Refresh your Wardrobe
Spring is in the air (well we had a couple of sunny days this week which gave me a lift!) It's a perfect time of year to go through your wardrobe and drawers and pull out those clothes you haven't been wearing. There are a multitude of reasons why items remain in the back of the cupboard or at the bottom of heap. In my experience here are as few: I was attracted to the fabric but in reality the shape of the garment doesn't suit my body, a zip needs replacing, a friend has given me some hand-me-ups which are too big for me. I could go on with other reasons but I'd like to give you the space to reflect on your own neglected items!
I have become addicted to repairing and revamping my wardrobe! It's a really fun and resourceful way of feeling like you've got new clothes without spending loads of money. Here is a dress I picked up in one of Traid's brilliant Â£2 sales (these take place a few times a year) As you can see it's a nice pink gingham shirt dress but it's a bit of a boring, frumpy shape.
This is one of the techniques I share in my 'Introduction to garment alterations' and 'Refresh your Wardrobe' classes. How to adjust an over sized top or dress through the use of elasticated channels. Decide where you'd like to adjust the garment. This shirt dress had a buttoned opening so it was easy to access the inside without having to unpick a side seam. Pin on a cotton tape, wide enough to accommodate elastic ( I used 1" wide ) Machine stitch on each outer edge, creating a channel. thread elastic through the channel, leave on the roll or as a length until you have pulled and gather to the desired reduction. Stitch the beginning and end of the elastic down inside the channel. And there you go! A more flattering, fitted item! Adding multiple elasticated channels will give a ruched effect. Make sure you measure the space between each channel, so it looks nice and even. A subtle, easy way of reducing volume! …
Brother & Sister time
It is now 1 year (doesn't time fly when you're having fun?) that I have been working with Brother. I approached Brother to support my new 'Imaginerium' craft space with sewing machines. I wanted to build on my existing workshop programme and be able to offer sewing machine based classes. I've used and enjoyed using Brother's industrial machines most of my making career and being aware of Brother's environmental and ethical policies, for me they were the sewing machine manufactuer of choice!
Earlier this year I took a trip to Manchester to visit Brother sewing UK's head office. My sister also lives in Manchester, so it was a perfect combined visit!
As well as setting me up with a classroom of machines, Brother has made me an 'Authorised Dealer' of their domestic sewing, overlock, embroirdery and quilting machines. If people are considering buying a sewing machine, I now offer that service, along with the aftercare and support that an independant shop like mine can offer. (another reason to buy local!)
I'm discovering that Brother's marketing strap line "At your side" certinly holds true. Brother lays on regular training sessions and 'dealer days'. Here I am with Gill Rogers, a very talented needlewoman and so knoweledgable about the workings, features and benefits of the range of Brother machines. I found the training incredibly useful. Although I am an experienced stitcher, understanding the capabilities of some of Brother's computerised machines (especially from the NV955 model upwards) has been a learning curve, but a fun, inspring one!
Some of you may have been along to one of the Fabrications & Brother FREE sewing days. The idea of the day is to offer an opportunity to test drive the sewing machines, create something while you try, meet Rachel Espin from Brother, who joins me on the day "At my side" offering support and advise. The days have been proving really popular, over the year we have welcomed 100's of new and experienced stitchers alike!
The next open day is on Thursday 4th April, 12.30 - 8pm. TO BOOK your FREE 1HR SLOT. Hope you can make it!
Fixing the Future
ï»¿I'm enjoying the start of 2013, moving in the slow lane for a change, which is giving me much needed time for reflection, making improvements and fixing things!
I discovered an interesting invention after reading a great blog post by Rosie Martin of DIY couture. The post was all about useful DIY Christmas gift ideas for people who like to make things (and a relevant guide for all year around!)
'Sugru' designed and manufactured on my doorstep in Hackney! Presented a bit like puncture repair kits, this curious colourful rubbery putty is rolled, squeezed and prepared in the hand, before moulding it on to a broken area on an object (or as an add on such as a personalised hand grip) You need to work quite quickly as the putty transforms and becomes solid when it is released from it's foil packs and comes into contact with the air and then you leave it to cure for 24 hours. I love their strap line "The future needs fixing" !
This is how I've been using 'Sugru'. I bought these second hand chairs for my Imaginerium craft space. I realised after a year of heavy usage the concrete floor (which is painted) was taking a battering as the bottom of some of the chair legs were missing their rubber end caps. Having found it difficult to source new rubber end caps, I decided to experiment with 'Sugru', which amazingly can grip onto a range of materials - metal, plastic etc.
