Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Learn To Make a Quilt

My favourite, favourite class to teach at PlainStitch is Simple Sampler. Each term I get to encourage and initiate a whole new graduate entry of patchworkers into our wonderful world of fabric and texture.  Every term I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful job!

Simple Sampler is a little bit special and magical. Every term curiously, but with slight trepidation, a new class begins. I LOVE to talk about quilt making, I love to impress on my new students just what deep roots this craft has. In a throwaway world where we're supposed to consume our lives in smaller and smaller more distracted, bite sized chunks delivered by screens in front of us every second of the day, I love to reveal another world. A world where sitting, and sewing, is actually soul food. Where slow sewing is enjoyed, revelled in, such a treat. Where after half an hour of stolen sewing time you feel fuller, more alive, rather than a little bit dazed and drained after 30mins online.

Even craft can feel a bit fast forward these days. Kits stuck on the front of magazines to make in 5 mins flat, new this and new that, make a quilt in a day, a dress in an evening.  It's so interesting that Slow Sewing is starting to be talked about in the sewing community. I've always been an advocate of it. I don't want to make a quilt in a day. I want to enjoy the process, I want to feel like i've earnt the feeling of pride that completion of a project brings. I don't want to just move on to the next thing.

Simple Sampler is about Slow Sewing. It's a hand made quilt. It's traditional. It uses block patterns whose origins are lost in the mists of quilt history. We choose lovely modern fabrics. Who can't fail to be beguiled by the latest lovely fabrics, a small indulgence in a demanding life. But we sew by hand. We look at the work as we make it - mindful, lost in the simple repetition of a running stitch. It's not rocket science but it holds powerful secrets to well being. It's not an accident that our graduates are evangelical about their sewing. It makes you feel much better about...well everything!

Our Simple Sampler classes always sell out, so do let us know early if you'd like to join us next term. If you feel like you'd like to step off the merry go round for a few hours every week or so, come and sew!

Our next Wendover Sewing Bee is given over to a celebration of the Simple Sampler. Everyone is welcome, graduates of the class, current students and interested visitors. Come along and see a gathering of students past and present with their Simple Sampler Quilts and their current work. There will be cake and tea and lots of fabricy chat, it should be a lovely gathering - 7th Oct 9.30am - 12pm at St Anne's Hall, Aylesbury Road, Wendover. Do pop in, you'll be very welcome!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Christmas Classes

Classes Starting in November

We have some great, super practical classes rolling out in November and early Dec to allow you to get ahead on your Christmas making, or whip up some really useful and lovely household items that will have you basking in a saintly homemade glow on the run up to Christmas.

We have some lovely Christmas fabrics in The Workroom at the moment - those elves and Christmas puddings are flying out the door do don't get left with an empty stocking!

Pop Up Retro 1950's Pinny Class 

We're kicking off with a purely indulgent class to make this totally fabulous 1950's Retro Pinny. Why not treat yourself before all the frazzle of Christmas is upon us? We're pretty sure that wearing this pinny can transform even the most chaotic harried Christmas Chef into a poised 1950's super housewife in the kitchen! Prawn Cocktail and a Sweet Sherry anyone?

This is a two morning class on the 3rd and 10th Nov from 10am - 1pm, £60 to incl the pattern

Availability: Spaces

Pop Up Scarf Class - Wed 5th Nov 10am - 12pm

This class is the perfect pressie preparation. Learn how to make a hand finished infinity style snood scarf from your favourite fabrics. These scarves come together quickly and make fabulous presents for female family members and friends as they can be perfectly customised for the wearer. They're also super snug which will be perfect for your evening plans on November 5th - this class is 10am - 12pm on the 5th Nov. £25.00.

Availability: 2 spaces

Pop Up Ironing Board Covers - Thurs 6th Nov 10am - 1pm

Ooh this little project is such fun. Take a boring but super practical mini ironing board and transform it! These little boards are loved by sewing people but also are great for students, utility rooms, and anyone who is allergic to wrestling with their big ironing board!

It's a quick and fun project and we're looking forward to super individual ironing boards tailored for their recipients - we have some lovely man-fabric in stock at the moment if anyone wants to gift the man in their life?! he he.

