Cushions and Sew Over It

Around about the time of the lull the falls just after Christmas, I took a long walk with a sleeping Tot across South London. I walked across rather than around an area I hadn't yet explored and walked past Sew Over It. Intrigued, I peered in the window, instantly noted the amazing sewing kits they do and remembered my much maligned sewing machine. Hearing the Tot stir, I plodded on and wondered if I'd ever find my way back. 

Today I did and what a treat! I took a beginner's sewing class with about 10 other women, all looking to get crafting and learn from the Sew Over It team. Our task was to learn to thread the machine, hem and sew together an Envelope Cushion Cover that we'd cut from our patterns. Seemed pretty simple. I was ready!

A view I am rapidly learning to love: sewing machine; tea. 

A view I am rapidly learning to love: sewing machine; tea. 

I loved the work space and the fact that it's downstairs with a good supply of cake, teas and refreshments. I approve of the massive cross over between baking addiction and craft. It's something I feel I can get behind. The Oreo brownies were delicious!

Details!

Details!

I loved the decor and the graphic design work on the labels, signs and stickers everywhere. I particularly loved the print in the kitchen and vintage pattern wallpaper. It was these touches that made me feel I was in for a treat before I'd even learned the thrill of sewing an entire project in one sitting. 

Georgie, our teacher was friendly and supportive, keeping the pace just right while still making sure everyone had the time they needed to learn the steps and ask questions. She was also wearing a gorgeous dress she'd sewn so was more than a good advert for what we could achieve if we stuck with it!

I quickly learned that sewing involves a lot of ironing..... this is not altogether welcome news...

However, the cushion making was fun and I just loved the thrill of 'I DID THIS!' that I walked out with. We asked if we could make our own versions at home and Georgie helpfully explained how to adjust the pattern, giving us each a sheet of pattern paper to take home and work with. I grab a few supplies to have a go with in the hope that repeating a project that I already know will be easier than learning a whole new project on a whole new machine. 

Complete cushion cover and supplies to make more!

Complete cushion cover and supplies to make more!

A brilliant way to spend a few hours. Thanks for the inspiration Sew Over It!

Material Matters

So I blogged about some of my sewing prep and I thought I'd share some bounty that I managed to get, free of charge, to play with. Perhaps you have some ideas of what these want to be when they grow up? I'd appreciate any ideas, I really would. 

First I have a pile of tshirts and slightly daunting stretchy material. These will be good for tshirt skirts, headbands and just torn into strips to learn stitches on I suspect. I have some sheets for stitch practice (not photographed because hey, even I'm not that excited about white sheets) so I'd like to make these useful. Patch pockets are a thing maybe?

Then there's some fat quarters I'd forgotten that I was gifted a few Christmases ago. No clue there but the prints are fun right?

Next I found some things that I want to make better.... I think if I were a hip and knowledgeable sewing blogger I would say something cool like 'refashion' but I'm clueless. I'll just say I want these Gaga sleeves off and the dress back in the rotation as this is a great dress, with pockets (POCKETS!!!!) that should be back in the rotation. 

Then I scored a Liberty print shirt. Yep. That feels pretty special so I'm saving that for a few practices in when I've worked a few seams etc and have less chance of ruining something with a Liberty label. I'm guessing that once I'm at that point, it'll mark being ready to actually buy some materials instead of thrifting. Still, it feels satisfying to work with free and unloved things. I like it. I think thrifting in itself could become a pretty addictive hobby

There's also this pile of lovely colourful cotton vests that I suspect might be cute bloomers for the Tot or..... something? This is the most fun pile but the one I'd like the most ideas for. Hmmmm more Pinterest I suspect!

 

Have you done any upcycling? I'd love to know about your thrifty sewing!

Sew, Here We Go!

With relish and delight I've been merrily researching and finding out about all things sewing. If knitting has taught me one thing, it's be prepared. I dived in when I learned to knit and prefered to work things out on the needles, ripping out if things went awry. This isn't so easy with sewing and I want the end results to be more useful and loved than some of my early knitting attempts.

I looked through the helpful comments you all left on my sewing machine post. SUPER helpful, thank you! I found the manual online and looked at that for a while. I went a bit cross eyed though as I'm a person that needs to feel the thing I'm learning and work through it both kinaesthetically and visually. 

Next I pulled out some sewing books I already have on the shelves. The pattern making one looked waaaaaaay beyond me yet but just look at the cuteness?!?!

Kathy Dress by Cal Patch (click through via image)

Kathy Dress by Cal Patch (click through via image)

There was some real inspiration amongst those pages and I started finding sewing blogs all over the place that just made me drool. I wanted to get going so I added lots of blogs to my blog reader and poured over the early pages of these books, making an initial shopping list of things like seam rippers and thread. 

Then I did a lot of pinning on Pinterest. I mean a lot. I have 3 boards: one for me, one for the Tot and one for miscellany like tutorials and things for the home. I may have fallen in love with beginners projects like these (all images click through). 

Via The Purl Bee - sewing resources of awesome

Via The Purl Bee - sewing resources of awesome

TShirt into Skirt Tutorial

TShirt into Skirt Tutorial

By now, I'm pretty excited and can't wait to start. My next task is going through all my wardrobes (and possibly everyone else's) and pulling out unwanted tops, shirts, tees, sheets and pillowcases. Why? These are materials I can practice on, possibly upcycle and make mistakes on without costing me a small fortune. I can learn how different stitches and fabrics work before I commit to cutting beloved fabric I picked out at the store. When I'm ready to start on real material and patterns, I won't have blown my hobby budget all at once in my excitement. 

 

I've also booked a sewing class that will teach me how to make a simple cushion and things like seam allowances, threading the machine etc. 

 

Wish me luck!