Week 1 : Beginner / Refresher ‘How to use a sewing machine’: The Tote Bag
Get to know your sewing machine and leave with a machine sewn tote bag – a perfect shopping accessory or use it to bring sewing tools to each workshop! The workshop is aimed at those new to using sewing machines or those who’ve not used one for a while. In this session you will learn how to thread your sewing machine, wind a bobbin, change needles, adjust the tension for different fabrics and then how to guide fabric to sew in a straight line!
Sewing Skills: You will be introduced to sewing double seams, turning corners, and top stitching for a professional finish.
Weeks 2 & 3 : Construct and Folk Applique Cushion Cover:
Learning how to applique is a great way to master your sewing machine skills. You will explore different applique techniques to create two folk art style panels with flowers and bird motifs. You will learn how different fabrics and threads create different effects as you build up layers of fabric to realise your folk art motifs. Using oddments of fabric with double sided interfacing, you will learn how to cut small pieces of fabric into the shapes you need. Ironing the cut fabric shapes onto your panel will stabilize the picture you are building up as you learn how to pivot your fabric and sew curved lines using satin stitch and top stitch. You will also be introduced to free motion embroidery** to decorate a second panel – this opens up a wealth of possibilities from applique to writing in stitches!
Week 3: Cushion Construction:
Making your cushion from one of your folk art panels, you will revisit the basic sewing skills from the beginner / refresher session. You will also learn how to sew in an invisible zip to close the cushion cover so it will be easy to remove, wash and keep it looking pristine! Filled with a hypoallergenic cushion pad, your cushion will be ready to showcase or snuggle into at home!
Week 4: Box cushion with piping:
If you’ve ever wanted to update your sofa seat cushions or change your garden furniture pads, knowing how to sew a box cushion (with piping and a zipper) is ideal! In this session you will learn how to measure and cut fabric according to the size of the pad used to make a box cushion. You can choose to vamp up your cushion with applique or free motion embroidery before learning how to insert bias piping and a covered zip. When its finished, you’ll have a cushion with a professional finish that you could use on your sewing chair!
Sewing skills: measure and cut fabric with a seam allowance, stitch piping into seams, insert a zip into the cushion gusset.
Week 5: Canvas Strap Door Stop:
Vikki Walsh is a Designer Maker based in the coastal town of Brightlingsea. Driven by a passion for vintage textiles and eco design, Vikki has a wealth of experience in leading craft workshops. A true artisan, Vikki is committed to keeping traditional craft skills alive and is passionate about enabling people to realise their own creative skills.
After hosting Vikki’s Doorstop workshop in October, we put our heads together and created a course designed for complete beginners in machine sewing and fabric construction. Safe in the hands of this highly skilled craftswoman, you will be eased into the fundamentals of using a sewing machine, developing the technical skills and confidence to sew more – whilst producing some really lovely yet practical items.
Starting her business ‘Mae Kandoo’ in 2012, Vikki was recognised as ‘being at the forefront of the UKs eco craft movement’ and was selected to run workshops at Wayne Hemingway’s ‘Vintage’ at the Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire. Since then she has built a broad portfolio of sewing and other craft workshops for different organizations in widely varied venues. Examples include Carnival Parade Costumes (Notting Hill style!) with fashion students at Braintree College, Fun Fascinators from top drawer clutter at Colchester Free Music Festival and Willow Flower corsages on the Lighthouse Boat at the Hythe. Since 2014 Vikki is proud to have been facilitating craft workshops for Help for Heroes. Working with veterans, serving members of the Armed Forces and family members has been insightful and inspiring. Last summer she was commissioned to provide community workshops for the Tides of Tendring project which resulted in an outstanding installation at the Martello Tower; a 12 metre fishing net suspended from the roof to the ground outside. Covered in clusters of flowers made from plastic bottles, the installation raised awareness about plastic waste, coastal erosion and flooding. Vikki’s artisan skills are reflected in the breadth of her work – coupled with designing and making bespoke quality gifts and home wares, her most recent commission was to make shadow puppets and a banraku style puppet for Chameleons Web Theatre Company.
Please Bring £10 each session to cover all your materials for every project.
Your machine (with manual if you have it!)
Fabric cutting scissors
2 reels sewing machine cotton in contrasting colours
Basic equipment (see week 1)
Free motion embroidery foot**
Embroidery ring ( alex has plenty in studio if you haven’t got one)
Invisible zipper foot
Free motion/darning foot for your machine.
Sewing machine cotton
Basic sewing tools (see week 1)
Free motion embroidery foot (optional)