Discovering the joy of sewing through All About The Sew sewing workshops – Katie and Nicola’s stories

Meet Katie and Nicola.

Katie and Nicola both attended my very first 6 week beginners sewing and dressmaking course in September 2018. It is safe to say that through attending the course they have both fallen completely head over heels in love with sewing!!

I caught up with Katie and Nicola recently to have a coffee, talk to them about their experiences of the course and find out what they’ve been up to since then.

Before the 6 week course had either of you done any sewing before?

Katie – At school and at college but I was useless! My Aunty tried to teach me but it was only little bits here and there and I forgot it all! I had a sewing machine for Christmas 5 years ago as a surprise, I was very excited about it. I gave it a go, the sewing machine got jammed, I was scared so I put it back in the box and then that was it!

“I’ve always had a love of fabric even before I learnt to sew. I’d just buy it and look at it! I’d think of all the lovely things to make with it but not know how to do it.”  –  Katie

Nicola – My Mum used to do lots of sewing when I was younger, she used to make toys and she went to night school so when I was growing up, there was always the hum of the sewing machine.  She made my clothes; my sister and I used to have matching dresses, skirts and t-shirts. I’ve now got her sewing machine which is in the garage and I’ve also bought a little machine which is sat in the spare room! After having had my son I began to think what do I want to to do next. I used to be in quite a stressful job and when my son started school I began to have a bit more time. My husband said to ‘follow your passion’. I was looking on Facebook for sewing courses and saw your course. He said it was the first time he’d seen me really excited about something! I’ve done other courses before but nothing that made me go ‘oooh’!!

What did your friends and family think about you wanting to learn to sew as there can be a bit of a stereotypical view that sewing and knitting is what older people do?!

Katie– My family said that it was perfect for me as it was just really ‘me’. I’ve been sending pictures of everything I’ve been making to one of my friends as she is so impressed!

Nicola – I think sewing is becoming more trendy. More and more younger people do seem to be getting into it. My family agreed it was like the perfect fit for me.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

Katie – Everything! Honestly, everything! I’d go home and my husband would say, “it’s like you’ve got your spark back!” I was so excited about doing stuff!

Nicola – It was amazing. My husband said that to me too. He said I looked like me again, the woman he married years ago. 

Have you been able to fit time to sew into your busy lives?

Katie – Yes I’ve made time. I set aside some time in the week to sew 2-3 hours one morning and then on a Sunday afternoon when everyone is not really doing anything.

Nicola – I make it my priority now. That’s my time! I go up to the spare room. My little boy comes up and sits in the bed and watches me. He knows that’s my time! As a Mum you tend to feel guilty about not spending all of the time with them, like you shouldn’t escape. But I think they like the fact that I’ve got something else now and not just a Mum. 

With your children seeing you sew, have they asked you to teach them?

Katie– No! My daughter’s more into drawing and dancing. She doesn’t really want to sew but she has given me a list of the things she wants me to make for her including Harry Potter cushions, a tote bag and some bunting for her bedroom!!

Nicola– My little boy is really intrigued. I’m also really passionate about 1950s dresses – I’d love to make my own and my daughter would love a mini-me dress too!

So what have you been making since the course?

Katie – Cushion covers, bags, a drawstring bag and even a top. I’ve also got everything ready to make a red cord skirt using the same pattern we used on the course.

Nicola – I made all the teachers and teaching assistants personalised tote bags for Christmas. My daughter chose the fabric that she thought the teachers would like. I made the bags and ironed on their initials, then filled them with chocolates. The feedback was like ‘WOW’ and it so was cool to say that I made them! That was something that I would never have done before, I would have just gone out and bought the same old mug. I made 5 bags in total! I also made my sister a tote bag and cushion cover out of bumble bee fabric as she loves bumble bees. I made my nephews some book cushions too that I designed myself! I’ve also got a stamp made and designed some gift tags saying ‘Handmade by Nic Nak’ and have put them on my handmade presents!

“I am just in heaven!! This is so amazing!! You two are so clever! You’ve really got the bug!”  – Lorna

Nicola – I would never have done this before the course. I don’t feel like I’m me unless I’ve done some sewing in the week – I get a bit grumpy if I haven’t done any!!

Katie – I’ve got a long list of all of the things I want to do – it keeps getting longer but includes some bunting and some cushions for my friends and family.

How does sewing make you feel?

Nicola – It gives me sense of myself and the quietness you need for your mind sometimes. I like the noise of the machine, I don’t think of much else when I sew and forget about any worries. It’s very mindful as requires pure concentration.

Katie – So much enjoyment. I love putting 1-2 hours aside, no radio on, sitting in peace and quiet, doing something arty and creative. Also the sense of achievement – 6 months ago I would have thought it would be nice to make a top and imagined the fabric I would use. But now I know how to do it and have the confidence to give it a go.

“I think it just gives me self worth, it makes me feel more content. I feel good when I’ve done something, it’s for myself and it feels like I’ve achieved something.” – Nicola

What else would you like to learn?

Katie – I’ve got a list! I really want to learn how to sew with stretch fabric. I’m booked onto your Learn to sew with stretch class and have my fabric all ready. A shirt or shirt dress, buttonholes and collars, trousers and a satchel type canvas bag.

Nicola – I’d like to learn to make dresses for my daughter – she keeps asking so I feel like I need to crack on with that! She also wants some clothes for her barbie! Also some 40s style trousers like the True Bias Lander pants. I feel ok with zips now but buttonholes is definitely a skill I’d like to learn. It would be great if you could do a follow on intermediate course!

Since the course both Nicola and Katie have gone onto learn new skills with All About The Sew. They also get together with one of the other ladies who attended the course and have sewing mornings together! How lovely that they have made friends as a result of the course too!

Katie attended the Learn to sew with stretch fabrics class and made the Tilly and The Buttons Coco dress.

Nicola has learnt the skills of free motion machine embroidery and created an absolutely gorgeous piece of work!!!

So final question, what has been the proudest thing you have made?

Nicola – For me I think it was doing my first bag on my own at home after the course.

Katie – Mine is my top. I never ever ever thought I would be able to do that. I saw the fabric ages ago and I could just picture a top but I thought I was never going to do it. And then I was like ‘it fits’!! I’m going to try and do the dress version next with a tie belt and maybe the cuffs in a contrasting fabric.

Thank you so much to Nicola and Katie for their time to chat with me. I think we could have chatted all day! I am so proud of how much progress they have both made and just can’t help smiling from ear to ear when I look at how much they love sewing and that this passion grew from coming on one of my courses! Awesome!

If this has inspired you to take up sewing or improve your skills, be sure to check out All About The Sew’s latest workshops on the workshop page.

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