Wow it's been a few crazy months! ICHF's sewing show in Manchester and Stitches, NEC in February. Knitting and Stitch in Olympia at the beginning of March and now Sewing for Pleasure! My body is in some serious need of a fast food detox I can tell you but i've loved every minute of it!
Sewing for Pleasure was a very special event for me this year as this was the first time that I have ever had my own stand at such a large event! Normally at these events I have been a guest demonstrator or speaker but this time I was on my own.
Designing and setting up my own stand. Planning, sourcing and preparing my workshop kits and of course sharing the #sewingrevolution love; it's been a huge learning curve and milestone for me!
It feels like all the hard work is really starting to pay off and i'm so looking forward to the next chapter!
When I was thinking about how I wanted my stand to look. I knew I wanted to bring my sewing room to the NEC; so i did! I brought my 'old gal' singer sewing machine, pictures from my sewing room wall and my 'when i get chance to' project which I started in February while in Manchester. You can just about see my cabin block patch work hanging on my pin boards.
I also brought a selection of clothes that are examples for my workshops which i'm running throughout the year. I thought it would be nice for people to have a look at them and may be get some ideas or inspiration.
The one thing that I definitely wanted to incorporate was an inspiration wall. This became my 'Sewing is..' Wall.
Remember the 'Love is..' comic strip from the 1960's? well it's kind of like that.
I wanted to encourage visitors to add what sewing means to them in a few words.
It started out as a little fun on Thursday with only a few brave people making their mark but by the end of the first day the wall began to take on a different shape. On Friday the wall felt like a diary, Secret messages and thoughts became public and by Sunday the text was not only fun but just beautiful, inspiring and completely heart breaking all at the same time.
The 'Sewing is..' Wall became such a treasure that I now plan to immortalise it by creating a very plain quilt and transferring the text onto it using free motion embroidery. Everyone made such a wonderful effort in sharing their thoughts It seemed only right that something special becomes of it, so watch this space... but don't hold your breath, it will take me a while!
Another big part of the show for me was the #sewingrevolution workshops! This is what I love to do and I hope that those of you who were lucky enough to secure a place enjoyed it as much as me!
I ran two different workshops. One was an upcycled key ring pouch and the other was a scrap busting pin cushion or hand warmer. All of the project kits used clothes or left over materials. I think someone thought I was joking when I said that the green corduroy was my husband's trousers. It was only when Kirk popped his head round and said that they were did she believe me! lol! I hope you all enjoyed the workshop and put your little korbond sewing kits to great use!
To top it all off and to celebrate my milestone, I decided to run a little competition which was exclusive to the Sewing for Pleasure show.
I wanted the prize to be something that would help to the next person to start their own #sewingrevolution. So my awesome workshop sponsor, Korbond and I put together the ultimate kit filled with everything you need to get started and more! It was free to enter and we had an amazing 232 entries but there can only be one winner...
Congratulations Emma Pattinson for winning the Korbond Sewing Kit!
The sewing kit will be with you in a few days Emma! I would love to see what wonderful creations you make with it so keep us posted!
Before I sign off, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Korbond for their amazing support and for supplying the wonderful sewing kits for my workshops and the competition! To Jane Bolsover and ICHF for letting me run havoc at the show and the chance to share the #sewingrevolution love, cannot wait for the next one!
But the biggest thanks of all has to go to my amazing husband for his love and continuous support! For not only stepping in and completely rocking my stand on Saturday and Sunday but for putting up with me when I have to just finish that last seam before dinner or to not go mad when you have stepped on yet another sewing pin.
I'm so proud and blessed to have you by my side and without your faith in me there would be no #sewingrevolution.
I truly am a luck girl!!
My first sewing kit.
I often get asked ‘what sewing equipment do I need?’ to attend my #sewingrevolution workshops.
I generally say a pair of fabric scissors, tape measure, pins and an unpicker as I would have everything else on hand at the workshop, but the question got me thinking about my very first sewing kit that started my sewing journey.
When I made the decision to make my own wedding dress, I must admit that my first action was not to head to my local haberdashery. Shamefully I didn’t know where my local one was and I did not have anyone to ask for advice on where to go.
Impatiently the first thing I did was look at wedding dress designs on the internet. Images of women in gorgeous dresses in fields, beaches and other aesthetically pleasing places. I then found my perfect dress it was unusual with what I called Spirograph lace, but do you think I could find the designer or where I could buy it - NO. I then headed to bridal shops and outlets to see if I could find something similar with no joy. So then I gave up looking to buy a dress and decided to make my own.
Instead of looking to buy I began visiting bridal shops to look at how these dress were constructed and took notes and sketches of designs. I also tried several dresses on, ( well, I was a bride to be after all and I couldn’t resist dressing up) to see what shape and style suited me the most. With my design in mind, I brought my first sewing kit and Sew Magazine (also my first sewing magazine) from a place that everyone visits at least once a week. My local super market.
My first sewing Kit was a Blue Oval Korbond sewing kit. It was almost the size of my palm. Not knowing everything that was listed in the bag I purchased it with excitement; My first sewing kit and confirmation that I was going to start sewing my dream dress and my first ever sewing project!
The little kit had so much in it.
A small pair of scissors, needles in various sizes as well as a wool needle, a measuring tape, pin cushion and pins, threads, thimble, needle threader, hooks and eyes and snap fasteners, buttons and safety pins.
Then there were items that I had never seen before let alone knew what to do with; but I now cannot live without - A Stitch ripper, Tailor’s chalk and a tracing wheel. Looking back now surrounded by my many variation of fabric or paper paper scissors, tailor chalks and unpickers that, that sewing kit really was the best thing to start my sewing journey and many of the items are still part of my sewing kit today. I stitched my crochet waistcoat with the blue wool needle last week. Used the tailor’s chalk pencil to draw out my design for Charlotte’s ‘salt of the earth’ birthday present. The threads are long gone along with my ever evaporating pins and needles but I still have my tomato Pin cushion!
