Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Patchwork Workshop

Yesterday afternoon I headed off to the first of two free workshops I'm attending as part of Adult Learner's Week.  This particular one was to make a Patchwork Lavender Cushion and was being held in a local community garden.

I didn't really know what to expect as I had never been there before and had only seen it from the outside.  I wasn't sure what sort of patchwork or what shape/size of cushion we'd be making either or what machines we'd be using.  Well in actual fact, we didn't use machines at all, which was quite refreshing.

When I arrived we were offered a cup of tea or coffee which was very inviting and had to fill in a bit of paperwork before we began.  The workshop took place in a large lean to greenhouse type structure in the gardens, which was very light and airy and a really nice space to work in.

We all sat around a large long table and got to work.  The very nice young lady taking the workshop told us what we needed to do and showed us some examples of different styles of patchwork.  For this workshop, we were to make a small cushion by hand, using hexagonal pieces of fabric sewn into a Grandma's Flower shape.  We started off cutting out the hexagons of fabric and then tacking the fabric around smaller paper hexagons, before sewing them together, removing the paper and tacking stitches, and then filling with dried lavender and leftover pieces of fabric before sewing up completely.

I had taken some fabric of my own that I wanted to use, some of which I had saved from my daughter's clothing when a toddler and some others which co-ordinated and I wanted to use.  There was fabric there you could use too and all other thread and equipment was supplied which was good.

There was an interesting mixture of people in the workshop, some had never sewn, some had more experience and we chatted as we sewed.  None of us wanted to break off for anything to eat, but we were served tea and coffee as required which was very generous, so we just kept on sewing.  After about 3 and a half hours I had finished my cushion by hand.  Here's a couple of photos of front and back views.


It probably doesn't look much for 3 hours work, but it was painstakingly hand sewn and it smells so strongly of lavender.  I will either give it to my daughter, as she took a liking to it when I got home, or will use it in my underwear drawer if she doesn't want it or loses interest in it. 

I really enjoyed this workshop and enjoyed learning this traditional method of patchwork, which I can remember my mother using many years ago.  I will try to continue using it at home as it was easier than I expected and very satisfying, although pretty time consuming.  Perhaps the most satisfying thing about it is being able to use all those small bits of fabric that are too small to use for anything else, but that you don't want to throw away.  I have already started assembling enough hexagons to make a full size cushion cover in the same fabrics for our bedroom, as these colours co-ordinate perfectly.  Then who knows, maybe even a full size quilt, but don't expect a reveal any year soon!

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