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

image1 (2).jpeg

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.

unnamed.jpg

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!!

unnamed (1).jpg

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.

image3.jpg

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!)

image2.JPG
image1.jpg

Quirky Quilting

IMG_3160.JPG

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.

IMG_2931.jpg

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!

image1.jpeg

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!

image1 (1).jpeg
image2 (1).jpeg

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!

image3.jpeg
image2.jpeg

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.

image5.jpeg

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!

image3 (1).jpeg

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!

Tracey2.jpg

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

Tracey3.jpg

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!

Tracey1.jpg

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!

Tracey4.jpg

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

March Sew-er of the Month - JANE

Say a Big Hello to Sew Confident Loyal - Jane!

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

I’ve always wanted to learn to sew and I took a short beginners class about 2 years ago.  I loved it but wanted to do more and I wanted to make things that I’d actually wear/use. About a year ago I found Sew Confident and haven’t looked back since!!

2. Why did you start sewing?

I’ve always wanted to sew my own clothes.  You know when you see that ‘almost’ perfect outfit but wish the sleeves were a bit different, the length was longer/shorter  or it was in a different material. I just think it is amazing to be able to alter or make your own clothes to be exactly what you personally want.

3. Sounds like we could have a future fashion designer in our classes... What sewing project are you most proud of?

I love my wee 2 piece suit from Colette’s Co-ord class.  The material is so nice and it’s fleecy on the inside so keeps me nice and cosy!!  Colette taught me how to incorporate the fringing detail from the edge of the fabric and I think it looks really fab!  My own version of a Channel jacket!! I also like my coat I made at the pattern class – it was a bit adventurous and the 1st time I’ve done something that is lined, but I think it turned out ok.

4. Both your co-ord and jacket look AMAZING! You will be giving Channel a run for their money in no time. What do your friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

I think they’re just astonished I can do it!!  Haha. I remember showing my Mum some fabric I got one day.  I was so excited about it that I went ahead and cut a wrap dress out that night and sewed it up.  She couldn’t believe it when she saw the finished dress the very next day!! No one has really asked me to hem anything yet – maybe they’re waiting for me to build my skills up!!

5. That is so nice, there really is no better feeling than saying you made something yourself! SO, What sewing accessory could you not live without?

Jenny and Colette on speed dial!! ☺ haha! Actually – this is a bit silly, but since Jenny taught me how to use the needle threader on my machine, I can’t live without it!!  I don’t think I can actually thread the machine needle by myself anymore!

 

6. You know you are more than welcome to drop us a message or e-mail whenever you need!! Next question, If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Probably a bit predictable but...Just keep sewing and don’t worry too much about mistakes.  No-one else notices them! I think I put myself under pressure to make everything absolutely perfect but you’ll never get any better unless you keep practising.

7. Since your beginner days, have you had any sewing disasters?

Yes! Loads!  I can be a bit slap dash so end up unpicking things all the time!!

8. Sadly I think the unpick is most sew-ers best friend!! How many classes have you attended?

I’m a bit addicted to attending classes!!  My first was the shirt dress class which was amazing.  Lovely people on it (looking at you Amanda and Amrit!) and it was the first time I’d been able to make something I actually wanted to wear!  I’ve done the overlocker for beginners, underwear class, Advent Calendar class, 5 week Pattern class (with another amazing bunch of people) , 121’s and Colette’s Co-ord class.  I’ve got the Initial hand embroidery class coming up which looks amazing. I adore the ‘Sewcial’s’ too and get to as many as possible. One of the best things about every class is the lovely people you meet – we’ve had some great chat and interesting stories.

9. That is a LOT of classes, You really are a Sew Confident Loyal!! What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

My dream is to be able to draft my own patterns – just think up a design and be able to draft a pattern and make it.  I’d also like to become more skilled in altering bought patterns to fit me the way I want. At my last 121 with Jenny we drafted a pattern for a jersey skirt (I have a new obsession with the pattern master – what a piece of kit!!) and it’s fab – I’d like to do more of that.

10. **Takes note of future pattern drafting class idea**...What projects do you have on the go right now?

