Monday, 23 March 2015

Sewing Classes, what we teach in them, and what we learn from them.

From being too scared to try threading a machine to making a cushion
We have been running sewing  classes in Colchester Fabric8 since last Summer.  During this time we have run classes in putting in zips, patchwork, making fancy dress costumes and how to use a sewing machine.  There is a special warm glow you get when you give someone the skills to create something. I have lost count of the number of people who have come along to our "How to use a sewing machine" and told us they bought a machine years ago but have been too afraid to use it. The fear of failing can be very powerful and very destructive. The look of pride on people's faces when they hold up something they learnt to make in an hour or two and the determination they  have to go home and start sewing is fantastic.

A group of happy quilters with  out Patchwork,
quilting and appliqué tutor Michelle.
We get different kinds of people coming to our classes. Many are like the young lady above who was afraid to even thread the machine  at first. Often these people have a project in mind and need help overcoming the initial fear or maybe just need a little knowledge. We then have people with a good basic knowledge but who want to try something new like our Patchwork and Quilting classes or our Machine Appliqué classes.  Often these people like to come in groups and they like to make it part of a girls day out.
For these people we now offer a special discount.
If you book 2 places on the same class you get 5% off.
If you book 3 places will get you 10% off
If you book 4 places will get you 15% off.
And if you fill the class up with 5 people you get 20% off, that's a whole person free!

 We have learnt a lot from teaching as well though
1) Mean people don't sew. I mean it, we've never had anyone who wasn't totally lovely attend our classes.

2) It is always worth going to a basic class even if you know loads. We have had several people book in on the "how to use y our sewing Machine" even though they felt very confident in their abilities. Sure enough they always leave with a little gem of knowledge. One lady had been making curtains for years and said had she been to the class 10 years ago who life would have been a lot less frustrating .

3) Teaching helps you improve yourself. By slowing down and thinking about everything I do as I explain how to sew I have found myself becoming neater and more precise!

4) Enthusiasm is contagious, and it works BOTH WAYS! Our students always leave primed and ready to sew (most pick up a lot of fabric after the class to go home and work on). However after the classes I tend to stay behind and carry on sewing myself. There's nothing quite like sharing a passion for sewing and quilting to make you want to grab some fabric and start creating.

5) THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS - EVER! This can not be stressed enough! What may seem obvious because you've sewn for decades may not be at all apparent to someone setting out. And sometimes the questions really do make me think long and hard (such as how do you adjust the tension when sewing a light silt to a heavy furnishing fabric).

So there you have it, great reasons to either try a sewing class or to teach one! If you're handy with a machine then invite a friend over for a sewing session and teach them the basics. you will BOTH find it fun and rewarding!

And if you're anywhere near Colchester pop in for a sewing lesson with us! at the moment prices start at £8.00 and the lessons are not only informative but great fun!

Check back tomorrow for the second part of the blog. Teaching Kids  How to Sew!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Blackout lining your curtains

Yep I've been a TOTAL man and failed to multi task. The world of Fabric8 has been an interesting one lately. Whilst we sadly had to say farewell to Felixstowe out Colchester branch is expanding it's services. We now run some superb sewing classes (more on them in our next blog) as well as expanding and improving our fabric website . With so much going on this blog fell to the side a little, but it  was never far from my thoughts. During this time I have been preparing a few tutorials for you such as how to shorten curtains, fun sewing projects for kids and some patch working tips. All of these in the coming weeks.

  So where to begin with the first blog of the year? I took inspiration from our shop window this week. In previous blogs we've looked at why you should line your curtains , what kinds of curtain linings are out there and how to line your curtains.

Lately we've been focusing on blackout lining. Check out these examples of regular curtain lining and blackout lining.

Curtain WITH Blackout Lining
Curtain WITHOUT Blackout Lining 

As you will have noticed you can still clearly see the pattern of the curtain with the regular lining clearly through the reverse side of the curtain. The blackout lining however totally blocks everything out. So what are the advantages to blackout lining?

1) If you have children they may stay in bed a little longer giving you the lay in you deserve.

2) Blackout Lining reflects heat as well as light helping you reduce your fuel bills.

3) Blackout lining is slightly heavier than ordinary lining and helps your curtains hang straight making your curtains look even better!

4) Blackout Lining is durable. With proper care you wouldn't need to change your curtains for many years to come.

So if you ever visit us and talk about curtains you hopefully will understand our love for blackout lining

Take care and I promise not to leave it so long before the next update.