I was VERY excited to get an email from darling Islington sew shop Ray Stitch, asking if I’d like to try out one of their new sewing classes. Ray Stitch is the loveliest little shop: a cave of beautiful fabrics, notions and supplies alongside a little cafe with excellent coffee and cakes. They now offer evening classes which cover the whole gamut of sewing, from beginners’ machine skills to pattern cutting, quilting and soft furnishings.
I took the Tea Dress class as I already know my way around a machine but wanted to learn how to cut and follow a pattern having never done it before. The dress also has some little details like bias binding, an elastic-channel waist and peter pan collar which I thought would be great techniques to learn and apply to other projects.
The course was spread over two Friday evenings, in a small class of 5-6. Last Friday we did a lot of prep to get started: measuring each other to ensure we picked the right size, learning about ease, and figuring the best way to cut our pieces to avoid too much fabric wastage. I love the Liberty Lawn fabric I picked (on sale at sewbox.co.uk), and I even have a bit left over for another small project.
We tackled some of the trickier parts of the construction first, like sewing the bias binding to the keyhole neckline, under the watch of instructor Gen. I loved how the class was informal without any demos, yet Gen was on hand to answer any questions and keep an eye on everything. There was a bit of homework between the two sessions on the easier sewing tasks like the sash and shoulder seams. In the second session we finished the details: sewing the puffed sleeves on and creating the elasticated waist, then finally sewed the whole dress together.
To be honest, one of the most exciting parts was being let loose in Ray Stitch after hours, breathing in all the heavenly sewing goodness..
I spent this morning doing a bit of handsewing final touches – and here’s my finished dress!
OK, it’s not 100 per cent finished as I still need a button for the keyhole neckline, but I am impatient. My very first from-pattern dress is a billion miles from perfect, but still so pretty, totally wearable and fits well – and it’s really comfy. Plus I’ve leant so many new skills that I can put to use on my next sewing project. I’ve already eyeing up what I want to make next… a Peony dress perhaps.
Thanks so much to Ray Stitch for the fantastic class! You can find out about all their upcoming events here.