I'm quite taken with the Mondrian colour effect too!
What do you think? Good product to stock in the shop?
New Year's Revolutions!
Revolution = A dramatic and wide reaching change in conditions, attitudes or operation (Oxford Dictionary)
Itâ€™s the start of a new year again, many of us will have made resolutions, usually to give something up like smoking! Or to loose something like some weight! Or to do more of something like spending quality time with family and friends. How about directing that positive energy into making the world a better and fairer place for everyone? Quite a tall order you may think - where would you begin?
â€œIf you think you are too small to make a difference try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquitoâ€ - African Proverb
As a designer maker I have held the belief that craft and design has an amazing potential in creating social and environmental change. It was a real inspiration to meet the like minded Sarah Corbett, founder of the Craftivist Collective 3 years ago and I have subsequently been participating in and supporting a number of the Craftivist Collectiveâ€™s projects in exposing and tackling injustice and poverty through provocative, non-violent action.
As your 2013 resolution, I would love all you fellow crafters to get involved in the Craftivist Collectiveâ€™s current project #iamapiece in conjunction with Save the Childrenâ€™s â€˜Race against hunger campaignâ€™.
Sarah Corbett says: "Life is like a puzzle, it all seems a mess but when it gets finished it looks brilliant. There are some amazing small-scale successful projects happening all over the world that are tackling hunger and showing that the world doesnâ€™t have to have malnourished children whose potential is stunted. There is no one solution to the problem of injustice but we can all play a part in a movement for change. The G8 coming back to the UK is too big an opportunity to miss so why not have your New Yearâ€™s Resolution to be part of eradicating hunger through your love of craft? That would be a pretty cool resolution right?!â€
How can you get involved? You can stitch messages onto material jigsaw pieces which will be put together to make a HUGE creative, crafty installation alternative to a petition that Save the Children will show off to our Government, the public and World Leaders showing that hundreds, even thousands of us, want, with world leaders, to be a part of the solution to hunger, not the problem. You can also give a jigsaw piece to your local MP to remind them to be a part of the solution too or at least tell them about the piece you made for the installation. If you have never approached your local MP in this way before Fran Swaine has written a really good post on her Skulls and Ponies blog about how easy and useful it was to approach her local MP Caroline Lucas. You can also host your own â€˜stitch-inâ€™ event and get others inspired and involved in the project , sign the Save the Children petition here, and spread the word online through Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc using the hashtag #imapiece. The deadline to receive the jigsaw pieces is 28 February, so let's get stitching!
As with all their projects, the Craftivist Collective have created really excellent tools to help and support you to get involved! Download the jigsaw piece pattern and instructions here, see some of the stitched jigsaw pieces created by fellow crafters here and a collection of Vlogs, posts and online streaming about #imapiece here
â€œWhat we think, or what we know, or what we believe is in the end of little consequence; the only consequence is what we do.â€ John Ruskin…
As the festive season is nearly upon us, here at Fabrications HQ, I'm planning a "Re design Christmas Craft Club", taking place every Wednesday, starting this week. Inspired by the book "Why don't you Re-Design Christmas?" published by the organisation Re Design (and featuring some ideas by me and on sale at Fabrications!) the aim of the club is to demostrate different resourceful gift and decoration making ideas which are quick and effective, money saving, recycled and beautiful and we guarantee you will have fun with others while doing it! I've also invited along some eco designer guests - Rebecca Alderman (Girl with Beads) and Annie Sherburne to share their expertise.
MORE INFORMATION & BOOKING: Week 1: Upcycled Christmas Decorations. CLICK HERE Week 2: Bows, Ties & Bow-Ties. CLICK HERE Week 3: Personalised Santa Sacks. CLICK HERE Week 4: Lovely Bubbly Fascinator Party. CLICK HERE
Hackney's Design Award 2012
Fabrications new 'Imaginerium' space is among the shortlist for Hackney's Design awards, alongside other schemes such as The handball arena at the Olympics! Fabrications is the smallest project to be nominated, so we need your help to vote for us for 'The People's Choice' award. I'm posting a little late but still got a couple of days to get your vote in! Voting closes on Monday 5th November.
Please vote by following THIS LINK - Thankyou!