So whenever anyone asks me ‘what sewing equipment do I need to get started?’ I would recommend my first sewing kit. The main reason , because it wasn’t scary. It is just a little blue bag packed full of items to help you on my way but the main reason was that it was so accessible. It is likely that you have passed the stand in the supermarket a hundred times before, it's familiar and I didn’t need to go searching for it.
As you may have guessed I’m passionate about getting people sewing. Many of my workshop attendees have never picked up a needle and thread before, let alone used a sewing machine. So I want to make getting started as easy as possible for them.
Upcycling is an element that I truly believe helps people get into sewing. You are taking items that you already own or can pick up very cheaply at charity shops and transform them into something unique and new. Being able to pick up good quality sewing equipment easily and at an affordable price is also important, as this can be a huge stumbling block. I want sewing to be accessible to all- regardless of what you can afford or be able to access. I want to prove you don’t need to go very far to get started. Just grab a sewing kit while you’re food shopping and take that old garment from your wardrobe and start a #sewingrevolution!
By taking these small steps and building your sewing confidence you are more likely to continue and improve your sewing skills. I want sewing to be a long term investment not something that turns into guilt for ruining that beautiful and possibly expensive material by the mistakes you made. For me mistakes are an important part of learning and you will make them, So the last thing I want is for you to give up because you don’t want to ‘waste your money’ on it.
I hope that my #sewingrevolution helps to give people confidence in their sewing abilities; to head to the haberdashery and buy that metre of awesome fabric, confident with your wonderful new found skill and completely guilt free. Being able to make something for yourself or others is one of the most rewarding things. Making clothes that fit you perfectly and to your style and taste is a great self-confidence booster, especially if you struggle to get clothes to fit you, for whatever reason that may be.
So please, head to the supermarket, pick up a sewing kit and get sewing. There are plenty of online tutorials and workshops available or you can even watch me on create and craft TV so there is no excuses!
My next workshop dates are the Great Create Extravaganza 2nd & 3rd October where you will be getting 'my first sewing kit' free when you attend my workshop - book here!
For all other workshop details are listed under #sewingrevolution events.
Last but not least, If you know how to sew, buy one for a friend and be part of the #sewingrevolution by sharing your skills, it’s important that we keep this awesome craft alive.
Viva La #sewingrevolution!
Using #sewingrevolution upcycling techniques to cheat your way to a vintage blouse.
If you follow my Instagram and facebook posts as well as my live demonstrations on Create and Craft TV you will know that I love an upcycle project!
Transforming old items into something completely new is a buzz, a little challenge if you like. My favourite #sewingrevolution workshops are my sewing clinic’s where I never know what the attendees are going to bring or want to make until on the day.
I have to think on my feet and come up with several project ideas using only the materials we have to hand. It’s exhausting but very rewarding work as the tutor. I love teaching people how to look at old items differently while they are also learning new sewing skills. Showing that you can make wonderful and unique items with things that you were going to throw out or taking those precious items that you cannot bare to get rid of but just don’t know what to do with it.
It’s always a special moment when a person bring something very personal, like old baby clothes or their mothers old coat.
At first it is very reluctant to start cutting into the item and it will always means a trip down memory lane. So I feel very privileged when people tell me and the group their family stories. It seems to give them a little more courage to get hacking knowing that these memories will no longer be in the wardrobe hidden away, but transformed into an item that will be used and loved again.
Upcycling doesn’t have to be tricky though, I love to combine new fabrics and commercial patterns with elements of old items especially when wanting to get a vintage look.
My Mom had a blouse that she used to call it her ‘cheese cloth top’ and she lived in it. So much so that it completely disintegrated. I would kill for that top now it was a lovely light cotton with hand embroidery around the neck coupled with a little lace detail, very Fleetwood Mac/ Stevie Nicks, very hippy chic.
Simplicity have a pattern which 100% reminds me of my mom in this top when I was a kid. It’s the New look pattern 6027 which I thought would be the perfect addition to the simplicity bloggers circle as well as the foundation for my sewing project. As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I wanted to recreate my mom's top. Problem is I don’t have time to hand embroider the fabric, so I thought I’d do an upcycle cheat.
After scouring the local charity shops, I came across several different types of Table clothes, Doilies and Handkerchiefs with either printed, machine or hand embroidery detail. Just perfect and all around 50p to a £1 an item, I purchased several as I was sure they would come in for other projects.
In the end I used a medium sized Doily which was about 1/2 a metre squared to give me the hand embroidery detail on the front of the blouse. It had cute pink flowers and also a yellow and orange seed head, which arched. I wanted to take advantage of this shape for the front of the blouse. This was the first Vintage cheat.
I then removed the cotton lace edging off a different table cloth by unpicking it carefully and then added this to the sleeve at the elbow - Vintage cheat number two.
For a third Vintage cheat, I did take it a little further and used a large white cotton bed sheet for my main fabric because it was a wonderful quality, had obviously been washed several times as it was super soft and again only £2 from the charity shop; A complete bargain! There was so much fabric that I think I can make another top out of it, which is great news as the pattern has five variations.
So there you have it. Add a little vintage inspiration to your makes by upcycling those little elements at a fraction of the cost and also time!
Start your own #sewingrevolution makes and don't forget to send me pictures!
#Sewingrevolution upcycling Summer Challenge.
Never one to shy away from a sewing challenge, I was approached with an unusual propsal. Oceanfinance.co.uk have tracked down twenty creative bloggers and challenged them all to upcycle a plain deckchair.
