Category Archives: Student work

The First “Make Your Own Leggings” Workshop

And what a success it was!  Look at the fantastic end results:

leggings-april14

All finished bar a couple of hems, Emma (2nd from right) not only finished the pair she’s wearing in the picture but also started a second pair which she finished yesterday evening and three of the leggings above were worn home!

I think this new workshop can be officially considered a success and a popular addition to my list of Sunday workshops.

If you feel inspired to make your own leggings, I still have availability at the next date for this workshop which is Sunday 8th June.  Get in touch to book your place!

Here’s what the five students thought of the workshop:

“What a lovely way to spend a rainy Sunday!  The ever-patient Wendy and the four other ladies made for a relaxed and productive atmosphere and I even got to wear my new leggings home!  Another splendid workshop and I cannot wait for my next one.”  Jo

“Leggings are way easier than I thought and Wendy’s pattern is so much nicer than the ones in the shops!  (No outside seams down the legs!)  All my relatives (male & female) are going to get leggings for Christmas!”  Emma

“Loved the day spent with other sewing lovers.  Learnt lots and went home a very happy lady with a brilliant new pair of unique leggings.”  Maria

“Great workshop on making leggings.  Good fun, good day and fab results.  Can’t wait for the work shirt and trouser making day ahead (!)”  Debbie

“Wendy’s legging day was fantastic fun, a lot to learn in an enjoyable environment.  A great confidence boost for sewers of different abilities.  Will be looking forward to continuing classes.  Thank you!”  Rachel

This workshop came about thanks to a request from one of yesterday’s students a few months ago.  A few more ideas were added to the list yesterday!  Do you have any ideas for workshops that you’re desperate to do and that you think others would enjoy?  I’m always open to suggestions!

Some Recent Student Work

I’ve been storing up a bit of a backlog of fabulous student work recently.  The photos are no good just sitting on my computer, you need to admire and be inspired!

Here they are:

Jeanstoskirts-april-web

Remember the customising project on turning old jeans into a skirt that I did for Sewing World magazine (have a look here if you missed it)?  I have a few students working on theirs at classes and here are the first two to finish.  Assuntina and Karen looking fab and very pleased with themselves!  I don’t think any two skirts make like this would turn out the same, but they do all result in a very wearable new garment from something that would have gone to the charity shop or the bin!

aprilstudentwork-collage-web

And what a fine collection here!  Starting from the top from left to right we have: Joy in her gorgeous pink wool skirt, Salva in her beautiful Prada-esque dress that she persevered with and was rewarded with a new dress that got all her work colleagues asking where it was from, Orsi in her black jersey version of my drapey cardi, Tasha in her first skirt, Mary in her lined a-line skirt and vest, Hollie in her spotty version of the same dress, Salva again in her version of my drapey cardi and last but not least, Karen in I think possibly her third version of my drapey cardi!

If you’re feeling inspired you can make your own version of Mary’s vest and Hollie’s dress with my Straight Neck Vest & Dress MIY Collection sewing pattern or your version of Salva, Orisi and Karen’s MIY Collection Drapey Cardi.  Patterns are available to buy online from my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/miycollection

To spruce up your sewing skills, gain some new ones and meet like-minded sewers, full details of my classes are here.

Sewing with Stretch Knits Workshop

This workshop is becoming increasingly popular and I’m not surprised because each time I run it students walk away with fabulous new garments.  Yesterday’s workshop was no exception and two of my students even went home in their creations!

It always amazes me how people with the same pattern can make such different garments.  Here’s a perfect illustration – all three garments below were made from the same pattern – my Straight Neck Vest and Dress:

how to sew jersey fabricHere are from left to right; Louise in her straight neck vest in a lovely lightweight loopback sweatshirt fabric from The Cloth House in London, Debbie in her fabulous straight neck dress (which has a plain black back to it!) in lightweight jersey from Fabricland and Katie in another lovely straight neck vest in a teal ponte roma from Fabricland (loving that colour!). 

how to sew knitted fabricAnd here’s the same pattern and Louise again in a lovely sporty straight neck dress for summer using a gorgeous flecked teal sweatshirt fabric, again from The Cloth House.

how to sew stretch knitsLast but not least is Kate in a lovely cowl neck dress in the perfect drapey printed jersey from John Lewis.  This pattern will be the next one available as a multi-sized MIY Collection pattern, just as soon as I’ve finished my sewing book!  Impressively, once Kate had finished this dress, she then cut out and almost finished a shrug

The only person we didn’t get in front of the camera was Tess.  She was soooo close to finishing a drapey cardi, but the sewing gods were against her – we had to really juggle the pattern and fabric to get it out of not quite enough fabric and then her bobbin ran out right at the end.  You know how it always does, just when you think you’ve nearly done…?!

