The Sewing Weekender, by Sara (@sarasewingjourney)
I’ve discovered the wonders of The Sewing Weekender this year. Last year I had just started my dressmaking adventure and my Instagram account, so I wasn’t yet much aware of the amazing community around me or of such great initiatives.
This year, I couldn’t miss it though! The two-days workshop happened in person before the pandemic, accommodating a limited number of attendees, while in the past two years a virtual, much more inclusive event has been taking place.
I can imagine the effort of organising so much interesting and engaging content, but they have definitely made a success of it! And being able to watch the content at my leisure is definitely an added bonus, together with the money raised for charity!
I did expect to find some content much more interesting and engaging to me than other, but I was amazed at how much knowledge and insight I managed to gain from all the tutorials and expert talks delivered by all the participants!
On both Saturday and Sunday, links to the various the content for the day was delivered via email early in the morning, with links to the videos, so I could plan over breakfast what to watch first! I didn’t plan much sewing during the weekend itself, as I wanted to give the workshops my full attention: knowing that the videos are available after the weekend to re-watch is great, as I can get back to those tutorials for the things I’ve decided to make!
On Saturday, I particularly enjoyed some of the Masterclass Tutorials. The highlights for me were:
The Bargello Project with Nerrisa Pratt from The Bargello Edit (https://www.thebargelloedit.com/) was AMAZING! You may remember in my previous article for this blog when I mentioned that I have never been much of a crafty person. I loved learning basic bargello and it is certainly something that I will use in my sewing and to make presents for friends! Nerrissa was fun and engaging to watch and she has opened a world to me!
I really liked the the ‘Pattern hacking: adding frills’ with Nina from Nina Lee Patterns (https://www.ninalee.co.uk/): ruffles are something that I love when it comes to me-made clothes, so it was useful, especially the section related to the slash and spread method, which was still a bit obscure to me.
How to create a patternless skirt with Marilla Walker (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MarillaWalker) was a useful tutorial on the wonders of self-drafting, something that fascinates me, but I am yet to attempt. The skirt looked sooooo good!
Alison Smith delivered a masterclass in pattern matching, with useful ‘how to’ with stripes, squares and tartan and flowery patterns. This is something that often stresses me, plus knowing that it will entails much more fabric (less sustainable) makes me ignore it, more often than not! But it’s all good learning!
I loved, loved, loved the tutorial to draft and sew a simple 3-piece sunhat with Charlotte from Charlotte Emma Patterns (https://charlotteemmapatterns.com/): I will so make it as soon as I have a minute in between other projects. She was fun and explained the process so well, I loved the idea of making a 3D version in paper, to ensure that the hat turns out the way you plan it.
Earlier in the morning, while I was ironing the weekly laundry, I took the opportunity to watch the expert talks and a couple of them were super-interesting:
Introduction to historical costuming with Dixie Davis from Dixie DIY; now, I never thought of sewing historical costumes and I don’t really think it’s something I will attempt, but the video was very informative, fun to watch and made me dream of dressing like Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice!
More useful, at least for me, was Deadstock and Sustainability with Hannah and Rosie from New Craft House (https://thenewcrafthouse.com/): first of all, it explained the difference between headstock and overstock, but more importantly it shone a spotlight on sewing sustainably and how many independent shops have a great philosophy behind their business.
On day two, the masterclasses where definitely the best content for me, as I didn’t enjoy the expert talks as much as those on the Saturday.
Best masterclass of all for me was Fabric burn test with Harriet from Sew Me Sunshine (https://sewmesunshine.co.uk/): it was incredibly informative and interesting to learn how different fabrics behave under the burn test and how to identify them!
I liked How to make an eye mask and drawstring bag with Abby from the Tilly and the Buttons team (https://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/2015/07/how-to-make-eye-mask-free-pattern.html): I don’t personally use eye masks, but the tutorial was useful and there was a sneaky preview of their upcoming new pattern.
I really enjoyed How to make period pads from Selkie Patterns (https://selkiepatterns.co.uk/): I use period pads, it’s one of my attempts at being more sustainable, but so far I’ve bought a few, a couple of years ago. They will need replacing at some point, so this tutorial was really useful, as it included suggestions on the best fabrics to use, particularly for absorbency and prevent leakages!
Marcy from Oonaballoona (https://www.oonaballoona.com) made the best, funniest and most engaging tutorial on How to create an Ankara half circle skirt and advice on wax print sewing. I didn’t know much about Ankara and I wished she also talked more about how to wash it (she mentioned a couple of options but not too much in details), but she definitely encouraged me to try this fabric soon!
A brief history of swimwear and how to draft your own bikini with Alice and Lilia of Alice and Co Patterns (https://aliceandcopatterns.com/) was another informative tutorial, although I don’t feel too confident in sewing myself a bikini.
Puffed sleeve pattern hacks with Emily from Self Assembly Required (https://selfassemblyrequired.co.uk) was a great follow up from Nina Lee’s tutorial on Saturday, as it elaborated further on the slash and spread method, this time to increase the volume of sleeves.
During both days, other tutorials included Add an exposed ruffle to a dress (with Montoya Mayo https://montoyamayo.com/), Make a tailors ham (with Claire from Sew Incidentally http://sew-incidentally.blogspot.com), Hacking the Zadie Jumpsuit into a wrap dress (with Tara from Paper Theory https://papertheorypatterns.com/) and Sewing garments by hand with Alexis of Fibr & Cloth (https://fibrandcloth.com/).
Throughout both days there were Makers chats as an opportunity to share and socialise with fellow sewers, as well as chat rooms with Barbara from @rockingstitch popping in to assist those in need of an expert advice.
Finally, delight of delights, a virtual goody bag which includes discount from many of the panelists and other suppliers, was provided to all attendees.
It was an amazing opportunity to learn new things, deepen my knowledge of some techniques as well as discover new makers, new suppliers and fabulous blogs and content!