Armed with a Hobbycraft voucher and deckchair, I accepted this exclusive challenge and headed to Wolverhampton Hobbycraft for some inspiration.
I knew that I wanted to theme my project around my love of sewing and craft. I wanted it to be a practical as well as a really funky chair and with the weather starting to brighten up, I wanted to be able to craft outside while grabbing a tan of course!
With these aims in mind and the help of the lovely staff, we got to work. I think I spent about 2 hours in there looking at everything craft related. In the end I decided to go with four 1/4 meters of some awesome sewing related fabric which I was going to patch work for my seat. The fabric had a great retro feel to it with old sewing labels, patterns and images. There was also a cracking cotton reel fabric which I coupled with a lovely plain minty teal fabric.
While on my expedition I came across these large bundles of yarn, which was actually strands of t-shift fabric rather than wool. This was perfect! An opportunity to learn a new craft while sitting on my 'to be upcycled' deck chair. So I decided to apportion a little of my strict budget on two yarns of Boodles in orange and yellow along with a 10mm Bamboodle crochet hook. I'm already thinking of the clothes I can cut up to make yarn for future upcycling projects, but I better learn how to crochet first.
One challenge at a time Jenni!
After a quick picture with the lovely staff, Rachael, Jac, Melanie and Andy ( who was taking the picture) and feeling dead proud that I had stayed within budget, I was ready to get started.
Back at #sewingrevolution HQ, I decided that I wanted to make a little bucket pouch that could be connected to the side of the chair. This would be the practical element that I wanted to include. Something to keep my scissors, wool, threads, material, bottle of wine and snacks that sort of thing while I craft away in the sun. With my next challenge waiting, I wanted to make sure my pouch would be big enough to hold one of the Boodles yarn, which is about 14 inches in circumference.
So before started to cut up my fabric to make strips for the patch work. I cut out two large rectangles of the vintage sewing and reel fabric along with some of the vintage sewing label fabric for a front pocket. For my bucket pouch I need enough fabric to wrap around my yarn to create a tube, a circular base and strap - twice; as I wanted to also line my pouch. This was about 25 by 10 inches for the lining and again for the main fabric. You can obviously make yours as small or as large as you like.
It's a really simple construction as it is the same pouch, made twice and then inserted inside each other, wrong sides together. Then finished with a top stitch on the edge.
So I could attach my bucket pouch to my deck chair, I've added a strap and Prym Snap fasteners to secure it around the leg of the chair. I added the strap before sewing the two pouches together.
I also wanted a little detail on the front so I added a pocket. A little something to keep your scissors or knitting needles out the way.
With my bucket pouch complete, I then took the remaining material and cut into long strips. Making sure that the width of the strips were all the same size so it makes it a lot easier to patch with. I wanted to go for a shabby chic look so I decided to use a combination of squares and rectangles to create my new deckchair seat.
As I only had four difference styles of fabric, I tried to make sure that the same style was not stitched together, but I wasn't to bothered if it did; it all adds to the shabby chic look.
Using the original seat cover to measure how big I needed my patch to be, I continued to piece together until it was big enough to cover it.
Rather than completely replace the seat, I used the old white seat cover as a backing to my patch. Not only did this add strength to my seat but also covered up all my seams on the back of the patch work.
After giving the patch work a good press and creating a small single hem on all the sides, the patch was ready to be pinned to the original seat cover. I secured it with a visible top stitch and used a white thread for the bobbin, so you couldn't see the stitches on the other side.
I had to finish the top and bottom ends with a little hemming tape and hand sewing as I didn't want to sew the channels shut as that is where the wooden poles go into to secure the seat in place.
I wanted to make a feature of this, so I added a printed cotton ribbon which said 'handmade'. Too Cute!
With my new seat cover and bucket pouch in place; my #sewingrevolution deck chair upcycle challenge is complete and I'm ready to start my next new challenge!
Just waiting for the sun to make an appearance first.
Thank you to Oceanfinance.co.uk for this awesome upcycling challenge.
I hope you like it everyone!
Why not have a go yourself and use your left over fabric scraps to freshen up those old deckchairs in the shed! Even make a bucket pouch too! If you need help - check out #sewingrevolution Events for a sewing clinic workshop near you!
Remember 'Creativity is Contagious - Pass it on!' so don't forget to share pictures of your makes on my facebook or twitter pages using the #sewingrevolution hashtag!
I've had an educational sewing journey this month. Learning new skills by attending a weekend pattern drafting workshop, visiting a living museum and being inspired by the Issue 63 of Sew Magazine. Not that I'm an 'old dog' but you really never stop learning, experimenting and perfecting your sewing skills.
Pattern Drafting with Jules from Sew Me Something- Stratford.
Pattern Drafting is something that I have always wanted to learn. I love nothing more than to create my own clothes without using a pattern but I wanted to know how you take a persons individual measurements and transpose these onto paper to the create a block or sloper first. A block is a basic fitted pattern that can then be transformed into different patterns with different styles.
Within the class we all finally got to get measured properly from head to toe, literally. It was great as you really need two people (yourself and someone to measure you) to get the correct measurements at the right points. To have these measurements not only create my block but they are also really helpful for when trying to pick/ buy the right size pattern.
Then we got into the science of it. Drawing out my shoulders, bust, waist and hips on paper in a series of lines and curves was just amazing. Seeing my form as a flat drawing ready to be copied and transferred to Calico fabric to make my toile that fitted perfectly, was something that I always wanted to do. I've always wanted to really get into the mechanics and science of dress making, but don't let this put you off going to a pattern drafting course. It is not as high tech as you think once you get into the swing of it.
With my toile perfected I was ready to start altering and designing the style of my garment. I cant wait to show the final garment so watch this space.
