On Tuesday I went to the very first Simplicity Blog meet! Held at the Good Housekeeping Institute in Soho, 50 plus bloggers and stitcher’s from all over the country attended a talk with the Great British Sewing Bee’s May Martin! I was really nervous because I have never been to a blogger event before, but my fears were unfounded and I had such a lovely time!
My day started with an unplanned power walk to the station in my home town – I figured somebody might be taking pictures at the event but I had spent too long putting on my eyebrows so made a mad dash across town to grab breakfast and jump on my train. I then nonchalantly zipped across London on the tube to Charing Cross Station blissfully unprepared, only at that stage bothering to properly check the address for Good Housekeeping… As it turns out I was in completely the wrong place and had to do another mad dash via Leicester Square and Chinatown to get there on time! I made it with 10 minutes to spare (I hate being late) but I definitely got my 10000 steps in!
When I arrived there were a few small groups dotted around waiting for the doors to open. I only recognised Rachel from House of Pinheiro at first but I soon began to recognise a few more faces. I met a lovely lady in a beautiful purple coat called Sheila (the lady, not the coat) but she is not as yet a blogger, but if you managed to find me, hello! I also spotted Rachel from Rach Against The Sewing Machine and Gabby from Living On A Shoestring and soon pottered over to make slightly weird
introductions. There aren’t really many situations where it’s acceptable to approach somebody and say “I know you from the internet” without seeming like a complete nutter…
Once inside and sat down May began her talk with a brief introduction about how she had begun sewing, then how she became a teacher, and then of course a presenter on the Great British Sewing Bee. Apparently the call for the Sewing Bee was unexpected and that she had initially screen tested with another Patrick but she had immediately known Patrick Grant would get the job “…because, well, look at him!”. She is much warmer in person than she at first appears on the TV but finds the Sewing Bee hard as she has to pick things apart in front of the cameras. I bet she’s a fab teacher!
Pinning – only pick up a small amount of fabric. I just pin willy nilly but since Tuesday I have tried this and May is right – it does give you more control with fabric as there is less wiggle room.
Zips – specifically finishing the end of an invisible zip. I can get the zip in but I’ve always struggled with how to neatly and securely finish the bottom of the zip. May demonstrated inserting an invisible zip and once she had sewn the long edges, leaving an inch or so near the bottom. Then on the inside she moved the loose end of the zip and closed the gap using a zipper foot. So simple but how did I not now this?! The other thing she taught was that when inserting anything into a garment with a waist seam is to mark the level of the waist seam on the zip and make sure this matches, not the top edge. Again another useful piece of advice that I was totally oblivious to! In the last few minutes of the meetup she showed us how to insert a semi-concealed zip and she did it perfectly, without pinning, in just 2 minutes. 2 minutes! I am both impressed and intimidate, not going to lie!
Sewing fine or thin fabrics – you how the fabric can get pulled in to the machine when at the top or bottom of the seam you’re sewing? May’s pro tip was to start sewing on a piece of fabric and then move onto the actual fabric. I was a bit dubious but whilst working on my latest make (Simplicity 2255) but I tested this and it actually works! No messed up seam ends!
She also talked about how to properly pin curves, walking feet for machines, how to do proper tailor tacks, pin-fitting paper patterns, what the markings on a sewing machine throat plate are as well as dropping hints and tips all over the place.
We were all also given a goodie bag! Packed full of great freebies, Simplicity had also laid out a table full of patterns for the group to help themselves to. I picked up some great patterns (Simplicity patterns 1459, 1039, 2917, 1587 and 1417), although a couple have since been rehomed to my mum!
Did anyone else attend the event? I apologise if I didn’t say hello and if you are in any of the pictures please let me know!