Tuesday, 4 August 2015

New Sewing Classes in LONDON!

Here is a list of classes I'll be teaching in London in the coming months. Would be fabulous to get loads of people along!

The Thrifty Stitcher

 Sew a dress in a Day - Sunday 23rd August
Overlocker basics- Sunday 16th August
Make your own Trousers - Sunday 20th September and Sunday 27th September (2 day course)
Pattern cutting course - Monday 21st September - Monday 12th October (4 evenings 6.30-9.30)

There will be more dates added to these as well as some other classes so please contact me oldfashionedwaybeirut@gmail.com for more info.


Children's classes on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from Sept.

Little Hands

Wednesday evening sewing course - all levels welcome
Knitting course - Thursday afternoons

Friday, 5 December 2014

New sewing classes in the new year.

Paphos: Infintiy Stitchcraft,  Shops 4 & 5 Megaro Pamelen, (Near Laura Beach Hotel), Chlorakas Ave, Paphos. Tel: 26272203

 Patchwork quilting. Tuesdays 1.30-3pm. 20 Euros per class. 
This is a beginners quilting class where you will learn the basics from cutting to binding to quilting to finally make yourself a small lap quilt. We will cover how to fussy cut, sew with the correct seam allowance, press and do both hand and machine quilting.
We will make something similar to these quilts.

Beginners dressmaking. Thursday 15th, 22nd, 29th January ( 2.5 hours - morning or afternoon depending on interest). 70 Euros for course.
Learn how to follow commercial patterns in this class and make yourself a simple dress or lined skirt. In this course you will learn how to untangle the jargon of sewing patterns, do some basic fitting adjustments, sew darts and insert an invisible zip.

We will use a patterns similar to these.

Sewing with knit fabric. Thursday 5th February 10-12am Lunch 1-3pm -all day class (this could be split into two classes as well depending on interest.)  45 Euros including fabric.
Learn the basics of sewing with stretchy fabric. Using jersey or sweat shirting we will learn how to construct a simple raglan sleeved top on a sewing machine and use an overlocker. In this class you will learn how to cut knit fabrics and use finishing tricks to give your clothes a professional look. 

General Sewing. Tuesdays 9.30-12pm. 20 Euros. Beginner sewist, or experienced but wanting advice- this class is for everyone. Come along with an idea for a sewing project or be inspired by what everyone else is sewing.

Nicosia: Crafty Ideas, Kyriakou Matsi 32D, tel.22511455

Children's Sewing Club. Saturday 3-5pm. 20 Euros. 
A weekly club for children from 7-17 years old where youngsters can come and learn to sew or perfect skills they already have. Children will learn to sew anything from bags to pyjamas to simple skirts and get familiar with the sewing machines. 

Limassol: Doros Village, 4750. tel. 95159208

Private or small group sessions or weekend workshops. Dates can be arranged by phone or email or for weekend workshops check facebook page
Come and learn to sew or make a specific project in a beautiful and tranquil learning environment. My sewing studios in the lovely village of Doros is the perfect place for a weekend sewing getaway or a day of peaceful sewing. Start with the basics of sewing or get help with a more advanced project.

The studio  provides a homely space with enough room for 3 sewists. Lunch can be provided with produce from the garden.


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sewing Residentials and classes in Cyprus

Since moving to Cyprus and setting up my little sewing nook here I have been considering the idea of sewing residentials long and hard. It strikes me me that this idea has been missing from our wondrous online community. We have all these amazing classes happening all around the UK and the US and probably in other countries too (like Cyprus where I have started giving classes), but there hasn't been much talk of residentials to my knowledge. Budding bakers and cooks have getaways, wannabe writers go on weekend courses, crafters have conventions. What could be better for us sewists than packing up our most precious little tools and dedicating a few precious holiday days to our passion?

I would like to try and offer a gorgeous place to stay, yummy home made food with garden ingredients, sewing time and instruction, as well as other Cypriot loveliness like walks in the mountains or wine tasting at the village winery (wine and sewing-  surely a match made in heaven!).

This is what the accommodation could look like:
The Old Olive Mill Doros- my lovely neighbour's house for rent. 

The lounging and walking would be something like this:

Views across the Commandaria region from my garden
Dinners could look something like this: 

Probably without the mop!

And sewing would look like whatever you were inspired to make!

 At the moment this is all just a plan with no idea of prices or dates. I have the sewing space and the sleeping place ready. I have a garden and cupboard full of food to cook. I have my own sewing and teaching skills (but would also be up for getting guest teachers to come). And Cyprus has a lot of beautiful sunshine, pretty countryside and lovely beaches to offer (as well as cats- never fear!). I just need to know if you lovelies would be interested. 
I would massively appreciate any feedback, ideas and for you to share this as much as you can.

