How to Keep Your Kids Happy this Holiday

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Our Kids Craft Club Tutor Marie-Jeanne is an experienced child care practitioner and teacher.

And she knows no bounds when it comes to creativity! We all want to join in with some of the activities she has planned for this Summer!

We have a regular Craft Club every Monday and Wednesday 9am – 4pm from 23rd July. These sessions will include a whole range of projects to engage and encourage children in their creativity. Sessions will include, sewing by hand and machine, paper marbling, weaving, smash journaling and all sorts of other things too. These sessions are £40 for one child and there are discounts for siblings too. Just let us know if you’d like to book for more than one child.

Call us on 01789 330588

Children are welcome from age 8 upwards and will need to bring a packed lunch with them. Drinks and healthy snacks will be provided to keep them crafting all day.

There will be workshops for the slightly older creative youngsters too.

August

7 & 13        Young Photographers – Learn how to understand and use your camera to take                great pictures.

14 am        Learn to use a Sewing Machine and get your Sewing Machine Driving License

14 pm        Sew your own Shortie PJ’s – super comfy shortie PJ’s, perfect for the holidays!

16               Make your own Lampshade – a great accessory to add to your room.

22              Young Photographers – Learn how to understand and use your camera to take                great pictures.

23              Sew Your Own Summer Skirt – a pretty gathered skirt with an elasticated waistband.

31             Learn to use a Sewing Machine and get your Sewing Machine Driving License.

To make sure the young people that attend our workshop have all the support they need we keep numbers limited to ensure that have plenty of 1:1 time with MJ and the other tutors. So please make sure to book early.

Have a look at our other Summer workshops too.

 

 

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Necessity is the Mother of creation.

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I know I’m paraphrasing here, but I think you’ll kind of get what I mean.

Not long after we moved into our new studio space I rashly agreed to become part of the Warwickshire Open Studios. “What better way of showcasing The Tall Photographer’s beautiful pictures and helping him kick-start his new career as a photo and videographer.” I thought.

“But what will you be exhibiting?” asked said Tall Photographer.

“Errrm?!”

And now you can see where my mis-quoted statement comes in. With only a few weeks to go until we joined the creative throng in Warwickshire I had to come up with some stuff to show.

When push comes to shove and you really have to hit a deadline it’s amazing how the creative juices can flow.

Being pushed for time meant I had to look around me for inspiration and our new studio is surrounded by the most beautiful countryside. Right outside our door we have a green haven of meadow grasses, cow parsley and daisies. Perfect for translating into stitch. Anyone who has done our Free Machine Embroidery classes will understand how liberating this can be. Literally using the sewing machine to free draw stitches onto the fabric to create a picture.

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Then I began playing with cut out shapes, in fabric of course, using our good old GoBaby die cutter. So much quicker than hand cutting shapes! And from a pile of leather, silk and linen scraps a hydrangea grew.

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Looking through my images on my hard drive, all the photos I’d taken over the years, the ones that sprang out were some taken in Istanbul on our honeymoon. The almost iridescent colours of the cerulean and cobalt blues with viridian greens brought back some wonderful memories.

As an aside – why do we not print off images anymore? Or flip through photo albums? Or is it just me that has thousands of images laying forgotten on a hard drive somewhere?

But what resonated with me where the red and white ceilings of the walkways in the Topkapi Palace Hareem in Istanbul. I love the contrast of colour on white, the simple patterns and repeats. So playing with this idea led to experimenting with the auto stitches on our machines.

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Now I don’t claim to be the most creative of individuals and I’m reasonably pleased with the work I have produced. But I so enjoyed the process of creating these pieces of work, having to think a little outside of the box of ‘dressmaking’ and to do some sketching again. Planning out ideas and experimenting.

Which is why I’m really excited about a new workshop we have coming up.

“Let’s Sketch” with Evegenia Golubeva.  Evgenia is an internationally renowned illustrator and has had won multiple awards for her work. You can find more about her here

If you would like to learn to draw, or just give yourself time to play and sketch, or even if you think you can‘t draw at all you will learn a huge amount from Evgenia. Her beautifully colourful illustrations are such a joy. And she will show you techniques you can use yourself to allow your creativity to flow.

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Drawing and sketching doesn’t have to be scary. As adults we worry so much about ‘getting it right’. About accurately representing what you see in front of you. But that’s what photos are for! Ha ha! I have found it’s more about trying to convey a feeling or mood or an idea that’s more important. And like any new skill, you get better the more you practice.

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So I fully intend on practicing much more now I have rediscovered my love of sketching and creating. Are you going to join me? 

Jules x

 

The Importance of Under-stitching – or -How to keep your facings in their place!

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This post kind of follows on from the Concealed Zip with a Facing tutorial and is part of the process for making up the Miranda Dress and Celia Top.

Under-stitching is one of those funny things people often don’t see the relevance of. I have even found it skipped in several commercial pattern instructions. Now I’m not sure if that was deliberate, maybe the pattern writers assumed that everyone would already understand the value and place of under-stitching or whether they had just missed the point themselves? Who knows?

But, under-stitching really is one of those processes that you shouldn’t avoid. It will elevate your sewing from ‘homemade’ to ‘handmade’ and give you a much more professional finish and make your clothes sit a lot better too.

As with so many terms in sewing it kind of does what it says on the tin. Under-stitching holds another part of the garment underneath so it doesn’t bounce out and reveal itself, particularly neck facings.