The Upcycling Academy
Once again this year, Fabrications, Traid and War on Want will creatively bring you 'The Upcycling Academy' at the Knitting and Stitching Show (Ali Pali: October 11th - 14th)
The aim of the Upcycling Academy is to present creative,hands on learning experiences which explores textile waste, upcycling and introduces people to better fashion industry practise.
Last year, in the lead up to the show I wrote a blog post entitled 'Adding Value(s) at The Upcycling Acdemy' exploring the word 'Upcycling' and what it means to me. This year Twisted Thread (the show organisers) have also initiated the 'Upcycler of the year' competition. I'm looking forward to seeing the entries, and Traid have offered a 2 week internship and window display space in their Camden store for the winner, which is a fantastic prize for budding upcycled fashion designers.
Although the competition deadline is now closed you can get involved in re working garments provided by Traid for a mere Â£2 (t-shirts) + Â£3 (other garments) live at the show. Rotate around our workshop stations and learn skills and get chopping and changing with me and other Fabrications teachers and Traid's.
WIN TICKETS! to the show by entering Fabrications FACEBOOK COMPETITION. (Scroll down to find the Picture of The Upcycling Academy team) We've got 3 pairs of tickets up for grabs!! DEADLINE: Monday 4th October at Midnight. GOOD LUCK!…
Open house, Open City
The Open House event has closed it's doors again this year. For those of you not familiar with the event, it has taken place every September across all the boroughs of London for the last 25 years. I discovered this year that it has become a global phenomena, stretching to other major cities such as New York and Tokyo.
Notable buildings, dwellings and other construction projects both large and small host tours and presentations for 1 weekend only to give visitors more insight into the history, architecture, construction and ethos of the space. Many of the places on the Open House trail are not usually open to the public, so the event encourages our natural curiosity to 'nose around' and gain an 'access all areas' pass!
What I think is wonderful about the event is it also provides the space to appreciate the diversity of buildings that make up our city, each has a special story to share and over just 1 weekend 1,000's of people are united in looking, listening and experiencing living history.
I decided to apply and put forward Fabrications new 'Imaginerium' craft space to be part of this year's event. The organisers came to visit and were keen for Fabrications to be on the Open House map. This year they were also encouraging hosts to put on 'late night' events to take place on the Saturday evening. After talking to my architects Eric Martin and Nikolai Delvendahl (DM Architects) we decided on hosting a good old fashioned slide show all about the making of the new space followed by a Q&A session with the team.
I decided to weave in some of my own buildings history into the slide show, pictures of the shop when I first discovered it in 1997. Back then the shop was in a bad state of disrepair and dilapidation as were a majority of shops on Broadway Market at that time. Preparing for the slide show and our daily tours (with myself and DM architects), made me realise the journey I have been on with the fabric of my shop building and how much I have achieved and improved. When I got the shop, the name on the front was "All Well" - Appliance Rescue Centre - a reoccurring theme in Fabrications story!!
For the tours and the slide show I wanted to promote the people and organisations that have contributed to creating the new space and my collaborative / community approach. One of these organisations is 'Out of the Dark' an inspirational social enterprise who "uncover the hidden potential of old furniture and young people by training and employing dissadvantaged youths to recycle and restore vintage furniture" (this quote came from a recent review of The Imaginerium by Inhabit ) Out of the Dark got stuck in with reworking old lock wood, fruit crates and a G Plan wardrobe to provide a kitchen and storage area for The Imaginerium. They also suggested curtaining across the front to hide workshop resources and a creative way to incorporate and showcase my own upcycled textile work.
On the previous weekend, for the London Design Festival, Out of the Dark ran a special workshop here 'Revamp your old furniture' which was so popular and well received, we've decided to run another workshop in December.
I really enjoyed being part of the Open House event. I was overwhelmed and really pleased by how many visitors came along and were captivated by The Imaginerium and our stories. I'm looking forward to participating next year!
OI! Your Knitted!!
Last weekend Sue Russell and I took our GIANT knitting workshop to the people of Enfield at their Town and Country show. It was a fun end to a busy summer of community crafting, events included - Newham Mayor's show, Stepney Green torch Relay and Lollibop.
Our activity was popular with the local community support officers.....
Children and adults alike......... Olympian vegetables......CUT! Couldn't resist showing you some of the prize vegetables on display!
Boys who sew
Last week during my 'Creative cushion making for beginners' class, I had 3 boys! Why make a fuss I hear you cry?
