Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Keeping it simple - sewing with *four* needles

Review. Overlocking Made Easy Workshop (September 2012), The Make Lounge, London.

This all started with one massive box. A box full of excitement and promise. A very large Christmas present from my parents, which left me completely flummoxed. What on earth could it be? Large square and heavy. Not lively enough to be either a puppy or a pony ;)

Come the hour of unveiling when the shiny paper is torn away it was revealed to be... an overlocker!

That's right folks, one of those super sewing machines with not one, but 4 needles! Something very handy for making wonderfully strong seams or even rolling hems, but which requires rather a lot of threading, and a tad more understanding of its' ways than I was privy...

And so, I am sorry to say, my beautiful new toy sat in its box. For month on month, staring reproachfully at me from the corner of my kitchen. Its plight, and my guilt unaided by my priority of the metal arts. But, I knew a time would come when all this would change!

Not only would it change, but I'd get another fun workshop opportunity and mother-daughter bonding day into the bargain. Hurray!

So, this Saturday gone, Mama Silversmith and myself hopped on a train in the glorious sunshine, enjoyed watching the countryside roll by and headed down to London town for the 'Overlocking Made Easy' course at The Make Lounge. The tutor, Fiona Clarke, was absolutely fabulous - really friendly and very relaxed, which is a must when dealing with 8 overlocker beginners wrangling with needle and thread left, right and centre. The workshop was, as its name suggests, kept very simple. Whilst it imparted some invaluable practical knowledge about using the machine, the goal of getting to grips was very manageable and incredibly focused. The point was to learn how to thread the needles (tick!), what the settings were for and how to employ them / test them (tick!) and how to undertake a couple of the basic stitches and uses (tick!). Although we weren't making a finished item it was compulsive and enjoyable just sitting and playing.

Everything we needed was ready to hand! We worked with three fabric samples - a cotton, a stretch fabric and a lightweight organza. Using these we put together worksheets with our finished stitches and notes on which settings were used.

When we finished I was very happy with my foray into overlocking and felt rather excited about possibilities of making with it in the future. We were both so inspired by it that we headed straight off to Islington's rather lovely teeny sewing shop Ray Stitch to drool over fabrics, haberdashery and patterns!

Hammer & Pickle ratings:
Value - 5/5: Very well worth it if you have access to or own an overlocker but are bamboozled by the mammoth technical guide and like to be shown how to by a real life, very friendly, person.
Vibes - 5/5: Good vibes on a sunny saturday afternoon in Islington where people have come together to craft and there's tea and biccies on hand (it's the small things).
Pickle rating - 2/5: I was very lucky and obviously paying more attention than usual - managed to get through the majority of samples smoothly. Almost threaded one part incorrectly, but this was spotted almost instantly by the beady eye of Fiona :). Mama Silversmith had one or two more serious tanglings, which is a risk, but worth encountering since there's an expert on hand to set things right! 

Oh, the fun we shall have! Anyone know of any good starter overlocker projects?!

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