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!


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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!