About Kym Armstrong

Author Archive | Kym Armstrong

Meet our teachers: Joe Dixon, bookbinding

We are so excited to have Joe Dixon joining our teaching team with his bookbinding classes at our West Hampstead shop. Joe is a London-based bookbinding tutor, book restorer and producer of bespoke hand bound products. Read on to find out more about Joe and his upcoming classes!

Joe Dixon teaches bookbinding classes

Q: How did you first discover your love for bookbinding and who taught you the art?

A: I studied art at University and afterwards started to work at a fine paper shop, it also sold bookbinding materials. I got the bug and simply taught myself from books, making a lot of mistakes along the way. In the ten years I have been teaching bookbinding I have been able to meet some fantastic binders and learn from them along the way. I find bookbinding very creative as I feel it is a fine balance of both construction and design.

Bookbinding classes at The Village Haberdashery

Q: What are your preferred materials to work with and why?

A: The huge selection of decorative papers available now means you can create some beautiful bindings at a very reasonable price. I enjoy finding different patterns and designs to use in my own bindings and workshops. The most rewarding material would be leather as it is difficult to work with but gives the book a great feel and look.

Meet our teachers Joe Dixon, Bookbinding

Q: We are really looking forward to your upcoming classes. Tell us a bit about what students can expect.

A: Students will leave with the skills needed to create their own small single signature hard back binding with a quarter bound cover using cloth and decorative paper. All steps are completed by the students including sewing, trimming and gluing all materials. Notes will be sent out via email after the course.

Bookbinding classes at The Village Haberdashery

Q: What is your favourite book you have worked on and why?

A: I have been able to restore a great deal of fantastic binding over the year and it been a privilege to handle some of these books. I have recently worked on a first edition of Lord of the Rings which was a great project to work on.

Bookbinding classes at The Village Haberdashery

Q: What one craft tool could you not live without?

A: I use a teflon folder which is used in the same way as a traditional bone folder, but does not burnish and is non stick. Such a brilliant tool to work with.

Bookbinding classes at The Village Haberdashery

Q: Describe your style in 5 words.

A: Simple, Affective, Bold, Contemporary, Traditional

Bookbinding classes at The Village Haberdashery

Thanks Joe!

You can find out more about Joe on his website and book his classes here.

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Let’s get to know Marie-Emilienne and I AM Patterns!

We are so happy to be stocking the super cool patterns by I AM PATTERNS and we invited the lovely Marie-Emilienne to join us for a quick Q&A so you could find out all about her pattern company.

I AM Patterns

Q: Tell us about I AM PATTERNS!

A: I AM PATTERNS is a French indie pattern company that started 2 years ago. I was very surprised of it’s instant great success and I would like to thank our great sewing community for this. Currently, there is Marie-Emilienne, that designs, creates, drapes and makes the patterns. Blandine and Juliette are part time to help with everything else: answering your emails, posting your patterns, up-dating the website and so much more. Delia is our amazing mannequin. We are doing our best to offer you a range of contemporary, trendy and comfortable patterns.

I Am Patterns

Q: Describe the style of your garments in three words.

A: Casual Chic Urban

I AM Patterns

Q: Tell us about the person you design for.

A: My patterns appeal to a wide range of people but it seems that modern urban women are those who cherish our patterns the most.

I AM Patterns

Q: What body shapes work best with your patterns?

A: There are a wide range of body shapes that work with our patterns. It depends on each pattern.

I AM Patterns

Q: What should home dressmakers know about using your patterns?

A: The greatest thing is that the seam allowances are included in the patterns. You can print PDF patterns either on A4, US and A0 paper. On PDF, the patterns do not overlap. Also, on top of the printed sewing instructions, we also have step by step photo instructions on our website.

I am patterns

You can find out more about I AM PATTERNS on their website and find our selection of their awesome patterns in our shop here.

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Essential cutting tools: what you need to know!

We have lots of great cutting tools in stock, but what are they all for?! Here is a quick round-up to help you out.

General use scissors

For chopping up paper. These ones are great! You’ll need a pair of these on hand for cutting sewing patterns, pattern paper and for general crafts so you don’t even think about using your fabric scissors!

