Giveaway Winner & Guest Review from … My Mum!

The winner of The Village giveaway is new knitter, Nicole! Happy knitting, Nicole, I’ll be in touch for an address.

In the meantime, I thought I’d invite my lovely mum to post a review of a course she went on this week at English Couture. This company came in very useful when I needed supplies for my Gertie Bombshell Dress. They’re based just outside of Leicester, and I know some of my readers live in that part of the world! Plus, this is nice and central to the UK so accessible to anyone who fancies stocking up on excellent supplies or – as my mother did – attending one of their courses.

Most exciting of all: you get a little certificate at the end of your course!

Yay! Mum and her certificate of sewing excellence!

Without further ado, here’s Mum’s assessment of the day:

The country was under the ‘severe weather’ warning but the day dawned bright and sunny for my journey down to Syston in Leicestershire to attend Michelle Pye’s workshop ‘Working with Finer Fabrics’.  I hadn’t had any formal training since the age of 13 (at school) – over 50 years ago! But what a great learning day we had – shaping and mitred bindings, bound sleeve openings, setting in sleeves, sleeve headings to name just some of the techniques we learned. Michelle provides all the materials, already prepared for work, sewing machines and irons set up – in fact you don’t have to provide anything, just turn up (she can even organise your lunch). You can stock up your own sewing supplies from her shop.  Michelle is a great tutor, so patient – it was a joy to be in her company because she is so enthusiastic and some of that leaves you very inspired. Syston is surprisingly easy to reach even for those in London (train to Leicester, another to Syston) and not too far from the M1 for those with cars. She runs quite a variety of courses so I would encourage you to visit ‘englishcouture.co.uk’ (but not all at once).

After the course, Mum drove down to see me (with some sewing-related pressies – hurrah!), which meant that I could have a look at her work. She had several samples to bring away with her for future reference. Here’s the setting in of a silk sleeve head:

Can you see how there’s some very gentle support so that the top of the sleeve isn’t just collapsing down from the seam line? This is how it looks on the inside:

There’s a light foam fabric shoulder stay at the seam line. The sleeve itself is lined with incredibly fine silk organza. (It put my Goldhawk Road silk organza to shame, I don’t mind admitting.)

Mum also shared with me an interesting technique for corners that avoids snipping away fabric at the corner – a technique that can leave the stitching vulnerable. It was something to do with trimming and grading the seams and then folding the point. Very interesting!

I couldn’t help thinking of A Fashionable Stitch and her love of silk. I am almost – almost! – tempted to try my hand at making something rather lovely out of something rather fragile.

After I’ve finished my Minoru Jacket!

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12 Responses to Giveaway Winner & Guest Review from … My Mum!

  1. Clare says:

    Tell your mum thanks for the review – her samples look great, very professional. Just had a look at the courses on offer and see bra-making is an option. Definitely something I’m interested in so thanks again for the link!

  2. Jane says:

    Great review from your mum – you can see where your thirst for knowledge and desire to improve your skills comes from! I like the sound of the corner technique – I’m always worried those areas are too vulnerable as well, especially with fine fabrics.
    The online shop is extremely dangerous territory though, like an opium den for sewists! x

  3. Tj says:

    Thanks for the review and pics. Threads did a great article on mitred edges a while back-I’ll see if I can dig it up and link/scan it!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Your mom is so cute and her work is fine. What a great day!

  5. Your mom is adorable!!!! Thanks for sharing her experience with the course. xx

  6. Debi says:

    YAY! Thank your mum for her review–i loved reading it!!!! That sleeve looks amazing!

  7. Marie says:

    Oooh, thanks to you and your lovely mum for sharing this! I live in Leicester so it would be so very easy to get to one of those awesome-sounding courses! Whoop for the East Midlands…not a lot happens here usually you see ;o)

  8. Mary Ball says:

    By the way, Michelle says the bra making courses are one of her most popular! From Karen’s Mum

  9. Anne W says:

    I use that folding technique for corners. It is great, even on bulky fabrics, you just shave away the bulk. Another place to visit in Leicestershire for courses and fabrics is Fabulous fabric in Ashby-de-la-Zouche. It is run by Alison Smith and she has some gorgeous fabrics! Lots of Paul Smith stuff and lingerie supplies to die for!

  10. Tilly says:

    Aha, so that’s where the good writer genes come from! Was your mum inspired to learn couture techniques because of your love of sewing, or has she always been into it and you caught the sewing bug from her?

    The course sounds fantastic, I’m now feeling really inspired to save up for a couture sewing class in London (bet they cost a fortune). xx

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