On arrival at the Oxford Street store that morning we spent a bit of time deliberating over our fabric and pattern choices then set to cutting out straight away. Lots of ladies cutting full skirted dresses meant we took over the haberdashery department slightly! Once we were cut out and ready to sew we all settled down around one large table which was a really enjoyable set up. I was so engrossed in sewing and chit chat I almost forgot where we were at points! It was great chatting to the John Lewis customers about what they sew, how they/we learned and our preferred techniques and tips. A few familiar Spoolette faces popped in to see us too!
|How much mess can seven seamstresses make?!|
As if sewing and chatting all day with some of my favourite sewing ladies wasn't enough we were given a delicious lunch plus each provided with Cath Kidston aprons to sew in and fabulous Prym tool kits packed with sewing goodies to help us along in our challenge.
The washable pen is amazing for marking on darts, pleats and in my case boning placement lines incredibly accurately. It obviously won't work on all fabrics and I'd definitely recommend testing how well it washes out on a scrap before marking a garment but it's still my new favourite thing! For more sensitive fabrics the chalk dispenser is another fantastic marking tool. It produces a nice clean and most importantly bold chalk line to follow and you can get different coloured refills for it.
We all used the Janome DC3050 which, despite being computerised and therefore a fair bit more fancy than mine, I got on really well with as I also have a Janome (this one in case you are interested!). From the limited experience that I have of them I'd very much recommend a Janome to beginner seamstresses and more advanced alike. They are easy to use and maintain and also both the machines and the feet are in my opinion very reasonably priced. I can't see me being able to bear to part with my current machine any time soon but if I were to the DC3050 would be a definite contender.
Lisa and Freia from Sew Over It did an amazingly good job at keeping us chatty lot on track throughout the day. Lisa spent a fair bit of time in the staff toilets helping to fit the dresses! Above she is very generously helping me with the most tedious part of the day - turning through the casings for the elastic which were to hold the shoulders in place.
I love this series of pictures of Emmie and I! The person you can see behind me in the top picture is my Mum who dropped in for a surprise visit! She was obviously amusing both of us, but I'm blaming her distracting me for not getting my dress finished!
Clare and Emmie both picked Lisa's Betty Dress pattern so teamed up to speed along the cutting out. You can see Emmie is working on those lovely full circle skirt pattern pieces above. Clare was wearing her gorgeous floral McCalls shirtdress which I just love!
Amy and Charlie look like they are having some sort of speed sewing contest here with their heads down over the machines! Charlie is using the Janome 9200D overlocker which was set up for our use during the day to finish off our seams. It was the perfect choice of finishing for the cotton and means all our dresses look super professional inside!
Even a maternity-appropriate garment was made at the Bee! Elena (above) was the only participant I hadn't previously met and it was such a pleasure to get to know her over the day. She adapted Lisa's Ultimate Shift Dress pattern to accommodate her (not insignificant!) baby bump.
At the end of the day we got the opportunity to venture on to John Lewis's gorgeous roof garden which is only there until the end of the summer. It's beautifully decked out with flowers and provides a great view across the rooftops of London and along Oxford Street! Above are Emmie, Clare and I in the garden modelling our Cath Kidston aprons!
Here we all are looking very happy and colourful at the end of the day! From left to right: Freia, Lisa, Me, Elena, Clare, Charlie, Roisin, Amy, and Emmie.
Thanks again to John Lewis for having us and giving us the opportunity to sew with your beautiful new collection of prints!