Generally in the world of textiles (and my classes) this is quite unusual. At last year's annual pilgrimage to the 'Knitting and Stitching show', male visitors were vary scarce, and seemed to be at the show to assist their partners in carrying their purchases around! In this day and age, why do these gender stereotypes still exist?
Fabrications welcomes more boys to come and learn to sew, have fun in our workshops and prove this stereotype wrong!!
Just for fun! I'm hosting a KNITLYMPICS event at Fabrications this Saturday!
Locally, I'm aware that so many people missed out on getting tickets to the Olympics or could not afford some of the high ticket prices and now with the recent empty seats controversy, my suggestion is to KNIT YOUR OWN!!
I've teamed up again with the brilliantly witty crafty publishers Collins & Brown to provide a once in a lifetime workshop to create your own KNIT TICKET (with lasting legacy long after the games!) Collins & Brown have kindly provided the pattern from their 'KNITLYMPICS' book, created by Carol Meldrum, currently on sale at Fabrications for Â£7.99
The book is a lovely souvenir, which brings the characters (re create Usain Bolt for example) and sporting spirit to life in knit, accessible to both beginners and accomplished knitlympians.
All materials and refreshments provided and all attendees will receive a special knit ticket pattern, so on your marks!! BOOK HERE…
The Concious Alphabet Thief Mystery
A few months ago I put a request out on Fabrications Facebook page to see if anyone had seen our 'R'. Much to my disappointment on arrival at the shop that morning, I discovered the theft of the 'R' from Fabrications shop sign.
As I continued with my morning routine of opening the shutters, I looked over the road and noticed that the estate agent's Davistone or Da istone had lost their 'V'. It seemed too much of a coincidence so I decided to investigate the rest of Broadway Market.
Sure enough I discovered that the school uniform shop Trutex or Trut x had lost their 'E' and the urserverance had lost their 'P'. My morning was turning into a sureal game of Blockbusters or was Carol Vorderman loose in the street?
Last Sunday, I am happy to report dear readers that the Alphabet thief returned our 'R' through the letter box during the night. What's more all my neighbours have also received their letters back too!
We are very HAPPY to get them back but very mystified as to where our letters have been?? If you have sighted these letters anywhere, I would love to know more!!
What's in the window? The Canine Games in knit!
The official 2012 'Canine Games' took place last Saturday in East London. To celebrate Fabrications teamed up with Collins & Brown publishers of the brilliant 'Best in Show' - knit your own dog book. We were there at the games to teach people how they could knit their own dog or a string of knitted sausages, support Battersa dogs home's 'Softer Staffie' campaign and get a copy of the book! Inside which you discover how to knit all kinds of breeds (in miniature) from a basset hound (my personal favourite) to a French bulldog (London Fields favourite)
These patterns are truly exquisite, the authors Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne (one of their claims to fame is a knitted jumper they designed was worn by Lady Di back in the 80's depicting rows of sheep) have really captured each breed through choice of yarn, colour combination and of course shaping of each type of dog's characteristics. The book contains 25 patterns which are easy to follow, you'll have a whole kennel club before you know it! and yes, Fabrications is well stocked up at Â£12.99 each. I foresee "knit my dog please!" being on dog lovers Christmas list!
I can say this as the current window display is been getting so much attention from passers by (walking their dogs!). There are 15 different knitted dogs 'performing' - jumping through embroidery hoops and posing with their winning medals on podiums!
Making is connecting
I've recently been reading a book called 'Making is Connecting' by David Gauntlet. It's a fascinating piece of research as the title aptly says about how making things with your hands connects you to yourself, other people and ultimately the world and opens up positive transformative possibilities! It's right up my street...
Meet the inspirational Lina and Linda. Lina lent me 'Making is Connecting' to read, she thought I'd appreciate the research behind it. She subsequently brought Linda round to meet me as Linda is a very interesting lady and an experienced knitter, she has been knitting most of her life. Recently her expertise has been sought and features in a number of knitting books including Susan Crawford's 'A stitch in time' and Laren O'Farrell's 'Knit the City'.
