Friday, 21 August 2015

Craft Group

So, I mentioned previously that I had offered to teach my friend's craft group to sew a skirt. After I had offered, I became full of self doubt and nervousness. What would they ask me? What if I didn't know the answer? What if they made a mistake and I didn't know how to fix it? What if they hated their skirts?!

Of course, in the end it was fine. In fact, it was more than fine. It was fun! Although I did have a wobble when someone (jokingly, I think) asked "so, at what point does this become fun?"!

Can you feel the concentration?
There were 6 in the group in total, although 2 ladies decided to do their own thing, and one of them knew what she was doing and just ploughed on. The other just needed help with an invisible zip, which I was able to do. Phew!

The other 4 ladies made the Ilsley skirt. They had all used a sewing machine previously, which was great, but only one, Jen, had ever made clothes (not successfully though, according to her). What I found interesting was that my friend Lorna, who has been making curtains, cushions and other soft furnishings professionally for a few years, found it quite difficult. The others were just baffled. But they were all keen!

We ended up doing it over 2 sessions. On the first night, it was fun but very hectic. We had limited space for cutting out, so everyone was at different stages, and most constantly needed my help. Fortunately I was able to explain everything fairly clearly and was able to answer all questions. Jen in particular had some issues with her pockets which took me a LOT of brain power to figure out. It was constant though, I literally had to explain every step and often hand hold while they were doing it (but I made them do it - even threading the machines!) and by the time I went home, I was hoarse from talking and my brain would not switch off. I lay in bed awake for about an hour and once I did fall asleep I dreamed about skirts!!!

With hindsight, this pattern probably wasn't the easiest for a beginner, as the very first step is that curved hem, but we conquered it, and went on to do pockets and even French seams. I'm not sure that seam allowances were necessarily adhered to, but with a loose fit and an elasticated waist, it didn't matter too much.

On the second evening, a week later, there were only 3 ladies. One had finished her skirt at home and the 2 who had done their own thing had also finished. Everyone was also up to the same stage by that point, so I had a much easier evening. Thankfully, they all finished on the second evening, minus a little bit of handsewing for some.

None were up for getting their legs out and modelling their skirts properly (can't say I blame them), but they all graciously allowed me to take their photo while they pretended.

Lorna, with her beautiful Liberty-esque cotton poplin.

Katie, with her pretty leaf print cotton.

Gail, with what I think was Robert Kaufman dot chambray. Gorgeous!
The verdict was good. They were all delighted with their skirts and were pretty confident that they would wear them if the sun ever shines again. However, I get the impression that none of them will be rushing to make another one any time soon. I had fun though, and it was nice to share my knowledge and help them achieve what they set out to do.


  1. Oh, well done you! I'm sure they all had a great time, and how lucky they were to have you as a teacher! Here's hoping you get a bit of summer over there sometime soon so they can enjoy them :)

  2. That's great they all had finished skirts by the second night - good going on them, and on you! Their skirts all look really good!

  3. Wow, that's impressive. Did they pay you for your time? A lot of my friends have asked me to help them learn to sew. But I can just see it being how you described the first night a lot of hard work and a headache for no reward!


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