If you are interested in doing a pattern drafting course, I would recommend Sew Me Something as Jules is an amazing teacher and also bakes wonderful cakes!
A Step Back Into The Past - Black Country Living Museum.
On a rare day off, Kirk and I decided that we wanted to spend the day together, so we went to a local attraction called the Black Country Museum. It was a very wet day but this didn't dampen the day at all. We had a trip down the mine, ate traditional fish and chips cooked in beef dripping and wrapped in brown paper. Visited the local pub for a pint and a warm by the open coal fire. This is not like a normal museum, they have people 'living' in the street and working in the shops, so it's as if you have just travelled back in time and popped round for a cup of tea. The people that lived or worked in the buildings were so lovely and very knowledgeable about the period and they were occupying. Explained the history of the house, their routine if they actually lived there, the equipment they would use and would also do demo's to show us how the blacksmiths would make chain links, cut glass. It was lovely to see that most of the houses had a sewing machine in them. This was obviously not uncommon for people to have a sewing machine have pride of place in the house or at least a sewing kit and it was great to see the people showing little children what it was and how to use it. It was when we visited a lady who was sat next a roaring fire in the living room making a rag rug when I really became inspired. I asked if she could show me how to do it and what they would of used back then. She told me that they would of been made out of old potato sacks and use old clothes to make the rugs. The perfect upcycle project, I was so pleased that they had the rag kit in the gift shop! Of course I had to buy it and make one for myself. It takes some time so not quite finished it yet but I cannot wait to share it with you when it's finished. I might even do a workshop on how to do it!
Going Bold and Bright with Log Cabin Blocks.
After getting the quilting bug last month after making a baby show gift for my friend, the 63rd issue of Sew Magazine couldn't have come at a better time. On page 71 they demonstrated how to make the 'block of the week' which was a log cabin block. This was perfect timing for the project I was already half way through. I had created a fairly big crazy patch piece but wanted to add to it but doing something different. Being a complete novice at this, the log cabin block was perfect to frame this piece and the instruction were easy to follow. Using a Jelly roll I had been given and wanted to use as the fabric designs just matched perfectly, I began to make my blocks. I was amazed at how quickly the shape came together and I quickly used up all of my jelly roll.
As it was quite a busy quilt I thought I would couple my finished log cabin blocks with single squares of fabric for the boarder.
When joining all the pieces together I was really pleased with the outcome. I appreciate it's probably not to everyone's taste as I think it has every colour possible in there, but It's my quilt and I'll sewing it how I like it! lol. That being said when I posted the finished pictures on my social media sites your feedback was so encouraging and just lovely. So BIG thanks everyone! Can't wait to for the weather to get colder so I can snuggle up with a good cup of tea and a great movie. Not that I want to wish the summer away as I'm very much a sun worshiper!
I'd love to see what you have been up to this August! Are you sewing a quilt ready for the winter? Remember I do keep an eye out for your #sewingrevolutions so please keep posting!
On the 18th of July in Walsall, I held a #sewingrevolution event at Helen's Haberdashery. With wine and nibbles and about twenty other people we chatted about the Sewing Bee, problems with projects, new ideas, current makes. I had taken my Sewing Bee makes so people could have a nose at them, we even had a pattern and fabric swap. Everything you could possibly want to talk about sewing we discussed. It was really nice when we went around the room and everyone got to introduce themselves, talk about their passion for sewing and explain how it all started for them. Hearing everyone's sewing journey's was a real treat. Very personal and all for very different reasons. Thanks for sharing Ladies and Gents!
It was a little scary for me at the start as I had to deliver a kind of talk which then turned into a Question and Answer session by accident. They did grill me a little but it was all a bit of fun really, I was very nervous though but with a cup cake in hand and a glass of wine in the other it became a wonderfully relaxed evening. I cannot wait for the next one. So keep an eye on Tailor Taylor Events!
Catching up with the Bee's!!!
I also had a trip down memory lane this month and caught up with the Bee's!! It was so lovely seeing them again in the flesh. It's not quite the same talking over the phone or catching up on twitter or facebook. Face to face and with hugs is so much better. Heading back to the Wapping came with mixed feelings. It was such an intense period for all of us when the Sewing Bee was being filmed it, I felt nervous going down on the train, but this quickly disappeared when we all talked about what we had been up to since the Bee, how busy we all are and our stories of people recognising us is in strange places. We completely overtook the corner of the pub and filled the room with excited voices and laughter. It was a shame it was only for the day, I'm used to seeing them for at least 2 days solid. So it was sad when we had to say goodbye, but we are going to organise another get together soon.
All I'm going to say about our chat is that we all have some pretty exciting things going on at the moment. So keep an eye out you never know when you are going to see us next!
Gifts for friends.
Its also been a crazy one for bespoke items this month.
My best friend from school, Emma is finally getting married to her
partner Helen at the end of August. I had promised to make her wedding
shirt for her and as August is fast approaching I was running out of time. Luckily I've managed to brake the back of it making it after work in the week as my weekends are becoming less available, so its been a little stressful.
Going for something a little different Emma wanted ruffle's and she has them!
Just have the button's to go now. I'm thinking blue, one she is a Baggies Fan (West Bromwich Albion) and two you have to have something blue on your wedding day. What do you think?
I've also made a dress for my wonderful friend Charlotte. She is the one that made my amazing cup cakes for the viewing of first episode on the Sewing Bee..Remember?
Well she wanted a dress that she saw on Pinterest and couldn't find it anywhere. So we went fabric shopping together. She picked her fabric and I have drafted the pattern and made the dress for her Birthday. She is going away on holiday in August, so again it was all hands to the deck to get it finished in time. I do love paisley so I think the choice of fabric is ace and of course it has cheeky pockets!!
