The knitting and stitching show Sew Simple diary

The knitting and stitching show Sew Simple diary

The Knitting and stitching show 2018
Each day I spent anything from 45 minutes to 2 hours each way travelling to and from Olympia, in this time I wrote this post. It helped, so I hope you enjoy my journey.
Day 1 Thursday 28th February,
Not the most usual of Thursday’s for my family. Today is World book day, it’s snowing heavily and it’s also the first day of The Knitting & Stitching Show! Many schools are closed and book days cancelled, but snow is not stopping us Sew Sew!
I am laden with 3 bags, 2 pairs of socks, welly boots, 2 jumpers, a wool hat and scarf and lastly gloves and my feet are freezing. Luckily the tube is quiet and I have a seat. Why 3 bags? I have 10 workshops running this weekend, 3 today. so I am carrying 15 pairs of scissors, 15 pin cushions filled with pins, rulers, paper, pencils, thread, needles, worksheets, booklets, flyers, fabrics and a pair of sequin trainers, obviously!
Today, my first workshop is couture sewing skills; we will be learning how to make a rouleau loop, using a loop turner and making a grid to make them equally spaced when attaching to fabric, then how to sew a fine pin hem, gathering chiffon, a French seam and a couture dart.
My next workshop is recycled sewing room containers, we will be making scissor holders and a small desk basket/bag. Here we will learn simple, yet useful sewing techniques for joining panels and accuracy when top stitching.
Next up is; transform a shirt to a bag, I have been collecting shirts from charity shops and eBay for some time now, my mother in law has also been buying them for me up in Manchester. Using my bag paper pattern and booklet of instructions, we will make a tote bag. I have quite a selection, they will look so much better as bags and I hope we can manage it in the hour. I will write-up how it all goes on my train journey home.
I have left early today, so I can have a look around before my first workshop. I don’t have a specific shopping list, but I’m sure I will be inspired. I do want to visit the brother sewing machine stand and have a overlocker chat and demonstration and hopefully get some well needed advice.
I will be looking at fabrics and perhaps a trouser pattern from SewOverIt? Her dress pattern fits so well, I think this will be a safe bet for trousers.
Once I remove the layers, today’s look is the Sew Over It cowl next top, my Sew Simple Tatty Devine necklace, dark blue Levi’s and black sequin converse.
I am on my way home from Olympia, 3 workshops done. There was lots of no shows, obviously due to the weather. Such a shame! Better for the people who did manage to get there, as more attention and less crowds. Everyone loved the couture class and I picked up a few tips myself; the best one being: leave a long thread at one end of your loop, so if the loop turner doesn’t hook on, you can pull the end back through. Love that! I will definitely use that tip next time.
I then made fabric scissor holders and all managed to make both products in the hour. The shirt workshop was my favourite. Seeing the ladies on the floor cutting out their bags from old shirts made me smile. They didn’t quite manage to finish, just handles to sew on, so all agreed they didn’t want to rush, so took them home to finish. I gave out several of my flyers for future workshops, with lots of interest.
Then back on with the layers and welly’s ready for the journey home. There were no trains at Olympia, so I shared a cab with Barley from Fabrication, she has her own sewing shop in Hackney so learning about her journey to this was really interesting. She is lovely and we had a good sewing chat. http://fabrications1.co.uk/index.php?page=highlights
Day 2 Friday 2nd March
My husbands work has been cancelled and my son’s school is closed, so I left them both in bed on their electronic devices.
I’m on the tube already, I have several layers on again and managed to dig out some wool socks, as even with 2 pairs of cotton socks yesterday, my feet were frozen. Today they are toasty and warm. It’s all about the fabric properties you know! That’s years of teaching A Level textiles theory rubbing off on me.
I have 2 workshops today; patchwork and appliqué. I have another bag full of materials. I have 2.5cm liberty squares, liberty fabric, bonder webbed fabric, linen, sewing room images and tones of toy stuffing. We will be making pin cushions and place mats today. In the patchwork lesson we will focus on accuracy, using the sewing machine guidelines to help us make our seams all the same measurement and make sure all squares join together perfectly, full instructions on how to make this pin cushion are here Pincushion worksheet
For the appliqué class, well this is more about having fun. I have printed out some images for inspiration and lots of floral fabric to cut motifs out of, then you make your own picture composition and free-motion embroidery on top, it’s great fun. You back this with another linen panel and you have a very lovely place mat toi take home.
I hope more people manage to get here today, as yesterday’s show was the quietest and most no shows I have ever experienced.
Today’s outfit is a leopard print top from next, as always jeans and Liberty trainers. Oh and my Tatty Devine necklace of course. my old boss wouldn’t allow staff to wear jeans to work, so after 10 years not being allowed, I wear jeans more than ever, as its now my choice of work wear, not his. https://www.tattydevine.com/
It was much easier getting in today, no train delays and arrived within in 45 minutes door to door. I arrived early (I am always early) so enough time to grab a coffee and set up with no unnecessary stress.
I had a lovely sewing angel helping me, she changed all the machine feet to free-motion for my second lesson and I hardly noticed it happening. The first workshop we made a pin cushion and I shared some of my simple tips and everyone managed to finish a perfectly made cushion. They matched their squares so well and they even managed to slip stitch the opening closed.
Then fun with appliqué was exactly what it says on the tin, you can see some lovely examples in the photo gallery below. When demonstrating, I enjoyed having a go myself. This is definitely something I need to make more time for and master. It’s such a skilled art. Emma Giacalone  is a master, check out her work here https://emmagiacalone.com/
I am homeward bound now. I have managed to bring one bag of materials home and left 2 at the show for the next 5 workshops still to teach. I really don’t want to be laden down on the last journey home. Rather than look around I have decided to go straight home, the later you leave, the more chances of train delays. I am expecting some more patchwork squares, so fingers crossed they are at home when I return.
