our suggestions below!

Everyday Useful Stuff!

Laptop/I pad Cover

Two Tone Tote

Stuff for You

Circle Skirt(One of the more difficult tutorials!)

 

Stuff for Kids

T-shirt Applique

Homewares

Reversible Rug

 

Please note that we cannot guarantee that you will complete any of these projects. If you'd like to do something else have a chat with your tutor or get in touch before class. We'd normally discourage people from jumping in with a complicated dress pattern for example as you'll barely get any of it done and it might be a bit overwhelming as your final project.

Happy Sewing!