What’s New Wednesday is my regular attempt to do new things and learn new things. It’s probably going to be rather varied, whether its making or doing or seeing, but as your twenties are supposed to be a time of newness I figure I ought to embrace that.
One of my most recent new things was learning to sew by machine. My lovely inlaws bought me a sewing machine for my 26th birthday but I hadn’t had opportunity to learn to use it, so I decided that a learn-the-basics course would be the best start.
Also please don’t think that my blog title is anything original, I shamelessly stole it from my teachers at Sew Over It.
I decided to do their Intro to Sewing Course in their Islington shop with the lovely Freia Groves, a bubbly effortlessly cool teacher who made me want to learn everything from her. She’s gone off to Tanzania to do cool work with women out there, so I can’t be sad. The course is a tad pricey but I must say, I found it super worth it.
You are given use of one of their really good machines – I especially made use of the tortoise and hare speed adjuster – and a wealth of threads and fabrics to choose from. All your materials and bits and bobs are included, and the fabrics in the shop are all really cool, fun prints to choose from. The course teaches you to make cushions with sewn on decorative buttons, a tote bag and a lined, zipped make up bag. The latter is done on the second day, after which you can bring in your own clothes to learn to adjust them.Having recently gained some weight (primarily in the chest area) I didn’t really have any clothes to adjust so I peeked at what other people were doing and then made a drawstring bag and some covered buttons for an old cardie of mine. I did get to fix the hole in the crotch of some nice leggings though by using an overlocker, a terrifyingly complicated looking machine that makes jersey fabrics stay together, and chews off a little bit of fabric as it does it.
These are all relatively simple, but you learn important techniques such as how to strengthen, how to line, how to make things 3D standing up, and most importantly, how to make mistakes and why they happen and how to fix them. For me, this was the most important bit and I feel confident that I could probably work out most of my mistakes from now on – when the foot isn’t down you get a horses mane of thread, always make sure your bottom thread is in the right way etc. The shop and workshop itself is lovely and calm; all clean surfaces and examples of the clothes they make dotted about. You also have all you can drink coffee and tea and some mid morning cake to get your through the day. Delish. They’ve also added online video tuition for after you leave just in case you forget how to do that one essential thing. This is so very very useful, as my scrawled notes aren’t as good as I’d half expected they’d be!
I always wanted to learn to make clothes, and so I will definitely be taking their Intro to Dressmaking class over the summer, once I am a little more used to my own machine, which is less beginner friendly than theirs. The Intro to Dressmaking course is cheaper but you have to buy your fabric separately, though you can do this at the shop or through their online store if you want to ensure you get a good value, perfect for the course fabric.