Meet the talented film maker Adeline Royal, who brought Lina round to Fabrications so we could meet each other. I first met Adeline while she was making a film about knitting. She wanted to interview me about about running Fabrications and my thoughts on knitting, hand made, the British wool industry and my observations of the benefits that knitting can have on people that take up the craft. The film took Adeline on quite a journey, she met and interviewed a number of notable people from the knitting / current UK craft industry including Katy Bevan from the Crafts Council, Professor and writer Sandy Black, a representative from the British wool marketing board, Lauren O'Farrell, initiator of London largest knitting group 'Stitch London' and Lina and Linda who you've already been introduced to and who run a community knitting group at the Barbican library every Monday 11am - 4pm Anyway the aim of this post wasn't to produce a long line of name dropping but to show how Adeline's journey in making her film and beyond really demonstrates how the power of making can really activate and connect people! See her film about Knitting, connecting and sustainability on her Vimeo page HERE
This is another film that Adeline has created, a short promotional film all about the different strands that make up Fabrications, including how much we value making and believe in the 'transformative powers' it can bring, so we are a hive of industry in passing on textile skills and our beliefs values to others. I hope you enjoy it!…
We're having our annual clearance SALE to make way for the new!
Queing up for the bargains! This image was taken by Andrew Boff from East Eight magazine, while he was passing by on his bicycle. Come on down and enjoy a good old rummage through our boxes of bundled up fabrics, haberdashery, yarns, UFO's (unfinnished objects).......
There's also a range of brick a brack, retro items from our shop displays including 2 old fashioned hand winding sewing machines, suitcases, china tea cups and saucers...
Also 50% off orginial designer items including my 'Shirt + Tie' cushions, Donna Wilson creatures, Fine Cell Swag Bags, Little Experience Knit Cases.
WHILE STOCKS LAST!!…
The brand new bumper DIYcouture book
I first met Rosie Martin 2 years ago when she walked into Fabrications to show me her self published garment instruction books 'DIYcouture'. I remember flicking through the pages and getting excited to see very easy to follow visual step by step instructions which demystified the process of making clothes. I have always found other pattern cutting books overly technical and hard to follow. Rosie's books reminded me of the buzz I felt when I started to make my own clothes in my bedroom by taking patterns from existing clothes and measuring my body to make a 'basic block' then adding elements and details, chopping and changing, using lots of elastic to create shape, in true punk DIY spirit - Just Do It!
2 years on and the talented Miss Martin has been snapped up by Laurence King publishers. Her enhanced bumper 'DIY Couture' instruction book in full colour shows you how to create your own fashion collection. Her original step by step photo - diagram illustrations have been maintained, but the genius of this book is that Rosie explains how to make 10 different kinds of garments presented in 8 suggested 'collections' (I'm keen on the 'Jungle Punk' and 'Safari Prep' collections) showing how many more exciting variations, personality and ethical choices you can inject into your wardrobe when you make your own clothes, just by the fabric you buy, gaining understanding of the making process, being able to change the length, tweak the waist line, adding some pockets, a collar or a hood - the possibilities are endless when you enter the world of DIYcouture!
Momtaz welcomes Rosie up on the stage
Last week the book was launched at a new monthly craft night 'The Make Escape' in the 'Attic' in the Hackney Picture House. The Attic had a great vibe with lots of upcycled furniture, lovely stretched canvasses of African prints, a stage and a bar. The evening was a great success, the place was jam packed with local people, fashionistas and a great turn out from London's craft community. I was hosting a sewing area, teaching people how to make Rosie's 'Turban Headband' project. Many of the enthusiastic participants had never sewn before, which was quite a challenge teaching next to a massive speaker, I hope I didn't scare anyone off by shouting at them too loudly!! Somehow I think everyone had fun, here are some pictures from the night....
Momtaz who organises the 'Make Escape' with Rosie Martin joins the lovely headband makers Karen and Dorcas
Bern shows off her newly created turban headband
Well done Rosie for all your hard work and achievements, I'm looking forward to seeing what people create using your book - which by the way is now ON SALE at Fabrications for Â£17.95. Rosie will also be running a series of garment construction workshops at Fabrications, including 'Make your own scater skirt' taking place this Saturday. If you'd like to find out more and book a place click HERE!
Pictures from Rosie's new book taken by Simon Pask
Join Fabrications & The East End WI this Saturday for an East End vintage style tea party! Barley will show you how to make a vintage inspired hair decoration or 'fabulous fascinator' whilst the East End WI will be serving tea in vintage t-pots and t-cups with their famously delicious cakes. the event is FREE to attend but please support our local WI by buying their tea and cake. BOOKING A TIME SLOT is advised (between 12 - 4pm) crafting activity takes approx 1hr, as we can only fit in a certain amount of tea party goers at one time!
