It all started 6 months ago when I decided that I wanted to go on a sewing holiday. I had a clear picture in my mind of what I was looking for… something relaxed but informative, with room for my own creativity, in a pretty setting and maybe with some luxury touches. I trawled the internet for this elusive break but couldn’t find anything that even came close. After several weeks of thinking, “Surely I can’t be the only person in the UK looking for this type of experience?” I decided to set up my own version of the holiday I was searching for.
While, of course, I can sew, I don’t see myself as a teacher. So I found a fabulous and enthusiastic sewing teacher, Donna, to take on the role. I was to be hosting and on-hand everyday with my experience as a designer to help with the fabric, colour and design elements of the course.
I have a very good relationship with a local fabric supplier, the amazing Fabworks Mill Shop, and decided to tie in a trip to their fabulous fabric emporium.
And so, the Sew Different sewing retreat was born. Imagine… three whole days of sewing, fabric shopping and delicious afternoon tea! This was the format of our very first sewing retreat set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
The first morning of the retreat was spent at the Aladdin’s Den that is Fabworks Mill shop. The staff are super friendly and were there with a wealth of information about fabrics to help our group make the right choice for their various projects. After a couple of hours browsing and some frantic stuffing of huge bags of fabric into the minibus, we headed back to the light and airy Loftspace Studio where Donna was waiting for us.
Although sewing machines were supplied and some people brought their own, I took my Bernina 350PE along. Of course, the subject of choosing a machine came up and several people were keen to try out my Bernina (I had just described it as the “Queen of Machines” so it had something to live up to.) Several of our sewists spent time using the two Berninas we had and were amazed at the difference from their own machines. One described it as, “Like using a knife through butter.”
Kathryn, as a wheelchair user, was also particularly impressed with the smoothness and lack of vibration the machine caused. Vibration can cause a problem for people with arthritis or nerve damage. The lack of vibration meant she could sew longer with less fatigue to her fingers and arms.
Nicola instantly fell in love with Bernina’s solid build quality. As a keen sewer of soft furnishings for her beautiful Victorian house, she loved the way it would run through the heavier weight furnishing-fabrics that she uses for blinds, cushions and chair covering. She was also enthusiastic about the possibility of quilting with it, as well as making dressmaking. Learning to quilt was soon added to her project list for the future
Suzanne had been thinking about buying a new machine for some time and was fully converted to the Bernina brand by the time she came to leave. She found the Bernina 350 to be particularly intuitive and loved that she could leap straight into using it without reading the manual.
But it wasn’t all about sewing. Good food plays a large part in my life so I made sure that it played a part in the retreat too. As well as lunch each day, on the Saturday afternoon we served a delicious afternoon tea (on vintage china of course). The nearby Watersedge cafe made beautiful miniature scones fresh that morning for us and I cooked many of the homemade cakes myself. And afternoon tea wouldn’t be complete without a glass or two of Prosecco. (I have to say that some of our seams were so straight after that!)
And here we all are showing off the dresses and jackets that were the result of our 3 days work. Everyone worked so hard, but it was interspersed with a lot of laughing and eating of cake! The retreat was a massive success and I am proud to be part of the movement to convert people to the joys of using a Bernina machine.
For full details of the retreat price, venue and itinerary please see: www.sewdifferent.co.uk/sewing-retreat