• The Sewing Weekender Rocked my World (again)

  • Holy guacamole. So… The Sewing Weekender happened then…! And, man did it live up to the hype.

    Since jammily nabbing myself a ticket back in May, I have been so desperately looking forward to it. For me it was the perfect opportunity to get a much needed break from the baby (who has been totally busting my balls)… and back to my old sewing self.

    The last 5 months have definitely not been what I had imagined motherhood to look like. And it hasn’t been a pretty picture. The baby has screamed more than I can explain. And basically crushed my spirit. But dramatics aside, things are improving now. But it has been so intensely hard. So you can imagine how much I needed this weekend!

    Anyway, back to the event itself. Organised by the lovely Kate and Rachel (The Fold Line) and Charlotte (English Girl at Home), The Sewing Weekender is a weekend sewing getaway. Tickets sold out in a heartbeat, and I’m pretty sure many would have given their vital organs to get hold one!

    So on Saturday 5th August, we set up camp at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge. Long tables stretched down the room – sewing stations kitted out with Janome sewing machines and our hotly anticipated goody bags (I will be vlogging the unpacking of mine – watch this space!).

    I rocked up to my seat with an offering of sweets. It helped to get people to like me 😉

    I arrived on Saturday morning literally squealing with excitement. And one long arm and calloused hand from carrying my sewing machine in! We all had our own projects to work on over the weekend, but I managed to pretty much talk solidly for the whole of Saturday morning! I think it was midday before I even threaded my machine. Oh well. I was way too distracted by sewing friends 🙂

    The afternoon kicked off with a couple of talks from The Sewing Weekender prefects Portia Lawrie, Makery and Fiona Parker, Diary of a Chainstitcher.

    Portia talked about the benefits of refashioning clothes often destined for the charity shop. I already knew a little about her Refashioners campaign, but she really inspired me to get involved. She showed us some of the garments made from the last round of Refashioners, which was themed around using old jeans. This year’s theme is suits… and I might just take a stab at making something!

    Then we had the lovely Fiona talk to us about her day job as a Costume Supervisor. It was really fascinating to hear about the shows she has worked on. And she must have the dream job when it comes to the part where she has to go fabric shopping!

    And while all of this was going on, we had the opportunity to get involved with embroidery workshops with Elle Harris, Sew Positivity (machine embroidery) and Elisalex de Castro Peake, By Hand London (hand embroidery). I didn’t actually make it to the workshops after basically talking too much in the other room! My bad!

    Gorgeous Elle from Sew Positivity in her lemons dress, beavering away on the Janome embroidery machine

    After the talks, we continued with more sewing (well, I only managed a little) into the early evening. And after a quick dash home, change of clothes and a few baby duties, I headed back for dinner and a couple of wines!

    Sunday was another day of sewing and talks. We listened to Melissa Fehr, Fehr Trade and Elena Rosa Brown, Randomly Happy.

    Melissa talked about sewing for activewear and how we can all think about making our garments practical for the movements of our day-to-day lives. And gussets. She talked about those too *does childish snigger*. But really, she was super knowledgeable with tips on construction of garments for different types of movement, and the best fabrics to use.

    Melissa giving her talk. Note the cat leggings!

    Elena gave us her tips on using mindfulness in our sewing. I’m pretty sure her talk struck a chord with everyone in the room. Thinking about how we end up getting bogged down and stressed out trying to churn out finished projects – and sometimes forgetting to actually enjoy the process. Remember to breathe people!

    We then ended the day with a little photowalk into Cambridge, or for me it was more chatting away to all of my lovely sewing friends!

    Just a few from the photowalk in Cambridge

    The whole weekend ran perfectly, and I loved EVERY SECOND.

    Being honest, my highlight of the weekend was 100% the lovely sewing people I spent my time chatting away to. Some old pals and some new friends. Everyone was so warm, friendly, positive, encouraging and utterly inspiring. There really is something magical about meeting likeminded sewing-mad people. They are the best kind of people!

    So thank you to Kate, Rachel and Charlotte for organising this incredible event. And for showing this new mum the path back to dressmaking, and my old happy sewing self. Now cue more photos!

