Saturday, 19 November 2016

Being a Sewing Intern

Hi friends; today, I want to let you know what I've been up to recently. Since September, I have been working as a sewing Intern for Sew -in -Brighton

It came about following a chat to the lovely Kat Neeser, the owner, at the Summer Sewmance, and then another at the Brighton Sewcial.  Kat Frequently advertises for interns. but with the little kiddos around I had no way of doing it before. However, school started for my youngest in September; with all of them out of the house in the daytime, I grabbed my chance.

Having been a stay-at-home mum, raising my three lovelies, anyone who knows me will know that my confidence has plummeted during this time. I saw this internship as a way to boost my self-esteem, and get used to working and interacting with adults again! Whatever my reasons, though, I have to say I LOVE it.

All the students have such a nice time in class: it's a light and bright studio, and stitchers are so friendly (we all know that) with everyone chatting away happily. If you are in the Brighton and Hove area, and thinking about learning to sew - or wanting help with fit - I would really recommend the Sewing Lounge.

On a typical stitch class, I might show a student how to put in a zip, how to measure themselves to decide on pattern size, or how to "rub off" RTW clothes to make a dressmaking pattern. I didn't realise how much I knew about sewing until I started here! I found I am reasonably quick at threading an overlocker, and able to troubleshoot tension problems!

Here you can see a student is using her leggings as a template for a new pattern, She now needs to add seam allowance and notches and then will be ready to go.

The best bit about being an Intern is learning from Kat. At first, I would just watch when she helped students with fit issues, but I am gaining confidence in how alterations are achieved myself now. It's not just full bust adjustments, there is trouser fitting and shirts too. It's really fun.

This student has made a copy of a RTW child's dress out of an old dress of hers. Excellent refashioning.

Tissue fitting and doing flat pattern adjustments before cutting out in fabric.

In addition to the stitch classes, Sew-in-Brighton offer more structured courses, for example on Tailoring or Pattern cutting.  These sound really amazing.

I help out in the weekly stitch class in the morning, and in the afternoons I sew up samples for Kat or draft out patterns for students to use within the stitch classes. For example, I have made a pattern from an old oven glove!

It will then be made up to test the pattern to make sure it works before releasing it for students to try. This will hopefully be one of the patterns available on the Christmas present making class, alongside hot water bottle covers and lots of other perfect presents. Details here if you are interested.

After each session I come home so eager to sew for myself after what I've seen in class. So that is my latest news - I am enjoying feeling useful and having fun with sewing.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Vintage A-line

Hello sewing friends, I have recently bought some coloured tights. Which is a tenuous justification for needing a new skirt - or skirts plural - to go with them! Do you ever feel the need to have an excuse for your makes?

Here are a couple of short A-line shaped skirts I liked in the shops, two corduroy, one brushed velvet. I then went through my pattern stash to see if I had any likely candidates.


On these RTW skirts, I liked the fly zip or exposed zip the best. I also knew I had a deep plummy-purple denim (from Ditto fabrics) in the stash which would work well as an A-line. I found a great 1970s A-line pattern that I got in a charity shop eons ago, and thought would be perfect. It has a longer length, but I felt confident it would look just as good. I did actually lop off a good 5 and a half inches from the length of the pattern and it still hits my knee.

I've a considerably larger waist than the pattern's 24 inches. I enlarged it by slashing and spreading. I have no idea if this is the right way to do it, but it seemed an intuitive way to go. It's also worked out well.

All went swimmingly with the construction; amazingly, the fly zip was a doodle. However, I came unstuck at the waistband: my machine just did not want to sew through all those layers, and top-stitching was tedious and slow. I unpicked frequently, as the machine jammed and wobbled.

So, the top-stitching is not my finest sewing hour, but I am going to ignore it - not only can I not face unpicking it yet again, I have also over-trimmed, so I think this is the best it's going to look anyway. It would be churlish to spurn this skirt just because of the waistband, and most of my tops will hide the worst of its sins anyway. In hindsight, I should have used my Nan's 1970s Elna to top-stitch - remember next time, Lou of the Future!

I am very pleased with the skirt; adding those four inches to the waist has worked well, and this deep colour will go with all my new tights! I foresee a mini-skirt version of this in the not too distant future.

Lots of love sewing pals. Next time, I am going to tell you my exciting news about working as a sewing intern for the Sew-in Brighton Sewing school.

Lou xx