The much-coveted weekend for sewing obsessives opened its doors to me, the weekend before my return to work. It was incredibly inspiring and thought-provoking as well as emotionally tricky.
When I set my alarm to make sure I could get one of the tickets (that sold out in 2 minutes) it was a long wait before the weekend, so I was delighted. As it came nearer, I have to be honest and say I wasn’t excited. Funnily, I soon found out that this is a common feeling. Sewing is a solitary hobby, especially if you don’t have any like-minded friends nearby. For some, that suits us perfectly. As, like me, socialising is ok once you get going, but can be terrifying enough to keep you at home. It took me a good few hours to relax in the great room filled with excited ladies and their sewing machines.
…and who are you on instagram?
Instagram is the primary lurking place of us sewing types. I had never experienced it before, but here I was surrounded in strangers, with familiar faces! Without our insta handles, I knew so many people, but had no idea who they were. In the end I just asked. Sitting between two people I had been following for years, without ever knowing them was incredibly strange and gave them all a sort of celebrity status to me.
“A magnolia, deer and doe, art gallery fabric; rayon, should have used a rotary”
I want to write about how friendly, positive and encouraging I found every person I met. The common language must have sounded foreign to some, but all of us talked in pattern names, designer names and fabric types,
There was no jealousy, comparison or malice. Just pure appreciation of the other persons skills, choices and style. We were all different ages, shapes, sizes, but together as one of our guest speakers said, we looked like the most colourful and inspiring group of women.
What happens when you turn your back on fast fashion?
It occurred to me a few days later, still riding high on an inspiration wave that, of course there was only positivity; the sewing world is the antithesis of how consumerism teaches us to think.
“Wear this and show people you are rich”,
“wear this fabric, it’s recognisable as expensive”,
“be this size, that shows you are successful”,
“wear this shape, it shows you are young”.
Everyone in that room looked bloody amazing. Their clothes fitted well, they all looked different, interesting, cooky, glamourous, individual, comfortable – whichever, but everybody looked beautiful and happy. Apart from wanting to come home and sew my arse off, I wanted to stop being so reserved with my choices. I’ve been sticking with a make-it-look-like-ready-wear mindset for so long. Now I need to step out and wear the clothes I want to – because ready-wear is nothing to try and emulate after all.
Halls give me the jitters
The weekend was held in one of the Cambridge colleges and we stayed in halls for the night. Without warning, this was the most difficult part of the weekend for me. I didn’t realise I had buried so many awful memories of going off to uni. Living that life again; confused, lost, fobs to get through that door, keys to get through another, up the endless stairs and into the beige and brown cell. Once I had a word with myself and remembered it is just one night, you’re not 18 anymore, I calmed down!
I met some wonderful people. Plus found a lot of new patterns I want to make. Embarrassingly, I was raving to one lovely lady about her dress, and said I’d just discovered that designer this weekend, she’s amazing. She smiled and said, that it was her, she was the designer. Thank goodness I was being complimentary.
I’d like to think I will go again next year. I loved the goody bag! And next time, I would hopefully know a few more people. It was all in all a magical experience.