Last but by no means least, we have a new arrival on the way! A fellow friend who is also an amazing vocalist, Kelly and our slide guitarist, 'Dobro' are having a baby girl. They are going to call her Martha, after The Beatles track. They do not know I have made anything yet, but I hope they like it.
I wanted to have a go at quilting as I was to be going to the Festival of Quilts in August. However, I'm not able to make it now but still feeling inspired I decided to make this lovely handmade gift from me. Big enough for a cot or a push chair, the quilt is made from off cuts of left over material. I even had a go at a little hand embroidery to give it a little detail. I would definitely recommend making one especially if you have any small left over off cuts! It's a #upcycling #sewingrevolution waiting to happen!
In my last blog I mentioned that I've been getting migraines. To rule a few things out I've had my eye's tested. Turns out that I need to wear glasses while using a computer. They don't think that is what is causing it but it isn't going to be helping.
Advise - Give your eyes regular breaks from the screen, otherwise you will look like this! The glasses are ace though and a BOGOF as well!! BARGAIN!
So what have you been up to? Don't forget I'm keeping my eyes open for your #sewingrevolution makes so please don't forget to hashtag! I'm searching for you!
Wow, it seems like a lot has happened since my last update. If you are following me on Twitter or Tailor Taylor page you may have come across my post regarding me 'being in the wars' as they say.
After a short ride in an ambulance to A&E and then five hours of blood tests and monitoring I was released with the diagnosis of an Abnormal Migraine. Numbness down the left hand side of my body was not the nicest of sensations I can tell you and I completely sympathise with anyone who suffers with Migraine's regularly. After a few days rest and lovely messages of love and well being, I'm feeling much better! So I just wanted to say thank you for all of your good vibes and wishing me a speedy recovery, as well as an apology for a delayed Blog!
Father's Day Workshop at Guthrie and Ghani Haberdashery.
So Glad I didn't have to cancel this workshop. It was so much fun! As you can see from the picture my very first MAN attendee by the name of Karl.
Not put off by the room of women, Karl plucked up the courage to come along to my morning session, a man's tie. If that's not a #sewingrevoultion right there, I don't know what is. Well done Karl.
There was tough competition between Karl and a lady called Julie as they had picked the same fabric! The game was on. It really was a fab day, lots of laughter and everyone came out with fabulous tie's. I really couldn't pick a favorite from them if you pushed me. I'd be rubbish as a Sewing Bee Judge.
With the morning session completed it was a quick clean up and on to the next one which was the man's wallet workshop. Three ladies from the morning workshop came for both, so are clearly spoiling their father's with these two gifts! Well done ladies for the long stint too as they didn't get much of a break between the sessions. We had a wonderful selection of fabric's in this workshop. Different textures and weights. Some wallets had applique applied, others with button fasteners. It was wonderful to see so many variations of the same idea with the one workshop.
Let me know if you would like a D.I.Y on this? Such a simple but effective gift idea any time of the year, which can be completely personalised for who you are making it for! You could even use their old favorite shirt or jeans. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK WITH THEM BEFORE CUTTING IT UP!!!
Sewing Bee Sunday At Guthrie & Ghani - Parkinson's UK.
When Lauren told be about this event, I knew I just had to be involved. When she then posted on her blog the full details of the day I really was excited. With three stations to choose from:
There was some amazing pattern and fabric swaps. So much so I couldn't resist when I saw the gorgeous Batik scraps. I think I'm going to make a patchwork shirt from them for Kirk.
As well as this wonderful event both Lauren and Ayaz are running the Berlin Marathon. You can still donate to this great cause through the 'Just Giving Page or text LAGG80 to 70070 to donate!
Birthday Celebrations and Upcycle ideas.
This month I was blessed to be part of two birthday celebrations. First was my best friends little boy's first birthday. His name is George and on the 8th of June I finally was able to give him is Belated birthday treat at his Christening party. He has a woodland theme in his bedroom so wanted something to not only match this but also something for him to cuddle. In true #sewingrevolution style, I used fabric that I had left over from a wrap top I made for an event. Making sure I used colourful fabric's as I read this is good for children, I made George a 'sleeptight owl'. Something to watch over him while he is snug as a bug in a rug. The owl even as a little heart inside him filled with love.
The second special birthday was my first ever nephew, Reyer. He really is the sunshine in our lives at the moment. A complete scamp! Reyer decided that he wanted a fancy dress pirate party (well mommy and daddy did they are scamp's too). So it had to be a fancy dress outfit! Made from a pillow case, off cuts from an old project, a curtain and left over fabric from my #GBSB prom dress; we have trousers and matching waistcoat, shirt, sash and of course a pirate sword. Reyer was ready to look for treasure. Obviously, not one to let the side down, Kirk and I decided to go in fancy dress to, but strangely we had enough 'pirate-ie' clothes so we didn't need to make anything. It was a fun sunny day filled with so many treasures, which wasn't necessarily all made from gold!
The One Big Show, CHA-UK and Coats.
This week I felt like I'd hit a mile stone in my Tailor Taylor sewing career. Not only did I have a flyer with a pic of me and the #sewingrevoultion information on but I was also asked to give two inspirational talks as part of the CHA-UK's One Big Show. This was just amazing.
Working along side Coats, we came together and created two projects to be presented in my inspirational talks.
I was so nervous. Singing on stage is one thing, you get to hide behind a great band. This was completely different. This was about me and my idea's. My advice on what I thought you guys would need and want as beginners and #sewingrevoultion enthusiasts. I do hope I have helped deliver what you have all been telling me though my social media sites and workshops. Thank you for all your feedback and comments.