Even the Queen got wind of our plans and dropped in as part of her Jubilee tour, last Thursday during our bunting making day with Brother. Sporting hand knitted crown, sash and medals. The young queen is actually Caroline Brooks from the Shoreditch Sisters, who have been involved in creating an entire knitted jubilee presentation and activities inside the WI tent over at the Diamond Jubilee Festival in Battersea Park, next weekend.
Fiona Macalister is the textile artist behind this incredible hand woven tapestry 'Pop Queen', currently on display in Fabrications window. Fiona studied art in Chelsea college of Art in the 1960's, culminating in a highly commended post graduate scholarship in woven tapestry design from Edinburgh College of art, where she stayed to continue her career.…
Emotional Baggage Exchange
'Emotional Baggage' have been handling different kinds of baggage and helping people feel a little lighter since 2004. Set up by myself and good friend and colleague Belle Tidswell, our check in boothe has appeared at a diverse range of events and we aim to be 99% exclusively inclusive.
Alongside our handling service we have also developed a range of thought provoking gifts including the Emotional Baggage DIY kit and Controversial Debates game. Each year we participate in the Art Car Boot Fair in Brick Lane, creating a different experience or game alongside the boothe including - Controversial Debates (live version) the Lost & Found Tombolla and last year year we encouraged visitors to plant seeds of change with our 'Tree of Life' exercise.
At the year's Art Car Boot Fair, which is taking place this Sunday, we will present our 'Emotional Baggage Exchange'. We will invite visitors to offload their Emotional Baggage at the boothe (or in the privacy of their own home), feel a little lighter and win a limited edition, positive piece of baggage, all this for a mere Â£5!
Belle and I have been busy designing, screen printing, cutting and stitching to make a collection of amazing types of baggage you can acquire including "Handy Bags", "T-Bags", "Clutch Crutches" and not forgetting those "old Bags"
Meet Paul Gardner, our proud sponsor! Paul has kindly provided the cotton bags, which we've printed our designs onto. Paul is a very warm character and provides an excellent service to all us local traders. His family have been supplying bags and market sundries since 1870, making his shop the oldest family business in the Spitalfields area.
Take some TIME OUT and make something!
I'm looking forward to reading Katie Dailey's feature on making her own outfit and her review of great workshops in London where you can learn how to! in Time Out (London) this week. Katie is pictured here with her colleague Sereen El Jamal, showing the skirts they'd made with me using upcycled vintage tie fabic. Both Katie and Sereen were quite new to sewing and pattern cutting and I think they did a great job, inspite of me getting Sereen's 'right' and 'wrong' side of the fabric mixed up because she wanted to use the 'wrong' side as her 'right' side!!
Let me know what you think about the article......
I took this picture last Thursday Evening at Fabrications monthly Craft Club. Meet Richard Walker and his amazing patchwork quilt. I've got to know Richard over the last 5 years through his regular attendance at our classes, craft club and out and about in Hackney. Richard has become a prolific maker and gardener and in his own words is living the life of a "Council Estate Crofter". After attending Katherine May's Taste of Patchwork and Piecing Patchwork classes, Richard embarked on making his sister this quilt, it contains special fabrics from his family including pieces of his sister's school uniform, needles to say as it gets close to completion he is feeling a little reluctant to hand it over!
Feeling inspired? Katherine is running some more of her classes, this Sunday 13th May - Taste of Patchwork (find out more HERE) and on Sunday 27th May - Piecing Patchwork.(find out more HERE)
Katherine has also been working on a year long project called 'Patchwork Lives' with East London Textile Arts, who are based in Newham and run community classes and groups teaching traditional textile skills.It is run by local people and is open to those of all faiths, ethnicities, ages and abilities.
'Patchwork Lives' is made up of embroidered depictions of people we share our lives and streets with in East London. Go and meet them for yourself at an exhibition at St Martin in the Fields 14th - 19th May. (opening next Monday 14th May, 6 - 9pm)…
Bags of fun, Bags of creativity and T-bags!
Apologies for the lack of posts of late, but I've been having too much fun in the new Imaginerium! Here are some 'Wish you were here' style postcards from the recent Fabrications + Brother sewing day. I was really pleased with how many people came along and got stuck into transforming old t-shirts into shopping bags and enjoyed trying out the new Brother sewing machines. A great launch to our new sewing classes and becoming Brother's East End 'Authorised Dealer'.