Here’s what the five students thought of the workshop in their own words:

“Brilliant!  Loved it!  Wendy is super knowledgeable and super helpful.  I came away with a lovely top that I’ll certainly be wearing a lot, as well as a lot more confidence.  Already looking forward to my next workshop.”  Katie

“What a great day.  made a dress and wore it home.  FABULOUS!  Lovely people, patient teacher, lots of laughs.  A lovely way to spend a Sunday.”  Debs

“Great fun day – so pleased with my results and have two great garments to wear.  Wendy was a great teacher and very patient.”  Louise

“What a great way to spend a day.  And to think, I walk away with something new to wear.  Fantastic.”  Tess

“A really great day!  Wendy was brilliant at helping me get to grips with sewing with jersey.  I’m totally converted.  Thank you!”  Kate

Wow, thanks folks!  Sounds like a job well done.

If you’re feeling tempted to have a go yourself, I will be announcing more dates for this workshop soon.  To be able to book your place before workshops are advertised (and they often book up before I get chance to advertise them on my website), join my mailing list here.

Look forward to seeing you…..!

Spring Skirt Making

Yesterday was the first Skirt Making workshop of 2014.  Five keen students arrived feeling a bit apprehensive with bundles of fabric, not sure if they were going to be able to finish making a wearable skirt by the end of the day.

Look at them six hours later!

skirtmaking-feb14From left to right; Rose in a summery striped number from my fabric stash, Joy in a beautifully lined skirt using up some of her fabric stash, Penny in a really cute apple print from Ditto, Jo in the first of her collection of “storybook” skirts – a Quentin Blake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory print which everyone loved (and she went home in!) and last but not least, Debbie in a rather fab metallic denim skirt which she was planning to wear today….!

I always enjoy my Sunday workshops; they’re fast paced and students always achieve such a lot in the day, but sometimes I get a group of students who seem to instantly gel together which this group definitely did and we all shared a really enjoyable sunny Sunday.  For three of these students this is the first garment they’ve made and I think they definitely all made wearable skirts which they really weren’t sure was possible at 10.30 that morning!

Here’s what they all thought of the day:

“An excellent day with lots of support, encouragement and giggles!  I have a beautiful skirt and lots of new skills.  Thoroughly recommend and I cannot wait for my next course!  Thank you Wendy.”  Jo

“A lovely day with lovely people.  Wendy created a really relaxed atmosphere – but I managed to sew my first skirt with ease.”  Penny

“A day making a skirt which was easy and enjoyable.  I also met some lovely friendly people.  Wendy is a fantastic tutor – very patient!”  Joy

“Fabulous day – made a lovely skirt, learnt more techniques and had great fun!”  Debbie

“A wonderful day!  Wendy is an excellent teacher – can’t wait to learn more!”  Rose

If you want to have a go at making a skirt in a day, I will be running this workshop again.  To get priority booking on all my classes before they’re advertised, sign up for my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/EVEYn

First Sunday Workshop of 2014

My Sunday workshops for 2014 got off to a flying start last Sunday with a Dress Pattern Cutting workshop for the London Dressmaking Club.  This is a group of very enthusiastic sewers who regularly meet up to sew, help each other out with  sewing problems, visit exhibitions, go fabric shopping and organise sew-alongs.  I was really impressed with their commitment to the craft (they travelled to this workshop by coach from London due to engineering works on the train line!) and their infectious enthusiasm for anything sewing related.