Dressmaking Shears

For cutting fabric and only fabric! Our Fiskars Classic Dressmaking Shears are perfect for cutting all fabrics and are 10″ in length. These are the classic – the ones your mum probably kept locked up (and is still using, because they are for life!)

Embroidery Scissors

Mainly used for snipping threads when doing embroidery and cross stitch projects but can be useful for snipping seams and other more intricate things too. Choose from the classic Fiskars or everyone’s favourite stork scissors here.

Rotary Cutters

A quilters best friend but also handy for dressmakers and other projects too. These are like pizza wheels for fabric! We also have a mini cutter (28mm) for curves and smaller projects. Rotary cutters should always be used with a self healing cutting mat underneath to protect your work surfaces. Quilting rulers are also a must for straight lines. Never use with just a normal ‘school ruler’ as it will slice chunks out of it! We have some handy starter kits available which include the cutter, a mat and ruler.

Thread Snips

Snip off all those flyaway threads with these! They are spring loaded snips that are designed to be operated quickly when cutting threads as you go. Plus they are designed to let you get very close to your stitches.

Pinking Shears

To create a zig zag cut in your fabric. Is good for finishing seams and will prevent fraying on most fabrics. You can also get a pinking blade for your rotary cutter – cool!

Buttonhole Cutter

This handy little gadget is just for cutting open those buttonholes once you have stitched them. No more accidentally slicing open your stitches!

Seam Ripper

Mistakes do happen and this is the tool for undoing those stitches! An absolute essential for your sewing kit, and we love the Clover version for that comfy handle (which you’ll be grateful for if and when you need to unpick a loooong seam!)

Decorative paper scissors

Fun for card making and scrapbooking to create decorative edges.

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Meet our Teachers: Kate Guy, linocut printing

We are delighted to have Kate Guy of Cardabelle Designs join our line up of excellent teachers! Kate had one of our most popular pop ups in our Makers Market and is a very talented printmaker. She’ll be teaching lino printing classes for beginners in our studio and you can still grab a spot to tonight’s class! You’ll learn the principles of relief printing and create your own linocut print to take home. Read on to find out more about Kate and her business…

Kate Guy Lino Printing classes

Question: Tell us a bit about your background. Have you always been a printmaker?

Answer: My father was a graphic designer and he loved traditional printmaking and typography, my mother is an artist and so I was very lucky to grow up in a creative environment.

I made my very first linocut when I was about 6, it is of a cat and I also used some letterpress typography blocks. I did not realise you have to reverse the words as well as the letters to make them come out the right way around and so my print said ‘EREH SI A TAC’ which became a family saying!

I did a degree in Graphic Design and have worked as a designer, illustrator, in an animation studio, as an architectural glass designer and as an Art teacher. In the past couple of years, I have returned to my first loves; printmaking and typography

Kate Guy Lino Printing Classes

Q: Your designs are stunning! Where do you find your inspiration?

A: Currently my work is mostly inspired by food and cooking, I love to cook and to eat and to draw the ingredients!

I am also inspired by my surroundings, I love London and have lived here all my life, but I am also very lucky to have family in the South of France where I spend as much time as possible.

Kate Guy Lino Printing classes

Q: What is your favourite part of the process?

A: The reveal! When you pull back the paper after printing and you see the image for the first time, there is always an element of surprise – you are never sure exactly what it will look like.

Kate Guy Lino Printing classes

Q: We are super excited for your upcoming classes. What can students expect?

A: I always start a class by demonstrating the end of the process – printing, I find this gives a very good idea of what a student needs to understand at the beginning of the process to have a successful end! (Hope that makes sense)

Each student will then design and cut their own design into a of piece of lino and print it using my portable press. I also demonstrate how it is possible to print with no specialist equipment – just a wooden spoon! That is one of the things I love about the linocut technique; you really can do it at home on the kitchen table with no expensive equipment.

Kate Guy Lino Printing classes

Q: What would your dream commission print project be?

A: I would like to do more illustration work, with my fixation on food and cooking the moment probably a recipe book or gardening or anything to do with food – even the interior of a restaurant!

Kate Guy Lino Printing classes

Thanks Kate!

You can find out more about Kate on her website and Instagram and book her classes here.

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February Classes at The Village Haberdashery!