The next Fabrications + Brother sewing day will be on Thursday 24th May, more news of this to follow....…
Brother at our side
Fabrications welcomes Brother sewing machines into their new East London showroom!
The fleet of sewing machines arrived a couple of weeks ago and is probably one of the most exciting deliveries I've received in recent years, in fact I think I could say ever! Caroline from the Shoreditch Sisters helped me unpack the boxes and set up the machines during our recent monthly craft club and described it being like Christmas, when you're the first to open and use an item. Even I'm in the grip of enjoying using something brand new, that hasn't been tinkered with that runs like a dream, purrs in fact!!
An over excited Barley tries out the machines
Thanks to Brother's support, we can now offer a whole range of sewing machine based classes, which will be starting in April. We're planning 'provisional driving' sewing classes, more 'Refresh your wardrobe' classes. Rosie Martin will be running a series of DIY Couture classes for all abilities and we will also be joined by Laura Lees who will be bringing her creative machine embroidery 'The Mighty Stitch' workshop to town!
Don't they look lovely on this side board, upcycled by Out of the Dark
To celebrate the launch of our new sewing classes and becoming Brother's East London stockist, join us for some free unadulterated stitching fun on Thursday 29th March, 12.30 - 8pm.
* Make your own bag from a T-shirt and customise it.
* Test drive the new fleet of Brother sewing machines.
* Meet Rachel Espin from Brother and talk stitches.
* If you're a learner we'll guide you through
* If you're an experienced maker we'll share some tips of the trade or try out some of the advanced machine features.
Whatever stage you're at with your sewing, we are sure you'll gain bags of inspiration, creativity and skills with us! BOOK your FREE PLACE, letting us know what time you'd like to attend.…
MARCH - workshops
This month's workshops focus on different hand sewing methods. I'm really excited about this month's activities as we are introducing some new classes and textile teachers to Fabrications fold!
Starting with this Sunday 4th March, Katherine May fresh from her popular classes at the V+ A this week is running a quilting class. For those of you unfamiliar with the technique, quilting is the decorative sewing through of your patchwork fabric or whole cloth and wadding to create designs and texture. Katherine wanted to do a class that focuses on quilting as she found that it tended to get rushed at the end of her patchwork classes as students get engrossed in the patchwork part. She also wanted to highlight historical and contemporary examples and show the variety of applications for the technique.
On Saturday 17th March, local textile artist Jessie Chorley is running her full day special workshop 'embroidered memory books and pages'. Once you've booked on, Jessie will send you a materials list and encourages you to bring along special fabrics and mementos so you create something truly unique to you. Before you get going with learning the embroidery and applique methods that Jessie uses, she will talk about the inspiration behind her own narrative textile works and take you on a visit to her shop on nearby Columbia Road. The full day will give the space to really get into the making process.
On Sunday 18th March, Sarah Corbett will be running her Craftivism workshop - making mini protest banners. For regular followers of my blog, I have written about a number of Craftivist projects that Sarah has initiated. Sarah set up the Craftivist Collective and is seen as one of the leading spokespeople for the global craftivist movement. During the workshop she will talk about how the movement started and the benefits of using craft as a beautiful, non threatening and thought provoking method to activism. It will also be very creative and hands on, where you will learn how to interpret design and text into cross stitch or embroidery and create your very own mini protest banner, which hopefully you will want to hang out in the street after the workshop as other craftivists do!
On Sunday 25th March, I will be running an introduction to weaving workshop. During the class I explain how to create your 'warp' and 'weft' looking at colour, design and material choices. I will show 3 different weaving techniques - flat board weaving, a technique I developed for my woven upcycled inner tubes, 'tube matting and cushions'. Peg loom weaving on wool-n-dance peg looms. Both these methods are very low tech and a quick method to create fabric. Then there will be opportunity to have a go on my antique foot peddled loom. - a slower process but more intricate. You will create a series of samples to take away.…
Knitters go wild in Hackney!
Our town hall square has been transformed overnight! On Saturday, I got the tip off in the shop that 'the woolly transformation' or 'yarn storm' would take place late on Sunday night. On Monday morning reporter Massey was at the scene! And what a beautiful and colourful scene it is! All 12 trees in Hackney's town hall square have been lovingly wrapped in knitted and crocheted patchwork covers, reminiscent of Freddie Robins tree cosies. I'm sure the trees are really happy with their new warm jackets! As are the passers by that I saw inspecting the trees, looking and smiling!
