Tag Archives: Class

Fashion Antidote

At school, sewing machines scared me. I was certain my fingers were going to be punctured by the needle going up and down in a blur, so all my concentration was spent on making sure that didn’t happen and unfortunately not on my sewing. But after having several quotes recently for loose chair covers, cushions and curtains, I decided that I should get over this fear and learn how to use a sewing machine so I can make things myself.

I looked at several courses held across London and considered The Thrifty Stitcher in Stoke Newington and Saturday Sewing Session in Chelsea but decided on one run by Fashion Antidote just off Brick Lane. I chose the One Day Intensive Sewing Class because I thought it looked the most thorough and covered a lot for the price of £95 and also because I’m a tad impatient and there was a class the following week.

Fashion Antidote LogoAs I walked up the stairs of Fashion Antidote’s compact studio the sound of sewing machines clacking and the smell of ironing greeted me. There were two courses going on that day, the 1 Day Intensive Class and the Skills Training Programme, a professional standard course for people wanting to get into the fashion industry, and so it was a nice bustling environment in which to learn.

Our tutor Josefine Wing was clearly very skilled (she runs Mint Siren, a lingerie and accessories label) and quickly got the six of us beginners on the course comfortable with the sewing machines. We spent the morning going through the parts of the sewing machines, how to set up the machines,  wind the bobbin and sew basic stitches. Then we spent the rest of the day making a small skirt out of calico so that we could learn all the elements including how to sew different seams, darts, insert a waistband, a pocket, attach a concealed zip and at the end of the day we went through the basics of patterns.

My finished practice skirt

Josefine was really helpful in recommending where to buy fabric and which sewing machine to buy and with her help, along with the lovely ladies in John Lewis, I chose a good all round sewing machine that I’m very happy with and find easy to use. The Singer 160 Anniversary Sewing Machine did tempt me with its good looks but the price helped restrain me from buying it.

Singer 160 Anniversary Sewing Machine

I really enjoyed Fashion Antidote’s course and at the end of the busy day was rather pleased with my skirt and, although it’s too small to wear, I marked all the seams and stitches so I can refer back to it to refresh my memory. I felt so confident with my sewing ability afterwards that I was able to come home and make a little dress for my god-daughter.

If you sew, what have you made recently?

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Not Just For Grannies

When I was six or seven my granny taught me to knit. I wasn’t very good at it and would just knit one long thing and because I always forgot how to cast off I’d end up leaving it unfinished. But my granny knitted really well and always had a bag or cardigan on the go and would knit us amazing things like Scooby Doo and Super Ted toys, she would put pencils in their arms and legs to make them straight which would often poke you when you cuddled them, but on the plus side could come in handy for some impromptu drawing. They lasted so brilliantly I passed them on to my daughter and even though she’s too old for them now, they can get passed down to the next baby in the family.

I was thinking how nice it would be to make things to pass down through the family or to give as special gifts for friends’ babies, so I Googled knitting lessons and the first one that came up was Mrs Moon who, it turns out, are just down the road from me. The beginners knitting patterns on the website looked so impressive that I booked a Beginners Knitting class.

Sisters Karen and Susan opened Mrs Moon in 2009 and they’ve got some beautiful pattern books and yarn. In the shop they display a few samples they’ve made from the patterns so you can see what the finished product should look like. They also have a really gorgeous array of buttons.

Karen led the beginners knitting class at the back of the shop and it was nice and cosy with me and just one other person so I got lots of one-to-one help with casting on, knitting, purling and casting off. I was very chuffed with the little square of knitting I had created and amazed at how it all came back to me, I had been convinced I’d forgotten the lot. So, full of excitement, I chose some yarn and knitting needles with the help of Susan so I could go off and knit a scarf.

My Knitted Scarf - TheHankerer

I’ve been a bit under the weather this week but that means that I finished my scarf in just two sessions (and caught up on everything that I had recorded that I’m not allowed to watch if anyone else is in the room – One Born Every Minute, Masterchef etc.).

I popped back today for some red wool for a snood, I know it’s the wrong season but I don’t trust the British weather.

To be honest, when I mentioned that I was going to learn to knit I got more than a little teasing about it. I went along to this class thinking I’d be really rubbish and that it might be a waste of time but I really enjoyed it. I’m going to do a couple more easy patterns and then I think I’ll go along to another of their classes so I can make something a bit trickier. Karen and Susan are so friendly and helpful and got me really excited about learning something new. Pop over to their website and have a look, if you order online before 1pm they ship your order the same day.

To find a knitting course near you look at the list on the UK Hand Knitting Association website.

Have you got any knitting stories?

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