While I was there I was given the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, like Fiona from the sewingdirectory.co.uk who is about to publish a fantastic book called 'Crafting a creative business'. Publisher's, Designer's, Trade director's, blogger's, Crafter's. Everyone you could possible think of to talk to about craft was there. It was such an amazing opportunity with some very exciting conversations which I'm dying to tell you about.
For anyone wanting to start a business or looking for the next step and advice, I would seriously suggest joining something like the CHA-UK. (Craft and Hobby Association UK). There were lots of fantastic seminars on all aspects of craft from Blogging to Publishing, Advertising to Understanding Employment Law all lead by industry leaders. To meet these individuals was a fantastic opportunity to learn but also a huge compliment to be delivering my own talk along side them.
With my talks completed, I couldn't wait to sit in on the other seminars taking notes and also to play around on the stands, decorating cupcakes, making cards, talking to experts and of course playing with the lovely items on the Coats stand! Rebecca, kindly showed me how to make a granny square. This was the worse thing she could have done. I have not stopped making them since. I think I'm going to make a granny blanket cardigan. I've always wanted one and now, thanks to Rebecca I can do it myself! You should know I like to get my finger's into as many pie's as possible by now! Considering this was work, it shouldn't be this much fun surely? So to end my blog today I wanted to thank Alastair McMinn from Coats and Craig De Souza from CHA-UK for inviting and letting me lose on your wonderful event. To Helen and Rebecca for making me feel part of a great team on site and to Lisa and Sarah for being great behind the scene's.
Remember you are on this journey with me, so thank you for following! I want to hear about your makes or anything you may need help on, so don't forget to #sewingrevoultion when posting! I'm watching out for you!
Its been two years since we (Kirk and I) have been on a holiday abroad for a sun break which was our honeymoon to Morocco in 2012.
With all the excitement and hard work of The Great British Sewing Bee all over, working full time throughout the period as well as starting up my #sewingrevolution workshops and gigging with SnootyBobs, which has been taking up pretty much each weekend, we were both in need of a break and some quality time together.
For our honeymoon, we originally wanted to go to New Orleans. Friend and family gifted dollar's as presents so we could go. However with Hurricane Isaac hitting the area hard in August 2012, our blues and food dream was not to be. With the dollar's burning a hole in our top draw and money being too tight to mention, we cashed in our dollar's and booked a last minute deal to Fuertaventura. At 26 degrees every day and an all inclusive break, it was exactly what we needed. RELAXATION.
It was a little scary going on holiday and leaving Tailor Taylor behind. Promising to keep my phone off (not that I had any reception anyway- sorry Kirk I did try to have a peak once), this holiday was for relaxing and replenishing only. Knowing that I cannot keep still for five minutes, I decided to take the book 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote and try to take up crochet. Armed with a little beginners guide and a brief five minute demo by a friend, I attempted to crochet. I was rubbish! Just couldn't get to grips with the instructions.
I could start a chain and singles but couldn't fathom the half, treble and double treble. I gave up and started to make it up.
I created what can only describe as a fisherman's net. Using three as the magic number, I made a couple of square nets.
I have no idea what they are going to be but I gave it ago.
If at first you don't succeed and all that .... as they say.
We bring the S.T.A.R's out.
Upon my return to the midlands at 02:00, it was straight back to work at 09:00 on the same day. On my previous blog, I had mentioned that I was involved in a project called S.T.A.R's. Saturday the 3rd of May was the competition date and I along with two others, Melody Harris and Mark Anthony were to judge three categories. Voice, Dance and Fashion!
It was so much fun, It was like 'Britain's Got Talent' but without the big red button.
Walsall has some serious talent! These kids were just amazing. We were completely blown away. Each person presented their track, performance and collection to a filled auditorium and in front of the three scary judges. We each provided critical feed back to each individual and also had to fill out a scoring sheet.
There were live camera's projecting the performance and our reactions on a big screen. It must have been so daunting for them. Me, I'm strangely used to it now, seeing myself from angles you don't normally see. Remembering the first episode airing on BBC2, it wasn't comfortable to watch.
First up was the voice category. We had singer/song writers, guitarist, covers. Classic and current music. There were some real stand out performances, I just wanted to get up on stage and sing with them, they were so good.
We had two dance performances, one street and one contemporary improvised. This brought back memories of High school, Northern Contemporary School of Dance of which I attended for a year before completing my BA Hons Degree in Dance and Visual Arts at Brighton Uni. How I miss throwing myself around a dance studio #feelingold.
The last category was Fashion, we had three collections to assess. Each had been given a brief to create a fashion collection by up-cycling and customizing old clothes to create a modern and edgy line. Boy did they do that, I needed to get some tips off them.
After four hours of performance and catwalks, it was our time to get down to some serious work. It was decision making time! One winner from each category. After a few difficult conversations we had decided on the winner of the fashion and dance. The tough one being Voice, we just couldn't decide on shortlisted three of the acts. We needed a TIE BREAKER!
We invited the three acts back on stage to provide them with a few words of encouragement before they gave us their final performance.
The hairs on the back of my head stood on end, they really gave it their all! With a little audience participation, we made our decision.
All the participants were awarded S.T.A.R medals and the winner's received a prestigious S.T.A.R. award and a monetary gift. It was a fantastic and very inspiring day. I believe they are already planning next years event so I do hope I can be involved again next year!
Upon my return from holiday and catching up on all the Social Media feeds. I came across #MMMAY2014 and straightaway thought what a great idea! What better way to show I'm committed to the #sewingrevolution than vow to wear my Me-Made clothes in May, my birthday month.
So here it is! My eleven days so far, posted every day on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I'm quite enjoying this one. Checking my wardrobe I'm not sure I have enough Me-Made items to get through the whole month, so this is a perfect excuse to make more!!!
Don't forget you can take part to! I'm still checking up on your#sewingrevoultion / Me-Made makes so please keep posting!
