Interview: Get Crafty with Fabrication

04th March 2014

The organisers of a Leeds-based event are inviting those with an eye for interior design to get themselves to the city this Thursday (March 6) for a very special session. And as we’re fans of all things interiors here at Distinctive Chesterfields, we just had to share the details with you. The event, run by Fabrication and taking place at Unit A20, The Light, Leeds, gives budding ‘upcyclers’ the chance to discuss their interior ideas with the company’s resident makers and designers.

Enjoy everything from upholstery advice, and hints and tips on bespoke wooden furniture. Perhaps you have some leftover fabric you think will look great on a lampshade? Here, you’ll be able to obtain some helpful hints and tips to creating a beautiful handmade home. There will also be a 10% discount on all orders placed on the evening, so get yourself along if you’re looking to snap up a bargain.

Without further ado, then, here’s Fabrication’s Dawn to tell us a little more about the company and its March 6 event. Enjoy!

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Above and below, some of the creative makes from Fabrication’s team

Distinctive Chesterfields (DC): Hi Dawn! Tell us a little about what we can expect from your Ideas Home Show event in Leeds on March 6?

Dawn: We’ve a number of sellers who specialise in interior work from lampshades and furniture restoration, to ceramics, cushions, glass and even bedding. They will be there on the evening to chat with customers about bespoke work they may be wanting, design ideas and styling tips.

DC: How effective would you say TV shows like The Great British Sewing Bee have been in encouraging more people to give sewing and other crafts a go?

Dawn: Very, the rise of the craft movement is partly related to the TV effect, whether it be Kirsty [Allsop], the Sewing Bee, or the GBBO [Great British Bake Off], people think ‘I could have a go at that’ and it’s no longer considered old fashioned and something only grandmas do. We’ve been running classes and crafty parties for over five years and they just get more popular.

DC: What would you say to encourage someone who’s feeling daunted by the prospect of learning to sew in order to coax them into attending one of your lessons?

Dawn: Just go for it. Our very basic sewing class shows you how to care for your machine and what each button and lever does, as well as learning to sew. We want you to be comfortable with it and no longer afraid of what might go wrong.

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DC: What sort of things do you cover in your sewing workshops, and what ability of sewer is it aimed at?

Dawn: Our classes are designed as a course if you want to use them in that way, but run as separate one-day intensives, and you can dip into the level you are most comfortable with. The most basic is our ‘I’m Terrified Of My Machine’ one, but then the levels increase from learning to use a pattern and put a zip in, up to our tailored jacket and historical clothing making ones. We’ve even run a ‘Make Your Own Wedding Dress’ course.

DC: How can someone use sewing to improve their home?

Dawn: A cushion is the most simple thing to do, but also pillowcases, table runners and even lampshades – all can transform a home in a short space of time for pennies really.

DC: What three personality traits does someone need to succeed at sewing?

Dawn: Ooh that’s tricky, it really depends on what type of sewer you are, some are instinctive and others technical. I would say probably ‘vision’ – to see the end result before you’ve started, technical ability and patience.

DC: Any more sewing events in the pipeline, and where would you like to see Fabrication in five years’ time?

Dawn: We run classes most weekends, not just sewing but other craft skills too, such as leather work etc. In five years I guess to still be a fixture in Leeds. Our shop is going from strength to strength and we’ve some very talented sellers and tutors, so just to keep building on that.

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“People think ‘I could have a go at that’; it’s no longer considered old fashioned and something only grandmas do.”

DC: Has there been a garment you’ve made on your sewing machine you’re particularly proud of? If so, tell us a little about it….

Dawn: This one is too hard. I’ve been making clothing since I was about eight, so I’ve made lots of stuff I’ve adored. I’ve sent 16th century clothing patterns in the diplomatic bag to Uzbekistan, I specialise in 18th & 19th century uniforms and civilian clothing as well as bridal wear and lingerie. I still get a huge thrill when a garment or a collection comes together, I see it on a dummy in a museum, a catwalk or a shop rail and a customer buys it.

Sally Stubbs's photo.

DC: Finally, what would you say is the hardest thing to get to grips with when it comes to sewing?

Dawn: For yourself then it’s fitting. It’s impossible to fit your own body neatly. In our classes we show you how, to then mark details on the pattern so when it’s made again you know it will fit. The other is getting over the fear of cutting into the fabric, when you first start, in case you get it wrong. This quickly goes though and I love to see the confidence of our students grow.

Don’t forget to head over to the Fabrication website to view more details about the event, including prices and starting time, and other events like it. Thanks to Dawn for taking some time out of her day to be interviewed by us here at Distinctive Chesterfields.


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