My mother has recently had to go into a care home at the age of 98, she was living alone & kept forgetting to eat & drink. She wouldn’t have anyone live with her, so it was the only option. But this isn’t a sad story it was really touching to see the things she had treasured over the years, the things that had made it through various house moves & clear outs, the things that mattered. The photo of the wedding dress I made, the outfit she made for herself.
It also meant that I spent more time with my sister than I have done for a long time, we talked about family memories, looked at old photographs & paperwork. Amongst the old photos were pictures of the wedding dress I made when I was 18, yes, I got married at 19! Don’t laugh too much, it was 1977. My sewing journey started much earlier than this, when I was a small child, mum taught me how to sew. Mum is standing next to me & she made her outfit, so as you can see I had an excellent teacher.
Most parents don’t have time to teach their children to sew, in fact many don’t know themselves. I specialise in teaching nervous beginners up to intermediate sewers. There are lots of different classes available, weekly groups & one off workshops. If you don’t have a sewing machine, let me know & I will bring one along for you to use. That wat you don’t have to lay out a lot of money before you know if you will like it or not. Once you have learnt the basics you can then teach your children a skill for life!
The next Beginners Sewing Machine Skills is Sunday 7th May in Chesham (April class is fully booked) or you can choose one of the weekly groups, come for 1 week, 6 weeks or 12 weeks. The groups are ongoing some people come for 1 session others come for several years. You learn at your own pace & choose what you would like to make. The only thing that limits you is your imagination!
Please check out the Sewing Seams Easy website:
My gift to you is a tutorial on How to make a tote bag out of an old pair of jeans.
https://sewingseamseasy.co.uk/sew-now/ I bet you can’t make just one bag!
Let me tell you about the annual visit to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia
I try to get to the Knitting & Stitching Show at least once a year, it’s held in London (though I think there are some other cities that host it) at Olympia in the spring & Alexandria Palace in the Autumn. A fantastic gathering of stalls, displays, workshops and demonstrations. It is on all weekend so try & get there if you can, it’s well worth it.
This year I managed to not buy any fabric! There was loads I liked but I was shopping for a cutting mat, cutter (yes, I’ve finally been converted to using one!) Various other bits & pieces of equipment & braid etc.
I’ve fallen in love! With an embroidery machine (no not a man, I’ve got one of those at home & he is very tolerant of all my sewing stuff, so I won’t be changing him any time soon!) So not only do I need to save up about £2000, I need a workshop to store everything in, the boat just isn’t big enough. I looked at both the Brother & Janome machines, I must admit I liked the sound of the Brother one better, but do you have an embroidery machine? Please let me know which one & what you think of it. Game of Thrones Collage
Behind the scenes at Sewing Seams Easy
When I’m extremely glad Doris has gone, today has been a beautiful spring day. Sunshine & the birds singing again. Yesterday life on the boat was a little scary, all down to Doris! We had waves on the canal & white horses across the reservoir, the boat was tugging at the mooring ropes. One very good thing was that the wind was pushing us against the bank & blowing the trees away from us. Boats moored on the other side of the canal weren’t quite as lucky, a tree came down across the towpath but luckily it missed the boats by a few feet. The towpath was blocked when I drove home early afternoon, so had to reverse back, luckily, I only have a small car & I could turn it round in the passing place. Otherwise I’d have had to reverse up a very steep ramp onto a busy road, left the car in the pub carpark overnight.
Well on the sewing front I’m getting ideas together for the canal festivals that start at Easter & continue all summer. As well as making items to sell, I’m going to make up some sewing kits for people to make up themselves. I will give you the dates later then you would be very welcome to come, have a chat & book up some classes.
But I want to tell you about the next Beginners Sewing Machine Skills which is on Sunday 5th March in Chesham. This class is for ladies who are struggling to take the sewing machine out of the box! If you are nervous & think the instruction manual has been written by aliens, you are in the right place! I can help you, gain the skills you need to tame that beast of a machine. There is no such thing as a silly question.
Just to keep you up to date, my mother is settling in the care home, so far so good. When I went to see her yesterday they had an optician visiting doing eye tests. Well as might be expected she needs some new glasses, but they will bring them back in a couple of weeks. But must admit when they had sorted out her prescription, she could read more of the print than I could without glasses!
This week has been a mixture of highs & lows, the lows are all to do with my mother’s health. Well she is 98 & still quite fit for her age, but she has been in hospital since before Christmas, she had stopped eating & drinking, they couldn’t just put her on a drip as her heart wouldn’t stand that. Amersham hospital have had her since just before Christmas & have got her physically about as good as it’s going to be. She lived on her own, not wanting help, but now she is having to go into a care home as she won’t have people living in the house with her. So, we wait & worry how she will settle, tonight will be the first night.
The highs are all business related, I had a meeting with a marketing lady to arrange for her to do some of the techie stuff to do with my web site etc. That will be a load off my mind, but we met in Hemel Hempstead, I took one look at the venue & thought this would be a great place to hold sewing classes, quiet areas with large tables & plenty of light. So being cheeky I asked the manager, only to find that I had met him before as he used to run the Akeman in Tring where I have had a class for several years. So, starting the 1st March I will be running a weekly sewing group in Hemel Hempstead.
