30 December 2009

class schedule for january

We have 2 starting from scratch beginner's days running in january-

Sunday Jan 17th 2010, & Sunday Jan 31st 2010

We will be holding our drop in sewing surgeries on-

Wednesdays- 6th &13th Jan 2010,
Mondays 11th & 18th Jan 2010,
Friday 15th Jan 2010

We have 3 dates in January for our half day sewing classes-
Sat Jan 9th 2010
Sat Jan 16 th 2010
Sat Jan 30th 2010

hope to see you at a thrifty class soon...

officially a rubbish blogger!!

Officially I am a terrible blogger! It has been almost 2 months since my last post!

In my defence I did have a catastrophic computer breakdown-my hard-drive died,  which took a month to fix. I was busy continuing to bulid the website until the wee hours of most nights in November, whilst attempting to keep the facebook fan page current. I was also on 2 shows for a wee while, and squeezed in a fair bit of teaching since I last blogged too!

I promise to load pics and news about the last 2 months activity asap!

To all the Thrifty Stitchers out there, i hope you have a fantastic new year!!

30 October 2009

New class schedule

We have added the new class schedule for november to our web-site,


I have not only become addicted to buying and re-reading gorgeous sewing books, but i cant stop looking for inspiration. If you fancy the handmade look but can't really be bothered then check out this shop
They have so many gorgeous fabric products, including yummy bunting, cushions, mobiles and covered books. If you have a look at their website, you could also get some inspiration for projects. I really like the pirate cushions in blue for boys rooms, and the pirate bunting. They have an adorable pink check drawstring sleep-over bag for girls, and cute cushions for a girl's room.

Here are some pics-

28 October 2009

We have a new list of classes in November, I have yet to upload to the website, and am short of time today as I have a matinee, and an evening show today,

In brief-

Sunday Nov 8 - 
Chop and Change - A full day of  alterations and learning new skills.
Suitable for any level

Sunday Nov 15-
Cooking up a storm- Retro aprons/oven gloves & tea-cosies. Gorgeous to own, and great as a gift!
Suitable for people already able to use a sewing machine

Sunday Nov 22-
Starting from scratch day- An absolute beginner's sewing day
Suitable for any level, but particularly for beginners

We also will be continuing our drop in sessions on tuesdays, and fridays between 10 and 4( sessions are booked in 3 hour slots and you choose what time to come)

We are adding in an Easy A line skirt session on fri Nov 13, & monday Nov 16
Suitable for people already able to use a sewing machine

I will get a proper schedule of classes/prices on our web-site, and this blog asap.

Gotta run to the west end now!

26 October 2009

Starting from scratch sewing day -25th Oct

Yesterday we had a lovely day with 5 enthusiastic sewers.

The morning was spent covering basics, hand sewing, tools required and starting to use a machine. Everyone created a cute rosette brooch before lunch, here are a selection-

After lunch the projects were finalized and fabrics chosen. Unusually everyone chose to make a cushion. We offer lots of variation in the way to customize the projects, so no 2 cushions are ever the same.

Look at the great cushions that were created yesterday!

23 October 2009

surprising facts about sewing

I attended a fantastic lunch yesterday hosted by the athena network, who are a women in business networking group. Our bank manager had recommended this to us, and i had contacted the london head office of athena and been put in touch with a regional director called Marilena. As I am completely new to business, all this networking stuff was a little daunting....
Prior to my lunch, Marilena had put me in touch with a fabulous marketing lady, who had briefed me about how best to approach the lunch. Although very very out of my comfort zone, I had a great time, and was welcomed very warmly by a diverse mix of very talented women in business at all different stages. It is a great idea, and there were ladies there who could help develop the thrifty stitcher, and also ladies who were just keen on getting crafty!
One lady has really got me thinking however, she is a healer working with feng shui, and non invasive healing methods, and she came to talk to me about what a difference a practical skill like sewing could have for many women in these busy stressed out times. It is not so much a return to the past, as an opportunity to allow ourselves to stop and just take as long as is needed to get the sewing done. There are no software tricks that will speed up hemming, or gadgets to pin together your fabric.
Thank-you to Jacqueline Kassick (www.essencesforlife.com) for making me stop and consider my craft in this way!

