genevieve – print and pattern

print and pattern

week-night sewing with ray stitch


sewing at ray stitch - genevieve blog

Although I know my way around a sewing machine, it’s not quite second nature yet and there are a lot of techniques I don’t know. So when I saw a six-session crash course ‘sewing school’ on at my favourite fabric shop, Ray Stitch, I signed up in a flash. I was loving the claim that by the end, I will know how to do: “zips, darts, piping, elastic casings, pleats, gathering, hemming, facings, handmade buttons and machine buttonholes”. My reaction to that list is still an incredulous ‘really?!’ but I’m keeping the faith!

ray stitch fabrics - genevieve blog

I’m two weeks in now, and what I’m enjoying most is the guaranteed two and a half hours of quality time with the machine each week, and a highly satisfying ‘thing-I-made’ to show for it at the end of each session. Moyna, our teacher, is great – it could so easily be stressful but she sets us all at ease and the hours fly by in what feels like a second.

wine and brownie - genevieve blog

wine, snacks and killer chocolate brownie come as standard

In the first week, we made a good old tote bag – a staple of beginners machine sewing classes – but it was a better than usual pattern, and I liked using tape for the handles rather than the same fabric, aesthetically and practically. I chose a slightly heavier fabric with an owl pattern. I liked the way the fabric was very soft and strokeable, which made it feel more luxurious than the standard cotton.

tote bag - genevieve blog

tote bag - genevieve blog

owl fabric - genevieve blog

owl fabric - genevieve blog

Our next challenge was a lined zipped pouch, which definitely upped the difficulty stakes. The zip was the trickiest bit, as you would expect, but it’s a nice hurdle to have overcome finally.

pinning the zip - genevieve blog

I wasn’t in love with the fabric I chose, which pained me, as life is too short for less than amazing fabrics, right? But we only have (free) access to the ‘sale rail’ fabrics, and a lot of the ones I liked were too ‘big’ a pattern for them to work on a small pouch. I’m looking forward to the last project where you have to buy the fabric, as I intend to lay aside plenty of time to ponder / drool over Ray Stitch’s lovely selection, in order to choose the perfect one.

lined zipped pouch - genevieve blog

lined zipped pouch - genevieve blog

Talking of amazing fabrics, I’ve fallen in a big way for this range of soft brushed cotton, ‘pyjama’ fabrics (as I like to think of them), which wink at me from across the room while I’m sewing.

brushed cotton fabric - genevieve blog

One day, I will sew a pair of perfect pyjamas with one of those. I actually have to – I have no choice now I’ve seen them.

A great perk of the course is 15% off Ray Stitch fabrics as well as a copy of the Merchant and Mills sewing book, which is a thing of beauty. Merchant and Mills have really nailed the utilitarian chic, practical-but-beautiful market in sewing, and I, along with the rest of the craft world, am head over heels.

merchant and mills book - genevieve blog

I’m dying to go to their new shop in Rye. Along with Rye’s many antique shops, it’s an excuse for a weekend away if ever I saw one. The patterns in the book are all flawlessly stylish as well as practical (fisherman’s top anyone?) and I want to make all of them. So many patterns, so little time…

the maker's apron - genevieve blog

Stay tuned for more sewing school updates.


5 thoughts on “week-night sewing with ray stitch

  1. Hello! I’ve just found your blog through a search for Husqvarna 3010 machines as I’ve just bought one very cheaply. I’m just curious about the problems you’ve has with yours, and wondering if yours came with an extension table that you might be willing to sell. I understand it was your Grandmother’s however, so I wonder if you would mind letting me know what sort of problems to watch out and any general tips you could give me about this machine – so far it seems like a bargain at £35!

    Your photographs are beautiful,

    • Hi Kate – thanks for your comment.

      Great to hear you’ve got yourself a Husqvarna 3010, they are beautiful well-made machines – and at a bargain too! The thing with my Gran’s was that it was left unused for maybe 30 years by the time I got it, so it’s hardly surprising there were some issues. The main problem with mine is that you can’t adjust the stitch length, the dial just doesn’t work, and it’s set on a very small setting. Also, I find it less easy to control the sewing speed than on new machines. I think it’s generally very well made and the stitch length problem with mine is probably just because it’s been lying around for so long. My dilemma was that I took it to a sewing machine shop and he said it would cost me £100 or maybe more to service and fix, and in the end I bought a new one for not much more. However, I’ve kept my Husqvarna, partly for sentimental reasons, but also because I like to think that one day, I will get it properly serviced, when I have more money! For that reason, I’m afraid I can’t offer you the extension table.

      I’d love to hear how you get on with it though – have you tried to sew with it yet?

      • Thanks for your quick reply! I understand about the table, there is no way I would part with something passed on from a Grandparent either, but just thought it worth asking! £100 is steep, I wonder if it might be worth trying another repair man? I was charged £40 the first time I had my New Home serviced, but the chap I see now won’t charge me if I have a specific problem he can have a quick look at. The reason I stay with the older machines is because of the high repair/servicing costs on the new models.
        The 3010 was a very lucky find, I found the advert for it the day after she posted it, she paid £40 for it a few years ago and it came to her fully serviced and barely used, with the lovely case and all the accessories. She’s spent £400 on a new machine that she hates, but can’t justify not using, so she thought she ought to make something back on the 3010, and she wouldn’t take more than £35 for it. My walking foot fits, the tension is spot on, all the dials and features work and the stitch is very pretty. It barely needed a clean, so I’m really thrilled as the tension unit on my other machine is on the way out, and I sew every day.
        Your Janome does look lovely though, and thanks for letting me know a bit more. I’ll look forward to following your blog – your photos of Japan are very lovely.
        All the best,

      • It sounds like yours is a really good find! I may well look for another repair place, you’ve inspired me to give it another go. This is the one I went to – Do let me know if you know of any good repair places in London? I think the reason it was so expensive was that it was more than just a service, it was fixing a problem, as he said he couldn’t really give me an exact price as he didn’t know how long it would take. It felt a bit like signing a blank cheque so I decided not to. But I will investigate again at some point.

        Thanks for your nice comments on the blog. Japan was great, and a dream for taking photos! Thanks for following.

  2. Pingback: Sewing at Ray-Stitch | Craft Resolution

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