There is no way you could describe knicker making with sewing buddies as pants. It was blooming fab! What laughs we had over on the over use of the word “gusset” & what a lot we felt we learned in the arts of elastic stretch-n-zig-zag. But first ….let’s start with the crescendo to the main event.
I had managed to arrange a side show for my sewing blogger buddies. It was the opening day for the annual Jane Austen festival which started with “the parade” of ladies & gents dressed in Jane Austen contemporary clothing. Never before have I witnessed the outpouring of so many people into Bath Spa station, particularly in full “Elizabeth Bennet” and “Mr Darcy” garb. What a sight to behold….truly fabulous to see the effort people go to, to get in costume. I have to say it made me smile to see people gracing around modern day Bath in empire line line dresses, bonnets and front- flap trousers with top hats.
They congregated in Parade Gardens, what were they talking about?
In meeting everyone at the train station I had the pleasure to get chatting with the guard (ex military with shiny shoes and a great loud voice put to use to hail Mimi from the Cardiff train) who when he discovered that we were bloggers with a love of sewing and that was what brought us together, looked slightly disappointed and said philosophically in his Bathonian accent, “well it takes all sorts” and likened us to train spotters that he encounters particularly on days when the steam train comes through the station. Is this a fair comparison? Are we obsessed about sewing, will we go to any distance to gather and share sewing stories, froth at the mouth when contemplating 1950s ballgowns, possibly the sewing equivalent of the Mallard? Well, I shall let you answer that. Suffice to say that yesterday in Bath, I was thrilled to be joined by fellow obsessives from across the country (but mainly hailing from the south east) – representing the four corners no less with travellers coming from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland creeping in if you count Dolly Clackett….
Meet the obsessives ….
- Rachel from House of Pinheiro
- Roisin from Dolly Clackett
- Kerry from Kestrel Finds and Makes
- Jane from Handmade Jane
- Melizza from Pincushion Treats
- Shivani from Pins and Needles
- Mimi from Magpie Mimi
- Tamsin from Pimp my Curtains. (I was also in awe at meeting the crochet legend that is Thomas, Mr Pimp My Curtains as he and his family battled through the traffic to bring Tamsin to the party.)
- Laura from Laura in a Tangle
- Dibs from Dibs and the Machine
Sheena also joined us from Trowbridge, but we missed Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons as she was poorly, we hope you get well soon Tilly.
Not content with the endurance that was the early bird train from London, it felt fitting to lead the unsuspecting bloggers around the streets of Bath taking in the major sights. After breakfast, tapas or cake at the Cosy Club in the very new end of town we took in some of the Georgian architecture …here we are at the Circus
You can’t tell from the photo below but poor Dibs was in agony. Nothing quite like walking uphill, with high pinching wedges over historic flagstones, even cobbles. How did she overcome her unique form of endurance ? Why she found a pair of super soft flats in a charity shop & handed her wedges over the counter in the hope that they wouldn’t wreck someone else’s comfort….they weren’t going to waylay her a moment more…
Lunch at the Tramshed where we had swaps.
And then the event that we had been working up to, knicker making at the Makery.
The workshop was delivered by the lovely Sarah & Cerys who provided just the right amount of support & expert guidance leading us through the process of pant-making. We were going to be making frilly knickers & so that’s what we did.
Huddled around a large wooden table festooned with trimmings, elastics & jars upon jars of bobbins & thread we were set to work. Our pants had been pre cut to help manage our time, & we had chosen polka dots or florals in a woven fabric.
Rachel assures us she just doesn’t do “Granny pants”! (They do shrink honest!). In fact the most testing part of the pant making process was getting the shrink which comes with putting the elastic in. This was the aspect of pant making that I felt I learnt the most – the stretch-and-shrink, which way up to place your scalloped edge & how close to sew to this edge. We had the chance to practice on some scraps before launching into our soon-to-become frillies, & that was good. And look, we all created beautiful undies…
I had such a ball & I think everyone enjoyed themselves & also felt that they’d learnt something. The teaching & support was just right with everyone sewing at their own pace & being able to ask for help when they needed it. I have already booked on another class at the Makery – machine embroidery in November…can’t wait!
Thank you to Kate, Sarah & Cerys at the Makery for hosting us. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to share such a fun time with me