So I had a look out on the net, as you do and I found this article on -


Surprise! Sewing May Be Good For Your Heart!
A clinical study commissioned by the Home Sewing Association (HSA) reveals that women who sew – both skilled as well as novice sewers — experience a significant drop in heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration rate when compared to women who participate in other leisure-time activities. Heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration rate are three key factors in the measurement of stress. The study’s results appear to indicate that sewing helps women to relax while they focus on a creative activity.

there is more on the above blog, but this was enough to make me thoughtful today!

So today was one of our first Drop in sewing sessions- with 3 of 6 places filled, we had a really intimate session. A highlight for me was seeing a colleague from a year ago, joining us in order to move up within our profession, theatre. Natasha has recognized that without sewing skills, she could easily get stuck in a career rut, and is taking any opportunity to push herself further.

great online tutorials

I love getting free stuff, so was really pleased when I found this site. They have really great, clear instructions for lots of common sewing projects. So if like some of our students you are frightened by buttonholes, then take a look at this-


More Yo Yo brooches

I have been trying out some yo yo making on the gals at work. This is a homage to an article in sew hip, and I love them!!

These cute little things can be used as a brooch, or to decorate a cushion/bag etc. They can be made in pretty much any fabric, and can be finished with a button at the centre or not....

Merrin made these yesterday.

Here are some that sarah has been making today.

22 October 2009

so so tired of the worldwide web!

Well, It is now 3.30 am, and this is at the end of a 2 show day for me so i am a little pooped!

I signed up this evening for search engine visibility with the company who host our little website. It was fairly cheap to do this, and now i now why. I have just manually registered our website with all the major search engines and answered the same questions about our business on each site!

I had such a great day up to the point that i tried to be web-site designer/manager/marketing manager/and head of publicity. What i had hoped to do was upload some lovely picture i took of projects i had people doing today. i have spent so much time trying to do the business side of the website, that i am now too exhausted to think about the bit i'm good at, the creative aspect of te business ie teaching sewing.

Web-site designers and geeks are there for a reason, us mere mortals cant possibly stay up all night, night after night trying to get seen on the worldwide web........ Arghh, i am very very tired of struggling to be an it support system, when i have only trained to make lovely clothes, and organize actors!

I still have yet to hear from facebook, who are supposed to be getting abck to me about how i link the facebook site with my web-site,still california is a long way away, and it was only 3 days ago that they promised to deal with my query asap.

On a happy note, i think i have finally worked out how to upload pics onto this blog...hooray for video tutorials on the net..

here we go- a wee "yo yo" brooch I made today

14 October 2009

gorgeous cute children's patterns!!

Whilst prepping for my freestyle drop in sewing session at the end of the week, i have been looking for really great patterns for a pinafore/apron dress as that is a project one of my students wishes to work on. We looked through all the reams of patterns in our studio, but didn't spot anything either easy enough for a beginner, or funky enough to be a thrifty project. I am totally kicking myself, as i saw a fab oliver and s pattern at ally pally, and didn't buy it!
I did a net crawl, as you do, and found this really very cute FREE DOWNLOADABLE pattern on this blog-

This version is for a wee baby, but you can follow links to a larger toddler version. Anyhow I have adapted the pattern to make a super easy version. Once I finish the prototype I will publish pics. I may even add my version of the itsy bitsy dress as a downloadable pattern...(I may be getting a little carried away!!)

Many thanks to Rae, whose free pattern seems to have inspired many other stitchers, check out some of her other patterns on her blog.

My other discovery is the Oliver and S patterns-very very desirable, they are american but you can order them through eternal-maker, a very gorgeous shop in Chichester that I saw at the knitting and stitching show in Ally Pally! Apart from patterns they sell lots of scrummy haberdashery and fabrics......

I am attending an Athena network lunch tomorrow, which is a sort of business networking event for women. We are hoping there will be other businesses that can help us develop from being just a bit of an idea to a proper grown up concern. I will follow up tomorrow

11 October 2009

lost in the web...

days and days after my last entry i am still navigating my way around the swamp that is the web. Just spent an hour reading the google web-master guide lines to optimize your site, and i still don't know what on earth it all means!

