I’ve not been here much in the last few weeks as I just didn’t feel right posting sewing and craft content with all the amazing Black Lives Matter information being shared across social media. It is so much more important to spend time reading, learning and listening to the voices of Black people, so in my tiny corner of the internet I decided to step back. The amount that I have learnt about racism, specifically in the UK as a whole, but also in circles in my personal life has been eye opening. Something that should have been in the forefront of my mind and many others, way before it has – but at least it has changed now.
I will be continuing to research and learn but will also be posting some sewing and craft related content. I may well collect together a few resources and amazing people that I have recently discovered here in a blog soon but for now I want to talk to you about The Sewing Weekender that happened last weekend.
I have never been lucky enough to visit The Sewing Weekender when it is hosted in Cambridge but have always been a jealous onlooker !! However obviously, because of lockdown, they haven’t been able to hold one this year … so Kate, Rachel (The Fold Line)and Charlotte (English Girl At Home) took it online !
I kept going back and forth as to whether or not I should buy a ticket. But I decided that I deserved a treat of a whole weekend of solid sewing and when I saw that all the profits were going to 4 incredibly charities I couldn’t resist.
As the weekend approached I made sure I would have the whole 2 days free … I also made sure I was fully ready to be super productive! On the Friday before I printed the Ilford Jacket pattern from Friday Pattern Company, stuck it together and cut out my fabric ready. I only planned the one project as I hadn’t made it before and thought it would take quite a while to get through.
Saturday arrived and I guess I got started at 11am ish … there were so many amazing videos from people in the sewing community so I got watching! Particular favourites were Tilly Walnes’ (Tilly and the Buttons) Q&A where she talked about how the business is run as well as how to stay motivated. Zoe from SozoBlog on Instagram did a really interesting video on saving money when sewing, I already do a lot of the things she mentioned but there were some really interesting tips that I want to take on board.
There were also some really lovely videos in their series of Conversations with the Community. Lots of really amazing sewing Instagrammers, vloggers and business owners had recorded short videos where they chatted about everything from their recent makes, business plans and important topics such as diversity within the community.
I even listened to the new episode of the New Craft House’s podcast with Rachel from The Fold Line whilst eating my lunch in the garden !! Perfect!
I got on really well with making my Ilford Jacket, it was surprisingly straight forward! I used some dreamy fabric that I bought from a car boot sale a while back when on holiday in Scotland. It’s a heavy cotton (I think!) with a wonderful vintage style floral print, perfect to make a wearable toile of the jacket. I would say the whole jacket took maximum 6 hours to put together which was incredible considering I was often getting distracted by people’s Instagram posts !! But it just seemed to work – you know how sometimes patterns just go together simply, even when they are slightly trickier!!
The jacket turned out really well so I’ve already bought some fabric to use for my proper one! I’ll probably write a more in depth blog about this pattern as I’m planning on making another one soon … then I’ll have more comments on the construction and fit ! But spoiler I love it !!
Another of my favourite parts of the weekend was the zoom session that happened each day. It was so lovely to hear from Kate, Rachel and Charlotte but also we got to see what lots of participants were making. It was incredible to watch people from around the world all taking part in the same event and sharing their mutual love of sewing! There were people in America, Canada, Israel, Spain and even Australia, as well as around the UK. Excitingly I got to go on and share my jacket, it was so fun chatting with the ladies and I got so many wonderful comments afterwards which made me feel all warm and fuzzy !
On the Sunday it was a very similar set up … lots more videos – including a really interesting video from Pigeon Wishes showing us how their fabric rolling machine works ! It was quite literally one of the most addictive things to watch, I had never even thought about how fabric is rolled onto bolts.
So I worked my way through the video content whilst starting a new project.
Ok that’s not 100% true … I had already started my Libby Shirt from Sew Over It a few months back but got stuck on the collar. For some reason I had just got really annoyed with it and couldn’t work out how to go any further so it sat on my mannequin, mocking me !!
So when I needed something to work on for Sunday I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. And amazingly it seemed to work … I managed to get it finished and I love it ! The version I made was in a blue cotton from Fabrics Galore that I can wear it to work, I’ve ordered some more blue fabric to make another work shirt but am also going to make one for everyday wear. I have a floral cotton lawn in my stash that I think could be perfect!
There was another zoom session on Sunday which I once again really enjoyed … this time I sat and ate my lunch whilst watching it and then managed to get more of my shirt finished.
During the weekend I had been chatting to a few lovely sewing friends on Instagram and suggested that we did a little sewing catch up zoom call of our own. So during the afternoon 4 of us, Rebekah from @sewno65, Sophie from @sophs_makes_and_bakes and Serena from @serenasews_, logged onto zoom and had a lovely 1 hour long chat about all things sewing! It was so fun to talk to people that I had only messaged before. We enjoyed it so much that we might even do it again soon with a couple of others who couldn’t make it that day !
Another amazing part was the huge Virtual Goodie Bag which was stuffed full with discount codes from amazing small businesses … I’ve already placed a few orders ! I had my eye on some more fabrics for another Ilford jacket and another work shirt. As well as some to make more basic tops and some summer trousers! I’ve ordered from Sew Me Sunshine, Lamazi Fabrics and Fabric Godmother and am so excited to receive the orders !! Look at those colours !!
I genuinely got to the end of Sunday and felt sad that it was all over … Throughout the weekend there was just such a warm feeling of community and it just made you feel better about the world for a couple of days! Of course parts of it won’t stop! I’ve followed lots of new people on Instagram as well as gaining many new followers myself so look forward to keeping up the interaction. And of course the sewing won’t stop! I’d like to try and put aside a weekend every month or two as I was so productive and really enjoyed the uninterrupted sewing time.
I hope that it takes place online again soon as I think it really bought the community together and was just such an amazing thing to be part of. Especially when they managed to raise over £23,000 for NHS Charities Together, Mind, The Stephen Lawrence Trust and Black Lives Matter !! I’d love to attend one of the events held in Cambridge one year but until then I loved taking part in this !
A huge thankyou to the ladies at The Fold Line and Charlotte from English Girl At Home!!