February might be the shortest month of the year, but it’s jam packed with exciting classes and workshops! Come and join us this February in our bright and airy studio space in our West Hampstead shop! We have something to suit every level, interest and schedule!

Read on to find out what we have planned for the next few weeks or browse all of our classes here. Plus, don’t forget about our weekly events, including our Crafty Mamas Coffee Morning on Thursday mornings at 10:30am and our fun, free drop in Knit Night every Thursday from 6pm. You can find out more about these events and lots of other free happenings on our Events page!

Want to work on your own project in our studio? Check out out studio bookings page to book a slot! Want to book one of our classes as a private party? Fill out our new Private Party Enquiry Form!


Sew a Rope Bowl with Sarah Jeffrey
Tuesday 13 February, 7pm – 9pm (£40)

Sarah Jeffrey creates beautiful rope bowls for her brand Haar East and now you can learn to make them too! In this fun class you’ll learn how to sew a rope bowl on a home sewing machine, picking up tips on how to manipulate the rope into different shapes and how to use thread colours to create different results. You’ll be able to finish one medium-sized bowl or two small bowls in class – perfect for a gift or a treat for yourself! Find out more and sign up here.

Introduction to Modern Calligraphy with Suzie Dicker
Monday 26 February, 7pm – 9:30pm (£60)

Modern calligraphy is perfect for all; its relaxed approach enhances your natural hand writing style to create a unique and beautiful lettering form that is totally individual. Led by Suzie Dicker, founder of luxury stationery brand A L’aise, this beginner’s workshop will guide you through making your first stroke to writing beautiful quotes that will be lovely enough to hang on your wall at home! Whether you are a bride-to-be wanting to learn so you can address your wedding invitation envelopes, or you are the creative sort wanting to learn a new skill; this class is the one for you! Find out more and sign up here.

Watercolour Brush Lettering Workshop with Emma Block
Monday 12 February, 7pm – 9:30pm (£60)

Taught by illustrator Emma Block, this contemporary brush lettering workshop will focus on developing skills and learning techniques allowing you to grow in confidence and start to develop your own brush lettering style. We’ll start with exercises to practice making shapes, creating lines of different thicknesses and using different brushstrokes. You’ll then practice writing the alphabet, words and phrases with plenty of help and guidance on hand. You will be given a complete set of materials which you can take away after class, including guide sheets, a brush and a tube of watercolour paint. Find out more and sign up here.

Isosceles Triangle Masterclass with Judith Dahmen
Saturday 17 February, 10am – 4pm (£95)

Designed for intermediate and advanced quilters, this class will take you through the tricky bits of isosceles triangle patchwork. We will cover how to cut triangles with a ruler, deal with bias seams and sew precise and sharp points while working on a baby or lap-size pyramid quilt top. You’ll be able to keep your isosceles triangle ruler and you’ll leave with the confidence to complete your quilt top at home! Find out more and sign up here.

Isosceles Triangle Masterclass with Judith Dahmen

Crochet Basket Workshop with Rachel Rogers
Monday 26 February, 7pm – 9:30pm (£40)

Learn to crochet while creating a fun and endlessly useful crochet basket out of recycled t-shirt yarn! This class will introduce you to the basics of crochet, how to follow a crochet pattern, how to change colours and how to finish a crochet project. All materials are included in the class fee. Find out more and sign up here.

Clamshell Quilt with Jenny Haynes
Sunday 25 February, 10am – 4pm (£95)

Feeling adventurous or looking for a challenge? Learn to machine-piece beautiful curves by making a clamshell quilt! Our teacher, Jenny Haynes of Papper, Sax, Sten, will teach you how to cut, sew and press curves and get you started making your own clamshell quilt top. This fun pattern is perfect for showing off favourite fabrics and looks great in solids too! Find out more and sign up here.

Learn to Knit with Renée Callahan
Wednesday 7 February, 7.00pm – 9:30pm or Wednesday 28 February, 10:00am – 12:30pm (£45)

Do you want to learn to knit or need a refresher on the basics? This class is for you! In this class, experienced knitting teacher and knitwear pattern designer Renée Callahan will start from the very beginning and cover everything you need to know to get started knitting: knit stitch, purl stitch, casting on and off. Find out more and sign up here.

