Cushioning The Fall...

The other evening I was lucky enough to take part in a cushion-making class near Clapham North station (London)... 

It's for beginners, so perfect for you if you've never touched a sewing machine; it progressed very slowly through each stage - so that everyone in the class was working at the same pace... This blog post is quite picture-heavy; I'm hoping this gives a strong feel of what the place is like; and how the class feels... I'll start at the beginning, with some pics of the shop itself; introducing... Sew Over It!


and - before I forget, here's the blog soundtrack for this post; not only 'cos they're cool kids having a Good Time, but also cos they look like they're wearing clothes they made themselves. ;)

Thankfully the craze for making things is growing in popularity (making me not such a weirdo after all...) - and this amazing little place packs a lot in to a small area; you're met through the doors at the reception/cash register, to your right there's a haberdashery store, with everything from bias binding to motifs to sewing machines (and they've got an online shop too), and nestled neatly at the back is one of the workshop areas...


It's so darn cute, honestly! I mean, I don't think of myself as a 'girly girl', but this place made me want to run into a field clutching a fluffy kitten, wearing a pink gingham dress, to play with bouncing lickle lambs! 
*I recognise the fact I have not thought this daydream through properly; who knows if the kitten and the lambs will get on... but this further proves the fact I've lost it a little over this shop's decor and layout...



I was instructed to go downstairs, to the larger area under the shop, where the Button Me Cushion Class was taking place - I think there were about ten of us in total. I loved the fact we got to help ourselves to a cuppa, and a piece of cake (I went for the moist ginger, if you're interested) - and the selection of fabrics was plentiful too... 


After we'd chosen a fabric, the tutor cut the right amount out, and we set about pressing our fabric, before attaching it to the template, cutting it out, and getting to work on the sewing part. The teacher, Kangan Arora, is a talented print tutor/technician at Central Saint Martin's, and was adept at making us feel confident with the task ahead. The class seemed to pass by in a flash... my favourite bit was learning how to cover buttons to match (or contrast with) the cushion; that wasn't the most technical part of the course, but it was the part I took away with me as a new skill (as obviously I've done a bit of sewing before).



Pricey?

This class costs £50, it's three hours long, and you get all the equipment you need (including fabric, thread, buttons, printed instructions, a tutor to guide you, and afore-mentioned munchies). It could seem a little on the pricey side, but for those of you reading this that live in London, you'll know you're hard-pushed to find anything that ISN'T on the pricey side... I've come to expect that sort of price tag; and to be perfectly fair, just a little rooting around on the internet will show you this is the going rate for these classes; unless of-course you go to night-school, or some government-funded project. In conclusion, I think it's one of those situations where you have to ask yourself, what is my enjoyment worth..? How much would I pay for a life-long skill..?  Of-course I'm biased, because I love sewing, and any opportunity to spend time with people who feel the same way about it; it's one of those skills where you're always learning... let's put it this way, it's something someone could treat you to, if they knew you were interested... 
*this is where you e-mail this blog post on to someone close to you, and say something along the lines of "I've always wanted to know how to make a cushion, I was thinking of making you one, once, but I didn't know where to start. Anyway, this place in Clapham sounds great, doesn't it? Are we still meeting for lunch on Saturday, I was thinking we could pop into town and get a bit of shopping done..,". N.B. Don't add the bit about Saturday if you're not actually meeting Saturday, that bit will seem out of place.

In Conclusion...

I had a great time, and I left with a lovely cushion! I also got to work on a computerised sewing machine, that made me feel like I was cheating on my own (electric machine) at home. Weird that. AND I met some lovely girls (working on my table), two Swedes (actually, they're NOT Swedes at all, see comment below) and one Canadian, who I kind-of insulted by guessing she was American. Thankfully she let me off, and we're now friends on Facebook... I'm sure others must have made the same assumption and she let them off too... :)
Note to self; learn your lesson Gema, this isn't the first time you've committed that faux pas, why not wait until they tell you where their accent is from..? 