Sorry that this is quite a long post this week but needed to catch up on two weeks worth of shenanigans! Hope to see you here next week and have a fab Sewing Sunday.
The revolution will not be televised. The #sewingrevolution will be live. (Gil Scott-Heron)
Its been a very humbling and busy one for me this week. Two full day workshops and two gig's with Snooty Bobs, catch up's with family and friends and my 'normal' job all in just four days. I've met some wonderful people at workshops and gig's and also had some very inspiring conversations with potential new venues for my #sewingrevoultion workshops.
The reason this week was so humbling for me was because I recieved two very lovely emails completely out of the blue.
These very resourceful people had tracked down my email address and wrote to me personally to either ask me questions or as you will read below, just to tell me how I had inspired them to sew and show me their projects! With their parents permission they have allowed me to share thier messages with you.
The first message was from a girl called Hannah - titled Messge from a sewing-obsessed 12 year old.
Just to say (I would say just a quick email but this probably won't be quick!) you were the person who completely and utterly inspired me on the sewing bee from the start and I really felt the need to get up (during the programme) and sew something everytime I saw one of the outfits you'd made :) this email really does sound awfully over the top but I am 12 so it's allowed!! I have always been desperate to start a sewing group/club or anything like that but... None of my friends like sewing (which is a DISASTER). i find it so disappointing that all these big brands have taken over, i find it so much more exciting wearing clothes that have a story. I have really taken to sewing in our living room though just by myself and have so far created... Numerous outfits for teddy bears that I can't face giving away, a pleated skirt, a puffy pin-striped skirt and a few dolls, oh yeah and some pj trousers :) I am now hoping to get a seamstress dummy that I can fit clothes to so I can begin to make shirts and dresses!
I will try to only ask one question because this email is already too long...
Where do you get your inspiration from?? Quite a general question and I'm sure it comes up a lot but that's what is so epic about the stuff you make- you just have endless creativity that is never repetitive!!!
I hope you like reading this email (if you do!)
From hannah wright age 12
Sent from my sewing-research station aka my ipod
My response to Hannah.
Hi there Hannah, so sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you!
Firstly, thank u so much for your wonderful email!!
You really made my day when i was reading about your passion for sewing!
Glad to hear that I have inspired you to start! I'm currently trying to start a #sewingrevolution where I'm inviting people to start sharing their makes on Facebook and twitter by posting pictutes.If u or your parents are on twitter / Facebook please feel free to follow me !! (JennibobTaylor on twitter and Tailor Taylor on Facebook) and post a picture!!
You might be glad to hear that I'm also running workshops in and around the midlands. Maybe you could come to one as I know it is difficult to find like minded people (who sew) u can find details of my workshops on FB and twitter or my website.
Finally - what inspires me? Well this is a tough one. At first I think I was inspired by retro clothing, the 70's and 60's periods. You can't get clothes like that anymore and also lots of people used to make their own anyway. But more recently I think I like sewing because its just another way of expressing yourself like painting or dance. You think about what u want to make and you create it from scratch. And each item even though it could be the same pattern will and can be different if u add different things. You get to pick the fabric you want and the style you want! What do you think? You might know that I also sing in a band from Watching the programme so I you know that I love to be creative. I also enjoy painting and cooking! So I'm very greedy as I like to do so many things! Lol
I hope this answered your question?
It would be lovely to see something You have made so please send me a pic of a finished item!!
Looking forwards to it!
Lots of love
Jenni from the sewing bee.
Here are the pictures Hannah forwarded to me! How amazing!!
The second email I recieved was from Meg, titled Hello.
I looked at your blog and I really enjoyed watching you at the Sewing Bee. You are my favourite sewer on the Sewing Bee. I enjoyed watching you make the dungarees.
Happy Easter. I love you.
Love Meg (age 6)
Thank u so much for ur lovely email!! Glad u enjoyed watching me and the sewing bee programme!!
Hope I have inspired u to maybe want to start sewing!!! That would be soo cool!
Also could I use ur message for my blog this week. U have really made my week and i'd like to share it with everyone.
From the sewing bee
Yes my mum says you can. I’m really excited about it.
I fancy sewing a dress and I’ve borrowed Nanny’s sewing machine to make it. Nanny’s sewing machine looks like the old ones that were on the Sewing Bee but it has a handle that you turn round. It doesn’t do the stitches like Mummy’s that you did on the Sewing Bee but it will be good for me to learn.
I’ll send you a picture of the dress when it’s done.
I hope the Easter Bunny comes to your house. I was crying when you went out because I wanted you to stay in.
Love Meg xxx
Jenni, thanks for replying to Meg, she LOVED the Sewing Bee, was totally inspired. All her own idea to “Google Jenni to find her number” to send you a message! Clare x
After recieving these wonderful messages of love and inspiration, I have been totally overwhelmed and rejuvenated to continue my cause in promoting the #sewingrevolution, not only to help get adults back into the swing of things but to also consider encouraging children to also start their sewing adventure too. So much so I have become involved in a project called S.T.A.R (Striving To Achieve Results). This is a youth project that hopes to deliver a range of creative workshops for a diverse range of young people to support both academic and personal development. The end result will be a competition event to showcase thier talents and work. There will be a panel of judges from the fashion, dance and music industry for the final event on the 3rd May! Guess who is running workshops and is going to be a judge? ME!!! I'm so excited and will be blogging about this soon. I've also teamed up with http://www.sewmesomething.co.uk/studio?task=view_category&category_id=11 and
http://www.thecraftpatch.co.uk/index.html to offer workshops specifically for children. Hopefully, through this project and my workshops, I will continue to inspire others to sew.
