Category: Classes

Oct 28

Jeans patch tutorial

 

 

My instructions for working this jeans knee patch technique have just gone up on the Sewing Directory site over here.

It’s a ‘tidy’ repair and so might not be to everybody’s taste. But here’s my elevator pitch. Mending, in general, offers bite-sized opportunities to test out a variety of needlework techniques. This repair is a great way to practise how to control a smoothly curved edge which is well worth mastering. Curve control is a type of fabric manipulation that’s used a lot in dressmaking (creating armholes, necklines etc) and in all kinds of other sewing projects (toy-making, soft furnishings etc), so it’ll stand you in good stead.

20151028_152815000_ios

 

In technical sewing jargon, this is also an example of ‘reverse appliqué‘ – because the patch goes beneath the damaged area rather than on top of it. So, you neaten the worn area and turn it into a kind of window, behind which your patch sits.  This repair is worked by hand, because it tends to be tricky to get a sewing machine into the restricted area of a jeans leg and (to my thinking, anyway) isn’t really worth the fuss of getting your machine out. But it doesn’t take very long to work, so please have a go. You should find that the resulting patch is smooth against the skin and comfortable to wear, while also feeling robust and secure. And if you try it and like it, then please come back and let me know! 

 

 

0
comments

Dec 31

What 2014 has taught me

 

Here, in no particular order, are some things I’ve discovered in 2014:

1.

That very serviceable lotions and cosmetics can be homemade from nothing more than wild flowers, cooking oil (I used sunflower oil), beeswax and an old enamel bain-marie. Thanks to herbalist Zoe Hawes and Alice Park Community Garden for this revelation. I’m still using the Elderflower and Calendula lip-salve made at your workshop, Zoe, and it’s brilliant stuff. Homemade cosmetics and natural beauty products are definitely the way to go.

Elderflower and Calendula

Elderflower and Calendula

 

 

2.

That you can make yourself a really sturdy plant support from indigenous hazel branches and willow, provided you keep the pre-soaked willow sufficiently damp, and possibly cheat with the judicious application of cable ties. Thanks to Annie Beardsley for this new knowledge, and to APCG again.

Making plant supports at Alice Park Community Garden

Making plant supports at Alice Park Community Garden

 

3.

That you can make a perfectly functional barbecue from a large terracotta pot, a couple of bricks, some chicken wire and a discarded rack from a broken microwave. I had all these things lying around and pressed them into service on my allotment for Midsummer’s Eve. Look! It cooked chicken! 

 

An old flower pot, some bricks and a rack from a broken microwave.

An old flower pot, some bricks and a rack from a broken microwave.

4.

That even I can grow yellow courgettes, ruby chard, tomatoes, leeks, garlic, and sweet dumpling squash from scratch.

Grown on my allotment.

Grown on my allotment.

5.

That if you post a picture of your rear end in inside-out jeans on Twitter for Fashion Revolution Day, the sight might well collect 17,000 views. Blimey…

Rear-end selfie in inside-out jeans - all for a good cause.

Rear-end selfie in inside-out jeans – all for a good cause.

 

6.

That it’s possible to stop traffic on the A4 through central Bath wearing inside-out clothing. Nuff said.

 

7.

I hate to bang on about this, but I’ve found that it’s still possible to attract wolf-whistles when you’re 49. And I mean when not dressed provocatively or in inside-out clothing but, ironically, with minimal grooming: I’m down to an annual haircut, and you’ve already read about those homemade budget-beating cosmetics. This positive attention seems to be happening more of late but I suspect that some people might just need their eyes testing. Though one of my best friends has paid me the compliment of describing me as ‘like a teenager with wrinkles’. Please bear this in mind, all you TV producers; you’ll find my contact details in point 10.

8.

That it’s nice to make people happy, but that you certainly can’t please everyone so may as well stop trying. Do what you feel is right and ignore those who just don’t get it. There will be plenty.

 

9.

