Tag Archives: London

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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Travel Wrap

These wrapping paper designs by illustrator Debbie Powell for Lagom Design are so bright and colourful.

The Gherkin, umbrellas, tea, Big Ben, Routemaster buses and black cabs are what you’ll find on her London gift wrap.

Debbie Powell London Gift Wrap - Lagom Design

Debbie Powell Yellow Taxi Gift Wrap - Lagom Design

Apparently Debbie is based between London, New York and Southbourne which explains all the black cabs, buses and this Yellow Cab gift wrap.

My favourite is the Travel Sticker gift wrap. Perfect for wrapping presents in that you’re sending abroad or an arrivederci present to a travelling friend.

Debbie Powell Travel Stickers Gift Wrap - Lagom Design

If you can’t bear to crease and cut them for wrapping, I think they’d look great put in frames and hung on the wall as a trio. Each wrap is £4 and available from Lagom.

If you designed some travel wrapping paper what would your design look like?

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A Fervour for Fonts

I’ve just got around to reading ‘Just My Type’ by Simon Garfield, a great book about fonts that was given to me for Christmas. It’s a really interesting look at the language, history and use of fonts and how they influence us. Great stories and facts fill this book, such as that Steve Jobs studied calligraphy at college and how this influenced Apple’s products.

'Just My Type' Simon Garfield

You could lose hours gazing at these intricate typographic illustrations of London by Vic Lee; available in West, East, South and North each word is made up of and surrounded by themes from that area. Although my heart really lies in the south and west of London, East London is definitely my favourite of these.

East London by Vik Lee

This Modern Wooden Alphabet Necklace by Little Red Lantern makes me imagine letters dropping from the wearer’s words and collecting round her neck.

Modern Wooden Alphabet Necklace - Little Red Lantern

I’ll leave you with this beautiful video ‘Refraction – The Alphabet’ by Jesse Zanzinger.

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