Embroidery for Beginners with Carina Envoldsen-Harris
Tuesday 13 February, 1.30pm – 4.30pm or Saturday 17 February, 10:30am – 1:30pm (£40)

This class is a fun and colourful introduction to hand embroidery that is designed for beginners or those who want a refresher. You will start by learning the tools of the craft, how to use a hoop and how to transfer a pattern. Next, we’ll explore a selection of stitches – running stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, French knots and more – by creating a modern sampler designed by Carina. You’ll leave with everything you need to know to complete your sampler at home and the confidence to try your next embroidery pattern independently! Find out more and sign up here.

Cross Stitch for Beginners with Kym Armstrong
Tuesday 6 February, 10:30pm – 1pm or Wednesday 14 February, 7pm – 9:30pm (£35)

Cross stitch is portable, relaxing and seriously addictive! This one-evening class will cover the cross stitch basics from tools to techniques while you stitch a modern cross stitch design to take home! You’ll learn how to work with embroidery floss and the various types of cross stitch fabric, how to get started by anchoring your thread and reading a stitch chart, how to follow a pattern including basic stitches, working rows and changing colours and how to finish your work to display it at home. All materials are provided, and you’ll be able to choose from our selection of kits on class night. Find out more and sign up here.

New cross stitch kits by The Make Arcade!

Guided Studio Time with Charlotte Newland
Monday 5 February or Monday 19 February, 6.30pm – 9.30pm (£48)

Work on the sewing or quilting project of your choice with the expert guidance of 2016 Great British Sewing Bee winner Charlotte Newland! You’re welcome to bring a project at any stage of completion to receive personalised instruction. Classes are kept small so you’ll have plenty of one-on-one time. Find out more and sign up here.

Guided Studio Time with Charlotte Newland

Learn to Crochet Granny Squares with Annie Windley
Tuesday 13 February, 7pm – 9pm or Tuesday 27 February, 10:30am – 12:30pm (£35)

Learn to crochet the classic granny square! In this two hour class, you’ll learn to create a granny square that can be used as a drinks coaster or as the start of a blanket, accessory or anything else you can dream up! We’ll cover basic crochet stitches, how to finish a square and how to connect squares to create larger projects plus how to follow a crochet pattern or chart. All materials are included in the class fee. You are welcome to bring your small baby to our daytime classes! Find out more and sign up here!

Learn to Crochet Granny Squares

Sew a Zip Pouch with Judith Dahmen
Tuesday 20 February, 6:30pm – 9:30pm (£45)

In this class we’ll take the fear out of sewing zips by making handy flat bottom pouches! In under three hours you’ll be sewing zips like a pro and addicted to making these cute bags. Find out more and sign up here.

Finish that Quilt with Jenny Haynes
Friday 23 February, 6:30pm – 9:30pm (£45)

Have a quilt that is stuck in WIP purgatory? This class is for you! Bring in your project to get help, encouragement and inspiration from our experienced teacher and finish that quilt! Jenny can help you with everything from how to baste your quilt, different ways to quilt your quilt (either machine stitching using your walking foot or hand sewing with luscious Perle Cotton) and how to bind your quilt (get the perfect mitred corner, how to do the invisible hand finish). Find out more and sign up here.

This is a Sewing Machine with Lisa Falconer
Wednesday 7 February, 6:30pm – 9:30pm or Tuesday 20 February, 10am – 1pm (£45)

This class will introduce aspiring stitchers – or those who need a refresher – how to use a sewing machine! In this comprehensive three hour class, you’ll get sewing machine-savvy and leave with enough knowledge and confidence to start making your own projects at home! This workshop is focussed solely on the skill of sewing and the entire three hours will be spent practising each element below to ensure that the methods stay in your mind after the class. You are welcome to bring your small baby to our daytime classes! Find out more and sign up here.

This is a Sewing Machine with Lisa Falconer


Slalom Quilt with Jenny Haynes
Saturday 24 February, 10am – 4pm (£95)

Learn how to cut, shape and machine-sew curves with bias tape! In this class Jenny Haynes of Papper, Sax, Sten will talk you through three different ways of using bias tape, discussing which technique works best for what project and how to get a neat finish. Plus, you’ll get to put your techniques to work by making a start on The Slalom Quilt. This is a quick and fun pattern that offers an easy way to create curves without piecing. Find out more and sign up here.

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