That if you require someone to knit a sweater for a real live Jersey cow, I’m a very good person to ask; I may not be able to do it myself but have all kinds of useful connections in the craft and making world. I was delighted to be able to connect the wonderful Send a Cow charity with the equally wonderful knitter Elise Fraser in Bristol (whom I met at the beginning of the year thanks to the Briswool project). And what a glorious jersey Gloria wore!

 

10.

That one might be asked to front a national BBC TV show, to write a book, and also to produce a regular column for a national craft magazine, but none of them may pan out for a host of painful and highly annoying reasons. Happily, I’m currently still available and open to offers, but you’d better get in quick before the rush. You might want to check out my professional website and contact me there to discuss any potential projects. I’d love to hear from you.

 

11.

That I can live without my beloved little car, the cuticle (‘cute’ + ‘vehicle’). Farewell, my little white Fiat! You are gone but not forgotten.

The cuticle always raised a smile.

The cuticle always raised a smile.

12.

That cycling is probably better for keeping me and my legs in shape anyway. And I love it, most of the time (barring uphill, or in horizontal rain, or when carrying very much). Here’s Violet, bought when I was carrying some very precious cargo: my younger son Joe in utero; he turned 15 years old earlier this month, so the old girl ain’t doing so bad.

 

Back to pedal power.

Back to pedal power.

 

13.

That, imho, my youngest son is a rather fine graphic designer already. He was aged just 14 when he sorted out a logo this summer for the Big Mend. Now studying Art GCSE. Anyone need a summer 2015 intern for an art-related opportunity? Do get in touch.

The Big Mend logo plus coffee.

The Big Mend logo plus coffee.

 

14.

That the ‘free’ coffee for Waitrose customers is a very useful thing indeed, and that people seem to like doing their mending in such public spaces. Thank you, Waitrose, for being so accommodating and allowing us to land on you for World Environment Day! And a big thank you to our happy band of menders! You know who you are. The Big Mend has now been going for almost 3 years, astonishingly. I wonder where it will head next?

Flash mend event

Flash mend event in Waitrose

 

15.

That if you put enough pressure on a carbon life form, it may well become a diamond – eventually. It’s been a very tough year or so and the screws have definitely been on. But I’m wondering if a ‘diamond life’ might possibly be in store for me after all in 2015. I really do hope so.

 

Thanks so much for reading my all-too-infrequent posts here on the subject of mending, thrift, textiles etc. Take care and have yourself a very happy 2015.

 

16
comments

Aug 03

Join the chicks @theFarm!

 

 

I’m delighted to be working with some excellent creative people (plus a few chickens, geese and dogs) on brand new project, @theFarm.

You can let your imagination run wild and your talents go free-range from this September when the the first @the Farm courses and workshops go live. It’s the place to learn a new craft skill, or spruce up an old one, with the very best hand-picked tutors in an ancient honeyed stone farmhouse in Wiltshire, just 20 minutes from Bath. Gorgeous lunches and refreshments are laid on within the workshop fee too. And parking is easy and ample. Could it get any better? I don’t think so.

To give you a small taste of what you can learn, there’ll be upholstery and lampshades c/o Joanna, who is also the clever lady who devised our photoshoot.

There’sdarning from me. My swift introduction to the subject, Strictly Come Darning!, has been favourably reviewed in Simply Knitting and Simply Crochet. I have sessions currently booking on Wednesday 11th September, Friday 11th October and Wednesday 13th November .

SONY DSC

Darning at the Farm

 

And I can also familiarise you with your sewing machine: the one you bought ages ago which has been gathering dust ever since. Or the one your grandma handed down to you, maybe rather like the one below. Whatever its age or make, bring it along to have its mysteries revealed at my one-day event, Get to Know Your Sewing Machine. You’ll also make a satisfying first project to take away. Dates: Monday 23rd September, Monday 14th October, and Saturday 23rd November.

Singer 99k, 1946

Allow me to introduce you to your sewing machine

 

Emma (pictured darning with me above) is the lovely boss and total organisational whizz, and the lady you speak to to make your booking.  Early Bird offers on these autumn courses end 23rd August, so get on the blower (01225 783504) or pooter (emma@at-the-farm.co.uk) before all the other chicks scratch over the best pickings. And don’t forget to sign up for @theFarm‘s monthly newsletter – if you can’t find the link, send Emma an email and ask to be put on the mailing list. More exciting tutors and workshops will be unveiled in due course, so keep your eyes peeled.

