New Sew Confident Studio: Chorley, England - Meet Dawn

Hi everyone, I’m Dawn! Born in Fife, Scotland, I moved to England with my parents and sister when I was 15. After studying at college and Uni I settled down in the North West of England and live with my husband and two children.  

I’ve always been creative, my mum and granny taught me to knit, I’ve had a go at card making and even made my own wedding invitations and favours. I also love sewing and doing DIY. I think it all began at high school many years ago in my home economics class.

It started as a hobby and I’m self taught, I did a GCSE in textiles at high school and have attended night classes on how to make curtains, blinds and upholstery - I chose to up-cycle a chair. 

I love looking on Pinterest, surfing the internet and mooching in Shops, then try and re-create things. 

I find sewing and crafts so relaxing, therapeutic and rewarding.  There is no better feeling than when you’ve handmade something and people like and admire your work.

Life is too short and I have always wanted to get away from years spent working in office environments. 

I’ve always wanted to have a career doing something I love and that I’m passionate about. I cannot wait to open my studio in Chorley. I’m excited about this next big step, I’m looking forward to welcoming people into my gorgeous Sew Confident Studio. It’s going to be relaxing, friendly and a sociable space where people can come and learn a new skill from beginners sewing classes, to sewing pattern class and quilting plus so many other fantastic on trend classes. 

I can’t wait to join the Sew Confident team, hopefully I’ll meet some of you reading this very soon at one of the classes. 

Remember to sign up to our Chorley mailing list to be the first to hear all about our Opening Day Party ! : Click here to sign up

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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.

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!

7 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Own Underwear!

Underwear is too difficult to make yourself right? WRONG! Making my own underwear has been an absolute game changer and here is why!

1. You only have to own the perfect bra!
We do a lot of settling for whatever we can find in the shops when it comes to underwear. It might be the perfect style but you're between sizes in that brand. Maybe it's the perfect size but the wrong style for the outfit you're wearing or maybe you cannot find a set of matching underwear that ticks all the boxes...so make them! There are a whole load of patterns out there. Start with something simple to get used to working with the fabrics and notions and then the world of bra and knicker patterns are your oyster. No more settling for second best, we are better than that ladies!

Learn how to sew your own underwear at Sew Confident!"

Learn how to sew your own underwear at Sew Confident!"

2. Customise to your hearts content!
Don't like padding? Miss it out. Want a halterneck? You got it! Want a Harry Potter print underwear set? You can make it happen. The options are endless and there is a world of notions, fabrics and patterns at your fingertips.

3. Have colours to match every strappy top.
You can make any colour/print you like. Make one to match every strappy top you own! Have you had a look at the range of stretch fabric available these days? Amazing!

4. Tweak for the perfect fit!
Sometimes you try on a bra in one size in one shop and the band is too small, then you try the same size in a different shop and the band is too loose?! Infuriating! This is because different elastics have different extents of elasticity. However if you make your own you can wrap the band elastic round you until it feels perfect then stitch this into your bra! This is just one of the ways you have control over the perfect fit of you bra!

5. Branch out to DIY Bikinis!
They're basically the same, using swim elastic and swimwear fabric! Happy days! Check this website out for amazing swimwear fabric!

6. SOMETIMES It's cheaper!
You use so little fabric making a bra that it can sometimes even work out cheaper to make your own!



7. SERIOUSLY Impress Everyone.
People will either not believe you when you say you make your own underwear or be seriously impressed and envious. Either way you've earned smug status until the end of time - well done!

Get started with our Underwear Masterclass!
 

Jenny's Guide to Keeping New Year's Resolutions!

I'm actually not a fan of New Year's Resolutions, I tend to make myself lots of little goals all year round instead. However I'm quite good at achieving my goals so this year I'm publicly announcing a New Year's Resolution...but not yet. Firstly I'm going to share all my goal setting wisdom with you. Some I read about, some I learned from people around me and some I discovered by myself. Here they are:

1. SMART Goals
This one has been drilled into me over the past six months, any of my Entrepreneurial Spark friends will know exactly what I mean BUT it's a pretty useful system for ANY goals not just business ones. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic and Time bound.

So instead of " I am going to learn to sew in 2017" You could go for "I am going to learn to make a dress for my daughter by her 5th birthday". It's specific, measurable(you either do or don't make a dress by her birthday), realistic, achievable and time bound (my imaginary daughter's birthday is in October haha!).

2. Make it something positive!
Whether it's a business goal or a personal one make it one you actually want to achieve. So often we have resolutions we THINK we want but if every time you think of it it fills you with that Monday Morning-esque dread then you will never achieve it.

3. Tell people about your goal.
This is a biggy for me. If I don't tell anyone I can talk myself out of things so fast, and justify it to myself. I find it more difficult to justify it to my entire Facebook feed though. Making it public adds a bit of accountability and that really works for me!

4. Make Time!
I think these days we like saying we're too busy for this and that when in reality if you want to do something you can absolutely make time for it(how many hours did I spend watching Netflix last week eh?). So put some time in your diary for whatever your goal is and stick to it!

