Last weekend I attended a ‘practice run’ for Sarah Bird’s ‘Sew Inspired’ summer school at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in January. Sarah is the organiser of the Devonport Craft Markets, the designer behind Cotton Kiwi and a lovely, lovely new crafty friend I’ve made this year.
It was like being in Project Runway (one of my favourite shows!) – but without the competition edge. It was just pure fun! Four of us lined up in an arts studio, with our machines, piles of gorgeous vintage fabrics, books on sewing and appliqué, patterns and accessories to drool over.
We were there to learn, and wow did we soak it up. Sarah was able to teach us several new techniques in just a few hours, and tell us which sewing book writers are the best to buy, because they explain projects in ‘sewer’s terms’ – ie in ways that are actionable and easy to understand.
She was also able to give us hint after hint of how to make your sewing special, unique and sentimental to you and your family. Hence the title, ‘Sew Inspired’.
I don’t want to give away all her hints and teaching points, because if you want to know more, you’ll need to enrol in her course in January!
But my favourite two take-outs were (out of scores of notes I took):
- Learn what your machine can do - read the manual! Then, work with its styles - don't try to do the impossible, or you will set yourself up for frustration and lose your enthusiasm.
- When you are building up an appliqué design, think in 3D, textural terms, layer pieces up and use different sewing stitches, not just zig zags – it will make your design look more luxe and designer.
In the space of a day, I created a fully-lined handbag using Sarah’s fabrics, and two appliquéd teatowels....I am particularly proud of my bag and my fantail teatowel.