I’m so naughty for starting loads of projects at one time!!  I tried to focus myself this year with the ‘make 9 in 2018’ challenge.  I’ve already finished some – next one to finish is the Sew Over It Eve dress – I’m taking that one to the next Sewcial for a bit of help!

11. We are excited to see you & your project along at the Sewcial! Last question, What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

DO IT!  It is so relaxing and de-stressing, it’s an amazing skill to have and you’ll meet some really lovely people.

January Sew-er of the Month: Heather

Everyone meet our first sew-er of the month for 2018 - Heather!


patternclasstop.png

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

I started hand sewing when I was quite young, my Mum’s friend showed me how to cross stitch and I took up embroidery too.  I didn’t start sewing with a machine until I took a beginners machine sewing class that was only for a morning in 2013.  I loved it and started looking for classes to attend.

2.  That's lovely your mum taught you! Why did you decide to go from embroidery and have a go at using a sewing machine?

While I still do some hand embroidery! I always wanted to be able to make more practical things myself and I love learning a new craft. 

3.       What sewing project are you most proud of?

I’m currently in the middle of a big quilting project called the Gravity Quilt! It is very complicated and intricate but I am enjoying every stage I am now working on the back ground and then will piece it altogether – it should look like this when finished (fingers crossed) http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/2014/11/gravity-quilt.html

gravityquilt.jpg

4.      That quilt is AMAZING, we love how colourful it is!!  What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

It is lovely to give a handmade present – all but one of my quilts have been given away.  I made a book stack quilt as a retirement present for a librarian I work with and it was really personal – I picked her favourite colours for the fabrics and the pattern was an obvious choice for us librarians!  I made cushions and make up bags as Christmas presents this year.  I think my brother liked his (whipped up on Christmas Eve) Marvel heroes cushion more than the things I’d bought him.  I haven’t done any alterations as yet but it is only a matter of time.

marvelcushion.jpg

5.     We agree, hand made gifts are best! What sewing accessory could you not live without?

I like Frixon pens – they iron away and are brilliant, also my rotary cutter.  Scissors are so slow!  I am totally in love with the new fabric scissors in the shop though just can’t decide between rose gold or multi-coloured.  So pretty.

6.     Yip we couldn't decide either so just HAD to treat ourselves to both the rainbow and rose gold scissors...haha.  If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Don’t try and read patterns or cut fabric when you are tired or after a large glass of wine.  Do the cutting before the wine.

7.   hahaha maybe our favourite advice yet!  Have you had any sewing disasters?

Things have been upside down and back to front.  I’ve ripped a fair few seams out but you just sew it again and don’t tell anyone.  Any mistakes in a quilt are a variation and make it your own personal take on a pattern.  These are rules I live by!

8.  Sounds like a great rule to us! How many classes have you attended?  What was your favourite and why?

My first class with Sew Confident was the advent calendar class back when you were in Yorkhill.  I just put it away with my Christmas decorations recently.  Then I took the beginners sewing class – my make up bag is still in daily use in my work bag and my sister got the cushion.  I like making cushions and went on to make a fair few most recently for my parents with some cool stag head fabric.  I’ve also done the pattern class, the curtain class and been to the Sew-cial.  I took the crochet class and liked the wool I was given for the project so much I bought more and am making a blanket for the back of my sofa.  I’ve definitely go a lot out of coming along and trying things out, my confidence has grown so much.

crochet.jpg

9.   That is going to be the coolest blanket EVER!  What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

I don’t have a big project in mind just to keep going and having a go at projects – curtains next I think.

10.  Good choice, learning how to make curtains will save you a fortune! What projects do you have on the go right now?

The big quilt, curtains for my living room, a hand quilting project for charity and a crochet blanket.  I’m keeping busy!

11.   What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

I have loved it and had a go at so many things, sewing is also very social and I have met and made some great friends both through quilting and at the classes.  You don’t need a big complicated machine and expensive fabric – I’ve cut up my Dad’s old work shirts and practiced on old duvet covers.  Getting my sewing machine and learning all this new stuff has been truly brilliant and there is always new stuff to learn.

Laura (left) & Heather (right) are now great friends after meeting on one of our classes! Here they are meeting up for a concert in Glasgow - AMAZING!

