Wednesday, 22 May 2013

English Paper Piecing with the Frome WI

This month we were very excited to be asked back by the Frome WI to join them for their 1st Birthday. 

We were with them at the very first meeting when we made Jubilee corsages with the group. We also popped back to see them in November to do a christmas make with them, little felt gingerbread men. 

This time, we decided to teach the group a skill and show them the traditional patchwork method of 
"English Paper Piecing"

We used pre-cut 2.5" paper hexagons and 3" pre-cut fabric squares to create flowers. Each hexagon is sewn by hand, once 7 hexagons have been made, then the group began sewing the hexagons together to create the flowers. 

Hand sewing is very satisfying and english paper piecing is very addictive. Its that little project that you can carry around and do anywhere, in the cafe, on the train, in front the tele. Just pop it into a bag. 

This process can be developed into an appliqué design on a larger project, turned into placemats, baby balls or sewing the flowers together will make a very detailed and special handmade quilt. Its great for using scraps as its only small pieces that you are using. Perfect for a memory quilt or using vintage fabrics.

About the WI
Over the last year the group have held a wide variety of meetings attracting about 50 ladies, covering Astronomy, clay modelling, wreath making, midwifery, wine, cheese, self defence and craft, but they have also been involved in fundraising and working to support local causes and businesses. 


If you fancy going along to the WI:

They meet on the third Thursday of every month in the United Reformed Church Hall on Whittox Lane in Frome from 7.30 - 9.30. The best place to park is in the Westway carpark (behind Argos in the centre of town) and then walk up the lane by the bike shop. This will bring you out on Whittox Lane. 

Contact info for the Frome WI:
also on Twitter and Facebook

Pictures supplied by Frome WI 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Great British Sewing Bee

Okay hands up who was a little hooked on BBC 2's The Great British Sewing Bee and is missing it??

Those of you who know me, know I'm not much of a dressmaker  - that's Anna and Lucy's forte and boy they do create some lovely pieces. Have you seen Anna's beautiful tulip skirt in store? She will be teaching this as a class - perfect for those summery days, yes I know what you're thinking but positive thinking will bring the sun out I'm sure. Sorry I'm wittering on again mmmmmm....where was I, yes the Sewing Bee - as a non dressmaker but a lover of sewing I found the series inspiring and I was somewhat in awe of these amateur dressmakers (the judges words not mine!) Getting the perfect finish is tricky to achieve at the best of times as you and I both know, so under such tight deadlines and conditions I was very impressed with what they were creating. My favourite piece was in the first episode when Mark (the male contestant with the long hair) made a beautiful monochrome spotty dress - very elegant.

I like how all contestants varied in age, ability and sewing background - it just goes to show that
anyone with a little patience and passion for creativity can give sewing a go. You never know where it may lead.

If you're like me -  a little inspired and itching to learn a little dressmaking we have classes to caterer for beginners and those at a more intermediate level. I spent a day with Lucy Litchfield on her Beginner's Dressmaking class, to learn a little more....

Whilst spending the day with Lucy I soon began to realise the Beginner's Dressmaking class is perfect for those, like me, who can already machine sew but are new to dressmaking and know next to nothing about patterns. With Lucy's help and guidance the ladies made a simple A-line skirt from a fabric of your choice. The class began with everyone taking their own measurements which were then transferred to the pattern paper to draw out a simple skirt shape. The pattern was then used to draft a simple skirt in calico. Making the pattern in calico may seem like double work but it allowed Lucy and the ladies to tweak and make adjustments to their skirt if needed.

Once the adjustments are made and the calico pattern fitted nicely, the choosing of fabric and constructing of the skirt began. A waist band and a zip was put in - a little fiddly but all the ladies managed it beautifully.

A little more sewing and perfecting and before we knew it the day was coming to an end and the ladies had completed their a perfectly fitted skirt. It was a jammed packed day but very satisfying to see the ladies so amazed at their own capabilities and the finished articles were lovely.  Final thing  - I asked the ladies to try on their skirts' and to show then off! They were only too happy to oblige.

If you are interested in dressmaking beginners or the next stage on we do have a range of dressmaking classes with different projects. The one I have my eye on is the two-day 50's Vintage Dress with Anna. Visit our website for further details or do pop into store for more details.....we may even have a sample of what you can make in store.

Bye for now and happy making,