I am also teaching classes in Nicosia and Paphos at the moment and offering private or group classes in the gorgeous village environment you see above.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Clover dress and some musings on style

Evening friends, the sun is setting here on a productive sewing day. I have made a very speedy dress and taught someone to sew a pair of pyjamas, a pretty happening day I think you would agree. The dress is the one you see below, made from the Clover pattern by papercut patterns. When I saw this dress pop up on the old blogs I thought it was a dress for thin people, i.e pretty shapeless and not flattering to the larger of arses! However I am trying to change things up style wise around here. It turns out living in the country it isnt alway practical to ear fit and flare, vintage style, cutesy dresses. Who knew?! 

That is actually not the only reason though. I have been feeling a little trapped by my style recently. I dont know if any of the rest of you feel this way sometimes. When you sew you can create any identity for yourself through your clothes and when I started sewing I created a pretty defined look and stuck sort of religiously to that. Eventually that kind of got me feeling a bit enslaved to that look. I couldnt just throw on a pair of tracksuit bottoms or rtw jeans as I felt I was not being true to my style. Wearing fitted dresses is not always the most comfortable outfit and to be frank I am tired of only being "able" to wear them. I have been hankering after loose clothing, comfy boots, things I can throw on and feel like im in pyjamas all day. And so we have the clover dress.

 I was pretty apprehensive about this dress. I truly thought it would be a sack and cut into this lovely blue rayon with some serious hesitation. But hey you know what, what is the fun in sewing clothes if we dont experiment and mix it up sometimes? Readers, Its not a sack! I am massively surprised by how flattering this dress actually is. There is some clever drafting going on here to give this beauty a nice shape. 

 I've also been pretty heavily inspired by my obsession with Nashville at the moment and the lovely Scarlett O'Connor (if you havent seen it you are seriously missing out- it might even have surpassed my Vampire Diaries obsession!). And thus have been trying to channel a more laid back, country, loose style.
 My admiration of my new boots is clear!
I sewed this dress in literally 3 hours including tracing the pattern and deciding on size etc. That is bloody speedy and would have been quicker if I hadnt spent about an hour fucking about with the hem. It had some wonky wings at the side seams, mainly from belting the dress I think.
I took in a little under the arms and shortened the sleeves a lot. But other than that and some extra length on the hem I didnt change anything. All in all this is pretty much a win I think. Comfy and flattering. My first foray into papercut has been a success- yay!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Pair of Shirts


I'm not too bad at unselfish sewing as a rule: some friends get handmade birthday presents, the children in my life usually get cute outfits, and my husband gets the best deal. This time, friends, he scored very highly indeed with, not one, but two lovely shirts. 

I used a pattern from Burda magazine which I've used for making shirts before. This time though, I made quite a few modifications based on his favourite ready-to-wear shirt.
I removed the collar leaving just the collar stand which I made thinner. I also added piping all around the bottom of the collar. I didn't actually have any piping cord to hand so I used some woolen yarn I had from a knitting project! It worked out pretty well. It's not very rigid piping but you'd never notice if I hadn't mentioned it.

I also piped down the button plackett and around the end of the cuff. The cuff was smaller than a traditional shirt and although a I did a pretty brilliant plackett I just finished the sleeve with a little fabric loop and a button, as per the ready-to wear shirt.

whats a wee bit of wonky stitching on a cuff between friends?!
 I took some ease out of the back as it seemed much bigger than the original RTW shirt, perhaps it could have done with some more. However as this is a really soft cotton I think it wont really matter. On the second shirt I took out a little bit more as the fabric was stiffer.

 I'm kind of all over making shirts at the moment, there's some real satisfaction to getting a lovely neat line of top stitching and a well set in sleeve and collar. I even went mental and flat felled the seams in the second shirt! I think you sewists out there will understand the sighs of pure joy I gave when I admired those babies.

I finished the hem with bias tape which is a really neat little trick for hemming curves, especially on shirts which can be tricky. It gives a nice neat finish and some extra colour!

There is very possibly an Archer shirt on my horizon, inspired by some pretties from Rochelle and my new found love of flat felling!

He's happy! 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Stripes and Floral

Friends, I've gone and done a Dolly Clackett.

Like our stylish friend Roisin, I have become slightly obsessed with one pattern, and have made my third Hawthorn (I'm not quite in her league though as she's made about 70 Anna dresses-  a poor man's Dolly if you will!).