Laura (left) & Heather (right) are now great friends after meeting on one of our classes! Here they are meeting up for a concert in Glasgow - AMAZING!

December sew-er of the Month!

Everyone say a big hello to our December sew-ew of the month:

Amrit !

IMG_6520.JPG

So Amrit, how long have you been doing the BEST hobby ever (IE sewing)?

Maybe about 3 years .... when you had your shop at Yorkhill and came for a beginners class.....I thought they know how to thread a machine and sew straight lines already ....I didn't know I was an hour late until someone asked if I was stuck in traffic lol!

Haha! Don't worry, we have all been there!! Why did you decide to start sewing?

Well really it was my husbands fault. After baby number 3 I really felt like I had nothing for me. I was a full time mum with 3 babies aged 3,1 and a newborn. I didn't feel good about myself or about my clothes. I was stuck in a rut. My friends were all working and I felt like my only purpose was to nurse and change nappies...so he nagged me to get out the house and get a hobby. Perhaps he was thinking I would take up running but it was sewing. 

I remember both my grannies sewing all their own Indian clothes and fitting perfectly. I have a weird body shape. I'm just 5ft. With quite long legs but short body. A sway back and sloping shoulders. And one boob bigger than the other! Ready to wear clothes didn't sit right and always need altered.....so that's where it all began!

What sewing project are you most proud of?

Eh I'm quite fickle. It's usually my last garment I've made haha. BUT if you force me it's actually the projects from the beginners class because that's what started me off. Recently though, my By Hand London holly trousers - They are sooooooo sexy. And I always get a bonus compliment. Colette Moneta dress I've made 4 and plans for more. The Sew Over It Nancy dress is a staple in workwear. I'm not a shirt person but I made a Grainline Archer Shirt. I loved that as I learned new skills like button holes, placket, collar stand.

IMG_6521.JPG

That is a LOT of pattern making! What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

Ok. So as a rule don't ask me to hem anything. Aaaaaaargh. I only do my mums trousers (she's even shorter than me)... Friends and colleagues are always impressed and flattering me with questions of what I'm sewing up for them (I can't sew for anyone either I'm too scared I'll do a botch job - it's ok if that happens for me). I feel so smug when someone says nice dress and I'm like thanks I made it ...family are bored with me I'm afraid. They are always scared incase I ask them to take 100 pictures of me lol.

Your sewing skills are amazing you shouldn't be scared to create great things for others Amrit! What sewing accessory could you not live without?

To be honest I don't have a favourite thing or a must buy this item. But I do like my magnetic pin holder. It's a bit boring but it's so easy to take pins out when your sewing and flick it on to the dish 

My 2 favourite sewing thing are:

  1. Where I store my threads. It's my grandmas thread box and it still has her threads in them. I don't think I can bring myself to use them! She lined these wee drawers with newspaper aswell. It's soooo cute. 
  2. And another thing is her tiny pin cushion with her pins in it. I think she likes that I'm into sewing I only wish I could have shared it with her. My other gran gives me fabric that she's had since she was married-vintage!!!! I'm too scared to cut into it and ruin it. I want to do it justice....any ideas what to make?? We were so lucky to have her. I always feel blessed that my children had 4 great grandparents.

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

Don't worry about squiggly lines or pattern matching. Have fun. It's supposed to de stress not stress you out......And drink lots of tea!

IMG_8541.JPG

 

Yup you definitely need a good cuppa when sewing! Have you had any sewing disasters?

All the time!!! Today I was making a top and it said sew right sides together...Easy right? NOT. I twisted the front piece sewed right sides together and ended up with a big knot in the front. I don't think I've ever made something without getting stuck at instruction or unpicking. But it's the learning. Something I learnt I'll never do again.... like that DP floral top you helped me with. The instructions were hopeless but the top looked amazing on someone else lol...it's also an achievement when you finished and got through that disaster. Another thing i've learned is what suits my body shape and what doesn't.

Sewing is all about the learning, as they say, every day is a school day, and boy was that DP pattern a school day for us! How many classes have you attended?  What was your favourite and why?

