Looking for something unusual for my styling shoot the other week (see two posts ago), I decided I wanted handmade cushions. In theory, it’s incredibly easy if you make ones where the back tucks into itself like a pillowcase, rather than having to fit a zip.
But with a sewing machine still in it’s box and no idea how on earth to start, I turned to my local sewing cafe, The White Room SE4 (www.thewhiteroomse4.co.uk) for help. Popping up all over the country, sewing cafes are a place where you can hire sewing machines by the hour, take courses in everything from beginner’s basics and pattern cutting, to making skirts to winter capes… plus enjoy a cake and a cuppa at the same time. The White Room also sells gorgeous clothes too, designed by the lovely Nicky, a fashion designer who’s sold her range everywhere from ASOS to Top Shop and Warehouse over the years.
Anyhow, Nicky kindly ran up a couple of cushions and some blinds for me using the amazing Woodland fabric – covered in little squirrels, birds acorns and leaves – from Scion (www.scion.uk.com). The results were better than I could have expected – and completely unique!
I’m now determined to master sewing myself, and am planning to sign up for one of Nicky’s “How to use a sewing machine” beginners’ courses. For £30, over two hours, they’ll teach me all the basics, and hopefully give me a skill I’ll keep and use for life. In fact, I even took my craft-oholic friend Emma there as her pre-wedding present (I made a slightly wonky bag; she had a go at machine embroidery and took to it immediately, as you can see below).
So, if you’re in London and want to have a go yourself – or want to give a session to a friend as a gift – I thoroughly recommend it. Don’t live near the capital? Google ‘sewing cafe’ or ‘sewing workshop’ and see what comes up. I’ve found them everywhere, including Harrogate (www.needlepointsewingcafe.co.uk); Hinckley, Leicestershire (www.thesewingcafe.co.uk); Bristol (www.cordial-and-grace.co.uk); Durham (www.sewcafe.co.uk); Bath (www.themakeryonline.co.uk) and Glasgow (Make It – 07597 122 809).
Sew why not give it a try?!