Thursday 6th Nov 10am - 1pm £25, just bring your sewing machine ( or book ours), mini coard and fabric of choice (2FQ)

Availability: Spaces

Cathedral Windows  - Thurs 13th, 27th Nov, 4th Dec 10am - 12pm

In this workshop you will learn how to produce this lovely three dimensional block using a mix of hand and sewing machine work. Using origami-like folding, manipulating and stitching squares of plain fabric and inserting pieces of patterned fabric you will explore the beautiful hand patchwork technique of cathedral windows. This classic block looks complicated but is deceptively simple once you understand the technique. You will create cathedral window block that you will be able to extend to make a table runner or cushion. This technique can be used to make really lovely Christmas decorations for your home.

This class is taught by Claire Wheeler.

10am – 12pm 
13th Nov, 27th Nov, 4th Dec.
Availability: One space

Fabric Pocket Advent Calendars - Sat 15th and 29th Nov 10am - 2pm

This is such a lovely project. It's one of those makes that you always think you'd like to get round to but don't - so make this the year before those kids or Grandchildren get too big to enjoy a rummage in these inviting advent pockets! This is a real heirloom piece, there is something so special about bringing a handmade piece like this out year after year.

Sat 15th and 29th Nov 10am - 2pm £55.00
Availability: Spaces

Fabric Covered Lampshades

Learn how to make a fabric covered lampshade. No sewing required, just fast fun fabric indulgence. These shades are great presents, kids love a customised lampshade in their favourite theme and grown ups too!

Monday 17th Nov
10am - 12.30pm
£45.00 incl all kit
Availability: 3 spaces

Felt Christmas Wreath - Saturday 22nd November 10.30am - 1pm

This a totally relaxing feel good class. Make a modern or traditional indoor Christmas Wreath to match your decor. Felty balls, shiny ribbons and christmassy fabric...........what's not to like? Come and join us and stock up on some zen before Dec kicks in!

Sat 22nd Nov 10.30am - 1pm. £25.00 
Availability: Spaces

Quilted Hot Water Bottle Covers - Tues 25th November 10am - 1pm

These are one of those presents that always delight. Learn how to make these lovely hot water bottle covers. Make a personalised version for all the special people in your life who you want to tuck up warm and cosy on those winter nights. Practise your machine quilting and binding and enjoy this fun little seasonal make.

25th November 10am - 1pm £35.00
Availability: 3 spaces

Christmas Table Placemats - Wed 3rd Dec 10am - 1pm 

Gorgeous linen table placemats for your seasonal table. These mats use a modern version of the classic snowball block to make stylish classy mats in linen that will wash and wear better and better with age. Another make that you will thank yourself for for years to come.

Wednesday 3rd December 10am- 1pm, £35.00
Availability: Spaces

** This class can be linked with the Christmas table Runner Class on Sat 6th Dec, book both for 10% saving**

Christmas Table Runner - Sat 6th Dec 10am - 2pm 

Gorgeous linen table runner for your seasonal table which looks great as a decoration or is super practical for serving up your Christmas dinner.  Another make that you will thank yourself for for years to come.

Saturday 6th December 10am- 2pm, £45.00
Availability: Spaces

** This class can be linked with the Christmas table mats Class on Wed 3rd Dec, book both for 10% saving**

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Denyse Schmidt's Hadley Arrives This Week

We had a flash sale this weekend which was soooo much fun! The early birds really got the proverbial fabric worm on Saturday, those sale bolts were stripped bare! The moral of today's shopping was 'If in Doubt Buy 3m' - the perfect quilt back stash-able amount at £8/m - not to be missed!

We have new fabric arriving all autumn, starting this week with our much revered Denyse Schmidts new Hadley range. In my opinion Denyse is the quilters quilt designer. She makes and designs the most wonderful quilts, that are just right up my street. I lived in Connecticut, just miles from her studio in Bridgeport, but didn't discover her work until I came back to the UK. Denyse Schmidts Free Market Fancy ( the original) was my first fabric crush back in 2005. It was the first fabric that made my heart rush a little - I had to have it. I've bought pretty much everything she's designed ever since.

Her quilts and her fabric are firmly rooted in the traditions of quilt making. But her fabric palette is so modern, so perfectly balanced, the fabrics are just the right shade of everything. She makes granny chic look cool. I love her fabric. Often they aren't the fabrics that jump out at you first in a fabric store -but I literally guarantee that they will be the most hard working in your stash! This Chicopee Baskets Quilt is one of my all time favourites still,  almost 10 years after I made it.

We have Denyse's Hadley arriving this week. It's one of my most highly anticipated fabric lines this year. I'm planning to stash for the next 10 years!