I have done lots...I even followed you to Kirkintilloch! I like the classes and love the social aspect. Their was:

  • The beginners
  • Sew far sew good (advanced beginner)
  • Christmas Advent Calendar 
  • Christmas things
  • Walk away dress from Great British Sewing Bee
  • The dress pattern class
  • The shirt dress

And probably 100s more!! All the classes are great and recommend people to go along. I loved the learning but I've made great friends and have eaten a fair amount of fabulous cake 

 

IMG_6512.JPG

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

A coat! I really want to make one but think I should have started in July to have one ready for the colder months. The dream is to have a 100% handmade wardrobe and my style sorted out....the latter you think I might have done that by the time I hit 40, my still finding my style 

 

What projects do you have on the go right now?

I'm cutting a closet case ebony dress. In black knit with large florals on it.  Dresses and black tights are my wardrobe staple. I have plans to make another in a dusky pink ... In my head there are so many things I want to make

  • Victory Jackie dress
  • Another Tilly button cleo dress
  • Sew over it Erin skirt in denim or burgundy cord
  • A sewaholic sweatshirt
  • Everything from named patterns lol 

 

What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

Do it!!!! It's a great hobby. You'll pick up skills for life, make lots of friends, and you might get great fitting clothes out of it!

IMG_8548.JPG

November Sew-er of the Month - Laura!

laura-sewer-of-the-month-november-sew-confident

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. 

flamingo-drawstring-bag-sew-confident
Laura's cross stitching is pretty amazing!!

Laura's cross stitching is pretty amazing!!

Bit of sewing room jealousy on the go here!

Bit of sewing room jealousy on the go here!

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. 

 

sew-confident-sewer-of-the-month

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. 

Winnie the Pooh Quilt!

Winnie the Pooh Quilt!

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. 

Laura's Machine Doodles Sheep

Laura's Machine Doodles Sheep

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.

Laura's family heirloom sewing box!

Laura's family heirloom sewing box!

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!

A Chat with our September Sew-er of the Month - Amanda

sew-confident-sewer-of-the-month-amanda.jpg

I have had this blog idea on my to do list for what feels like years and now I have the fabulous Colette on board, halving my workload I am getting round to all sorts of things! So here is the first edition of Sew Confident's Sew-er of the Month!

Meet Amanda! A fabulous sew-er who has come on leaps and bounds in the short time I have known her. She makes clothes for herself and her adorable wee girls. We had a wee chat about her sewing journey so far.

 

 

 

Amanda, how long have you been sewing?

Can you tell which one is shop bought and which is handmade?!

Can you tell which one is shop bought and which is handmade?!

I’ve owned a sewing machine, (my mum’s old one) since I was about 16, so almost 20 years, but I wouldn’t say I could sew! I remember being about 17 and trying to make a pair of trousers for myself, they were a complete disaster, there was nothing right about them at all! I’d say I've actually been sewing as in actually successfully for only about 6 months, that’s when it all fell into place and I thought, I think I can do this, I can say to people, I can sew!

I think we've all been there with trousers to be fair! Why did you start sewing?

When we bought our first house it needed lots of work done to it so spending a fortune on curtains and blinds was just not an option. I got out mum’s old sewing machine and taught myself how to make roman blinds and curtains. Every blind and pair of curtains in my house is handmade. I enjoyed making curtains, essentially it’s just sewing straight lines, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do anything else, but actually working with such massive lengths of heavy curtain fabric is hard, hard work! It’s nothing like the joy of sitting with comparatively tiny bit of beautiful fabric and making clothes!

Every curtain and blind?! You are putting us all to shame here Amanda! Apart from the soft furnishings what sewing project are you most proud of?

How cute are these two?!

How cute are these two?!

I’ve recently started making clothes for my two little girls and when I see them in the clothes I’ve made I do feel so proud of myself. I’ve made them lots of little pinafores and some blouses. It’s lovely when people comment on their clothes and are shocked to learn I’ve made them myself. My fabric stash is high and my plans are infinite, it’s just time that’s the problem!!

Honestly some of your holiday pictures on Instagram looked like they were straight out Spanish Vogue! You have an adorable little family! What do your friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

I actually find alterations quite stressful and I haven’t done many. I thing sewing and creating something step by step is one thing, but to try to undo some of the steps and alter things is a different story, you could be taking in a side seam of a fully constructed garment, but it you were making it from scratch the side seams would be done much earlier in the process. I have done a few alterations for family, but it is something I’ve still got my knickers in a bit of a knot about!!  