SEW! If you're looking to mooch about in a cute and quirky sewing shop, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and pull up a chair in Sew Over It; you can pop in whenever you like during opening hours, and hire a machine (if there isn't a class in action) - a lot like working in an internet cafe... And that is a lovely thought; being in that environment, surrounded by enthusiastic experts who can help you out if you run into trouble with your pattern... or cake. (*very unlikely).

You know how picky Rod is, so I can't think of a better recommendation than his reaction to the newest cushion on my settee...


*Quick update, April 2017 - the cushion class is not currently running, but there's a wide range of course still being taught - see here!

Comments

  1. Great blog, and I like 'picture heavy'! I live in the Channel Islands and it's on my wish list to do a class at Sew Over It at some point when I'm in London. I just won't tell my sewing machine I'm going.....

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    Replies
    1. Hi Julie! Thank-you so much for commenting, and glad you like it :) Yes, best keep it a secret from your 'little one back home'... and, can I also recommend, an afternoon hanging around the haberdashery shops on Goldhawk Road, if you haven't already..? Love it there.....!

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  2. I wouldn't see £50 as pricey for the time you were there and the teacher's time, try getting a ticket to a top football match for £50, you only get 90 mins and no cushion.. as for West End theatres.. oh for a cushion to cushion the blow of the ticket price., and some hard seats.

    I can't see or hear the word haberdashery without going into auto pilot..

    Ground floor:
    Perfumery, stationary, and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food. Going up...

    Looks like you've backed a winner with the sewing venture :)

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    Replies
    1. You're right Brian, whether something's pricey or not is all about perspective :)
      And as long as you keep your auto pilot inner voice as that (inner), no-one will think you're losing the plot! Altho' I'd find it very entertaining...
      Thanks for reading & commenting :D

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  3. Love the cushion. I wish I could use a sewing machine without sewing everything together that's found in the vicinity

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    Replies
    1. I used to be like that too! But having said that, your foody blog relies on you ONLY putting the right ingredients in... I think you'd surprise yourself if you tried it again now :D I LOVE the look of your meringues, for example, but I have a STRONG feeling mine would fall flat!!

      http://cheesy-mash.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/maca-meringues.html

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  4. Wow - this place looks great! I read about it ages ago, then forgot - but now I've seen this I'm determined to put it on the 'to do list'. Maybe even put a sewing machine on my wishlist too!

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    Replies
    1. It IS great, and has a really welcoming feel - bet the girls there would give you great advice on which sewing machine to get too :)

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  5. Another one for the list! That fabric is LOVELY!

    Enjoying your writing, Gema. Very funny post x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you Hannah, probably not to everyone's taste, but I write as I speak... Or try to, anyway!! And definitely one for The List :)

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  6. Hey Gema,

    Just remembered your blog and was really happy to see a post about our cushion sewing experience.
    I am the girl, who was sitting to your left; the one not really talented with the scissors and “crooked” was definitely my fashion statement.

    I have to admit that your sewing skills are way better than your accent guessing skills ;)
    So to help you to improve this skill as well, I am going to release our Nationalities to you.
    I am from Austria and my friend, who was Speedy Gonzales on the sewing machine, is from Poland :)
    But don't worry, who doesn't want to come from Pipi's country!

    We are actually thinking of doing the quilting class in November.
    So maybe we are going to see us there again!

    Regards,
    Verena

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    Replies
    1. Hi Verena!

      So lovely to hear from you; and you're right- I would never have guessed your nationalities (especially as your English is so good!) - but where on EARTH did I get Sweden from??! And hey, your avant-garde cutting style may well catch on... ;)

      I'll definitely look into the quilting class...if I can fit it in, I'll see you there! If not, hopefully we'll meet again in some sort of sewing capacity :)

      Warmest regards,
      Gema

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