Monday, 28 April 2014

going freehand with chinelo

So I mentioned a little while that I was off to London to do a freehand cutting workshop with Chinelo Bally from the Great British Sewing Bee which was enormous fun indeed.

There were twelve of us and we made a peplum top - freehand, Chinelo style. 

The whole thing was really interesting. We spent a bit of time measuring ourselves - there are lots of measurements that Chinelo uses so it's good to do it under her supervision to get the correct ones. 

We then used some of the measurements to mark the fabric and fold it - there were a couple of times that I wasn't exactly sure how it was going to work - it's actually more intricate than I had expected. 

Chinelo lived in Nigeria until she was eight years old and her aunt taught her to sew pattern-less. She doesn't even use pins! It's a liberating way of sewing for sure, even though I only dipped a toe in the water with this workshop. 

I'd love to see everybody else's finished products because some people made dresses and people did varied lengths and neck shapes. 

I had to leave a little early to catch my plane. When I told Chinelo that I was going to get a plane back to Ireland, she looked a tad shocked!!  I did feel like a bit of a lunatic for making the trip all the way over I must admit but I'm really glad that I did. 

I didn't actually get my top finished there, and I'd say a few people didn't but I had it all cut and the sewing started enough to be able to finish it off when I got home. The neck and arms are finished with bias binding. The main thing I need to do is try to make another one quickly before I forget everything! 

It would be amazing to have more time with her to learn more. For example, I think I did still manage to do something wrong with my measurements because my top was a bit big and I needed to adjust it so it's not perfect. But I think a bit of practice doing this would mean that I would have more of an understanding of what is actually happening when a garment is coming together. 

Chinelo is running more workshops but I think they are booking up quickly. You can book them here and also her blog is here

Do you have any experience with pattern-less sewing? I'd love to hear about others adventures in freehand sewing...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

when africa meets japan...

I have material I bought in one of three African countries I was lucky enough to visit in the last few years - Chad, Mozambique and Kenya.

I wish I could remember which was from which country! Anyway, suffice to say, this obi-style belt is using material bought somewhere on the African continent. 

For once in my life, I went to lots of trouble to match up my patterns and I think that looks lovely, except the tie kind of then covers it up. So maybe this would be better in a plain fabric. If I make it with a print again I could put the tie at the back. What do you think? 

I can upload measurements and instructions if anybody is interested! 

In other sewing news, I went along to a sewing Meet Up organised by a lovely lady called Emma on the website. Five of us nerdily nattered over coffee and tasty things in KC Peaches in Dublin - really nice and hopefully we'll be doing it again if anyone is around Dublin parts! 

And then next Saturday I have another very exciting sewing engagment! I am going over to London to take part in a workshop by the amazing Chinelo Bally! 

If you live in the UK or here in Ireland and you are reading this blog you'll probably know who Chinelo is! But for those who live farther away, Chinelo was one of the finalists in the Great British Sewing Bee. Sadly she didn't win, but Heather made a really stunning showpiece dress to bag her the title and led to this kinda brilliant moment.

But Chinelo has consistently been creating stunningly creative garments throughout the whole series and she is a pattern-free sewer. So I'm really looking forward to hearing about going freehand with Chinelo! 

Can't wait to tell you all about it next week! 
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