Debs came with me to the fabric shop on Friday (scary place when you know nothing!) and helped me choose the right type of fabric and interfacing stuff. We went for bleached calico for the lining as the main fabric was probably a bit expensive for a first attempt (I couldn't help it, I fell in love) and I also needed some other sewing related basics like thread, needle threaders (my eyes are getting old) oh, and scissors! Do you know how many types of scissors there are? I sure as heck didn't! - Debs guided me straight and true and I came home with a lovely haul and still a few pennies in my pocket. I also came home with a little bit of understanding of how so many of my Etsy friends have fabric stashes tucked away in odd corners of their homes.
Saturday morning dawned and I loaded my car with yesterdays' haul, my sewing machine, cutting mat and rotary cutter. I did manage to forget a ruler and pencil (doh!) but Margaret (the main lady for the day) was well prepared. Now I've been to School House Arts before (and got lost) so I thought I knew where I was going - nope - I managed to take another wrong turn but realised quickly so turned around and got there eventually.
So there I was, surrounded by 5 other ladies who had already settled down and looked like they knew what they were doing. I quickly unpacked my machine and Margaret got us started with a welcome and some basic instructions to begin with. My first challenge was how to use freezer paper to make a pattern using only an 11x8 cutting mat! Yep, everyone else had huge mats and enormous rulers so Margaret lent me hers (Thank you Margaret) and off I went.
Next came to scary bit - pinning the pattern to the fabric and... cutting it! Looking back, I started on the main fabric - how silly was that? I should have started on the lining for a bit of confidence but no, I just dived in as usual. Cutting out took me most of the morning although I wasn't too far behind some of the others so that gave me a little confidence then we pinned the relevant pieces together and were ready to sew.
Ah, yes, start up the machine time! I thought I knew how to load a bobbin up with thread so off I went. That seemed to work OK but took several attempts then I had to thread up the machine. Hmmm I thought - I can do this - so I carried on. Luckily I had the sense to try the tension and stuff on a test piece (I'm not silly, you know) and it was time to cry for help! Margaret and Debs got me sorted out in two shakes of a lambs tail and I was off! A few words of encouragement and beady eyes on me for my first few inches of proper sewing then they left me to carry on.
More spot questions through the afternoon, copious amounts of coffee provided by Nikki (also a founder member and talented fibre artist) and by 4pm, I was done, bang on schedule. That in itself, felt like a major achievement but oh my bag - it was wonderful! I can't believe how good it came out - but with excellent teaching and guidance from Margaret, Debs and Nikki and a little bit of care and commonsense dragged out of me, it couldn't go wrong really.
All in all, I had a fantastic day out with friends and like minded people and came home, not only with a fab bag but also the enthusiasm to try out my new skills again on my own. Come back soon to see my own, unsupervised attempt :)