I've only myself to blame for feeling like I was thrown in at the deep end. I turned up having not heard anything back since I received confirmation of my volunteer shift. I really should have chased up the organisers to ask what was expected of me. But I didn't. So I arrived 15 minutes before my shift, was handed a clipboard and class register and shown where my room venue was. Thankfully it was a small class (only limited by numbers due to the participants using sewing machines in the class) but there was some confusion from some students who hadn't been advised to bring their machines. Understandably they were quite upset about it. Thanks to the wonderful Sawyer Sewing Centre, who had a shitload of machines with them for selling at the show, everyone was soon armed and ready for the star attraction, Mr Ron Collins who was sharing his 'Designer Tips for Couture Results'.
Through the frisson of excitement amongst the students I soon gleaned that Ron was a Big Deal, but certainly not through his demeanour, which was absolutely lovely and unstarry. From what I can gather (and I may be wrong) Ron is the Canadian Patrick Grant, and has appeared in over 180 web videos alongside Sandra Betzina (the fitting expert and Vogue Patterns designer). Just as the class were settling down, Ron asked me if I sew. I replied I'd just started and he took me over to the side where he had a load of his DVDs set out and let me choose one. How generous! I chose one on zips, as you can never know enough of about them, and I still know barely anything. The DVDs usually sell for about $30, so that was no trifle gesture!
|Can't wait to watch this. Especially now that the Great British Sewing Bee has finished, and yeah Lorna should have won!|
|Ron's classes are very hands on, he brings tonnes of samples and encourages you to get up close and personal with them|
|Ron with some hair canvas|
|Sawyer's Sewing Centre is a Victoria staple for machines and notions. I'm definitely going to find out when Ron Collins is next teaching there|
|Ron recommend quite a few stabilising products from this Canadian shop|
I had a wee chat with Barry from the Cloth Castle (who I always talk to when I shop there), and he was telling me about a good fabric store to go to in Portland, when I eventually do get the chance to visit there. Though I can't remember the name of it right now...And an awesome book shop which is seven floors and a block wide. Where do I sign up?
|The future's so bright, and so will be my Zumba leggings|
|A perfectly finished sleeve ready to be set in|
I then had to usher in the next class to this room and this is when things went south. The class was called 'Ten Absolutely Fabulous Things to do With Pre-Cuts', a bit of a mouthful, so as people were arriving and asking if this was the right place, I was replying 'yes, are you here for Pre-Cuts?'. I was getting some strange looks and vacant nodding and just plain old befuddledness. I cottoned on that people weren't understanding me (believe me, I see these looks on people's faces on a daily basis) but I was starting to feel like a prize eejit. Well, it turns out they thought I was saying 'peacocks', and so of course they thought they had come to the wrong place. This was a huge class and so after I while I gave up (I promise I was speaking as clear as I possibly could) and just started pointing to the room sign instead.
|Captain Pre-Cuts I presume?|
|This was on the noticeboard outside the Pre-Cuts classroom. Are you trying to tell me something Universe?|
Natalie was just about to go into a Learn to Crochet workshop for a few hours. So I went back into the main arena to buy the two fabrics I'd spotted at the Gala stall and then got chatting with the lady helping at their checkout (not actually a Gala employee, but a very frequent and loyal customer). Her mum was from Springburn in Glasgow and was a war bride. She told me that her mum never really settled in Canada, but had gone home to Glasgow soon after moving to Canada and came back again anyway. It was quite depressing to hear that her mum was never truly happy here....But the lady was genuinely lovely and the wee chat buoyed me up a bit (and at least she could understand what I was saying!).
|A Gala Fabrics customer recently made this. It's Vogue 8934 and on sale in my Etsy shop, click through to buy|
After a magic hot chocolate from Starbucks at the mall across the road (there's nothing a hot choc cannae cure) I headed back to the show for my two free workshops which I'd earned from my volunteering stint. And I am so glad I did!
|The unsinkable Kathryn Brown|
|The pattern which Kathryn used to demonstrate the full bust adjustment, and which I got to take home, bonzer!|
|Some of the recommended pattern papers that Kathryn brought|
|My first time seeing the slash and spread method in action, very exciting!|
|Taping on pattern paper in the gaps. Always use Scotch Tape and always only tape on one side (so you can press the pattern from the other side)|
|Is it too early to ask for this, Santa?|
|And this? Ta|
|Showing how we can add french darts to t-shirts. Darts should never end in the apex circle|
|Princess seams are a godsend for adding full bust adjustments|
As class ended I left with a perfectly fitted bust for my front pattern piece of M5433. As another student said to me, I was so lucky as I could practically go home and sew it straight up. However, I bumped into Kathryn later on and she said I'll need to do a waist and hip adjustment. I asked what kind of fabric might suit this pattern and she suggested a nice cotton (but not a quilting cotton). I had a wee look in Fabricland just before I went home and they have some lovely voiles, lawns, and I even considered buying a red cotton eyelet. Whoo, check me out! I have plenty of cottons in my stash, no more purchases for me right now! Kathryn told our class to email her with any questions, or even send her pics, so I really want to do her proud and finish the McCall's pattern that she so kindly gave me, and email her my results.
After Kathryn's class it was back downstairs to the lovely Ron Collins again for his 'Taming Knits' workshop. I saw lots of ladies who had been in his 9am class, and as Taming Knits followed on straight from another afternoon class he'd done, they literally never left his side all day. The man's got something!
|Not one to do anything by half-measures, Ron brings his own wardrobe to demo on|
He also explained various forms of stabilisers and finishings, from Stay Tape to Tricot Interfacing, to Fusible Interfacing, to Foldable Elastic, and self-made knit bindings. To get rid of that pesky curling edge on jersey knits, he recommended using spray starch which is a godsend while you actually construct your knit garment. It was really cool to learn that Ballpoint machine needles should be used for knits with two-way stretch, eg pontes, rib, but for knits with four-way stretch Stretch needles are best.
|The knit sewers best friend: clear elastic - which can also be sewn onto bust darts, what a great tip! (no pun intended)|
|Some useful stabilisers|
|A pattern which Ron has used to make many t-shirts for himself. Jalie is a Canadian company, which I didn't know|