Here they are, heads down working hard….!

ldc-jan14

Sewing clubs like this are such good news.  Traditionally sewing work has often been done in groups and as I often find in my classes, the act of keeping your hands busy means that people have a tendency to chat much more and in much greater depth!  As this group said themselves they get to meet like-minded people with similar interests who they probably never would have met in their everyday lives.  The supportive and encouraging atmosphere they seem to have created in their group adds that extra level of motivation when trying to make time for sewing after all the other chores of the day (such as work!) are out of the way.  Sewing on your own at home without any feedback from anyone but family can be difficult; how do you really know if you’re doing things the best way or if that dress you’ve just finished really does fit well and look great on you?!  I don’t think it’s going too far to say that this group seem to be like a big extended happy sewing family!

Anyway, enough from me, here’s what they thought of the day:

“Thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed the Dress Pattern Cutting day.  I came away with a usable full length dress block that I can use straight or easily adapt.  Wonderful value for money and very supportive, encouraging tuition.  Thank you Wendy, I am already looking forward to my next course here.”  Giselle

“Brilliant class thank you very much!  We covered a huge amount in just a day and it’s great to go home confident that I can make properly fitted dresses and develop my own ideas.  Hopefully see you again!”  Imogen

“I thoroughly enjoyed myself during this class and I learned a lot.  My finished toile is the best fitting fitted dress I have ever had.  I loved it so much I have signed up for the trouser pattern cutting workshop!”  Dibs

Dibs also writes a great blog about her sewing adventures which I’m sure you will enjoy reading here.

If you would like to organise a workshop for your sewing club, I have a limited number of days available each 6 months (I can take bookings now for July to December 2014), get in touch on 01273 693451 or miyworkshop[at]gmail.com

Last Two Sunday Workshops of 2013

Last Sunday was another “Sewing with Knits” workshop.  I had 4 eager students all new to and a bit fearful of sewing stretch knit fabrics.

But, after 6 hours of hard work look at what they left with!

knitworkshop-dec13

From left to right: Teruka in her very wearable MIY Collection vest dress in grey rib from Ditto, Dawn in a very cute MIY Collection asymmetric red jersey skirt and Melanie in another asymmetric skirt made in 2 different fabrics from Ditto – one half of her skirt is a lovely heavy ponte roma, the other side a jersey covered with tiny black sequins.  A perfect party season skirt!  Jingya also got a good way along with making a lovely draped neck dress from a Vogue pattern.  (You see, those other patterns just aren’t as quick to finish as mine….!!)

Here’s what the group thought of the day:

“I had a lovely afternoon at MIY Workshop, Wendy was always on hand to help with my garment.  I’m looking forward to wearing my new skirt!” Dawn

“I have never made anything with jersey fabric before and really enjoyed this workshop.  Wendy was friendly and very helpful and I would like to do more workshops.” Teruka

“The day was very interesting, I really enjoyed sewing the skirt.  Wendy is very friendly and patient and I will be back for sure.” Melanie

If you want to learn how to sew knitted fabrics my next workshop is on Sunday 30th March 2014.  Full details can be found here.

Then yesterday was “Pattern Cutting for Trousers”.  Another 4 eager students spent a rainy Sunday creating their own trouser block, making a pattern from it and putting together a toile.

Pattern Cutting classes always generate interesting discussions about body shapes and buying clothes.  Dresses and trousers always come out top in the “I can never buy ones that fit properly” category!  We women vary such a lot in body size, shape and proportion that it’s a wonder any of us can buy readymade clothes and wear them.  At least if you have some sewing skills, lots of readymade garments can be tweaked to give a better fit, but that’s often impossible with trousers; you can alter the length, the leg shape and the fit on the waist, but not much else.  The place that’s key with trouser fitting is body length and if your readymade trousers aren’t right in this area there’s not much you can do about it, that’s got to be right from the start.  So obviously the best thing to do is draft your own trouser block!  If you can’t do that, then buy a trouser pattern, but I wouldn’t ever recommend making a pair of trousers straight from the pattern in your actual fabric – always make a toile (sample garment) first to try out the fit and make any adjustments.  If you’re going to take the time and effort to make yourself some trousers you might as well make sure they’re going to be right!

