Workshops by numbers

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Years ago I read a book called ‘Men are from Venus, women are from Mars’ all about how as much as we need each other because we are so, so different. A case in point…we were finishing off the list of workshops for the coming couple of months and while I was getting all excited about the projects and our lovely participants, Mr Sassy, a former scientist, was getting excited about the numbers. We have, apparently run 62 workshops in the last 17 months, attended by 290 people, making everything from simple quilt panels to complicated skirts, shirts and dresses.

In all that time Mr Sassy reckons we’ve consumed almost 500 biscuits, 127 cakes and 64 gallons of tea. When he also added that he must have picked up at least 1000 pins off the floor when cleaning up afterwards I began to question the accuracy of his numbers.

Anyway, it keeps him quiet. The new workshop list is ready (you can find it here on the website), places are filling up and we have another hundred-weight of pins on order just in case. I wonder how much the return ticket to Venus will be?


Sewing Satisfaction

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Looking through some recent picture we took of Sassy Sewing workshops, it struck me that this is what sewing fulfilment looks like. A simple shot taken at the end of our last ‘learn to sew class’. Look carefully and you’ll see the bits of thread all over the tables and floor, sense the warm glow of satisfaction from the babbling and newly-enthused group of sewists and try not to count the exact number of biscuit wrappers on the table.

This is the second time we’ve run this six week course and the second time we’ve grown a bunch of passionate crafters who didn’t want to stop. So we are now planning some kind of ‘next-stage’ intermediate sewing course to  run in our next series of workshops early next year. Keep an eye on the website for news – it’s all very exciting!





The Walkaway dress conquered

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The ‘Walkaway dress’ was one of the highlights of the 2015 Great British Sewing Bee. So called because apparently, you can start sewing this 1940s style wraparound number after breakfast and walk away in it by lunchtime, or so they say. Maybe lunchtime was a lot later back then. I made one just after the TV programme went out – it took about eight hours, although two or three of those were dog-interrupted, so maybe about five in total.

We’ve had so many people buying the pattern and talking about it since that we decided to run a workshop ahead of a local 1940s weekend, if only so we could help put right some of the issues we’ve found with the pattern.

Four intrepid sewers popped in at 10am, with the hope of walking away in a finished garment by mid-afternoon. That didn’t quite happen thanks to a little too much chatting, one or maybe two cups of tea and cake too many and because sociable sewing and timekeeping are not exactly good companions.

The two main modifications were to shorten the length of the bodice based on nape-to-waist measurements because on the original the waist tends to sit a little low making the dress not fit as well as it should. The other mod was to add some material around the arm holes, again to make it fit better and leave less of a gape (you could get a small dog in-between fabric and bust without it).

So…we might not have finished in the time allowed, but everyone got close enough and, we’ve learned before that workshops run best if you don’t let them go on for too long.


All change

Friday, June 19th, 2015

On Sunday we ran our first up-cycling workshop. For those not familiar with the term up-cycling is taking an existing garment and modifying it or turning it into something new and fresh. Anything can be up-cycled and some of the results can be stunning and of course unique too.
Our five lateral thinkers were turning jackets and jeans into bags, a kilt into a beret and a skirt that no longer fitted into a real showstopper that did.
Teacher Kate Pinfold made some complex ideas sound easy and in just six hours everyone learned loads, completed their projects and only ate modest amounts of cake and Haribo.
Up-cycling is both harder and easier than it looks. The first cut is the hardest (wasn’t that a Northern Soul song?), but after that there’s not much left to lose. It’s always worth doodling a little sketch of what you are aiming to produce – it just helps to visualise it. However don’t be scared to change direction as you go along. Nothing’s more exciting than just being creative, going with the flow and seeing where it takes you.
Below are a collection of pics from the day. Watch the website for dates of our next up-cycling session.










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Here it's not just about 'how to' but also 'why not?' We're not experts, more like curious enthusiasts and this is the place where we can all learn to be successful at sewing together. Helpful (hopefully), inspiring (ditto) and we promise not to take ourselves too seriously. Let's put some fun into fabric.

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