Day 3 Saturday 3rd March
I’ve just boarded a train at Tottenham Court Road, to Shepherd’s Bush, for day 3 of Knit and stitch. I have a bag full on shirts, as today I’m recycling shirts again and then teaching how to insert a lapped zip.
I have just been reading Sew now and Sew magazines. Sew now has lots and I’m going to write to the editor to see if I can advertise and or enter my sewing story.
Just arrived at Shepherd’s Bush and train is delayed for another 15 minutes, thank goodness for my woolly hat.
Arrived with enough time to grab a coffee and then set up. I had the help of a sewing angel. First workshop was my shirt to bag one and today it was fully booked, so 16 lovely ladies cutting up shirts. There was a great buzz and everyone had so much fun transforming their shirts.
Then straight after was my zip master class. This workshop is a lot more technical and I was so pleased to hear everyone enjoyed my simple life changing tips. Making zips less scary and easier to do. Everyone made a little bag. my sewing angel was a dream today, so helpful and nice to share my day with.
I have really enjoyed sharing my passion today with some lovely like-minded people. Now for the journey home, first I need to organise all my materials and try to take home as much as I can. Then I start the layering up again and begin my cold long journey home. Just 2 more workshops tomorrow and I’m done. I have 2 hours between sessions tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to having a good look around. The only thing I really need is some fabric clips. My Liberty squares still haven’t arrived, so if they don’t this may be what I am doing in my break tomorrow.:(
Day 4 Sunday 4th March
It’s the last day of the show and I’m already on the train, the show has been so much fun, the journeys I will be glad to see the back of however, but the show I have thoroughly enjoyed. I am now in that reflective stage, evaluating the weekend and thinking about how I would do it differently. When I got home last night I sat with some sewing books, deciding on some new content for the next one. The ideas I thought of where; tailoring, mastering different suit pockets, bag fastenings and pockets and inserting different types of boning to a corset seam. Maybe a corset toile? Just ideas at this stage. I will type them up next week and send them in to Wendy Gardiner to see what she thinks.
I have one workshop at 10.30 today, then 2 hours break before another two. I hoped to have a look round, but my 2.5cm squares didn’t arrive yesterday, so I will need to use this time to cut enough squares for a full class of 16. They need 9 squares each. Argh! I hope to rope in a sewing angel to help me. I have a cutting mat, my Liberty scraps, a ruler and rotary cutter ready. I ordered squares ages ago and they never arrived, I complained to the supplier and still no sign. I ordered again from someone else over a week ago and then the snow hit and I suspect has delayed the post. Hence no squares.
reviewing my classes,  I feel like I need I to improve my appliqué class, make it a cushion perhaps? I need to spend some time making some samples. I felt like this was my weakest class, it was fun, I just think it needs more structure and have a better product to take home. I may make different larger sewing shapes ready and they can decide on the composition?
My son has been home with his Dad for the last 4 days now, I have actually enjoyed being the one going off to work every day, but I am looking forward to getting back in my workshop/dining room and getting my home back in order. the washing and ironing have been growing while I work. Every day I return from the show I have emptied my bag on my sewing table and walked away, as you can imagine it’s a mess now and I just need some time to put things away. I have so many projects on hold before the show, so can’t wait to get back to work. The first thing I will do is edit and upload this blog post. The simple sew paper pattern company agreed for me to stock their patterns and use them in my workshops, so I can now have the flyer printed and make the workshops live on eventbrite. The first pattern I want to use is the skirt and blouse one. I need to select which other patterns I want to stock, then order them next week. I want to make my Sew Over It trousers too. I have my textiles club tomorrow afternoon, so need to prep for this. They will be painting tomorrow, so lots of materials to organise. I also need to make my sons Michael Jackson costume, this could take some time as I want to use the sequins fabric.
I did have the drama of having to cut 140 squares before 1.30pm, luckily a sewing angel cut several whilst I ran my first workshop. When I went to continue I realised they were all different sizes, so spent the next hour fixing them, luckily I managed to get them all done in time. I also left pre cut lining fabric for my containers at home, so cut some more from what I had and thankfully enough. The year of teaching has prepared me well for coping under pressure and improvising on the spot, so no drama really. Everyone finished their containers and pin cushions and all seemed really pleased. I had a few young girls who did really well too, I was quite impressed with their independence and perseverance.
Wendy Gardiner (the amazing lady who organises all these events, came and told me that a helper from yesterday was singing my praises, saying how professional I was, how lovely to hear such positive feedback. Wendy wants me to do the Dublin event in November. 4 days away from my boys? I’m not sure. She promised she would give me enough workshops for all day everyday to make it worth my while. I’ll think about it? Not sure how I would manage to get all my tools and materials there? Mmmm!
All done, PHEW! 10 workshops taught, tick!
I have just had to pack up 16 sewing machines, worst part of my day, now for the journey home. We all chipped in, which made the job a lot easier. It’s much warmer today, so not so many layers.
I hope you recognise that the show is for all different ages and skills and I hope you will come and join one of the hundreds of workshops running at the next show at Alexandra Palace in October. Students; its worth visiting to see the amazing textiles work, knitter’ for wool, sewist’ for fabric and paper patterns and if you are new to sewing, come along and try a beginners workshop. https://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/
All in all a great 4 days of sewing, meeting lots of like-minded lovely creatives.
If you missed the show and can’t make Alexandra Park in October have a look at my future workshops here: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/itssewsimple-14450572854
Now for the huge pile of ironing. 🙁

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