Way of working

23 Feb

Over the last year or so I’ve appreciated that many people like to have a structure to their learning.  So recently this is what I have been trying to do with a number of useful and practical projects that guide through different techniques.  I have 2 Bernina machines and basic equipment that can be used to become confident.  I have some materials that can be purchased, books to look at and I hope lots of guidance to give.  I’m going to sort out images of recent achievements soon and post them here.


Classes at Buxton College

23 Feb

Last Autumn I was a little quieter with my classes but I’m now back with my morning and evening class in Buxton and a morning class in Leek.  We’re trying to set up a class in the evening at Buxton College now.  This is being organised by Buxton and Leek College like the Wednesday class in Leek.  Beginners and those with more knowledge are always welcome at all classes.  The main plan is to get more people sewing, to give support with this whether people have lost confidence or want to learn from the beginning.  Working with others helps us all to settle down to learning and stops us being distracted by everything else going on in life!

My mending afternoon

7 Nov

Next week I have my second mending afternoon in Buxton. Last time Brenda was kind enough to say that she could not believe how much she had learnt that afternoon.

this shows the stitching that had come undone at the neck. Re doing the knit stitches will put this right.


here the stitches have been picked up and secured
a neat edge ready to be finished and the cardigan ready to wear

Brenda was thrilled to have 2 dresses and a cardigan ready to wear again!  Must do a post about the after school group that I’m so pleased about.

Monday after school group

4 Nov

The after school class has started well and I now realise that I need to write down a little more because there is so much available on the web to direct people’s attention to.  It is such a fantastic resource that I must enable students to find extra learning! 

This week Levi’s has introduced a new denim collection made from recycled plastic bottles and food trays, as part of its sustainable design initiative.



This week I’m going to have a go at bargello work with the girls.  I was given some tapestry yarns by an older person and so I’m going to use these up.  I hope that the colours will be alright as when I looked at them they looked a bit subtle!  Hope to have some images soon.

Upcycling- a memory quilt with a Bernina walking foot

3 Sep

A few months ago I was asked  to construct a quilt for a client to remind her of her mother through the clothing.  I found it quite demanding using different weights and fabric constructions-also cutting pieces out from various garments.  Would it work out and look well? I wasn’t able to press the seams open and as some of the pieces were fairly thick I used a polyester wadding to hopefully reduce the overall weight.  I’m adding a picture to show the progress that I’ve made.  It’s nearly finished and I’m pleased.  I just need to make a fairly wide binding to cope with the thickness and also balance the quilt.  The Bernina walking foot certainly helped with  the fabric disparity and bulk.

The next stage is to add the binding which will neaten the edges. I am pleased with how the different fabrics settle well together and have a balanced appearance.

New Buxton Sewing Classes

1 Sep

This is the note I sent out a few days ago about my next classes.  Tomorrow I’ll take a picture of a quilt in progress that is in memory of my client’s mother.  It has been challenging but I’m quite pleased with the result.


Just a note to let you know about the sewing classes this Autumn in Buxton. 
The regular classes will be on a Monday evening and Friday morning.  
I am very pleased to have sorted out an after school class for teenagers and this will take place on a Monday night at the end of school but in the town. Another new venture is going to be a regular drop in session. This will enable mending and altering clothes to be done -but in particular looking at children’s clothes with the possibility of making from a pattern.  These 2 activities will come under the heading of Sewing with Helen and so these hopefully will be interesting and exciting ventures.
  • Monday evening-St Ann’s Community rooms-7.00-9.00 starting 10th September for 6 weeks -£55
  • Friday morning – Buxton Methodist Church -10.00-12.00 starting 7th September for 6 weeks -£55
  • Monday after school group- St Ann’s Community rooms- 3.35ish-4.30+ starting 10th September-£3
  • Tuesday drop in session- St Ann’s Community rooms-the 2 hours before school pick up time – tbc-£3
I am working on many aspects of these classes at present and plan to have a balance of activities.  Please let me know if you would like to attend or if you would like to do something.  I have had several requests for initial lessons ie the basics to gain confidence.  Again I need to know what people would like to do, so that I can group together people with particular needs.  I am currently investigating an attractive venue to hold some day groups.
If you would like to attend either the Friday morning or Monday night, as I need to take deposits for these, then let me know and I’ll send you payment details.  It is possible to break the payment into smaller amounts. There will be a waiting list brought into operation.
I hope that I’ve explained everything!  Do let me know!

New after school class and Bernina purchase

10 Jul

Plans for the after school class are moving along very nicely.  I hope to meet with at least 12 young people every week for an hour after school for an hour before they get too tired! Even better last weekend I found a room which is very reasonably priced to hire.  This takes the pressure away from combining the work to just an hour as students can stay longer if they wish.  I’ll be there later anyway for the adult class. 

Now I need to get organising.  Well actually I’ve been planning for a while as this class is a result of a grant application that I made earlier in the year.  I’m now dealing with a small committee and a constitution for my enthusiasm!  I just need to be sharing my skills and so far this is working out.

Time was spent in gaining funding for the venture and I had to remember what it was all about!  It’s about teaching a group of young people skills that unfortunately have not been taught in the local Community School for certainly 25 years.  I already have 2 Bernina 1008’s and am thinking of purchasing another one.  This is the machine that I remember so well from when I was teaching.  The sound of the machine and its smooth running are so familiar – that is why I bought a second hand one 3 years ago.  I have a walking foot but need to look at other feet that may be useful for the adult classes.  It’s all very exciting!