Monday, 7 January 2013

The beginnings...

Hello Ladies and Gents…

One of my inspirations for doing this is the humble headscarf. I wear headscarves a lot but finding the right one can be tricky. I wear a headscarf the vintage way.. think Hilda Ogden (minus the rollers), the traditional land-girl look. For this method you need quite a sizable scarf as you need one to cover everything. The ideal size is 80cm x 80cm. However finding a scarf with these dimensions can be a chore. It is my plan to produce quality homemade headscarves for me to wear and hopefully one of the first things I'll be making.

As my creative gusto seems to be in full swing I am going to grab the sewing bug by the needle and get cracking. So to start myself off I spent a lot of time surfing the net and reading up on the exiting world of sewing. First of all I was amazed at all the information is out there on the subject and how simple or complex it can be – the choice is yours – and there are plenty of useful places for the novices.

To get me started I wanted to purchase the basic equipment – now you may think my first purchase was a sewing machine and you would be wrong. Before I take the plunge to buy my dream machine (which I am currently researching) I thought I would buy the basic equipment you would require if you were to hand stitch. This includes scissors; thread; needles; pins; tailors chalk; tape measure; and a book for beginners and of course, some dreamy fabric. I believe this is enough equipment to get you started and I hope I am not proved too wrong early in my journey. 

To select the brands of my specific equipment again took some research. As I am setting out on this adventure I want tools that are going to last without going over the top on cost. Now you could buy these items off the internet but then you miss out of the shopping experience and the smell of the haberdashery (that I am new too but all ready loving) plus how do you know if they are too heavy, too light, good quality – a photo on a computer screen says a lot but not the same as touching and feeling the item. So I pulled out my rollers, rolled up my faux bang, put my red lippy on and with hubby in-toe went into London for my first sewing expedition.

So where to go?? During my exploration I found some great places all across London. I would have loved to visit each and everyone but then time is an issue here so I selected Ray Stitch (Nr Highbury and Islington) and MacCulloch and Wallis (just off Oxford Street) as my choices of location. By the time I had traveled from Chiswick to the store I was like a kid at Christmas – I was so over excited at the prospect of purchasing some bits and bobs. Ray Stitch is a great sewing shop – easy to find and I love the fact it mixes the genres of sewing and a cafĂ©! A cup of tea whilst pawing over gorgeous fabric and bits was heaven. I calmed down and went into the shop and suddenly realised I had forgotten my list! Luckily I had read it so often I know what I wanted and went through the shelves methodically. I purchased Coats 100% cotton thread; Pyrm needles; Prym pins; tailors chalk; tape measure; and of course, some cotton vintage flower fabric (how could I not buy the fabric!). This little lot came to £18.90 which I was pleased about as I had a £20.00 budget for this shop. I left with a big smile on my face and got on the bus to go to my next shop.

Forty minutes later I was in MacCulloch and Wallis. MacCulloch and Wallis is set over three floors of fabric and haberdashery wonderment. The stock was endless and filled with people buying all the necessities for their own projects. However I was specifically on the hunt for a decent pair of scissors as this is one of the crucial piece of equipment in your tool kit. They had a good range of scissors and in the end I went for Fiskar (Made in Finland) and for right handed 21cm scissors. They seemed a good weight, comfy for my hand and a good price point of £17.04 so went for them. Again this was a great success for me and in my £20 budget – my cheeks were hurting from smiling all day.

The only item not yet in my armory (on this particular day) was a good book for beginners. Now, again after exploring and asking fellow Twitters on this numerous responses came back. In the end I went for 'All you need to know about machine and hand sewing - Sewing Basics' by Sandra Bardwell which was £18.99. It covers all the basics from what equipment you need to threading your machine to undertaking complicated patterns to how to identify what stitch is required for what project. Perfect for me and my novice experience.

So a tip top day and very pleased with my purchases. A summary of my top tips perhaps as I have bamboozled you with info….

·        Research shops and products you need to buy
·        Try and buy the items from a shop – feel the products not just look
·        Take a list (my mistake!)
·        Budget where possible
·        Enjoy the experience… make it part of the magic

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