Every year I watch The Great British Sewing Bee and it makes me want to try dressmaking. With real life events starting up again I thought I would explore my options and look for some in person classes. I discovered a fun sounding set of workshops at Ray Stitch, a modern haberdashery on Essex Road in north London. They offer a few beginners courses so I signed up to the Introduction to Machine Sewing Part 1 course to give myself a little refresher (this was also a pre-requisite for the dressmaking course).
Reversible Japanese knot bag
The Introduction to Machine Sewing course goes through all the basics of setting up a sewing machine, as well as cutting from a pattern template and the art of pressing. I wanted to take the class to boost my confidence with a sewing machine. I have a great machine at home but love hand sewing, so it doesn’t get used very often.
I hadn’t been into London since January so it was really exciting to go into London on the tube. I went a little earlier than I needed to so I could browse the shops in Angel, and I ate my lunch whilst people watching in Islington Green and spent a lovely long time picking books in Waterstones. Then it was time to head to Ray Stitch for the class.
Due to current restrictions the classes only cater for 5 people. The workshop was in the basement of Ray Stitch, which stock all kinds of gorgeous fabrics, haberdashery and notions. The 3 hour class went really quickly but was a lot of fun. I started off by choosing two fabrics for my reversible Japanese knot bag. I picked a beautiful dark blue Essex linen and Moda Fabrics Dwell in Possibility Dainty Moths in Umber by Gingiber. I thought these two fabrics contrasted well.
What is a Japanese knot bag?
Have you heard of a Japanese knot bag? A knot bag is a small open tote bag, but with a twist. It has asymmetrical handles, and one of the handles slips through the other to form a knot and close the bag.
We were all given a piece of calico to practice our stitches on. When we were all happy with the basic machine stitches we were able to start on the pattern.
There was only one pattern piece for the Japanese knot bag but it needed to be cut out four times, two from each fabric. Then we pinned, and stitched until we had the cutest Japanese knot bag.
So parts of it were quite tricky – but pressing seemed to cover any little problems up.
The afternoon passed quickly and I was pleased with how my knot bag turned out. Hopefully I will be able to go back soon for another sewing machine class.