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Inspired by the transformation challenge on the bee?
Join Claire-Louise Hardie, The original sewing producer for series 1-4  in our live 1 hour transformation challenge

Each week you can attempt one of the alteration challenges seen on screen, so drag out your denim, or revamp a kid’s garment or Punk up your tartan ( more options as series progresses) and transform your tired old clothes into something new.

Claire-Louise will be on hand with tips, tricks and inspiration, as well as a stash of haberdashery for you to dive into. All competitors will be entered into a prize draw to win a sewing kit box from Prym, and a mystery ” bee” judge will help choose the winner once the final event has taken place.

We reserve the right to cancel if there are less than 2 students booked.
For details of our terms and conditions policy click here
Hi CL,

I had a very enjoyable and satisfying day. I am so pleased with myself and you are such a good teacher. I have already bought material to make another dress (washed it last night) Can't wait to do my next course.

-Fran

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Is your mind boggled by the concept of zip flies? Or like Joe Lycett, can you not fathom how to attach a jeans button? Unlike attempting to make flared cords in just 3.5 hours, YOU can make jeans at your own pace with just a few skills, and a hammer

In this 1 hour workshop, Claire-Louise Hardie the former Sewing Producer for The Great British Sewing Bee, will demystify not only the humble zip fly, but twin needle top stitching: flat felled seams and how to correctly apply a jeans button or rivet. Plus the J Lewis #habyhub team will share their top jeans pattern and fabric picks

There will be an opportunity to try the techniques, and participants will receive a printed handout on how to make sewing a zipper fly a breeze!

Attendees will be entered into a prize draw to win a fabulous very well stocked Prym sewing kit, which will include all the tools and products demo-ed across this series of workshops.

We reserve the right to cancel if there are less than 2 students booked.
For details of our terms and conditions policy click here

I was pleased with my class.....you've made me a bit sewing crazy now!
Kate S
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Sewing Quarter - Monday 3rd December - YouTube
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Sewing Quarter - Monday 5th November - YouTube
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Inspired by our studio Neighbors Mudra Yoga , I am now offering a lower cost option for  my popular Dressmaking club session on Wednesday mornings.  (After your Community Sew session, you can hop over to Mudra and stretch out with their  affordable Community Flow class! )

  • Want to sew in a group with other like minded individuals, and make some sewing friends?
  • Short on space to sew at home or lacking the motivation to get going?
  • Enjoy coming together with others to learn something new?

If Freestyle is your style, then this is the class for you!

Class numbers are never more than 6 per session, so you’ll get lots of attention from a super experienced dressmaker who just happens to be the pattern designer for the Bee!

To Book:-

Select your session directly via the calendar below.

Time: Wednesday mornings  10.30 am-12 pm


What’s included: Sewing machines, tools and basic haby

What’s NOT included:–  Fabric for your project. Project patterns ( we do have a limited small selection for sale)

NB- If you’d like to use an overlocker, please give me 48 notice, and bring along threads if you don’t want to use either black or white. You will need to be able to thread up and use an overlocker unsupervised as there isn’t time in this session to teach it.

Refreshments: Unlimited tea and coffee will be available throughout your session along with an awesome sewing playlist

BOOKING IS REQUIRED AS SPACE IS LIMITED I reserve the right to cancel if there are less than 2 students booked.
For details of our terms and conditions policy click here

Just finished a lovely session at The Thrifty Stitcher. Just take along whatever project you’re working on and spend a few hours getting expert tuition and help.
– Joy
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Do you hate all the measuring and pressing that’s usually required when you add a waistband?

I’ve recently been teaching with a product that makes it super easy! Also I like to avoid all the math involved with working out which is the extension side of the waistband, and which is the flush edge, along with how much ease/turn of cloth will be required…

So here’s how I teach my skirt students to add a waistband, I’ve used a little Costumier trick and sewn it initially to the wrong side of the skirt, but it works just as well the more conventional way.

Step 1- Cutting a waistband to fit you.

Prym 4 cm waistband shaper interfacing has pre-cut out sections along the stitch and folding lines. This allows the waistband to fold correctly without having to be pressed, plus it reduces bulk. Prym seem to be the only manufacturer doing a 4 cm finished width, and this is the preferred depth of my students.

Cut a length that’s at least 5 inches bigger than your waist measurement. Use this to cut out the fabric for the waistband, I lay it glue side down onto my fabric alongside the grain, with a little extra fabric at the sides.