I have come across several methods for understitching but this one I find is the easiest and most effective.

Once you have attached the facing to the neck or waist line, layer and clip into the seam allowance.

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Layering or grading the seam allowance ensures that the seam allowance fades out into the rest of the garment rather than ending in a big step of fabric which can often be visible from the right side of the garment, especially after pressing.

Clipping into the seam allowance enables the seam allowance to fold back on itself and releases the tension on the outer edge of seam. Each clip in the seam allowance needs to be right up to but not through the row of sewing.

Turn the facing and garment out to the right side, but don’t press them first. The trick with under-stitching is to sew it first into the correct position. If you press the facing first and it’s not quite in the right position it can make it harder to get it corrected.

Lay the garment and facing flat with the right side uppermost. Spread them flat with your hands and make sure that all of the clipped into bits of seam allowance are pushed towards the facing.

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We will be stitching through the facing and all of the seam allowances, but NOT the garment.

If the facing is attached down the centre back or front don’t worry about getting in too close to  the corners. Start about a 5 – 8 cm away from the corner but make sure all the seam allowance is towards the facing.

Line up the machine needle about 2mm away from the seam line onto the facing.

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Sometimes it can be easier to line up a marker on the foot with the seam and then swing the needle into the correct position.

Start sewing through the facing and all the seam allowances spreading everything flat and away from the seam with both hands as you go.

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Allow the facing to dictate how it all sits by keeping that flat and letting the garment bunch up as it needs to to follow the curve of the facing.

Remember to lift up the facing and check that all of the clipped seam allowance is still pushed towards the facing.

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Finish as you started about 5 – 8cm from the corner, or if sewing in a circle, back to the beginning.

The action of spreading it all smooth and flat with your hands as you sew – no pinning, means that the facing and seam allowances are joined very close to the seam. Because of this the main garment fabric has to roll over the depth of the attached seam allowance and therefore when the garment and facing are pressed you should be able to see a very thin line of the garment fabric above the facing.

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Understitching means you can achieve a really neat and clean finish to an edge or opening of a garment.

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We have used this technique in several of our patterns including, Celia and Miranda. and you can see the clean finish it gives in the Celia below.

Celia Print Quality-7175 (Charles Budd's conflicted copy 2017-10-01)

 

I hope you give this method a go, do let me know how you get on.

Jules x

 

Retreating to move forward

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The most amazing setting in the woods at Cornish Tipis.

Life can be a bit of a slog sometimes. We can find ourselves on the Hamster Wheel Of Life, or just facing the daily grind without really thinking about what we are doing or where we are going. Sewing for yourself or anyone else for that matter just gets pushed out of the picture or put on the back burner until you have “more time”.

Sometimes we just have to stop and temporarily move away from life. Take a side step or just retreat from the coal face – just for a day or so.

I did this recently with my good pal Claire- Louise, also known as @thriftysticher on social media, complete sewing guru and all round fabulous person. She had told me about a Yoga retreat she was going to in Cornwall and did I want to come along. My first thought was ‘well yes it would be lovely but I have so much on my plate a the moment … blah blah blah’ and I didn’t really give it much thought.

Several weeks later even busier and with yet more ‘stuff on my plate’ I realised that I had to take a step back, or retreat from my life temporarily as I had lost sight of where I was going and beginning to feel that mild panic that can swiftly build into overwhelm. So I booked and managed to grab the last place on the retreat.

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Home for the weekend – chez Jules & CL

The weekend was a truly magical one in the most beautiful of settings. We were totally off grid and the wonderful Jules @pureplantnutrition (on instagram) cooked all our delicious meals for us. Amy from @nextwave_yoga lead the yoga sessions for us in the morning as the sun peeped through the trees and in the afternoons with the sun full on our faces.  Evenings were spent chatting around the campfire swapping stories and experiences.

We even went wild swimming in a freshwater lake with water so clean and clear you could drink it – literally, once you’d caught your breath back from the shock of the freezing cold water of course!

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No! You really don’t need to see me in a swimming costume!

There was no mobile signal and that meant freedom from outside intervention or work as most people call it. It was just time to think about and focus on what’s really important and how I can put those things to the front of my life and move towards them.  It also made me realise how un-bendy I am and that I really need to do some more exercise.

 

Apart from that particular fact I have also been able to take away several key things from that wonderful weekend.

ONE        I need to book time off  – Time off is not some random idea that happens to other people. I can have space away too and it makes me a better person for it.

TWO       Meditation really does calm the soul – I had forgotten this and was overjoyed to have rediscovered it.

THREE    Having a change really is as good as having a rest. It was actually quite hard work for me to do nothing. But changing where you do stuff can be just as beneficial.

FOUR      I need to hang out with my mates more. All work and no play makes Jules a dull girl and laughter IS the best medicine.

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I think our moustaches would rival even those of @thetallphotographer!

So where do you retreat to to help you find the clarity and focus you need? Is it just into the garden for a long G & T or for a walk in the woods early evening? Or maybe you just bugger off with some friends for a night out? Do let me know as I’m always looking for more ideas for ways to re-charge.

You can join Claire-Louise and me for our next Sewing Retreat if you fancy a bit of a chill and some sewing space just for you. Our expert tuition will see you sewing as you’ve never sewn before!

See you soon.

Jules x