Here’s what some of yesterday’s students thought of their day of trouser pattern cutting:

“A great session, Wendy is very patient and informative and makes everything so easy to follow.  I look forward to seeing my finished trousers.” Suzanne

“I really enjoyed my first class at MIY Workshop and am inspired to go home and get sewing!” Beverley

“A very productive workshop which has given me an in-depth insight into pattern cutting for trousers.  Wendy explained everything very well and in a way that I could understand and take away with me for future use.  Can’t wait to finish my trousers!” Alison

If you fancy having a go at drafting your own trouser block, the next Trouser Pattern Cutting workshop is on Sunday 25th May 2014.  You can find full details here.

Making your own Christmas Presents? How about a Christmas Shrug!

My MIY Collection shrug pattern is proving popular with Christmas present makers this year. Lots of MIY Workshop students have been making them, one student has made five!!  They’re a really quick, easy sew and simple to fit.  You can buy your pattern here.

But, can you beat the current speed shrug sewing record set by one of my students this week?!……

shrug sewing pattern

Last Weekend’s Cushion Making Workshop

It’s taken me a while, but here are the fantastic results from last Sunday’s Cushion Making Workshop……

cushion making workshopHere’s Larissa with her first cushion of the day – an envelope back cushion in a very cute dinosaur print fabric  made as a present.  Her second was one for herself with a zipped seam.  Larissa hadn’t sewn for a number of years before the workshop and wanted something to get her back into sewing again.  Judging by the lovely results she achieved I think she’s found it!

cushion making workshopHere’s Joy looking very pleased with her new cushion cover.  Joy has been sewing for a long time and given a chance will hand sew everything, I think she quite enjoys my nagging to use the sewing machine though (!) and was very happy with the neat zip on this cushion cover and the speed in which she finished it.  She took home another cushion cover cut out and ready to put together.

cushion making workshopElizabeth was on a bit of a mission to make 2 complete sets of cushion covers at the workshop using this striped linen in lovely muted colours from Ditto.  After a bit of head scratching between us to try and get as many cushion covers as we possibly could from each fabric, she got 4 cut out and sewed up 2 of them.  Very impressive!

cushion making workshopThe front of Sam’s cushion was originally a tea towel.  We all agreed – far too nice to dry the pots with!  She has a set of them so wanted to know how to turn them into cushion covers.  She finished this one in the workshop and will no doubt soon have the full set.  She also made a start on a zipped box cushion for a chair seat.  Not bad for a day’s work.

Last, but not least, Laura embarked on the most ambitious cushion cover of the day which included; a zip, a patchworker front to include a piece of machine embroidery she had previously done and some piping around the edge using a continuous bias strip cut from one of her fabrics.  She got the bulk of it finished at the workshop with just the piping to attach in the seam around the edge.  She’s on a promise to send me pics of it when it’s finished!

Here’s what my 5 students thought of the day in their own words:

“Delighted with my cushion design and looking forward to finishing off at home. Great to learn some new skills like piping and making bias binding – two things have always wanted to do! Thank you.”  Laura

“Really satisfying and gratifying day.  Thank you.  I’m so pleased with my cushions which I wouldn’t have achieved without the patient teaching!”  Elizabeth

“An enjoyable and informative day – just what I needed to get back into the swing of sewing…..feeling inspired.”  Larissa

“What a satisfying day!  I’m delighted with my cushion cover and feel inspired to get on and make some more.  Wendy’s advice and assistance was invaluable as ever – dredging back my old sewing experience to make some wonderful cushions.”  Sam

“I really enjoyed today, very successful and had lovely company.  Hope to come again!”  Joy

Sewing with Knits….again!

Sunday’s Sewing with Knits workshop started with an interesting discussion during which everyone agreed that knit fabrics made the kind of clothes that they actually want to wear.  It’s true, when you think about the kind of clothes that you wear most often (and usually feel most comfortable in), I’ll bet that most of them are made from knitted fabrics.  Yet most sewers that I meet, even experienced ones, feel daunted by the prospect of sewing knitted fabrics.

