Sunday, 13 July 2014

Plans and Musings for new Workshops.

So the thing that I spend a lot of time and energy thinking about new things I could teach. My most popular class is a beginners class, which ticks over but then there's a wealth of other sewing related projects out there for folks to learn and experiment with. I'm not afraid to admit that my class take up has been erratic with some classes getting filled easily and others-which I thought would be really interesting, I have to cancel due to low numbers. It's a total mystery. This time around I've tried a double pronged attack with my usual flyers in the usual places like vintage places and sewing shops (see previous post) Plus an advert in a local magazine for 2 months and I've put Paypal buttons on my website- this has definitely helped me because It's so much easier to collect money although I haven't seen a significant rise in numbers. This time around, and for a change I'm planning to get a friend to teach one of the workshops. It's a This 'n' That Patchwork and Screen printed bag. Its a great size for a sewing/knitting bag and as the name suggests is made from delightful screenprinted (on a small scale) patches.
Next up is a Creatures workshop. I enjoy making characters when I've reached an impasse with my sewing. It's good to have a total Switch with the way you'd normally work and so when I've had a glut of clothes making I'll stop and create a creature. So we witness the birth of Raydene Flanagan and Peregrine Malcolm, don't ask me what they are because I don't rightly know. A day of Invention and creation which I'm sure will be great fun and full of suprises.
Finally, an appliqued design onto an A Line skirt. So basically It's an A- line skirt class plus your own appliqued design. The clothes I make are covered (some of them)in applique and It's so quick and versatile to do but looks so effective and skillful too, especially when combined with hand-stitches and a few beads. It'll be a chance to design and develop your own applique, which is going to look so original and interesting. As everyone who reads my blog knows-anything you make has got to beat shop brought clothing hands down.

Support Your Local Sewing Shop.

Here in sunny Nupton we are fortunate enough to have a great sewing shop run by husband and wife Andy and Gill. The shop has been on the Wellingborough Road for a number of years and they're always cheery and happy to see customers. They mainly stock Janome machines but also sell overlockers and a selection of reconditioned machines too. I always tell my learners to visit for advice and to by their machines. people sometimes seem really chuffed to bag a bargain machine from Aldi or Tesco but in truth they're going to be crap and the man from Tesco isn't going to be able to advise you when the machine goes wrong, or you need new parts. Don't go there.

They've also very kindly let me make a dress for their window which I installed last month. It's a hand painted silk organza with a very delicate 1950's seersucker bodice. This pattern was based on a wedding dress I made last year, which had only one rose on it. Im my shop version the roses are various colours and have sequins surrounding them.
Every minute spent painting this dress was a pleasure and I wish I could get more commissions to do hand painted garments (any brave brides out there????) Although having said that, this week I'm painting a bra for Ariel the little mermaid!
Back to the shop.....they also sell parts for machines and have a good range of thread colours,zips and other shizzle. They'll help you with sewing related queries and conundrums. Plus, they've got a very cute dog called Teddy.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

New and Exciting Classes Added to the Website.

Well, I spent a major part of last week getting work ready for The Selvedge Fashion Fair in Bath. Which was yesterday and was a fair old drive I must say. I also forgot to put extra money in the parking machine and racked up a massive £25 in car park fees. The weather was a bit of a bummer as well. Anyhow, now I'm back and have started to take bookings for one of my favourite classes which is this marvellour Weekender Bag. As you can see from this handful of examples from a previous class they can be made from virtually any fabric going- tea towels, tablecloths, curtains... and because It's backed it's extra sturdy. This class is a quick whizz and there's a lot to get through in the workshop so it's very important that you can sew swiftly and steadily.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Taking a respite from sewing clothes.

Snowdrops are blooming in the hedgerows, daffs are nodding on urban roundabouts and Im back in the studio. Still sporting fingerless gloves and wearing my coat all day, but Im here, focussed and putting in a days work. My workshops are filling up very, very slowly and if you know anyone who wants to make a kimono, learn to sew or make some French Knickers please direct them to my site where you can now book classes using Paypal. Hurrah!
Last week I spoke to the Stitch and Bitch group about having a little competition to make a "creature " of some variety using old textiles and found objects. Whilst doing my other work I became involved with making my own character who Ive named Raydene Flanagan.
She started off as a sketch on the back of an envelope and gradually developed from there. I didn't have that much of a plan, although I did make a paper pattern and knew I wanted to use domestic linens. I love hand sewing and free machine embroidery, so she has some funny little tats- mermaids and such. Im also re-connecting with crochet after many years and crocheted her top using 3 yarns twisted together. her skirt is made from silk tie fragments embroidered together and she has fragments of beads, buttons and tiny objects stitched to the hem of her skirt. I sort of came unstuck when it came to shoes so have just left that for now because Im allowed to.
I just stitched away and let the work develop. A rarity for me because Im often working with patterns and deadlines. Its very feeing to work in such a way, you never know what will emerge. She is strange though isn't she?