    How cute is Harriet from Hobbling Handmades?! I want to keep her please. In a non-stalker kind of way. Obvs.

    One of my new besties, the gorgeous Vicky, SewVee

    These girls though! My lovely sewing neighbours (from left) Rach, Rach Against the Sewing Machine, Sandy and Jodie, Buttons Bows and Pearls

    Sue Young (Susan Young Sewing), Megan (Pigeon Wishes) and Jenny (Jenny Stitched)

    Cleo twinnies! Rach and Ruth

    1 fabric, 2 ways... Gorgeousness! Rachel (The Fold Line) and Emily (Self Assembly Required)

    My lovely sewing friends Jill and Jade

    Well hello ladies! From left - Sarah (Like Sew Amazing), Amy (Almond Rock & Editor of Love Sewing Mag), Fiona (Diary of a Chainstitcher), Rachel (The Fold Line) and Melissa (Fehr Trade)

    This lady was life and soul of the weekend. Lovely Sarah from Like Sew Amazing with her flamingo (named by me as Barry - you're welcome)

    So I took just a few selfies...! Clockwise from top left - Sarah (Like Sew Amazing) and Vicky (SewVee), Rach (Rach Against the Sewing Machine), Hayley Jane (Sew Hayley Jane), Emily (Self Assembly Required), Jenny (Jenny Stitched), Georgia (Ginger Stitch) and Claire (the_pear_shaped_stitcher)

    Grabbed these lovelies for a quick pic - Kate (The Fold Line), Bianca (Sleepless in Bavaria) and my muse, Elena (Randomly Happy)

    This is my lovely new friend Stef (Stef Makes). She was my next-door-sewing-neighbour and I miss her already! I can't believe this is the only photo I have of her... I thought we had a selfie together. Anyway, she's the nuts and I love her. Her blog is bloody ace too.

    Pinny McPinFace

    Jodie (Buttons, Bows and Pearls)... think she was getting a little bit weirded out by me hovering with my camera. Sorry for that 😉

    Oh these ladies...!!!! Love love love. Sarah (Like Sew Amazing) and Vicky (SewVee)

  • The Sewing Weekender Review

  • sewing-weekender-banner

    Oh my… where the hell do I start? What a weekend. I am reeling from the excitement!

    I was lucky enough to manage to buy one of the hottest tickets in town, to The Sewing Weekender.  Seriously, tickets sold out in a heartbeat! This event was organised by the dream team of the English Girl at Home (Charlotte) and The Foldline (Kate and Rachel). I lucked out with the location as it was just up the road from me in Cambridge, at Murray Edwards College.

    The weekend kicked off at 10am on Saturday, where we all filed into the venue. I nervously shuffled in, weighed down by my bags of sewing paraphernalia… eyes flitting around the room, as I shrieked inside with excitement at seeing so many familiar faces from Instagram and sewing blogs. I was immediately greeted by the lovely Charlotte (English Girl at Home) who gave me my name badge, and most importantly, my goody bag!

    Contents of my goody bag

    Contents of my goody bag

    The Saturday was an all-day sewathon, so we had all prepared projects to bring along to work on. I plonked  myself down at a table that I ended up sharing with a lovely bunch of ladies, including Rach from Rach Against the Sewing Machine, Susie from Crafty Sooze and Elle from Laura Loves Pugs.

    IMG_0842IMG_0821

    And the fabric swap commenced!

    And the fabric swap commenced!

    My sewing project for the day was a Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress. I decided that it would be best to sew a pattern I had used before, as I knew I would be super distracted chatting to people.  And I was right! My fabric was a gorgeous viscose given to me by Stoff & Still (thank you!) with a navy blue/white Ikat print. I got as far as cutting out all of the pieces, and managed to half stitch up the bodice. I was a bit gutted that I didn’t get further than that… but to be honest, I can always finish the dress off at home. I was having too much fun chatting to everyone, making friends and just having a bit of a laugh. I couldn’t do that at home!

    IMG_0831IMG_0830IMG_0841

    How beautiful are these pattern weights made by Rach from Rach Against the Sewing Machine?!

    How beautiful are these pattern weights made by Rach from Rach Against the Sewing Machine?!