Well I’m happy to say that this workshop is the cure to that fear and here are Sunday’s fantastic and wearable results……

octknitsFrom left to right Debbie, a long-time sewer but a self-confessed knit-phobe was very happy with her drapey cardi.  Elena who hadn’t sewn since school came in with a dress made of very slippery fine jersey knit fabric and went home with it transformed into a separate skirt and top!  Amandine has been loving sewing Colette patterns using lots of woven fabrics, but now is a convert to knit fabrics after making my straight neck dress and matching up her stripes perfectly.  Laura has also done a fair bit of sewing, but has avoided knits and couldn’t find a way of edging knitted fabrics nicely, she was surprised by how quick and easy my fold-over waist skirt was to make and took it home very neatly and professionally hemmed using a twin needle.

octknits-cowlAnd last, but not least, Tricia was camera shy so Elena stepped in to model her lovely cowl neck top.  This one got lots of admiring comments from the rest of the class!  Tricia was another experienced sewer and knit-phobe at the start of the day and now feels confident in being able to tackle slippery lightweight jersey knit fabrics.   This pattern isn’t yet available to buy but is one of the next ones on the list….!!

Here’s what the students themselves thought of the workshop:

“Enjoyable day as always – Wendy’s patterns are so easy to use and well designed.  Am delighted with my skirt, thank you!”  Laura

“I really enjoyed the workshop – lovely atmosphere, lovely people, a day very well spent.  Thank you Wendy!  I had a great time and I am happily back to sewing after some 20 odd years!”  Elena

“Really enjoyed the day.  Very informative and now feel more confident to work with jersey.”  Tricia

“Thanks for a great day.  Tacking tacking tacking – essential for a perfect finish!!”  Debbie

“Thank you very much Wendy for a lovely Sunday!  I feel much more confident sewing with knit fabrics with your advice regarding stitches and needles to use.  Jersey fabric is so great to sew with and I loved using your dress pattern.”  Amandine

By the end of the day everyone’s fear of knitted fabrics had been overcome and I feel sure that these 5 garments are going to get plenty of wear!

If you’d like to overcome your fear of sewing knitted fabrics the next date for this workshop is Sunday 8th December.  Get in touch on 01273 693451 or miyworkshop[at]gmail.com to find out more and book a place.

If you want to have a go at using one of my patterns to sew knit fabrics at home, you can find out more here: www.miycollection.co.uk

What a Brilliant Skirt Making Workshop!

Yesterday was a super productive and successful day at MIY Workshop.  I had five students for my Skirt Making workshop, who each turned up a little bit unsure, clutching bundles of lovely fabric that they were afraid of making a mess of.

Six hours of focussed hard work later, look what they produced!

skirtworkshop-sept29

Five perfectly fitting, finished skirts ready to wear home and to work the next day.  From left to right, Romy in a very autumnal skirt in a beautiful soft wool from Ditto, Alison’s skirt uses a lovely floral print on a lovely quality cotton/linen fabric from Ray Stitch, Kerry made a lovely Parisian print skirt, Claire went for polka dots which will look great for work and Taruka used a soft lightweight denim.  Three of these students have only just started sewing and these are the first garments they have made.  I think they will be the first of many…!

All five students seemed surprised by what they could achieve in a day and the standard of their finished skirts.  I don’t know why, what else did they expect?!

Here’s what they all thought of the day in their own words:

“I was really impressed with the skirt making course – Wendy is a great teacher and although I was nervous as a beginner when I arrived, by the end of the day I felt very proud with what I had achieved and had a lovely skirt to take home with me.  I would definitely recommend this course!”  Kerry

“A really fabulous day which re-ignited my love of dressmaking.  I love my skirt, thanks very much!”  Alison

“A really great day, I feel so much more confident to sew at home now and have overcome my fear of zips!”  Romy

“I have never sewn for myself and have learnt a lot of things.  I really enjoyed learning and would like to come back again, thank you!”  Teruka

“Thank you Wendy!  I’ve learnt some new skills and made a lovely new skirt – all in a day!  what a great way to spend a Sunday.  Looking forward to having a go at more on my own.”  Claire

More dates for this workshop will be coming in early 2014.  If you’d like to be able to advance book I can add you to my mailing list.  Just contact me (Wendy) on 01273 693451 or email miyworkshop[at]gmail.com

This skirt pattern will also soon be available to buy from MIY Collection.