I'm sorry to say that there will be no blog next week as I'm taking a short but well deserved trip abroad for some sea, sand and sun! I've decided that I'm going to try and teach myself to crochet while on holiday,
so I'll update you on that when I get back! Wish me luck!
So for now I need you to keep the #sewingrevolution fires burning by continuing to keep me posted on your makes. Look forward to seeing them when I get back!
Heather gallops ahead.
As we all settled down to watch the final of The Great British Sewing Bee, a little melancholy came over me. Tuesday nights have become quite a ritual in our and so many other households. Chinelo, Heather and Tamara looked so nervous on this episode. More than I had ever seen them before I thought. I think the reality of the final began to ring loud and clear in their heads. Everything they/we had worked so hard for over the last seven weeks comes down to this episode. No pressure then! :)
Couture was the theme, so hand sewing and perfection was key. I was quite surprised by Heather's tie, I thought that she would of smashed this task because of the level of skill required. She may not be so out there as the other two but she had shown in the previous tasks that, like the box pleat skirt, I'm sure Heather was awarded for her lapped zip. Tamara however, you could see that she was fighting for this and snapped up first! I really wanted to be there to give Chinelo a huge hug! I didn't like seeing her upset like that, but she came back in true Chinelo style ready for the alteration challenge. This looked a lot of fun but a hell of a lot of work in such a small space of time. Chinelo really did herself proud on this challenge I thought. The dress was just beautiful.
Now for the final third task, I thought this was just ridiculous! Couture in seven hours, a little unfair I thought. The results however were stunning. For me, Chinelo's dress was the best but this is based on style. I thought her bodice design was so beautiful. I was proud of Tamara sticking to her guns on the final task. She was going for something out there. This is something that she has done from day one and I'm glad that she didn't change her game plan, she stayed true to herself which I think is important and is something that I personally love her for! Heather, WOW!
I think Heather had been saving all her creative juices for this task! Sunray pleats in the bodice. Lashings of fabric to boot, along with a top hat, chains and a whip! I say!!! Go for it Heather!
It was very strange coming back to the sewing room for the final take. Even though I had not made it to the final I still felt very connected to the other contestants and the show. This felt like good bye. It must have been very hard for the Judges to pick the winner of the show. What do they go on? Progression throughout the show, this weeks tasks or the final task? Chinelo had achieved top two over seven times and garment of the week once. Tamara with garment of the week twice and top two over four times. Heather with top two over five times however had not been awarded garment of the week; was this her garment of the week and what won the prise. I still can't figure out the Judge's angle for scoring. That being said it makes for one amazing programme! A huge congratulation to Heather, your dress was stunning, so much work for such a small amount of time; and it made the Book! BOOM! I want to wish all the contestants, all the best for the future! I'm glad to say that the last episode wasn't goodbye and that we all keep in touch. I love hearing about their adventures after the bee!
Some of you have asked about the dress that I wore for the final. Yes, it is a Tailor Taylor dress (I made it). Thank you all for you kind comments!
I used a vintage pattern by Style patterns ltd- 4278 from 1973. It was given to me along with a box full of old pattern treasures by a lovely lady who no longer had a use for them. Thank you Ma McToot! The fabric is from my local market stall in Walsall and is just a simple light cotton. Nothing fancy but I think it looks cool!
I've had quite a few lovely donations of late from complete strangers and friends. Hordes of fabric, sewing machines and haberdashery as well as just offering help! So I wanted to thank Clare Lundy, Sue and Nigel Tame, David Nutt and Jo Smith for putting me in touch with potential workshop spaces. The world really does have some big hearts in it! Thank you so much for contributing to my #sewingrevolution!
Speaking of workshops, it has been a very crazy week. I've secured another three workshop venues and completed one at the lovely Guthrie and Ghani Haberdashery in Moseley last Saturday. It is just a wonderful space. We still have limited spaces left for the upcycle IPad cover on the 18th of May. (my birthday week so there might be cake as well)
We had a cracking day! it was a little scary for me as this time we decided that we would run an upcycle sewing clinic. This way I didn't know until the day what we would be making! Quite a challenge for me but an exciting one and you know I love a good challenge!
Lynda wanted to make a bag out of a charity shop shirt and leather belt.
Penny had only made bunting before but wanted to go for a make-up wrap bag using fat quarters that she had left over from her stash.
Rachel wanted to completely alter a sari into a halter neck top.
Julie had two men's shirts that she wanted to make into a comfortable dress.
Lorna armed with a pair of black jeans and a skirt, wanted to make a cover for her laptop.
Not wanting to feel left out, I had decided to wear my own upcycled man's shirt that I had resized and added a ruffle to. Very 'Prince and the Revolution' and appropriate I thought ! (#sewingrevolution)
The ladies were a great group. All varied ideas, skill levels but all had cracking sense of humour. Had to remind them all as well as myself that we had to get on with the sewing if we wanted finished items.
Once I had given everyone a plan, they were off! It was wonderful to see all the items coming together throughout the day. It was also nice to observe the ladies taking an interest in the other projects and encouraging each other. They had mentioned that they really liked being able to see how other things were being made, even though they were making something else. That way, they were able to take the ideas away and try it at home later.
I must admit I was really pleased with myself while I was cleaning up the workspace. I had achieved everything that I had set out to. The ladies had enjoyed themselves. All had finished items and enthusiasm to create more. Learned how to design and create their own items from recycled material and think outside the box! Job done, it was a rewarding pint for me and a curry!
I have updated my events page with all the new venue's I will be running workshops over the next few months.
Please feel free to get in touch if you know of any other venue's that might be interested in joining the #sewingrevolution and having me come to visit! I would love to come and see you all!
Keep your pictures coming through on twitter and facebook. I'd love to see your projects, remember to use the hashtag!
Whatever I'm doing