Classes,  Creative,  Fashion

Sewing lessons at the kitchen table

This is my very first blog, which really seems incredible as I have been attending Creative Writing groups and classes for many years now. As a busy mother of two, and running my own business, taking time to write seems like such an indulgence! Now I can write and tell myself that it’s for work purposes! Who said that you should ‘Never mix Business with Pleasure?’

Most people know me as a Milliner, but if you look at my ‘About Me‘ page, you will see that my entire life so far has been spent following one creative pursuit or another. Fashion design, Graphic design, Animation and settling down to Millinery for the past 17 years so far…..

During our many Lockdowns and Lock-ins, I have returned to the comfort of my sewing machine. I have one of those blurry movie scene memories of me standing at my Mother’s elbow about age 4 and being allowed to turn the worn wooden handle of the heavy black Singer machine as she dress-made at the kitchen table in the 1970’s. I also remember much more clearly, forgetting to stop turning and driving the needle through my poor Mother’s finger. Incredibly, it didn’t put either of us off sewing! I grew up in messy creative spaces, dinner sometimes forgotten as the kitchen table was covered in sketch pads, canvasses and tubes of oil paint. My Father would disappear for hours on end to the attic, hammering away on the archaic Remington typewriter.

Fast forward 40 years or so, and here I am again at the same ancient kitchen table with my 12 year old daughter, Sive. Sewing machines lined up side by side, the radio on, the table and floor covered in fabrics, threads and elastic as we turn out dozens of face masks for Community nurses and shops that we now supply. Every surface is a riot of colour and pattern. Selecting and co-ordinating the fabrics is something that we get lost in together. Fabric laid out evenly, sides lined up, we place our patterns. We compete over who can be the most efficient with the fabric – she always wins! I treasure this time that we spend together being creative.

Sewing is a life-skill and I feel so fortunate that I have been able to use that skill to help people out during this difficult time, to pass that skill on to my daughter, and also to ‘monetize my side-hustle’ ( a phrase that I have only recently become familiar with – and I’m not sure if it’s quite me – a bit too cool!) You know what I mean.

Not only has sewing offered me all of the above, but possibly the most important thing – it has allowed my hands to keep busy and my mind to stay quiet!

Last week on Instagram @niavrileymillinery I posted a video about Sewing for beginners. I gave a quick overview on a readily available low-priced Singer machine, as so many of you were interested in our sewing projects during lockdown. (Masks, Aprons, Bags) Many of you had been considering buying a machine, or were struggling with using or setting up one that you have, so I thought that I would answer a few of your queries by video.

Just to let you know, because there has been such a great interest in sewing over the past year, I have decided to do some 1 to 1 sewing workshops as soon as the studio re-opens.

Hint: I have a box of Gift Vouchers being delivered this week, if you want someone to buy you that workshop for Christmas (something to look forward to in 2021).

Myself and my daughter Sive making masks during the summer.




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