What's a London Dressmakers Meetup for social sewing at a public venue like? Well, I think this one was fairly typical except normally we meet up for monthly meetings at Ev's, not far from Waterloo or Southwark tube stations. This time, as it was an addition to the normal meet-up, we met at the Royal Festival Hall. This venue does make it a bit more difficult for everyone to locate the group, especially as poor Giselle had lost her mobile while away from London for Christmas and couldn't field any mobile phone cries for "Help" from wandering LDC members who hadn't spotted our group. Usually you can identify us by the sewing manuals and magazines, scissors and bits of fabric on the table.
I think there were 10 of us, including Maggie, who had never heard of us but, as a keen knitter and sewer, joined us and I hope we'll see her again at future meetings.
So, what do we do? Sew- by hand, of course- any one knowing of a cafe that allows you to plug in your own sewing machine at a table and start sewing please let us know immediately. Usually tacking, hemming, embellishment, a bit of discreet cutting out, that sort of thing. Diamond was tackling not just one but 2 jacket and skirt suits to a Vogue pattern. Giselle had a dress with an amazing appliqued pattern on it rather like stepped patchwork. Wish I had remembered to take a camera so you could have a view of these things and our group.
Some, such as Holly, bring another craft as their sewing is not at the portable stage, in her case she was knitting some colourful socks.
For a lot of us, this time, we were looking for advice. Marianne, who always produces garments to an extremely high standard, had brought a length of velvet that she had embroidered on her machine with an intricate multi-coloured pattern and was asking for suggestions about the neckline. Catherine wanted opinions on her idea for an ensemble as a winter wedding guest and on how to embellish a hat to go with the dress that she intends to make in a beautiful tweed fabric. I had a problem with two garments that I brought along with me, the first a skirt with fitting problems at the back and the second a jacket where I felt the sleeve needed adjustment. I had spent a couple of weeks thinking about what to do about both of them and still hadn't worked out what I should do but Catherine immediately spotted that I needed to rotate the jacket sleeve a bit and not just take it in as I had thought might be best.
Rholdah is fairly new to dressmaking but determined to give it her best shot. She described how she had taken advantage of the sales to try on lots of dresses and see which ones truly enhanced her look and thus, despite the blandishments of saleswomen telling her that each one suited her, worked out the styles of dress she should aim to make. Catherine then whipped out a book describing figure types which was pretty useful in defining your type and what styles best complement your figure; I think my figure would best be described as a Dented Column. I wish I had the courage to go and try garments on like this but I get so disheartened when nothing seems right or, if it is, I feel faint at seeing the price tag. Best to stick to sewing.
While members were chattering, perusing technique manuals, magazines or the patterns Giselle had brought to give away I was trying to get suggestions for or to hassle people into contributing to this blog, thank you to those who volunteered. I would like to get some regular features going with contributions from many different members. Maybe you have thought of creating your own blog, why not write a few posts for this one to try out blogging. Perhaps there is something you have recently experienced to do with sewing- a garment make, a visit to an exhibition, a course that you have taken, a good place to shop for sewers - that you would like to pass on to members.
The features that I would particularly like to try and get going are:-
1. Member of the Month - Post to be issued on 15th of each month. You can be any type of sewer of any experience level. What I envisage is a bit about yourself and your sewing, what you sew and why, your sewing ambitions, the good and the bad in sewing etc. If you would like to put yourself forward as Member of the Month please contact Giselle or myself by sending us a message on the meet-up site. I hope we have someone lined up for January so we are looking for someone for February and later.
2. My Sewing Machine- Members are often asking "What should I look for in a sewing machine?" " Should I get a new model?" We would love to hear about your machine or machines, whether they be new or old. There are so many out there that it is useful to hear about actual experience of particular models.
Lastly Happy New Year to all and don't forget the Next Monthly Meet-up is on the evening of Tuesday 13 January. Hope to see you there.