Ironing out my Rough and Hard Edges with Sew You


I have documented, my minor 30s crisis before…. Finding various courses and events to inspire me to do different things. Perhaps it’s the confidence of being in my 30s and knowing that life is too short to spend on things you don’t enjoy, or the realization that I can still learn new skills.

My mother was an accomplished seamstress – something which was part of her generation’s  skill set. We had an amazing array of clothes made for us as children, as well as cast offs in a totally rad dressing up box, which made us the envy of our friends. I still have my Mum’s sewing box (see picture below) and even buttons and pieces of material which she saved for years.


I have recently been sewing a little more. Starting off with a project to re-cover the seats of our VW campervan – which The Boy actually ended up doing, then some bunting for our annual ‘Pleasantfest’ music festival and even some circle skirts for bellydancing. I was using a donated sewing machine which broke, then a borrowed machine from my Dad’s girlfriend which belonged in colonial india, but worked fantastically well…. I was then gifted a fairly brand spanker Brother machine by my lovely Auntie Joan. This is what prompted me to want to be better at sewing.

I found that living across the road from Cannon Mills has its benefits – cheap cheap cheap material of a fantastic quality and much inspiration coming my way in the form of various baby-based projects for pregnant friends (more on those projects to come this month) – but I needed skilling up!

In came Sew You…. A twitter pick up that (as with most Twitter friends) I cannot quite remember the route to. Abi is now a staple in my twitter feed with her comments on sewing, life, Bradford, culture and generally nice things.

There is an excellent Q and A here with Abi by the lovely Irna Qureshi for Fabric

I had originally booked onto the Baby Bootie course with the lovely Abi, but no-one else wanted to book for Easter Sunday – neither Abi nor I had noticed the day/date clash as we were obviously far too enthusiastic! So I moved onto the Machine Embroidery Masterclass – something well out of my comfort zone, but potentially very useful in line with other craft projects I was on with.

On a very blustery Sunday, 4 students were greeted at Abi’s studio at The Butterfly Rooms in Saltaire. The studio was cosy against the buffeting winds which were lashing against the window and we had a lovely cuppa tea before getting to know our machines. Abi does allow you to bring your own machines, something which I nearly took advantage of, but taking the bus, decided against it. The machines we used were Janome computerized beasts and worked really well for our course.

My Machine for the Day!

I loved the way that the course was relaxed but pacey enough to feel like we were covering some good ground. It was clear throughout what we were trying to achieve and we were asked if we wanted to cover anything additional.

Of course Abi has fantastic samples and threads and spent some time explaining the different types of thread, as well as the importance of things I had never heard of such as Bondaweb and Interfacing… items which one student thought were going to revolutionise her sewing.

Lovely Boxes of Odds and End and Bit and Pieces – an organised studio indeed!

First we learned how to hard edge appliqué – something which I found a challenge on the first attempt, but Abi was patient and encouraging and I was determined, so managed to move from this:

Rough Flamingo

To this

Not so Rough Flamingo

In a matter of an hour!

Some of you might recognize the flamingo from my cards – I thought I would give them a bit of a trial in material and Abi said embroidery onto card was definitely an option… watch this space!

After lunch, we moved on to the infinitely more free handed rough edge appliqué… much more room for flexibility and for want of a better word ‘roughness’. I didn’t get on with this as well, perhaps it didn’t appeal to my slightly more uniform approach to craft.. I did however make some super cute personalised presents.

The course gave us ample opportunity to use Abi’s expertise (as we were all at varying levels of skill) and to have ‘a play’. Plus Abi offered us bags of samples to take home! Excellent.

To find out more about courses at Sew You – click here.


3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Baby Booties for Cuties – to write « Dinky Thinks

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