Thursday, 27 June 2013


I'm sorry! I've been reimagining my spare/sewing room as a working space and I’ve held my first workshop: I had five paying customers and they all said they would like to come again! I am a happy lady!

Three of them made bags (using my samples as inspiration), one a simple dress with a shirring elastic bodice for her teenager and one embarked on a frilled top for her 6 year-old. There was a spectrum of experience/ability/confidence/perfectionism, which made it interesting for me, and they all claimed they’d learned something they’d not known.

When I was taught to sew at secondary school we all had to make a bag to keep our sewing in, then a roll in which to keep our science instruments, and finally a smocked apron with shell edges on the ties (for our mothers) before we were let loose on an actual garment. At that point we were taught to use tailor’s tacks, pin then tack seams before we could machine stitch, and generally do things properly! It was interesting to watch the various techniques these largely self-taught ladies used: most were determined to put pins in every inch and take them out as they were reached. I confess I rarely do more than the occasional pin and then I put them at right angles to the seam and sew straight over them. This is a risky strategy since if you hit a pin you will break your needle, bend the pin and ruin your machine (i.e. don’t try this at home!). However, I have had my machine since the fifth form and it does me fine. Obviously I don’t need pins if I’m sewing in straight lines nor for most seaming, but perhaps for attaching a collar or setting in a sleeve. In industry there isn’t time to mess about with pins and tacks if you’re going to earn your piecework money, you need skill and practice. It isn’t wrong to tack and/or pin of course, but I hope to increase 'my' tutees skill levels so that they don’t always have to.

I’m looking forward to next week’s session now – though I must get Youngest’s prom dress made by next Friday or there’ll be trouble!


Sarah said...

Why are you sorry? Sounds like you've had a great time. :)

Curry Queen said...

I was so useless at sewing at school that the nightdress I was forced to make for my mum became known as 'the barrage balloon' in our house! I am in awe of you!

herfromafar said...

Excellent. What a good way to share your skill.

hausfrau said...

Thank-you for your loyal support - and a comment from herfromafar, a very rare treat!

sensibilia said...

I'm impressed! I remember having to make the obligatory dull white apron in home-ec. Which was then donned to make the obligatory dull white rice-pudding.

I never got to the stage of enjoying the magic of sewing. Discussing the possibility with an old friend recently, I realised it is because I am too impatient. I want instant results - eg by gluing things together(!)