The Village Haberdashery Sewing Socials

the village haberdashery class studio


Recently, I was lucky enough to be guest host at one of The Village Haberdashery‘s Sewing Social evenings. They run each Thursday night, 6.30-9pm. Each attendee pays £8 to access the studio and sew with friends and a host who shall make them feel welcome and answer their questions. Oh, and there’s cake.

This was the first time I attended and I LOVED it. There were about eight or nine of us there – we each had a sewing machine and plenty of space to work. The wide windows were flung open to the evening summer air and a member of staff (hi, Freya!) was on hand if we had any questions. There was also a knitting group in the shop area and the atmosphere was friendly, relaxed and fun. Honestly, I was in heaven!

wool the village haberdashery

It’s worth remembering that The Village Haberdashery store is right next to two overland train stations and there’s an M&S shop downstairs. All your needs are covered! It only took me 40 minutes from my front door to be sitting down with new friends to sew.

One of the benefits of this social (apart from the chat) is that you get access to equipment and space you may not have at home.

  • Tired of cutting out on the floor? You can devote the evening to standing at the gorgeous, varnished, waist-height table.
  • Working with fabric that frays and don’t own an overlocker? Use the ones at The Village Haberdashery!
  • Want some construction advice or fitting help? Your guest host is on hand!

Honestly, this concept is simple genius.

sewing with wool suiting

I was working on another pair of B6178 culottes in lightweight wool suiting. So lightweight that I can totally wear these on sunny days. What’s that favourite saying in sewing circles? These may be my favourite pair so far. So far… Don’t you just love those two key words?

The waistband is attached using the stitch in the ditch technique. I’ve learnt to always baste this section of sewing before going to the machine. It makes such a difference to accuracy.

basting a waistband

As I was sewing these, I wondered if there’s a couture-ish technique for protecting both the body and the fabric from each other at that crucial crotch area? I could do a partial trouser lining in silk, but was thinking something along the lines of a patch of fabric that prevents wear and tear … don’t you see something like this in men’s trouser suits? Let me know if you have half an idea what I’m talking about and knowledge to impart!

I should warn you, if you attend a Sewing Social you’ll struggle to leave empty-handed. I bought some of this beautiful jersey with a graduated stripe. It’s so soft – I have another Freya Sweater planned.

graduated stripe jersey

I’d like to give a shout out to Faye for being one of the most delightful, charming, sensible and just super-lovely assistants I’ve ever encountered. Annie, you need to keep hold of her!

One last note on the topic of blue – look at my sunflower seedlings. Yes, those are blue seed husks. Bought from Ventnor Gardens on the Isle of Wight. Apparently, these grow monster sunflowers. Watch this space!

sunflower seeds

Good luck to everyone running the London Marathon today! You have inspired me to haul my derriere out of bed for a quick canter this morning before the heat kicks in. If you can do 26 miles, I can do 3k in the park.

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18 Responses to The Village Haberdashery Sewing Socials

  1. Nikki says:

    That sounds absolutely wonderful. If only it was actually anywhere near me 🙁

  2. Debbie says:

    I believe there is a technique for a crotch lining: just a diamond of lining fabric with the edges finished and the corners hand sewn to each of the allowances of the four seams, if I recall correctly. I expect I read that in Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques, maybe in the same section as the dress shields?

  3. Jenny Lester says:

    Like Debbie above I have seen this triangle of fabric! As the local”alterations lady” in our village I am often asked to do men’s alterations and have seen many trousers with this addition exactly what Debbie mentions. For a lady I don’t think it would need to be cotton but try something like silk neatly attached to the point at which crutch and leg seams meet. Possible not required for culottes as they don’t usually sit high enough to the body to promote wear but depends in the fit I imag8ne

  4. Nathalie Murcott says:

    Tailored trousers include crotch guards at the fork. You’ll need to cut two pieces of fabric approx 20 x 20 cm on the grain, in either silesia or lining fabric.
    Fold this into two on the bias and press outwards from the centre so that it ends up shaped like a croissant. Don’t be scared to press the life out of it – you really want to shape it into a curve.
    Apply this so that the curved area sits nice and flat on the inside trouser/ culotte fabric and baste into place. Because of the shape of the croissant, the ends will extend beyond your trouser piece. That’s fine, just trim any excess (you’re not trying to get the guard to fit as is, instead you trim to shape). What matters is to keep the guard from pulling or distorting the main fabric, and that it sits flat when in place.
    Hope this helps!

  5. Nathalie says:

    P.s. Peter from MPB did a post on this ages ago. The problem he encountered at the time is that he didn’t press and shape and trim, but tried to fit as is. I only link because it includes a page from an excellent men’s tailoring book which has drawings and may help explain.

  6. JenNYC says:

    David Coffin’s book on trousers has something about the crotch seam guard. Can’t remember what he called it though. If the trousers have a fly, then the fly guard can be extended down and sort of wrapped around the front crotch seam. You would want to make it out of a thin fabric.

    For casual pants it is also easy to sew a diamond shaped piece of fabric over the crossed seam. I have found that this also makes PJ pants more comfortable.

    • JenNYC says:

      For anyone interested, the book is Making Trousers for Men & Women (2011 ed.) by David Page Coffin. I recommend the book, which is just about sewing, but not fitting. It revolutionized the way I sew pockets!

      I took a look in my copy and there are not detailed instructions about the crotch seam guard, but there is a photo (pgs. 18, 131) and a description of an example pair of men’s pants: “The fly shield…lining extends considerably at the bottom, going well beyond the shield itself…formed into a narrow, tubular reinforcement for the front crotch seam and is stitched to the seam allowances there to about 2″ (5.1 cm) beyond the inseam.” In essence, the fly shield becomes narrower at the bottom and wraps around the CF seam allowance like a binding, and creating a ‘clean finish’ look.

      The bias-folded triangular pieces are a different thing altogether and are “to reinforce the front crotch CURVE” (caps are mine). Basically, that this type of reinforcement is to prevent stretching out in that area.

      I also mentioned the diamond shaped pieces, which are not in this book. Basically, for trousers, I would cut a large diamond out of lining fabric with pinking shears and then tack it over the seams.

      As for PJs, I discovered this in a pair of knit lounge pants from Uniqlo years ago. Just cut a piece of knit diamond or a small rectangle and zig zag it over the cross where the seams all meet. Works for woven PJs too. Regardless, creativity for these sorts of issues is the way I think!

  7. Lisa G :-) says:

    I hope you’ll post some pictures and explanations on this crotch guard thing if you figure it out and make one! I am intrigued but having difficulty envisioning. I’m especially interested now that JenNYC says it makes PJ pants more comfie…who doesn’t want their PJs as comfie as possible?!

  8. Ally says:

    I’ve found this video and pattern for a saddle for trousers. I haven’t tried it yet, but found it when looking ways to reinforce my boyfriend’s shop bought trousers. I’ve had to do a lot of patching of his jeans and trousers so want to try prevention rather than cure for the future!

  9. Awfulknitter says:

    I think that seed husk is blue because it’s had a fungicide applied. I went to plant some squash seeds with my toddler, and she was very excited by them! Alas, given how difficult it is to get her to wash her hands, Mummy had to take over the planting. Acouple of years back I had some mangetout pea seeds that came with an iridescent purple fungicide – astoundingly pretty!

  10. The village haberdashery sew socials look wonderful! I’d love to attend one some day. As for the culottes, they look amazing! I cannot wait to see them and your Freya out of the blue jersey.

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