Iron onto the wrong side of your fabric following the instructions. I always work from the middle outwards on either half, without steam.

Step 2- Creating the correct length.

Fold the waistband in half along the central crease. Wrap around your waist pinning into a position that feels comfortable. Leave a good bit of excess on both ends.  Check it’s comfortable when sat too! Transfer the pin mark to the wrong side of the waistband, this forms the centre points that will line up with the edge of the zip.

Step 3- Mark the half and quarter points on both waistband and skirt

As there is likely to be a little ease around the waistline of the skirt, it’s useful to mark the half and quarter points on both waistband and the skirt. This will give you easy “matching up” points

Step 4- Attaching the skirt to the waistband

Lining up the centre points with the outer edge of the zip, and then the corresponding half and quarter points, pin the right side of waistband to the wrong side of the skirt. Match the fold line of the interfacing to the seam allowance of the skirt. Sew in place

Step 5- Create the short ends of the waistband

Fold the seam allowance of the waistline onto the waistband, then fold the waistband right sides together in half along the central fold line. On the right half of this skirt, I pinned along the previously marked centerline. On the Left half of this skirt I made a new mark, 1.5 inches away from the centerline, to form the extension or underlap. This skirt has a back opening, so swap this if making a skirt that opens on the left side. Machine both of these short edges, and then trim the excess seam allowance.

Step 6- Top stitching the waistband

Carefully turn the short ends through to the wrong side, ensuring the corners are nice and square. Fold the waistband along it’s length, turning over onto the right side of the skirt. Fold under the final long edge of the band and pin into place over the seam allowance, ensuring it covers the stitching line. Pin in place and then top stitch close to the edge. I chose to only topstitch the lower edge of the waistband, but you could top-stitch all the way around too. By top-stitching the right side in this way, you can ensure the stitching is perfect on the outside of your skirt. It’s also less fiddly than trying to stitch in the ditch too.

Step 7- Add a hook and bar to the waistband

Ensuring that the extension is underneath, hand sew a hook and bar to the waistband. The hook goes on top, and is set a little way back from the edge so it doesn’t poke out: the bar is sewn on to the extension. You can also add an additional bar for after lunch! A  popper sewn on as well can help secure the bar. I use Flat trouser or skirt hooks and bars. Don’t fancy hand sewing?  Add a button and buttonhole here instead of a hook and bar.

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Interested in doing your bit to save the planet one stitch at a time?

If there was one product you could switch out from your sewing tool box to a more sustainable version, would you do it?

This is something I asked myself when I read about the rPet thread range from Guterman. As a professional Costumier, I always use Guterman threads, because I know they perform well across the wide range of unusual fabrics I come across. For me performance is key, and so before making a switch to the recycled threads, I needed to test them to see how they compare.

Earlier this year, I used recycled polyester threads to sew up a range of projects with lots of different fabric types. The Guterman rPet range consists of” sew all” threads for machine sewing, and a “top stitch” thread. I use top-stitch for hand sewing which is a good benchmark for testing performance. There are many threads that just don’t cut it when hand-sewing, so I was really curious to see how both these threads compared.

Experiment 1- Cotton

A simple tote bag from some gorgeous striped Guterman fabric. Thread performed really well with no difference from the regular Guterman sew all. Cotton is however the most forgiving of all fabric, and even a poor quality polyester often sews up well, so further experimentation was definitely required

Experiment 2- Waxed oilcloth

I gifted this wash bag sewn from British Millerain oil cloth. This cloth is treated with oil, and can be tricky to sew with. Again thread performed very well, with no difference. Since this is a robust fabric despite the oil, further testing on trickier fabric was needed.

Experiment 3- Jersey

Another recent gift was a Longley waterfall cardigan, sewn up in gorgeous teal Ponte Roma. Since this fabric contains some  lycra I thought it would be a good challenge for the rPet thread. Again, no difference in performance!

Experiment 4- Silk

My final machine experiment was sewing up a silk satin pyjama shirt. It wasn’t the best quality silk, so this was a good challenge for the thread, but again the thread performed well

Experiment 5- Hand sewing

Since I hand sew a lot, I’m very particular about my threads! I tested the top-stitch thread on button and hems, and enjoyed using the rPet version just as much as the regular thread.