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Kimono Jacket Evening Class Starts in April.

Last year I went on a wandering foray down the High Street. Usually returning with a lipstick and Marks and Sparks biscuits. Aside from the biscuits, I saw some attractive Kimono jackets in River island and whilst i loved the prints i couldn't bring myself to buy one. Mainly because the fabrics are such poor quality and people would know where I brought it from so it would date and lose it's appeal quickly. I'd been toying with the idea of the kimono jacket for a long time and found a pattern in a book my dad had brought for me when I was 15! so that's many years ago now. I had to draft it up but I was a very, very simple shape. It didn't take long to make either.
Then I had a little play around with shortening the pattern and like this version even better. Both lots of fabric are from the Fabric Emporia which is at the end of my street and I'm in there at least twice a week. This shop alone deserves it own posting which Ill do soon. I digress, this jacket has a lot of mileage in it, embroidered panels, massive pockets, contrast fabrics, endless posibilities. My next version is going to be in hand painted silk. Oh, yes also It's going to be an evening class which starts in April and you can book through my website. Hurrah!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Getting Back Into The Swing.

Ive been doing a lot of planning recently as well as writing new workshops. I've embraced 21st Century technology and added Paypal buttons to my website which enables people to book on classes straightaway. I'm pleased that it's actually working out well. The classes at My Little Vintage-where I teach only beginners and Intermediate tick along nicely. And Stitch and Bitch started agin this week after a long 2 months away. There was a definate frisson of excitement as folks caught up with each, happily everyone returned and we managed to squeeze in a couple of newbies as well.
My good friend Sally, who is a total and utter genius when it comes to dreaming up ideas, creating stuff and connecting people up, helped me design this awesome leaflet/letter to promote my classes and workshops. It has managed to capture the essence of Abigail Jackson in picture form. Im so fed up with seeing flyers for sewing classes, nail bars and hair dressers which all look the same and litter shop counters. I wanted something which looked so awesome people wanted to carry it around with them and show it around saying "Look at this...Im going to one of these classes". I (modestly) think we've managed to achieve that quite well.
Add caption
Two of the classes Ive planned are making an A Line Skirt with mushrooms on it. And A childs dress with a hickory, dickory dock motif and a mouse in the pocket. I thought that rather than photograph the pieces I would do some illistrations. I don't get to draw as often as I'd like. So found this childs dress a real pleasure.
Finally, Im making stock for Landmark Arts which takes place in Teddingto across the first weekend in March. I've made a decision not to do Selvedge Spring fair this year and to try Landmark Arts instead. I had planned to make some kimono jackets last week but then decided to not buy any new fabrics and to use up trims I brought from raystitch and silks I'd had for years. I made some cushions, which Im happy with but feel I should've made something a bit more substantial. Which means Ill just have to make the kimono tops this week instead.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Burns Street Studios- More Home Grown Talent.

I've been trying in earnest to get back into the studio because it is very cold in there. Today i worked in my coat and fingerless gloves all day. Which became quite difficult as I was painting cardboard tubes with thick glue and trying to wrap string around them. We finally got our sign up outside which looks stonking and I'll photograph that in the next week or so. The folk who work in the studio next door Dan and Lauren are super talented. Dan is an incredibly skilled painter and Lauren stitches creatures and her work is beautiful and wonderfully imagined. Their studio was looking particularly inviting so I snuck in and took some photo's. I hope you enjoy them.
I do enjoy looking at Images of other Artists workspaces. But these days they inevitably have Ikea shelving, tidied fabric piles and plenty of whimsy vintage stuff. And are trying (sometimes a bit too hard) to be whacky or contrived Arty. I don't want to see jam jars of meadow flowers and diolley bunting. Give me a felt mushroom with a menacing face any day of the week.