You'll be relieved to hear I have made significant changes this time so it doesn't look too much like my previous two Hawthorns (here and here). I was inspired by Sew Over It's Doris Dress which I thought had similar darts and skirt style to the Hawthorn. I'd already got the fit I liked on the Colette pattern so thought I'd just hack it to turn it into a Doris replica.

I lowered the neckline by about and inch and did away with that sweet little collar. I cut both the front and back panel on the fold so was left with no button plackett on the front skirt piece. To construct this I sewed the bodice first, made the buttonholes, then tacked the bodice together at the waist and attached it to the skirt. Only 5 buttonholes, yay! And no zip as it's loose enough to fit over my head- a winner in my book.

 I used the sleeves from the Hawthorn pattern too but made them much much shorter.  I'd taken out some fabric from the armhole last time round as they were too restrictive so the sleeve didn't fit perfectly. Fine by me, I wanted little tiny pleats in the sleeve head anyway!

The sleeves are still tight though. If  lift my arms up or stretch them outward it's pretty tight and cuts into my arm. I'm not sure if this is because my guns are sooo muscular or just something that happens with me and Colette patterns. I've had the same problem with other Colette patterns. I'm not really sure how to fix this problem, my next solution is to add some ease in the middle of the sleeve. Will this work? OOh the suspense! Any ideas or suggestions are most welcome.

Here you can see how lifting my arms raises the whole bodice

Sleeve cutting into the guns!
 While this dress fits some of my criteria for dresses- loose enough to be only mildly sweaty in 30+degree weather, circle skirt, vintage-y feel- I really don't love it. I'm not sure why though. When I bought this fabric in Goldhawk road I  thought it was really unusual and pretty and it feels amazing, so soft and cottony. But I think maybe something about it doesn't work with this dress, perhaps it was asking to be a shirt instead? You'd think florals and stripes would work nicely, I mean just take a look at Tilly's latest Coco, but here I'm not so sure it does.  The pretty little daffodils just kind of get lost. Ah well.

Some vintage buttons I found in my stash- I thought they matched those daffs nicely.
I finished the insides with the old overlocker, and attached bias binding to the hem before turning and hemming. I like this little trick for hemming circle skirts, although, yes, you have to sew twice, you get a really neat finish and you don't have to faff around with measuring or worrying about wonky hems.

How about you, any florals and stripes in your sewing plans?

An attempt at "fierceness"!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Swimming in Hawthorn

Morning lovelies. Yep, I made another Hawthorn dress.

oh hello little kitten, you like my dress too?
And I'm not sorry to say this is not the last you will see of this pattern. I think It's fast becoming a favourite. It's fairly quick to make, it's got a flattering skirt and that wee collar is just a lovely touch in my opinion. I do like a shirt dress but so often they can have unflattering (on me) straight skirts or too much gathering. This one fits the bill nicely, thank you very much Colette Patterns. 

I used the famous swimmers fabric which has been in my stash for waaaaay too long, ever since I first saw it here and here  (and later here )and rushed straight down to old Goldhawk for some copycat buying. 

Hmmm, yeah not such great back pattern placement.
This incarnation of the dress does not fit in with my new attempt to wear less print and be less cutesy! I went back and forth about making the collar in this solid navy, thinking it might look a bit clowny but then I thought, I'm making a dress with swimming ladies all over it its already pretty bloody novelty does a collar make much difference?! And went with it. But now looking at these pictures I'm wondering if it looks a bit like a uniform from British Rail circa 1970- and not in a good way. Thoughts?

On the plus side the fit on this one is much better. I did a cheeky small bust adjustment, took up the waist a little bit and the sides by about 1/2cm. It's still loose enough to be cool in these hot temperatures which is my main concern but I think looks a little better. I also sliced a bit of the front armscythe. Colette patterns are always a bit tight on the front of my arms, and this seems to have fixed it. Actually I have that problem with a few patterns- tightness in the front of my shoulders especially when I lift my arms. Just massive bingo wings or is there some quick fix for loosening tightness there, anyone know?

The insides are just finished with the old overlocker- bloody hell I love that thing. What did I do to finish my clothes before? Oh, that's right, nothing! The buttonholes were once again a thing of beauty but sewing buttons on is a real bore eh?

So all in all while I do like the fit and style of this dress, I'm not totally sure I like the way the finished item. I will wear it, its bloody boiling here and this is cool and loose. Do I love it though? Not sure yet.

Those kittens though, they're pretty cute aren't they?

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