Let me know about your week, have you done any sewing lately? I’m making a rag rug at the moment to use up loads of scraps, you wind strips of fabric round cord then sew it all together. I’ll take a picture when it’s finished.
I can’t sew, I’ve got enough stress in my life without taking on anything else! But that’s just it, sewing can be therapeutic, it really doesn’t have to be stressful.
I find that most of my clients get so involved with what they are making that they totally zone out from work & family problems. It gives your brain a rest from the other things that are going on in your life, a chance for a slower pace & some quiet time. Some classes are full of chat & laughter, others you can feel the concentration & could hear a pin drop.
Your brain can only process so much at one time & as you lose yourself in creating, which puts you in a similar state as meditation! Sewing is a natural anti-depressant, apparently, your brain releases dopamine, wow!
Another good thing that I’ve only just found out, sewing may help protect your brain against signs of aging. When you are sewing, you use different parts of your brain, you have to use spatial thinking, creative thinking & problem solving.
Sewing can also help to lower your blood pressure, I know it doesn’t feel like that when you are having to unpick a zip for the third time! So now for some numbers, experienced sewers heart rate dropped by 11 beats per minute after sewing, while beginners heart rate dropped by 7 beats per minute! They also tested them while reading a newspaper, playing video games & painting, there heart rates went up by 4-8 beats per minute.
I’ve got a stall for a few days at a local craft fair, at World’s End Garden Centre, near Wendover in Buckinghamshire (20th & 21st December) come along & say hello, we can talk sewing or boating or anything else you are interested in!
I did a stall at the beginning of December & one of the other stall holders had a very large embroidery machine, she was putting names & logos on different items for customers. Well, I had seen something similar at the Knitting & Stitching Show, but had walked quickly past tutting to myself that’s not proper craft, the machine does it all!!
After talking to Yana of www.lovinglylabelled.com & seeing the creativity that goes into her work this is something I would love to try. Now just 2 small obstacles to this No1 the £6,000 price tag to the machine, No2 how on earth would I get this beast onto the boat & where on earth would I put it! If you have any ideas on how to solve this problem I would love to hear it.
I have vouchers available as Christmas Presents they can be used either for face to face classes & workshops or for the online course. Suitable for family & friends who want to learn to sew or have some sewing experience already. Just get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your address & the amount you wish to spend, I will post it to you & you can pay via PayPal or BACS
When people find out that I live on a narrowboat the 1st question is – aren’t you cold in winter? The answer is I’ve lived in colder houses, we have a Morso stove which burns coal & wood, it runs 2 radiators & a towel rail. I also use the stove to cook on, I start a casserole off on the gas, then transfer it over to the stove & leave it to bubble for several hours, sometimes putting it on a trivet (if I want to leave it all day or if the stove is very hot). Jacket potatoes can be sliced in half, wrapped in foil & put in the empty ash tray for an hour.
The main problem is lack of space, but we manage, fabric is stored in the seats of the dinette & under the sofa cushions. You learn to get rid of stuff that you don’t use or need. I am getting to the point I need some extra storage for the sewing equipment, 2 sewing machines & 2 over lockers, also I have asked Father Christmas for an embroidery machine!
How do we get power? Well running the engine will top up the batteries (to run anything on 12v, lights, fridge etc.) it will also heat the water. We are very lucky to have electricity at our mooring so we can use 240v, but if you don’t have that you can have solar panels or a wind turbine, when cruising we use a generator to power sewing machine/tv/computer/phones & to charge batteries if not moving for a day or so.
I’m a great believer in where there is a will there is a way, I love living partly off grid! I would like to have a butty just for teaching on, that would be great, cruising around the canals teaching sewing. In later blogs, I’ll tell you why we moved onto a boat & ways it might be suitable for you!
Sewing Seams Easy is featured in SEW NOW magazine on page 7 with ‘Reinvent Your Jeans’ you can download a video & worksheet for my Jeans Tote Bag www.sewingseamseasy.co.uk/sew-now there is also a photo of my fantastic jeans patchwork cushion cover. You can learn how to make that if you join Sewing Seams Easy Online Sewing Bee www.sewingseamseasy.co.uk/join-us
I have vouchers available as Christmas Presents they can be used either for face to face classes & workshops or for the online course. Suitable for family & friends who want to learn to sew or have some sewing experience already. Just get in touch & we can arrange to send them out to you.
Have you always wanted to sew but don’t know where to start?
Haven’t got time to go to classes or there are no classes in your area?
Or maybe you don’t have any childcare, are house bound or need to rely on other people for transport?
How to get Free access to Sewing Seams Easy Online Sewing Bee, if you come to any of my face to face classes you will get Free access to the online course, that way you can ask questions & get more help after you have gone home! I have opened up some more classes at www.sewingseamseasy.co.uk/events just book on an event & I will let you into the online classes for no extra charge!