5. Don't feel guilty about slip ups!
Depending on what your NYR is you might find yourself slipping up. Maybe you missed a week of training because you just couldn't be bothered, well that's ok, just get back on it next week, no big deal!

6. Break it into bite-size chunks!
Maybe you want to make a dress for a ball you have in Autumn. Break it the project down into manageable sessions. The first session would be cutting out the paper pattern. Then the next one would be cutting your toile. The next session would be putting all your markings on your fabric and so on and so forth. Working like this keeps the project exciting and you can tick a box every time you've completed a session giving you that sense of accomplishment we all love!

7. Join forces with someone else - accountability
I've mentioned accountability before. Sometimes you need a pal to do something with. You don't even have to be working towards the same goal, you just have to tell each other about your plans and check in with each other about it. Knowing someone else is tracking your progress will spur you on and they'll give you little push if you're flagging behind!

8. Keep track of your progress.
This is important, especially if you have an adventurous NYR. Reward yourself when you complete a chunk or hit a milestone!

My New Year's Resolution for 2017 isn't a creative one, or a business one - I am going to run the half marathon in October. I am not built to run, I have always been a sprinter(If it's 21.55 and the off license is shutting I will get there!) not a long distance runner but after managing the 10k this year without stopping I'm going to up my game and do the half. THAT'S IT NO GOING BACK NOW IT'S PUBLIC!

What is your New Year's Resolution? Don't have one? Why not learn a new skill! Sewing is for EVERYONE! It is fun, social, useful and most of a total stress buster! Get yourself booked on a course today!

Click the image to view our classes in 2017!

Click the image to view our classes in 2017!

Wishing you all the very best for 2017!

Jenny x

A Week in the Life of the Scottish Upcycling Ambassador

March has been a hectic month. I was approached by In Good Company Events to run a sewing workshop for Zero Waste Scotland's Pass It On Week. The idea was to encourage people to reuse and recycle household things and pieces from their wardrobe so we ran a workshop making little lunch totes out of old curtains.

John Amabile was there on both days doing a showcase of all the cool things ZWS had put on for the event, on a wee stage in the middle of the St Enoch Centre. I taught him how to make himself a little lunch tote. What a character he is! He;s also excellent at sewing which came as no surprise!

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My Mum and Dad just happened to be passing as I went on stage. My Mum leaned against the backdrop and half of it fell off. Haha! Cue event organisers frantically trying to put it all back up again. I will be keeping all events top secret from her from now on don't worry! Ha!

Microphone on, just like Take Me Out, I'm so showbiz DAHLING!

Microphone on, just like Take Me Out, I'm so showbiz DAHLING!

We were also asked if we could run a Teddy Bear Hospital where people could bring their teddies that were in need a little TLC, drop them off and the Sew Confident 'Doctors' would sort them out. This is probably the cutest thing I have ever been asked to organise. It was a massive hit, and Gayle, Eliza and Ellie were inundated with bears, pigs, snakes, elephants, mice, you name it, they fixed them!

I was on tote bag duties but prior to the event I did do a little bit of 'surgery' myself on this sorry looking Hippo. He needed an entire new body because his has completely disintegrated. There was no pattern to follow so I had such a giggle decided how fat I was going to make him. Wee pot belly out of a furry fabric and he was on his way home!

teddy bear hospital sew confident

We were joined by Lynne from Squinty Stuff(who is also a fellow Hidden Lane Studio occupant) who was making upcycled jewellery, the boys from Maklab were using a 3d printer to create things from recycled plastic and Sugru were there too. If you haven't heard of Sugru it's this mad plastercine type stuff that sets and basically fixes ANYTHING. 

It was a great weekend, that ran seamlessly thanks to In Good Company Events! I was totally done in after it!

At the same time Glasgow School of Art got in touch with me about running some upcycling classes with their students for  ZWS Pass It On Week. I was starting to feel like I should be on the Zero Waste Scotland payroll by this point! These were held in the GSA student halls which is a brilliant building with bright spaces on each floor for different activities. The students were all fab and really got right into it. On the last class one student, Daniela brought in some digitally printed fabric she had bought to make a swimsuit for a design brief she had. It was really cool. She also had some digitally printed towelling which, I'll be honest, I didn't even know you could get! Instantly I'm thinking CUSTOM BEACH TOWELS because I have holidays on the brain just now. She sent me the website and it's actually quite reasonable(If you are a student I believe you get a discount - email them) . You can check it out here https://www.bagsoflove.co.uk/print-on-fabrics.aspx

THEN I was asked to go and film something upcycling related in Edinburgh at extremely short notice. I was genuinely starting to feel like the Scottish Upcycling Ambassador. Every phonecall was something to do with Pass It On week! In a week I had gone from rarely thinking about it to looking at everything with thrifty imaginative eyes(That leather jacket could be a handbag, that table cloth could be a raincoat etc haha!). You can read all about that in the next post!

Jenny x