I have successfully updated my first web-site from a freebie with lots of ads to a slightly better one, but we are still not popping up on google searches!!

My next mission is to get this blog to pop up with my web-site......
Watch this space, not that anyone can read this yet, as i don't think  i have made it visible on the net yet, but i live in hope.

8 October 2009

The knitting and stitching show at ally pally.

Today i went to one of the largest sewing/craft events of the year.
It was a fairly last minute decision to go, as i only realized it was on 2 days before...
My goodness it was rammed, both with visitors and stands.
Every aspect of knitting and stitching was covered and to be honest, it was a little too much to take in. I thought it was a great opportunity to do some research on new sewing products, so i persevered and shuffled along through the great hall along with hundreds of other ladies.

I had planned to get a subscription for a sewing magazine, and was very very pleased when i stumbled upon "Sew Hip" magazine-it is fresh with a modern layout and some great projects. I got a fabulous goody bag for signing up at the show, and a free cloth-kit!

I collected lots of flyers and business cards and i will post some of the best links into my web-site soon.

I stayed too long at the show, and had a mad dash back to the west end in order to get my show ready by 7.30. Nothing like cutting it fine.....

4 October 2009

First class

I got an early last night, because I am terrified about our first ever class today!

Alex arrived at 8.30 am, and my boyfriend who has had a really hard week opening 2 plays this week, got up to come and help us.

Once we arrived at the studio, we had to try and move Alex's cutting table which has rolls and rolls of fabric underneath, and was very very heavy. We had to take most of the stuff out from underneath, and eventually we managed to move it!

My boyfriend helped us finish re-arrange the studio, and then put up signs. He was a charming host as our students arrived.
There was a lot of service disruption with our lovely transport system so people arrived in dribs and drabs. At about 11.30, we got going, and from that point on we had such a great time, all the planning, and logistical stuff slipped away and we just played with buttons/felt and sewing machines.
We made the most of the last few rays of sunshine, and took our lunch in the park across from the studio. After lunch everyone got going with their selected project-a cushion/or a bag. We had some delicious cupcakes mid afternoon, and a little over the allotted finish time, we took our first group picture with all our group displaying their finished project.

Alex and I had a little clear-up once the ladies had left, and then went home exhausted!!!

Hooray, one down, many more to come-(hopefully)

cl x

1 October 2009

getting onto the worldwide web....


So far I have invested over 3 hours this evening and maybe 20 hours in total trying to set up a website for the new business my friend Alex and i have set up together....The Thrifty Stitcher.
God I wish I was rich enough to have gotten someone to do all this for me....

I brief- I want to have a really great website, that is totally interactive. This will however cost money to do professionally. So being a new business, and not flush with lots of spare cash, we have gone the DIY route. Whilst this is possible to do fairly quickly,it is limited in it's scope. I have plumped for a free hosting site, which after many hours researching online I realized would do pretty much what i needed but wouldn't look as lovely as I'd hoped.

My initial session building the web-site although it took me 4 hours was reasonably successful. Hooray!.

I now need to add pictures, which i have done on a free album page....
I need to add a blog, which i am writing into......

How on earth do I make them all appear in the same place? I currently would need to send people 3 different links.

Aargh.... who said money doesn't make you happy? If I was rich enough then someone else would have done all this, and I would have been in bed 3 hours ago....

I'm done, Nos da

cl xx

30 September 2009

Setting up a sewing school

My  friend Alex and I decided to utilize our collective Theatrical Costuming skills, and set up a sewing school. We are in the 4th week of our prep time, and because we have both been busy working in the west end an on film sets, we now have a bit of a scramble to get everything ready for our launch on oct 11th, and our try out day on oct 4th

We have a  work space..
We have machines..
We have our courses planned..

We still have to crack on with some marketing or no one will come on Oct 11th. I am both very excited and terribly scared!
If you want to sew, but think you can't then come along!

cl@ thethriftystitcher