I know we forgot all about an October Sew-er of the month, what can I say it was a pretty busy one(and I forgot sorry) but our November Sew-er Laura will more than make up for it. With a love of all things flamingo and her own brood of farm animals she's got some interesting in-class stories. Many of you might have met her(because she has been on MANY a Sewcial and many a class!) and you might have even been lucky enough to sample her insane home baking! This is her sewing story!
So how long have you been sewing?
About a year, before that all my experience was in cross stitch kits. I came for some private lessons with Jenny first and then asked my mum to buy me a sewing machine for my 30th. It stayed in the box for a little while as I had the fear and then I took it out and looked at it for about a week. I had to you tube how to thread it because I was nervous I would get it wrong. Now I have a whole sewing room. It’s pink and has flamingo wallpaper!! There is a flamingo theme to my sewing I think, I recently made a flamingo cushion cover, a flamingo top and then drawstring bags from those scraps.
LOVING all the flamingo stuff and your sewing room looks amazing! What was your reason for learning to sew?
I don’t really follow fashion, I just wear what suits me and there are a few things in my wardrobe that are standard staple items for me like little shift dresses and A-line skirts, I wanted to know how I could just replicate what I already wore but in a colour palette more suited to me and in prints I really liked. My gran taught me a few things when I was young and I really wish I had kept it up, I have ended up with an old sewing box that I’m not sure if it’s hers or her sisters but every time I am looking for a hook and eye or a piece of elastic or something I normally find it in there so it feels like she is still kind of involved in my sewing.
That's really cute, its so nice to know your gran would be delighted with your hobby, I too wish I had got into sewing when my Nana was still about, she'd love all the things I make! Speaking of which, what is your favourite sewing project to date?
Probably a little elasticated circle skirt I made with Jenny in under an hour, I didn’t realise how easy it would be and it was my first handmade item that gave me the confidence to keep going and make more. I learned much more than how to sew two bits of material together in that hour.
Aw I remember that skirt, great for summer holidays! What do you friends and family think of your hobby? Do you end up hemming everyones trousers?
They are really encouraging, I made a Winnie the Pooh quilt for my niece who was born in April this year and her mum and dad seemed impressed. My mum is tiny so most of her wardrobe needs altered so I’d like to be able to do that for her save her always needing to pay for it. My brother popped round at the weekend with a pair of tartan trousers he is needing altered, never hemmed trousers before but it felt nice he had the confidence in me that I probably don’t have in myself.
I'm confident you could adjust trousers, just no the most exciting job ever! What sewing accessory could you absolutely not live without?
I have this little pin cushion attached to a strap of elastic that goes round my wrist, I bought it on Ebay I think for like £2. Could probably easy make it actually. I find it easier than using a pin cushion that inevitably you put down and then can’t find plus when you are actually sewing and taking pins out as you sew it’s much easier to just pop them back on your wrist. I’m just waiting for the day that I do that and I’m not using it and I stab myself in the wrist with a pin.
Stabbing yourself with pins is an occupational hazard of being a sew-er, maybe not in the wrist right enough! If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?
Classes are great and definitely the way to go but social media is your friend, follow blogs on bloglovin, follow people on instagram, subscribe to sewers on youtube. The sewing community is so friendly and welcoming. No one will ridicule you, I worried people would think I was stupid for asking certain questions. That never happens!!! Sewing trolls do not exist.
We're friendly breed, sew-ers! Haha! You've been sewing for a while, you've got to have had a few disaster along the way, right?
I was using a Tilly and the buttons pattern to make a skirt and I’ve made the facing shorter than the waistband so now it’s too tight and it’s never going to fit, I’ll need to get some more fabric and do that bit again. Also I bought this gorgeous sheep pattern cotton fabric that I made pyjama trousers out of but I read the pattern wrong. I looked at the ‘finished garment sizes’ section and cut out the wrong size, the pattern had a big seam allowance so once I had finished them I literally couldn’t get them up. When I did it the second time I had to tape all the pattern back together so now I trace my patterns out and you can bet I have never read the sizing wrong since.
Making mistakes is the best way to learn but it's still annoying if you waste some amazing sheep fabric! I know you have been in our studio loads but how many classes have you actually attended, and what was your favourite?
I’ve done a few private lessons, the pattern class, the shirt dress class and the free motion embroidery class (I won that in the Christmas advent competition). My favourite was the pattern class, it just taught me so much and completely de mystified patterns. Everyone had different patterns too so although mine didn’t have pleats in it someone else’s did so we all learned from each other. One of the other girls was talking to me about making quilts and I ended up making one (the winnie the pooh one) and we went to a gig together not long after the class, so I made a friend and gained some new skills.
That's so nice that you made a friend in class, I think that happens quite often! You've come on leaps and bounds in the time you've been sewing, what would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?
A winter coat and a pair of jeans. I’ve been reading a few blogs lately about making jeans and it doesn’t look too hard and recently in Sew Confident I’ve seen Colette’s winter jacket taking shape so I don’t feel as intimidated anymore but I definitely want to make a bit more before tackling those projects. I would also love my own sewing blog but I want a bit more experience before I start that.
I would definitely read your blog Laura, you need to get on that! What projects do you have on the go right now?
I’m experimenting with fabric right now and have extended my fabric stash to include viscose, jersey, wool and needlecord. I’ll make an A-line skirt with the wool and probably a little dress with the needlecord. The others I needs to get some inspiration from but I might book onto the next kimono class and use my viscose there, it’s a nice autumnal floral pattern.
Viscose is up there with my favourite fabrics just now, cheap and looks lovely - would make a fab kimono! What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?
Have a private lesson first, you can ask all the questions you maybe wouldn't ask in a bigger class and you can get a feel for it without spending too much money on a class that lasts a few weeks.
Good advice! Thanks for chatting to us Laura, get writing that blog and we'll share it with the Sew Confident Crew!
Do you want to follow in Laura's footsteps?You can book a 121 lesson here or check out all of our classes here!