Richard puts his best foot forward
I've just received this photo in my inbox from Richard Walker, live and direct from India, who has been knitting these socks, using 4 ply King Cole merino blend, which he purchased from Fabrications before he left, combined with some 'man made at heels and toes' (source unknown!)
He informs me he may postpone the second sock and knit a little skull cap, the sun is so strong. Will Richard be hopping lots under that amazing blue sky, but at least his head will be protected.
I am so impressed with Richard's progress. He is one of Fabrications star pupils, having attending most of our classes here including our Beginners knitting class and Sue Russell's knitting socks class. Looking forward to seeing you on your return Richard! X…
FEBRUARY workshops and events
We've got another action packed month of different classes, some have already passed as I'm updating my blog a bit late but this is what's on for the rest of the month. To keep up to date with the workshop and events programme, check into the website calender:
This Saturday (18th Feb) 2 - 4.30pm : Beginners Knitting with me! Learn or refresh on the basics and get started!
This Sunday (19th Feb) 2 - 4.30pm : Piecing Patchwork with Katherine May. This session focusses on pattern and design and starting your own project. Next month Katherine will be running another session which focusses on the quilting side of patchwork.
Saturday 25th Feb, 1 - 4pm: Mrs Bears Clothes swapping event. Bring up to 7 quality but unwanted items and raid the rails!! There will also be a vintage SALE rail, with hand picked goodies by Mrs Bear.
Sunday 26th Feb, 2 - 4.30pm: Refresh your wardrobe - simple sewing alterations with me! Another opportunity to go through your wardrobe or bring in items found at the clothes swap for simple alterations, re tailoring or re vamping. I will tailor the session according to what each participant wants to learn and the clothes they want to transform!
More next Month! Love BarleyX…
Lets hijack valentines!
A giant love letter has elegantly floated into Fabrications window this month in time for Valentines day. It is stopping passers by in their tracks, my favorite reaction was 2 small boys who stood, pointed and smiled lots. They ran off and brought back their parents to read it - brilliant! Keep recruiting boys!!
Originally created by Sarah Corbett (founder of the Craftivist Colective) for a public craftivism workshop during Tracy Emin's 'Love is what you want' show at the Hayward Gallery last summer. The letter and workshop urged participants to "show their love through action to their global neighbour struggling in this unjust world". Participants pledged different acts of love they would carry out locally or globally by writing down their action on a luggage label.
This giant letter has become a chain letter, having recently travelled back from independent bookshop's window 'News from Nowhere' window in Liverpool and now is at Fabrications urging passers by to stop, think and act!
It has also been a great display that promotes 2 special craftivism events, we are hosting here:
This Thursday 9th February, 6 - 9pm:
Open studio and 'Hijacking valentines preparation session'.
All are welcome to join the London craftivists in this fun and friendly session in creating valentine's cards and crafted gifts which will be left out in the street in various nooks and crannies to be found by unsuspecting members of the public, beautiful and gentle reminders to 'show some love'. You don't need to be in a relationship to receive one of these!
Image courtesy of Sarah Corbett
During the evening you will also be able to meet Sarah Corbett, a real inspiration and a very friendly lady! She is running a
'mini protest banner making' workshop at Fabrications on
Sunday 19th March, 2 - 4.30pm which focuses on the history of craftivism, it's benefits and how it can create change through thought provoking, non threatening, crafty action. She will also be teaching practical skills in how to interpret text and design in cross stitch and embroidery to create slogans with impact. If you're interested in attending please contact us to book in!
Image courtesy of Sarah Corbett
Don't Move Improve!
Straight from last night's private view at the Building Centre in Central London, here are Eric and Nicholai of Delvendahl Architects, in front of their design for Fabrications, which has been shorlisted for the 'Don't move, improve!' award organised by NLA (new London architecture) in assotiation with RIBA (Royal institute of British architecture) BIID (British institute of interior design) and Elle Decoration.
The exhibition (which continues until 28th March) showcases shortlisted schemes from this yearâ€™s â€˜Donâ€™t Move, Improve!â€™ competition, which invited architects and homeowners from across Greater London to submit their most innovative and well-designed home extension, interior design and small office conversion projects completed within the last three years. Well done Eric + Nicholai on being shorlisted!…
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