Hope to see you @theFarm very soon! Wellies not obligatory.

8
comments

Apr 15

Strictly Come Darning!

 

If you’ve been wanting to learn the basics of darning in a tidy and structured way, come along to my new class: Strictly Come Darning!

You’ll try your hand at stockinet darning, Swiss darning, and linen darning. This will be mostly a hand-work class, but we’ll take a look at how you’d go about darning by machine too.

Swiss darning

Swiss darning

 

The first scheduled Strictly Come Darning! class will be at Jumble Jelly, 10 Silver Street, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1JY on Friday 3rd May, 10am to 1pm. To book your place, phone the shop on 01225 866033.

 

NB If I handed you a flyer yesterday (attached to a reel of vintage tacking cotton) at Bath Artisan Market, the date printed there was incorrect: please note that this class is on the 3rd May and not the 4th, as stated. Thank you! Do feast your eyes on this delicious write-up of yesterday’s Make-Do-and-Mend-themed Bath Artisan Market c/o Captured by Lucy.

 

 

2
comments

Mar 04

Come to a Craft-Tea Party!

 

 

If you’re pushed for a Mother’s Day/Mothering Sunday* gift and live in Bath, I can help.

The Craft-Tea Party happens in Green Park Station this Saturday 9th March, 2-5pm. It’s organised by Oxfam Bath and timed to celebrate International Women’s Day (8th March).

Craft-Tea Party poster

 

I’m running a series of mini-workshops at 2pm, 2.45pm, 3.30pm and 4.15pm (half an hour each) to make a gorgeous flower brooch from upcycled felt. The £5 fee will go entirely to Oxfam as I’m donating my time and materials.

Here’s the felt we’ll be using. It’s lovely thick stuff, culled from endless sweaters, cardigans and scarves gleaned in numberless charity shops then boiled in my washing machine and steam pressed. Yes, a complete labour of love!

Felted garments

Part of the Scrapiana upcycled felt library

 

And here are samples of some of the loopy brooches we’ll be making. They can be loosely sprawling, dense and tight, single colour, variegated, buttoned or not buttoned, but each holds a charm.

Loopy corsages

Loopy flower brooches

 

Best of all, these loopy flowers are surprisingly simple and fast to make. They just need a little careful cutting (I have various sizes of scissors for big and little hands) and require a little hand-sewing, though I minimise this for those who find needle-and-thread stressful. I made these (and some other felt flowers) with the Bath WI last week and we had a really fun, highly productive evening. Here’s a write-up from fellow craft blogger and WI member Sue. I’m so glad to have pepped up her week and brought a smile to her face – that means such a lot.

Anyway, £5 isn’t much of an outlay to hit two birds with one stone, donating to the brilliant Oxfam cause and making something for your lovely ma. Better still, bring your mum along and keep her busy close by with some tea and cake (served on vintage crockery, of course) while you make her a surprise. You’ll have to tell her not to peek, but the sumptuous cakes on offer should provide sufficient distraction.  So, here’s how you book a space, to avoid disappointment. Hope to see you there!

 

PS If you don’t have a mum (and so many of us don’t), do please come make a flower for yourself, or for a lovely female relative or friend whose nurturing spirit you appreciate.

 

*which, in the UK, falls on 10th March 2013 this year

 

2
comments

Apr 11

The big mend

You’ll have noticed that I’m a bit of a fan of mending – in theory, if not always in practice. Like everyone else, I seem to have an ever-growing pile of things with holes or without buttons, waiting to be rescued from the clothing version of limbo.

