Saturday, 31 August 2013

Back to School

For the first time in a while the Summer holidays actually felt like they took place in Summer.  With luck the kids going back to school next week will be taking their first steps into a whole new adventure. If they are lucky enough to be taught textiles there may be a few things it's worth packing them to school with.
  Tailors Chalk in a handy hard plastic case. Having multiple colours really helps when tracing out a pattern. One colour can be the seam, the other darts the other pockets and so on. Having your own means not having to wait for the class chalk to come around.

A tape measure is always handy in class. Small and easy to carry and yet will again save you having to wait for the class tape to come around.

Wundaweb Instant hemming tape .Beloved by Gok Wan and anyone with shorter than expected legs. Perfect for taking up school uniforms but not so permanent that they can't be let down as the kids grow.

Labelling pen for school uniforms and P.E. Kit. Easy to use, just write as you would with a  regular pen, only this pen will not wash out.

Four very cheap and simple things that can make textile classes a little easier, or make your job of getting the uniform and kit ready for school a LOT easier.
Pop into the shop for more help and inspiration, remember we're in Colchester AND  Felixstowe.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Teach kids about life, teach them to sew, knit and crochet.

We are still seeing families come into Fabric8 for summer projects such as bunting.  In a week or two they'll be back for school project materials.  Over the last few years we've noticed a lot more boys come in for their school materials. Sometimes these are for courses that  are compulsory, other times they are using sewing in a technology project. Either way we think ALL children AND adults need to be able to sew or knit or crochet, or all three.

There is the obvious reasons for learning, such as being able to repair your own clothes. 

Then there is the other obvious advantage of being able to make your own clothes as well. But it doesn't have to end with just clothes, just look at the handy things you can make for around the home once you know how to sew such as Reusable Cable Ties, or Kindle or Tablet Covers.

But the reasons for teaching people to sew or knit runs deeper. Think about the skills you use when you sew, other than sewing.

To begin with you decide to make something, but what? You have to engage your brain power to work out what you want to make to begin with. Then you have to select a pattern and then you need to work out what fabrics are compatible with what you want to make. You may find you need a different pattern to make your selected garment out of a certain fabric. So you need to use decision making skills and critical thinking.

Then you need to cut out your pattern and lay out your fabric, so you have to learn to follow instructions as well as develop manual dexterity. When following your pattern you learn that things have to be done in a certain order, seams have to be done one at a time, at the right time. You may need to research a particular way of doing things, or learn how to do something new such as using interfacing. You always have to focus on what you're doing without losing sight of the over all picture, to make sure you do the right thing at the right time.

In other words teaching someone to sew teaches them a myriad of skills. So many of these skills are transferable to other projects, indeed sewing is the perfect model for project management. So even if you want your kids to grow up to work in fields other than the immediate creative ones you will be giving the a huge boost by teaching them to sew, knit or  crochet from a young age.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Sewing For Going to Festivals

I Love festivals, be they comedy, historical or musical. Every year I head to Wave Gothic Treffen in Liepzig in Germany. Being a Goth and Steam Punk festival it makes sense that sewing fanatics have a ball preparing for this festival. However you can use your sewing skills for other festivals as well.
  Many festivals these days have a theme, for instance Standon Calling had the theme of "Running away from the Circus. " Themes  like this are useful as you can fit in with just a little face paint, or you can make yourself something spectacular.

This family of escapee  clowns were costumed very easily and in affordable style with  help from this blog.
A quick petticoat pattern,
a harem pants pattern,
and a circle skirt pattern
with some dress net and polycotton and voila, a family of clowns costumed in a day.

But preparing for a festival isn't just limited to sewing costumes. Think about where you can sew a quick hidden pocket with a Velcro fastener. I put one on the inside of my shirt just large enough to keep an emergency £20 note.

You can always use fabric paints and markers to put a design onto your clothes as well.

If you're taking kids with you use a marker pen to not only write their name on their clothes labels but also your mobile number. (Speaking of phones, if you have one with a camera take a shot each morning of them in their festival gear. It's a nice memento but also you can show it  to the security guards at a festival if you get separated.).  You could easily make a comfortable wrist band out of cotton or poly cotton, fastened with Velcro with your contact info on for them to wear as well.

Remember to enjoy your festival going, aim to look fantastic, but remember you're there to have fun!