    I was absolutely blown away by the heartwarming friendliness of everyone – it was really touching. I mean, it’s kind of hard to even just say hello to people that you meet for the first time. But these ladies had no problem with greeting with a hug, or pulling up a chair next to me just to talk about what I was sewing and stroke my fabric! Everyone really hit it off, and it was such a joy to be part of.

    IMG_0826 IMG_0837

    The Sunday was a day packed with talks from a fabulous line-up of speakers. Each speaker had a Q&A session at the end of their talks – and I loved that special touch of giving a prize (donated by Girl Charlee) to one person for each Q&A for the best question asked. It really prompted lots of questions and discussion!

    The wonderful speakers

    The wonderful speakers

    Here is a little breakdown of my thoughts from each of the talks:

    • The gorgeous Rachel from House of Pinheiro kicked off with a really inspiring talk on unleashing creativity. I will definitely be thinking about a sandwich that would adequately represent me!
    • Grace from Beyond Measure talked about her business, and I loved her passion for the crafting and process involved in producing the tools that she sells for the crafting community. I definitely want one of the pumice pin cushions!
    • Marilla Walker talked about garment design which included showing us some super impressive undies she had made! Twit woo! And I now feel compelled to rush out and buy a bra making kit… that project is on the to do list.
    • Elena from Randomly Happy gave her talk on creating a meaningful, wearable wardrobe. I really related to how she described her lifestyle – juggling work, family and of course sewing! It made me think about fabric purchase choices I want to make going forward (which may or may not include flamingos!) and how I want to construct my ‘dream style’ in the future. This might require a bit of thought though!
    • Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons presented to us on the process her and her team use for taking the idea of a garment from concept to the finished pattern. This was such an interesting insight, to understand all of the stages of making a pattern – and the time and effort that goes into it. It was really admirable to hear about how Tilly built her business, including all of her considerations of her brand identity.
    • Last but certainly not least was Gabby from Gabberdashery talking about her tips and tricks for vlogging. It did make me think about trying to make a vlog at some stage if I can muster up the bravery! Gabby is such a bubbly personality, and I think we all felt like she was talking to friends during her presentation (which, of course, she was). I love her vlogs and found her advice really useful. I was busy scribbling down notes throughout!
    Listening intently to the talks

    Listening intently to the talks

    IMG_0868IMG_0881

    Fan girling with Rachel Pinheiro

    Fan girling with Rachel Pinheiro

    And fan girling again, this time with Tilly!

    And fan girling again, this time with Tilly!

    And there we sadly reached the end of a wonderful weekender.

    After saying my goodbyes to everyone, I wandered out of the venue. As I trotted through the gardens of the college (which were stunning btw) back to my car, I felt an overwhelming sense of just being so happy at being part of the wonderful sewing community. In fact, I’m proud to be part of it. I am inspired by you all, and feel as though I’ve made some solid friends – I love you all!

    The dream team!

    The dream team!

    I would really like to say a huge thank you and well done to Charlotte, Kate and Rachel for organising such a fab event. Everything ran so smoothly, and I am so happy to have been there. All of your hard work was so appreciated by everyone. A million thank yous!!

    Now… here’s to the next one!

  • A lovely little sewing meet

  • IMG_6519

    Earlier today I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful bunch of dressmaking enthusiasts, at our very first Cambridge sewing meet. This was organised via the genius of The Foldline website, and we met up at Backstitch near Cambridge.

    As this was our first meet, I thought it would be best to keep it casual, and just meet for a natter over tea and cake – and I have to say it was perfect. It was wonderful to just chat about our sewing, current projects, tips and tricks, and swap experiences of using different patterns and fabrics.

    I even managed to bake a cake for the occasion, which I think went down ok! I was really pleased with how it turned out.

    I had a great time meeting these lovely ladies – not a surprise at all, as I have always found the sewing community to be wonderful folk!

    And thank you to Backstitch for hosting us today. It was a pleasure to come and have a browse through the gorgeous fabrics and make some cheeky purchases 😉

    Great to meet you ladies!

    Jen x

    IMG_6612IMG_6607IMG_6610 IMG_6611IMG_6620 IMG_6618

    My haul from Backstitch

    My haul from Backstitch