Well, I’m thrilled to announce a new project happening very close to home which will help to redress that problem. It’s called the Big Mend and it aims to get Bath (or the small corner of it in which I live) mending its ways. Imagine a great big sociable gaggle of people sewing on buttons, darning, nibbling snacks and gossiping. That should be it. There will be sewing tools on hand to use, free of charge, and other helpful items to purchase, should you wish. Or you are welcome to bring along your own bits and pieces. If your problem is carving out the time and space, hopefully we can give you that. If your problem is trepidation or insufficient skills, we aim to be able to help you with that too; if there isn’t someone there who will know how to fix your beloved vintage dress, we will know where to look to find out.

Our first meeting of the Big Mend will be on Wednesday 24th April at Crockadoodledo, Larkhall from 7-9pm. You’re very welcome to drop in any time you like (though it would be advisable not to arrive at quarter to 9 if you have a long hem to repair). Entry is free.

Huge thanks are due to Caroline Harris, local author on matters thrifty (amongst many other talents) who encouraged me to pursue this idea. Curiously enough, she provided the  inspirational spark for the project when she wrote an article for Bath Life back in May 2009.

Caroline 's Bath Life article

 

In her article, Caroline rued the parlous state of her three pairs of jeans, and wished for what she called a ‘mending amnesty… an occasion where you can bring along all that forlorn forgotten sewing and do it in company, with a chat and a drink’. I read that and thought: That’s me! I can do that! And here it is, three years later, after a few false starts;  I  actually conjured up the artwork way back then (see it propped against this antique sewing machine?) but have managed to sit on it ever since. I just hope that Caroline’s favourite jeans are still salvageable.

The Big Mend takes place on the last Wednesday of the month from 7-9pm. May’s event (30th May) takes place at the Museum of Bath at Work in Julian Road. Entry is free, so just turn up!

 

11
comments

Mar 24

Liberty bead workshop winner

 

I sneakily announced the winner yesterday, but so well hidden down in the comments that you probably didn’t see it. So, here’s the official gold envelope moment. [Cue drumroll] The upcycled bead was, in fact, … #4! Yes, the red one slap bang in the middle!

It was guessed correctly by the very first commenter, the keen-eyed Cat. Well done! If you can’t get to the workshop next Thursday, Cat, you can have a Liberty bead necklace kit instead. Just let me know which you’d prefer.

A big thank you to everyone else who took the time to guess, and commiserations to anyone who got the right answer but too late. Another time!

Liberty bead necklace

That particular piece of Liberty lawn, in a pattern named Matilda, came from a handmade blouse found in a local charity shop.  Here’s a glimpse of it.

Liberty Tana Lawn in Matilda

Blouse picked up at the charity shop

Maybe you wouldn’t have cut it up. I’m not sure I should have. But it was relatively cheap. And the making up wasn’t fabulous. It will certainly make an awful lot of beads. I also used a swatch of it when I made my everyday needlebook a while back. I tote it to workshops etc so gets hard wear. It’s the same one featured over here.

My scuzzy everyday needlebook

Matilda scrap on needlebook

If you’re interested in coming along to a Liberty bead necklace workshop, two are currently scheduled: Thursday 29th March (still spaces!) and one for Friday 18th May (each link take you straight to the bookings page). Both are morning sessions, 10.30am-1.30pm, here in Bath at Crockadoodledo, Larkhall’s lovely pottery-painting studio. Further details on my Classes page.

Tana lawn with wooden bead

One for the necklace

0
comments

Mar 15

Liberty bead workshop giveaway!

 

It’s official: happiness is a stack of Liberty fabrics and a handful of wooden beads!

Beads

Wooden beads

Liberty Tana lawn - smooth as silk

Tana lawn with wooden bead

Liberty lawn with wooden bead

This one's relatively short but you can make yours with lots more beads.

Liberty lawn necklace

 

As an appreciative nod to Bath in Fashion I’ll be running a Liberty bead necklace workshop making these simple yet luxurious objects at Crockadoodledo, Larkhall, Bath on Thursday 29th March, 10.30am to 1.30pm.  The necklaces can include as many beads as you like, with every bead a statement of classic British textile design. This is really the perfect project to showcase your finer fabric scraps.