Well you're not alone there, I think alterations are the least exciting sewing activity you could get involved with! So moving onto equipment - you've got one of our Elna 340s don't you? Apart from your machine what sewing accessory could you not live without?

Ikea Trolley is a Genius Sewing Must-Have!

Ikea Trolley is a Genius Sewing Must-Have!

I am not lucky enough to have a sewing room and I found that I didn’t sew as much as I’d like to because if I only had half an hour or so to spare the thought of getting everything out of the cupboard and set up put me off. I am a total neat freak so I also just couldn’t leave everything lying around my dining room table, so although it probably doesn’t seem sewing related at all, my can’t live without item is an amazing little wheeled trolley from Ikea. It’s got all my essentials pilled on I just wheel it out, grab my machine & iron and I’m good to go! It’s such a silly thing but it works for me, I’m sure it’s all in the mind but I love me little sewing room on wheels!

I recently got one of these for the studio!! It's a total game changer and saves so much space! Take me back to your beginner days...If you could go back and  give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

It would absolutely be just give it a go, what are you afraid of? I’ve noticed at classes that everyone who is new is nervous and scared, I was too, but actually it’s just sewing together bits of material, just have a bash, what’s the worst that can happen? And you’ll probably find your much better at it than you thought you would be, and that’s when the real problems start because you’ll be hooked!!

Haha, I think you are definitely hooked, you must have had a few sewing disasters along the way?

No, not really. I guess it’s early days though. I have definitely done my fair share of unpicking, asking for help and Youtubing but nothing that’s ever been that bad. The things I have made that I feel are not perfect and I can see the flaws in no one else ever can, we are all too critical of ourselves.  

I'm always saying that in class to students, people are way to hard on themselves! How many classes have you attended?  Do you have a favourite?

Two shirt dresses are better than one!

Two shirt dresses are better than one!

I think I have been to 5 classes and I have two more booked in, the kids hoodie class and the portfolio class. I’ve also had a couple of one to ones with Jenny and been to a Sew-cial. My favourite class without a doubt was the shirt dress class. It was the first time I’d attempted a collar, button stands, technical things I thought would be a real challenge, so it was such a great feeling to complete the dress. I loved the shirt dress so much I had two on the go at the same time, one in class and one at home, it was also the first time I’d ever made something and actually worn it.  

I'm so glad you liked the shirt dress class. It's one of my personal favourite patterns too, so versatile! What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

The dream, dream, the pipe dream is to make a living designing and making children’s clothes. My own little label, worn by more than just my children, but on a slightly more realistic note I guess the dream is to have more time to sew more, to keep learning, to make more things for myself and keep pushing myself, I’d like to make myself a blazer and get better on my overlocker.

 

 

Amanda's gorgeous sister wears a bespoke tulle circle skirt for her hen do!

Amanda's gorgeous sister wears a bespoke tulle circle skirt for her hen do!

If you can dream it you can do it! Your own kidswear label sound very exciting! What projects do you have on the go right now?

A couple of last minute summer dresses for my daughters before we go on holiday in October and lots more Autumn / Winter designs for the girls. I’ve just ordered lots of lovely soft needle cord to make pinafores for the girls and some gorgeous liberty print cotton for beautiful blouses for underneath. I’ve also just bought myself the Tilly & The Button’s Cleo dungaree dress pattern and the Sew Over It Coco jacket pattern, but I’ll always make for the girls before myself. I’ve got the Sew Confident Portfolio class and the kids hoodie class too coming up so I’m keeping busy!

I'll need to keep my eyes on your Instagram in October, to see what adorable outfits your girls wear on that holiday! What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

Do it! Give it a go, book some classes and one to ones and give it a go. With some guidance it’s not as tricky you perceive it’s going to be. If I’d done that when I was 17 and made the dodgy trousers, who knows maybe I could have my own children’s clothing company by now.

Lovely chatting to you Amanda, i'm sure you'll be one to watch on the designer kidswear front!

Do you want to follow Amanda and see all the lovely things she has been sewing? You can check out her instagram here!