Nearly a year ago, the Stitching Together ladies mused on organising a weekend away dedicated to sewing. 9 months (and 1 impregnation) later and we were packing up Hannah's roof rack and heading to Norfolk on a Friday and staying until Sunday. The venue was a B&B called the Old Bakery in Hindolveston run by a lovely couple Alison and Mike. Alison is a quilter and so, as well as the usual B&B clientèle, she offers quilting/sewing retreats and workshops. We made what, in retrospect, was a school girl error of stopping for lunch on the way because if there was one constant over the weekend, it was food!
Anyway, my usual approach to retreats is to pack erratically and wing it. This time I had a plan and actually planned for the plan. I was going to FIGHT THE FEAR and make a chuffing dress already. Yep, my dressmaking demons would be tackled head on by making the Mortmain dress from Gather Kits which is marked suitable for"ambitious beginners!" I'd bought the pattern and fabric (from the Village Haberdashery) last August....
|directional print fabric, you nutter!|
So we arrived just after 2pm and were immediately offered coffee, tea and two choices of home made cake (delish). Then it was unpacking, setting up and sewing. We were staying in the holiday cottage but were given full run of two big rooms in the main house for our sewing activities.
|thanks for the photo, H|
|all using local or home grown ingredients|
Day 2 started a two course breakfast! Thank the Lord I had roomy troosers! Then a full day's sewing, interrupted only by Alison bringing refreshments and cake, a two course lunch and two course dinner...
|unlined and unzipped but extremely satisfying|
Day 3 and another two course breakfast. Oh.my.giddy.aunt. And we had to get as much done as we could before lunch at 1pm (with elevenses included of course!).
This is where things started to go a little awry. I think it may have been that croissant after the american pancakes. Anyway, see that squint zipper ^^^^^ That took me three hours to put in and it was all wrong. And the bottom of the zip on the right hand side as you look at the photo is all queer too and the waistband doesn't line up. But on the plus side, I am loving the fit across the back, if you excuse the dodgy posture.
The others were more productive...
|simply awesome cross stitch by Hannah|
|and Hannah's foxy quilt top|
|a maternity dress for Lizzie (and a skirt for her Nancy)|
|an adorable baby quilt by Tanya (along with cushion covers)|
A brilliant focussed weekend, with lovely stitchy friends hosted by a fab couple. If your interest has been piqued by the Simply Solids Sew-in Retreat in September, I would say go for it. The chance to have dedicated sewing time to focus solely on what you want to do, with no pressure to attend classes, is a brilliant opportunity. You will be with people who will help and support you and vice versa. I can't guarantee that you will be able to eat your own body weight in cake though..... Or head of to Mike and Alison's in Norfolk and take your elasticated waistbands!
I was hoping to show off my finished frock by now but after breaking 4 (FOUR) more needles and the dress nearly getting flung out the the window along with the sewing machine and my sanity, the zip is still not fitted. But I did have a Eureka moment this morning on the drive to work - use a different type of needle, stupid! So that's the plan (and a not exposed zip either). Watch this space for my first fully finished frock......