Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Threads Haberdashery and Workshops

Last night I attended a sewing class run by Liz at the Threads Haberdashery & Workshops in Hayle, Cornwall.  I hadn't been before, but had seen the classes advertised via Twitter.  I haven't sewn a zip into anything in years, so when an evening class popped up featuring a pillow with invisible zip and piping, I thought it sounded perfect and signed up straight away.

Now I don't know about you, but I always feel really nervous going along to somewhere I haven't been before.  I come across as a really outgoing person, but I'm not at all.  I am quite shy, and don't cope with new situations very well.  A lot of the time I more or less force myself to go along to things, otherwise I would end up a hermit and never leave the house.

Hayle is about 20 miles from my home, and we set off with plenty of time to spare.  Hubby was driving me as he had things to do to fill up his time whilst the class was on.  An accident on the by-pass had me panicking that we were going to be late.....  How can you walk in late to a place where you haven't been before?  I'd have been mortified.  Luckily the traffic cleared and we got there just before the 7pm start time.

As soon as we drove into the cluster of workshops at Foundry Farm, I knew I was going to enjoy myself.  The renovated buildings are so quaint, with their cobbled car park.  Just my sort of place!  I could see the Threads sign straight away, with some pretty bunting and headed in, all nerves vanished the second I got out of the car.

Why had I worried so much about coming along?  Honestly I do get cross with myself, I'm always working myself up for nothing.  I needn't have worried at all!  Liz is so friendly, and I instantly felt at home in the pretty Threads workshop.  What a lovely idea to have a workshop with the sewing machines all set up and ready to use.  I've never been to a sewing class and not had to take a thing with me before - it felt quite strange!

Liz has a lot of pretty things decorating the walls of her workshop.  I spied pretty fabrics in funky fresh modern prints and colourways - which are quite hard to come across in Cornwall.  And trimmings..... lots of trimmings.  It doesn't take a lot to make me happy - Give me a selection of buttons to trawl through, and some reels of ribbons and ric-rac and I am in the zone!  My purse was doing flip-flops in my bag.  Sadly I was too busy sewing during the evening to get a chance to buy any of this loveliness.  What a shame..... it means I'll have to go back another time.  :)

I sat down at my little workstation, and felt totally at ease.  Liz prepares everything ready for the students when they arrive.  I had my own machine to work on, all threaded up and ready to go.  My own little box of sewing bits and bobs - pins, scissors, etc.  And the fabric for the cushion was also in a neat little pile in front of me, complete with all the notions I would need.  How fabulous is that?  The two machines above are all set up ready for the next class.  I didn't get a chance to have a nosey..... I wonder what they are making?

I was all smiley when I saw the fabrics that Liz had cut ready for our pillow making.  The same gorgeous green floral as in the opening picture, but with fabulous fuchsia for the binding.  I'm a sucker for bright pink!
The binding had been cut into strips for us, but we had to join them together to make a piece long enough to bind the cushion.  I was incredibly tired last night after a previous night without sleep, and boy did it show!  The way Liz joins binding is different to mine.  I love to try different things, and I was keen to try Liz's method - which is very straightforward, and was explained beautifully.  Could I get two pieces joined on the same side?  Well - I did eventually, via extended use of the provided stitch-picker, and Liz's immense patience and humour.  At no point during this excruciatingly drawn out process did I hear "You stupid cow" muttered once.  I was far too busy muttering it to myself.

With binding made and seams pressed open, we were ready for the next stage - preparing the piping.  After drinking my well received cup of hot black stuff I began.  I've never made piping before, and I've now discovered something I really enjoy doing.  With the zipper foot attached to the machine, it really is a doddle.  I could have carried on all evening. As it was we made far too much.  I'm sure I have enough left over to do another pillow........... Liz certainly doesn't skimp on her class requirements!

With the binding made and set aside, it was time to do the zipper!  At one time, I used to do a lot of dress-making and was attaching zips with ease.  I used to be able to grab a zip and insert into a garment without even thinking about what I was doing.  It's years now since I made clothing, and my brain has gone to mush in the zip department I can tell you.  This was my main reason for coming along to the class - I felt like a total beginner.  Liz explained each step really well - and it was a simple job to do.

The final part of our pillow making, was adding the piping.  I found it a little tricky to fold around the corners, and as I started stitching - I thought it was going to be a disaster.  (I wasn't the only one - there was a lot of mutter and laughter about wonky lines, squashed up corners etc).  Liz kept telling us - "Don't worry, it will be fine".  You know what?  She was right!  I'm not afraid to say I had one eye closed and the other half open as I turned the cover back to the right side.  It looked lovely.  The piping looks darn good though I say so myself - and it's even turned out square!  With the clock rapidly approaching the 9.30pm finish, there was just time to give the cover a final press, and whip my phone out of my bag to take a few photos.

I can say I thorough enjoyed my evening.  I learnt new things, and finished a complete project to take home.
It was great to meet Liz and spend time in her charming workshop.  I look forward to perusing the list of classes to see what I can go along to next.  I would recommend the workshops to sewers of any ability.  You will be made to feel welcome and at ease.  For beginners particularly - it is rather wonderful to have the machines there to use.  A chance to learn to sew and see if you like it, before having to splash out money on machinery.  As to the cost of the classes?  I think they are very reasonable indeed.  My class ran for two and a half hours.  With tuition, all materials provided and a cup of coffee - all for £15......  I'd call that excellent value!

Thank you Liz.

And here is the link again for the Threads website - Click here


  1. Really enjoyed your post, the photos were lovely. Aren't people lucky to be running businesses doing the crafts they love? Some gorgeous fabrics and trimmings x

  2. How lovely - sounds like a wonderful place to visit!

  3. I've always found that sewing, embroidery and craft classes are always friendly - the are lovely, helpful and encouraging places to be.

    And I've got zips to do. Looking forward but a little bit of trepidation in there too!


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