We had a busy fun class making fabric purses in the Workroom this morning and the ShopRoom was literally full to the brim. There's such a buzz at The Workroom at the moment. Our autumn class schedule is choc a bloc and so many exciting projects are getting started. This is my favourite crafting time of year, so many possibilities.

This week we kick off our Bee in My Bonnet quilt class, we have a huge new intake of Simple Sampler Students nervously looking forward to starting their quilting journeys, we're learning how to Machine Embroider and we're making Zippered Cushions...phew - and that's just this week! More new classes start again the week after, including Making Little Girls Dresses, Fabric Baskets, and more of our always sold out Get To Know Your Sewing Machine classes.

I'm afraid we have very few spaces left on classes starting in Sept and Oct, a few odd spaces sprinkled here and there on some evening classes so do checkout the schedule. But do not fear we have a great mini timetable of Christmas Makes coming tomorrow that will kick off in November. Lots of Saturday classes for busy working people needing a day of crafty indulgence and some all day workshops to get our teeth into some great Christmas Makes. Happy Sewing x

Friday, 12 September 2014

Flash Sale and Amazing Modern Applique

Ooohh I feel like I'm on a gush-athon this week but it's really been one of those magic PlainStitch  weeks. I do love my job.

First we had a very special Wendover Sewing Bee on Tuesday. It's always just so much more than sewing, and this weeks Bee was a real testament to the power of community. So many amazing women from all walks of life - with a love of sewing in common. If you want to make friends, meet new people outside of your usual sphere, feel connected to your local community - then do come along. It's really the most wonderful supportive group - I'm very proud of our Bee!

Then there was just a wonderful, colourful blur of fabric and fabulousness as we taught and laughed and sewed all week at a variety of classes that all just whizzed by! What a fab week! The Workroom full of fabric and ideas and smiling faces and raucous laughter and chat! A lovely evening with local sewing shop friends Judy and Sally, planning some fun joint local sewing events, more details next week.

Then today was the perfect Friday. What a place to top this week off - Modern Appliqué. A course so close to my heart, one of my favourite quilts that I've designed and a quilt that really seems to bring out such fab creativity in all who make it. Look at the work.........aren't they wonderful?

Last but not least - because we love our customers - a 
Flash Back To School Sale! 

All of these bolts and a lovely teetering pile of fat quarters all marked down to £8.00/m and £2 a FQ for this weekend. We have so much lovely new fabric coming in over the next few weeks and these little skinny bolts need to make way! Pop inon Sat (10am-2pm) or e mail us at deb(at)plainstitch(dot)co(dot)uk and we'll put some by for you topick up when you're next in....bargain stashed meterage for quilt backs is what's going through my mind!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Modern English Paper Pieceing

Well The Workroom is well and truly in the swing of things this week. We've had a packed schedule of classes as well as our Wendover Sewing Bee this week and the Workroom is humming with creative energy.

This week we have a few of last terms classes winding to a close before our new classes all start to kick off over the next few weeks. Two of my favourite classes have spanned the summer holiday break this year, which has ended up being fabulous as it's given everyone a bit of extra time to get their teeth into their projects.

I have been so completely wowed by the work from our English Paper Piecing hand sewing class. This class gives students a starting point, patterns and guidance - then they use these to create their own interpretations of this quilting method. We make modern quilts  - but firmly rooted in traditional design and technique. It's all of my favourite things.

The quilts that are getting made at these classes are just so wonderful it brings a bit of a tear to my eye I must say! There really isn't anything better as a teacher than to see people take an idea on board and then add their own twist and personality and come up with something so beautiful.

If you're as inspired by their wonderful work as I am - watch this space as the EPP class starts all over again with a new class later this month!

We have such a jam packed schedule of lovely events coming up over the next few weeks.

 Do join us  on Oct 7th from 9.30am at St Anne's Hall,Wendover for our highly anticipated Simple Sampler Reunion morning. It's going to be a feast for the eyes!

Pop in on Fri 26th Sept from 12pm for a cuppa and a slice of lovely cake in aid of the Macmillan Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning - all of the proceeds from tea and cake will go to the charity as well as 10% of all fabric sales at the event. Do join us - its a cause that touches so many of our families.

Our evening Wendover Sewing Bee is back on Tuesday 23rd Sept back at St Anne's Hall, so do come along to that and get a few hours sewing in. It's such a treat.