So in conclusion I am totally going to swap my threads over to the recycled rPet version. Still need convincing? Here’s some hard fact and figures

  • One plastic bottle makes 1000 m of thread- that’s one bottle out of the ocean or landfill
  • The cost of these threads is THE SAME as the regular version ie £1.95 for a single reel, or £10.95 for the special 7 reel packs.

As a heavy thread user, it makes no sense for me not to use the recycled product. At the moment the colour range is only 40, but as more people take up using this product, then the range will expand. This one little switch really could help reduce plastic waste. You can find a local stockist via this e mail gutermann@stockistenquiries.co.uk

Hi
I've just got back into sewing and I find your newsletter tips really useful so do please keep them coming.
Many thanks
Geraldine
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Sewing Quarter - 14th May 2018 - YouTube
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Want to step up your sewing skills and learn tips and tricks for sewing with jersey and knit fabrics?
This class will teach you how to cut and sew with knit fabrics and make a simple T shirt 

You must be able to use a sewing machine and ideally have made a couple of things before taking this class. If not then try our ultimate beginners day.

 Using a sewing machine we will construct a well fitting t shirt with laid on sleeves and a professional looking finish. You will have a choice of sleeve length and neckline as well to suit your personal style.
In this class you will learn
  • how to use a commercial sewing pattern
  • how to lay and cut knit fabric.
  • how to add a professional looking neckband
  • how to use a twin needle
  • attach sleeves using the flat laid on method
Cost: £47 (max number of 5 students per session)
Time: 6.30-10 pm on weeknights. 2.30 pm -6pm on weekends. Arrive early as session starts promptly!
Materials required: 1.5 metres medium or lightweight knit fabric such as cotton jersey, Rayon jersey, ponte roma. Lightweight sweatshirting is also suitable. Matching Thread. 
Refreshments: Unlimited tea, coffee and snacks provided.
We reserve the right to cancel if there are less than 2 students booked.
For details of our terms and conditions policy click here
I'm so glad I had you on hand for my first attempt with lighter weight jersey, good fun and I learnt loads! I have my twin needles now and I'm going to set a weekend aside very soon and try out more jersey fabric.

-Claire

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Ready to DIY your own wardrobe?

Go from being a “dressmaking novice” to a “a sewing King or Queen” in either  4 weeks or one single weekend for only £170- A saving of more than 10% over booking all the classes individually!

This course is run either on 4 consecutive weeks on weeknight evenings or as an intensive Weekend Bootcamp on July 21st & 22nd.

Since Dressmaking skills aren’t just for ladies we can tailor this package especially for male sewers. Drop us an e mail for details of our options for the Male sewing projects.

You must already have learnt to use a sewing machine and made a couple of simple cushions/bags and an simple garment before attending this class. If not then try one of our beginners courses first

Session 1- 18.30- 22:00 pm 

Make a simple sleeveless top, and learn how to shape fabric with darts and finish off necklines with a binding. (See sleeveless top class link for fabric details)

Session 2 & 3 – 18.30- 21.30pm  

Take your dressmaking up a notch making either:- a simple shift dress with sleeves, OR a gathered skirt with an invisible zip and waistband OR a classic A line skirt with a facing

Session 4– 18.30- 22:00 pm 

Learn to sew with knits- in this introduction to stretch class, you’ll make an easy to sew T shirt, attach a neckband and how to finish hems with a twin needle. After this session, you’ll feel comfortable sewing with all kinds of stretch fabric either on a regular sewing machine. See class link for fabric details

Cost: £170 (max number of 5 students per session)
Time: 6.30-9.30 pm on weeknights, 10.30 am-either 1.30 pm or 6 pm at weekends. Arrive on time as session starts promptly!
Materials required: Patterns supplied for all 3 projects, you will need to provide fabric and thread-See booking confirmation for details or click on individual session links for info 
Refreshments: Unlimited tea, coffee and snacks provided, along with an awesome playlist of tunes! 
Book for either the 4 evenings or weekend bootcamp

We reserve the right to cancel if there are less than 2 students booked.
For details of our terms and conditions policy click here
Hi CL,

Did my first class yesterday (the cute shell top) which was amazing! Really good class, well structured...and I came away with an item of clothing I could really wear!

Many thanks - Steph

Hi Claire- Louise,

I'm still in a bubble of excitement about my shift dress, It was the best training day I've experienced- thank you so much for all the work you put in before, during and after to make it so useful.

With huge thanks - Nicola

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