I think half the country has been inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee lately … I spent a lovely Saturday with The Absolute Beginner Class and their enthusiasm has been so inspired by the show. Tonight is the ‘Little Sewers’ class – a regular Monday after school club of sewing mayhem for kids aged 7-10…. and there is a busy week ahead of dressmaking classes …. So keen is everyone to get sewing I have added more classes too, so here goes …
The Vintage Sewing Weekender is back for May:
Saturday & Sunday 23rd & 24th May
Course cost: £115 … There are only 4 spaces so get in quick! This involves choosing a pattern from the Vintage Pattern Library here at the studio and sewing to your hearts content all weekend and I am on hand all weekend to guide you through… and if you would like to block book with a bunch of you then I am happy to arrange a weekend for you and a few of your friends to have the studio all to yourselves.
Another Introduction To Dressmaking Course is taking place on the 16th May – £85.00
Again only 4 spaces and the last two sold out so quick. All the information you need to learn to follow a dress pattern and also come out with a completed garment at the end of the day.
Colette Patterns are so popular here at the studio and I love to use them when teaching, the instructions are so clear and the sizing is great … they are quite easy to grade to your own size and fit. So when Clare chose the Hazel dress pattern for her vintage stripy shirting fabric from Wayward Haberdashery we went to town with making the most of the stripes and those diagonal seams in the bodice. ‘Wouldn’t this be a wonderful exercise in pattern matching’ I thought…’Lets pipe the edges too! Lets add more skirt to make it fuller… AND PIPE THE WAISTBAND…’ ideas went on and on… the resulting dress was a baptism of fire in the dressmaking department … and Clare handled it wonderfully. I think you will agree that her skills are exceptional here … She had only made one dress from a commercial pattern before this project so her determination and patience got her through.
Meet Calypso… she is 10, and an uber talented seamstress. I have been teaching her to sew for nearly 8 months now. Every week on a Wednesday afternoon. We have drafted two bodice blocks, and made four dresses (one a Halloween costume for her mother) in that time. This is the first vintage dress pattern she was able to sew almost independently, the Simplicity 4419 (view 1) …. sleeve setting, button holes, gathers and a collar. She lined the skirt with a cotton lawn to make it fuller – all her idea. I am prouder than ever of her and her finished project, she worked so hard. Well Done Calypso.. xxx
Over the years I have collected hundreds of vintage dressmaking patterns… I will share them with you and hopefully build a little archive for you all to browse … These patterns are here in the studio for sewers that attend the classes to use as projects.
Serious sewing really began for me when I was 15… My Mother taught me most things as I watched her sew… I loved watching her sew. But then came The Ellen Terry Theatre in Smallhythe, Kent. I spent most of my teenage happy summer days as a costume assistant, sewing costumes for the productions there. Cutting my teeth on almost every era from medieval peasants and Tudor corsets to jeweled golden lame bikinis … My love of costume, sewing and clothing history began there. I have a huge collection of inspiration. I collect … (some might say hoard) anything haberdasher and here at the studio is a collection of books I’m quite proud of… so I’m going to share some gems. This time, Costume Nationaux. A French book made up of twenty of the most beautiful lithographic prints illustrated by E. Lepage-Medvey .. exploring national costume in Austria, Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Printed in 1939. The images speak for themselves, so vivid in colour and such an expressive culture .. enjoy.