The PlainStitch Retreat Day is almost full to the brim, but if you'd like to join us on Oct 18th for an indulgent day long escape from the modern world, do drop us an email, we'd love to have you.

We're now open every Wed, Thurs and Fri 9.30am - 2pm and Sat 10am - 2pm and so pop in, say Hi and welcome Claire who is also going to be staffing the shop on busy days. We look forward to seeing you soon x

Friday, 5 September 2014

Retreat Day - Sat Oct 18th

Ooh it's such a lovely thought.....Retreat Day is back on the horizon!

Twice a year we PlainStitch Ladies pack our bags on a Saturday and hole up for the day at the lovely Buckland Village Hall.We love it there. It's a Victorian hall with soaring ceilings and long leaded glass windows that let the light dapple through. It's in a beautiful timeless sleepy no-through-road village near by where The Workroom is based - but it's far enough away that your real life just slips away for a few hours.

We all bring twice as much luggage as we can really carry, with twice as much sewing as we could ever hope to get through in a day - but hope springs eternal.

We all set up, there's much laughter and cooing at everyone's fabric and planned sewing. Sometimes a brand new project for someone to get stuck into. Sometimes a long worked on project that needs a concerted effort to get finished. Always fascinating to everyone else!

There's huge quantities of tea. So much chat. Bustle. Then quiet concentrated work. Machines humm. Low chatter. Offers of a cuppa. The soft light filters in through the windows ( its always sunny despite being Feb or Oct when we come). We're always astonished when lunchtime comes around. Always a feast. Then a long afternoon of work, un-interrupted by families needing feeding, dogs needing walking and phones to answer. Lunch is catered for us, always super delicious - such a treat not to cook!

Do contact us if you'd like to come along too, we'd love to have you. It's £35.00 for the 9 hour stretch including your lunch and all the tea and coffee you can drink! Drop Helen an e mail if you'd like to join us.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Autumn Sewing at PlainStitch

Are you watching The Great British Bake Off? Course you are! Everyone is. Gosh wasn't it exciting this week- controversy! We're working our way through Mary Berry's Quick Cakes book with my girls. Of course, for serious baking you need a serious pinny. I've been brainstorming with PlainStitch Teacher Kasha Leech thinking about the perfect pinny. We're a little bit obsessed, and super picky about it. However now we're pretty sure we've made it.

This new pinny for a class this autumn is everything a perfect pinny should be in our book. It suits everyone, looks great on, is feminine without being..well...frilly... it's just glamorous in a retro 1950's kind of way. It shows off your favourite prints so well. Best of all it's fully reversible so you can cook on Christmas Day and look just as glam on Boxing Day too. Choose some favourite fabrics and come along and make one over 2 classes in November. 

While we're making domestic improvements we also have a quick fun pop up class to renovate your sewing ironing board with a bright patchwork cover in November too, 

Or update your cushions with our Patchwork Cushions Class in October. I can't wait to get started on this class, I'm getting the first stirrings of autumn hibernation syndrome and some cosy new cushions is def on my list.

This cooler weather is finally allowing my 'seasonally-inappropriate-fabric-scarf-obsession' to blossom! If you follow PlainStitch on Facebook you'll know that I've spent all summer gripped by a desire to make scarves! It started with the much beloved Emmy Grace Dark Flowers fabric which I love so much I just wanted to WEAR IT!

I've made tens of these infinity scarves over the years, usually using precious Liberty Lawns, but the lovely drape of these Art Gallery fabrics persuaded me to try out my favourite scarf style again. Well of course I couldn't just make one!! Problem was it was hovering around 25C degrees as I made them. This drop in temperatures has made me happy in my warm scarves! By popular demand I'm running a Pop Up Class to make these in November. It's already busy with those of you who requested the class, but do drop us a note if you'd like to join in. They also make fab pressies for Christmas.

In preparation for autumn I've also been making Hot Water Bottle Covers for the class in November. It's not quite cold enough to use them yet - but I love having them all lined up and ready to press into action when the toes start to get chilly. They'll be at The Workroom on display until it gets too cold!

Let's not wish summer away though, It's having a resurgence next week if the weather man is correct, but if you want to make sure you have some happy autumn sewing to look forward to as the days draw in, do start having a think about what your autumn projects will be - it's definitely the way to feel good about the seasons change. 

 Visit our Autumn classes page to see more details of any of these classes.

p.s See You at The Wendover Sewing Bee at St Anne's on the 9th at 9.30am to chat, sew and share Autumn Sewing Plans xx