Tag Archives: sewing classes sussex

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

A New Series for Sewing World Magazine – Finishing Touches

The March issue of Sewing World magazine is out now and has the first article of my new series on pages 68-71.  The series is called Finishing Touches and will explain how to add beautiful and professional details to a garment.

The first in the series shows you step-by-step how to make a perfect bound buttonhole.  They’re not as scary as you may think and look a squillion times better than a machine made buttonhole, especially on coats and jackets.

Go on, try one.  You might just surprise yourself and start putting them in everything you make…..!

ft-boundbuttonholes-web

How to use your Sewing Machine for Dressmaking

Last Sunday five students arrived at MIY Workshop armed with new sewing machines that they were determined to get to grips with!

After a few hours practicing some basic techniques and generally getting more familiar with their machines, here’s what they thought of the day:

“A brilliant course if you’ve got a new machine and you need to learn the basics.  Takes the fear out of sewing!” Jayne

“I thoroughly enjoyed the class.  Perfect for beginners who need to get to know and make friends with their machine :o)  Now I can practice these new skills to help me get ready for other classes!  Can’t wait to come again.  Thank you Wendy.”  Jess

“Demystifying – I can go home and actually use my machine now!”  Karen

“Really useful workshop – I’m no longer scared of sewing machines!  Definitely gave me the basics and inspiration to start some projects.  Thanks!”  Harriet

“Wendy was great!  She explained sewing in a simple, easy-to-understand way.  It doesn’t seem so scary now!  I’m ready to experiment with sewing.”  Serena

If you’ve been thinking about buying a sewing machine, have a read of my guide to which one to buy: http://wendyward.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/which-sewing-machine-should-i-buy/

And if you need a few basic sewing tips to get you started, there are lots over on the MIY Collection website, including:

I will be running this workshop again later in the year.  If you’d like to get a chance to pre-book before the workshop is advertised, you can join my priority mailing list by contacting me (Wendy) at post[at]wendyward.co.uk

Happy sewing!

Last Customising Project for Sewing World Magazine

The last in my customising series for Sewing World is in the February issue which is out now.  Everyone has an old pair of jeans sitting in the back of the wardrobe.  Dig them out and turn this….

jeans-before

Into this…….

jeans-after

There are so many different ways you can do this, I’ll bet everyone that has a go ends up with a totally different style of skirt…..long, short, contrast fabrics, flared skirt, pencil skirt, finished with bias binding, frayed hem……  It’s on pages 69 to 71.  Go on, what are you waiting for!!

customising-jeantoskirt-web

In March I have a new series starting in Sewing World called Finishing Touches.  The first in the series will be all about how to make beautiful bound buttonholes.

MIY Workshop wins “Dressed for Success 2013”!!!

On Tuesday evening myself, Lauren and Emma (the creative wonders who helped me to bring the MIY Workshop Christmas window out of my head and into reality) went to the Brighton & Hove City Council awards evening for the “Dressed for Success” competition.  This was a competition to find the best Christmas window display from Brighton and Hove’s many wonderful independent shops.  You can see more about how our window was created in my previous blog post: https://miyworkshop.co.uk/2013/12/06/miy-workshop-is-dressed-for-success-this-christmas/

There were some brilliant entries which prove just what a creative and inspirational place Brighton and Hove is both to have a business and to come shopping.  You can see a fantastic collage of images of all the shop windows on the council’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152056743910071.1073741831.54869840070&type=1

After getting a few “honourable mentions” where MIY Workshop was pipped to the post in a few categories, the tension was ramped up a bit for the final overall prize to be announced.  Three windows were shortlisted and my heart started racing when MIY Workshop popped up on the screen as one of them, then it was announced that we were the winners!!!  Wow, chuffed to bits.

dressedforsuccess6Here we are basking in our glory!

And here’s the trophy in pride of place in the MIY Workshop window…..

dressedforsuccess3 dressedforsuccess4

I’ve never won an actual trophy before!  I have to admit – it’s a rather nice feeling!

And here’s the gorgeous window display that did it for us, in case you’ve already forgotten what it looked like!

dressedforsuccess1

For frugal January, I’ve gone minimal and been invaded……

janwindow1

janwindow3 janwindow2

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

New Neon Orange Sewing Tools!! Win a Set……

sewing and pattern cutting tools miy collection miy workshop

Fancy winning a set of my new zingy orange sewing and pattern cutting tools?!

Enter my free competition over at MIY Collection here.

Customising Project Number 3 for Sewing World Magazine

If funds are a bit tight after Christmas but you still have the urge for something new in your wardrobe, how about customising a plain old grey sweatshirt?  We’ve all got one lurking at the back of the wardrobe and you could turn this……

sweatshirt customising sewing world

……into this……….

sweatshirt customising sewing world

…….or this……..

sweatshirt customising sewing world

Pages 60-62 in the January issue which is available now at the bargain price of £4.95.

sweatshirt customising project sewing world magazine

Next month, another thrifty project; I’ll be showing you how to turn jeans into a skirt.

Exciting Book News!!!!

books

I have some exciting book news that I’ve been bursting to share for weeks and now I finally can……..I’m going to be writing a dressmaking book with patterns for David and Charles!!

This is something I have been working towards and wanting to do for a long time,  so to say that I’m happy is a bit of an understatement.  I can’t reveal too many more details now, but I’m sure I’ll be able to share titbits of the process with you as it develops.  It’s an horrendous timetable, but it will be worth it and will definitely be keeping me out of mischief for the next few months!

None of it would be possible without the support of my students, customers, readers and followers so a massive thank you to you all.

The work starts now!  Exciting.