All materials are included in the workshop fee of £25. If you (or someone who loves you) is stuck for Mother’s Day, there’s also an alluring Mother’s Day offer of 20% off any booking made as a gift (reducing the fee to just £20!).  If you book as a gift, I can also issue you with an attractive pdf gift certificate in time for Mother’s Day this weekend. As places on these workshops are limited, booking is essential so please don’t delay. Further details can be found on the Classes & Workshops page.

And finally, I’m delighted to be able to offer a FREE place on this workshop (or a Liberty necklace kit if you prefer) to the first person who can correctly identify which of the covered beads shown above was created from an upcycled Liberty scrap .

Yes, only one bead was made from an existing garment, rather than from a new offcut of cloth.  Can you guess which?

I’ll take the first correct answer from the comments posted below (sorry, I can only take one answer per visitor). Just state the bead number (#1 is on the far left, #7 on far right), though if you can also give the name of the Liberty Tana Lawn pattern, all the better (that’s not essential, it just pleases my inner Liberty geek!). The only qualification to enter this giveaway is that you first mosey on over and like the Scrapiana Facebook page. This competition will close at midnight on Thursday 22nd March and I’ll announce the winner here on Friday 23rd.  Please remember to tell me if you’d prefer a workshop space or a kit, and do leave a way for me to contact you, even if that’s in a separate email. Good luck!

PS This is, by default, the Scrapiana Scrap of the Week. I’ll feature it properly once it no longer has to remain incognito.

12
comments

Mar 06

Scrap of the week #20

Liberty Tana lawn

Liberty Tana lawn

Liberty Tana Lawn

Three Liberty lawns

 

Liberty Tana lawn has got to be one of my favourite fabrics ever. I really can’t help being a Tana-phile; it’s so soft, floaty and fine, the designs so delicate and detailed (usually), the colours so vivid, and it’s such a joy to work. So I make no apology for coming back to it time and again as my Scrap of the Week. Here’s how strongly I feel about it: I’ve given up alcohol for Lent, but giving up lawn would be too great a test of character. Are you a Liberty lawn freak too? The confessional booth is empty so step right in and purge your soul via the comment box!

These pieces (and many more) are about to be wrapped around wooden beads and balls and transformed into beautifully bold and tactile necklaces for my forthcoming Scrapiana Liberty Bead Necklace Workshop on Thursday 29th March at Crockadoodledo here in Larkhall, Bath.  Astonishingly, I still have spaces, so if you want to spend the morning absorbed in this sumptuous make, please join me. There’s even a 20% off Mother’s Day deal! Just shoot me an email at eirlys@scrapiana.com and I’ll add your name to my list.

This workshop falls during the Bath in Fashion 2012 event, and there’s an awful lot of exciting things happening. If you hoped to hear Manolo Blahnik speak, however, I hate to tell you but you’re already too late (sold out).

 

0
comments

Jan 12

Hearts & Garlands

 

 

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. I don’t usually give it a huge amount of attention. 2012 is slightly more interesting though because it’s a leap year when girls are traditionally entitled to pop the question.

This set me thinking about unusual and ingenious declarations of love. Well, how about making a garland which speaks your mind? You could sneak in a secret message, hide a billet doux (‘Be Mine!’) amongst a string of pretty paper hearts. Or forge hearts out of meaningful papers: maps of where you met, for instance, or even old  – be sure they’re really expendable! – photos. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Heart garland, folded

Heart garland, folded

 

Well, if you can get to Bath and are free on Thursday morning on 26th January, do come along to the Hearts & Garlands workshop and discover 5 different heart-themed strung decorations, all upcycled from scrap textile or paper. All materials are supplied, though do bring along any special ephemera that you’d like to include. We’ll be using a variety of  tools and materials and you’ll also get a garland kit to take home (besides whatever else you make on the day). Here’s where you can book your place. There are more details of workshops/classes on my Classes page .

Scrap paper garland

Make me!

 

A word about the venue: Crockadoodledo is a delightful location where you can paint crockery and also find a charming selection of handpicked gifts and cards, many made locally. Parking nearby is largely unrestricted. Crockadoodledo isn’t open every day so do consult their website or give them a ring before you set out.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

1
comments

Socialized through Gregarious 42
make PrestaShop themes