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Meet our teachers: Stephanie Carswell, weaving

We are super happy to welcome the lovely Stephanie Carswell to our talented teaching team. Stephanie is an avid crafter who began teaching 8 years ago. In 2013 she launched Hawthorn Handmade and today the brand’s needle felting, weaving and embroidery craft kits are now sold around the world (we stock her weaving supplies!). This year she was shortlisted for the Needlecraft Designer of the Year at the DMC and Sew&So Needlecraft Awards and in 2017 the Hawthorn Handmade Pop Up Loom was shortlisted for the Mollie Makes Product of the Year.

Read on to find out more about Stephanie and her upcoming class in our West Hampstead shop!

An interview with Stephanie Carswell of Hawthorn Handmade

Q: How did you first get into crafting?

A: I used to craft all the time as a kid. I drew constantly, and had kits to make everything from candles and ceramics to pressed flowers and that 90’s favourite, friendship bracelets. I also used to go on crafting holidays with my family where my Mum and I would try our hand at things like enamelling, etching and jewellery making. The first craft I tried to create a business out of was making beaded jewellery and I even took a silversmithing course whilst at University. Textiles came much later, but I still can’t knit or sew very well!

A weaving by Stephanie Carswell of Hawthorn Handmade

Q: Tell us about your company Hawthorn Handmade. How did it come to be?

After a brief stint working in music and arts festivals I became self-employed and opened my own contemporary craft gallery and haberdashery in Dorset in 2010. I had first come across needle felting online and it was still very niche in the UK so I bought a kit from the US to have a go at. The main aim was to make little bits for the window displays and give me something to do on the quiet days. Fast forward a year and I was selling my own needle felted pieces at shows and galleries around the UK and running workshops. I put together a little starter needle felting kit in 2012 and sold them in the gallery. They did really well, so I began to develop a range of animal kits and launched them officially in May 2013. A year later, the kits were doing so well I chose to go full time and close the gallery. After a few moves via some yellow door storage units and my spare room I moved into our current unit on a beautiful farm in rural Dorset and have been here ever since, growing the business and my team. There are now 4 of us here day to day plus my Mum Mary who helps at shows and with business advice as needed!

Interview with Stephanie Carswell Hawthorne Handmade

Q: What do you consider to be the companies biggest achievement?

It’s not one specific achievement, but the fact that we’re still here after 5 years and that we’re growing every year is what keeps me so excited and energised about the business.

Weaving by Stephanie Carswell Hawthorne Handmade

Q: We are really looking forward to your upcoming classes. What can students expect?

I’m going to be covering the basics of weaving including demystifying the jargon; how to warp your loom; how to start and finish a weave and most importantly, lots of fun techniques to create some gorgeous textures and effects using different stitches and materials. By the end, everyone will have created their own beautiful weave ready to hang in their home and will have the skills to carry on weaving themselves.

Weaving classes at The Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead

Q: Do you ever find time to craft for your yourself in your spare time?

Very occasionally! I’m currently working on a set of three handmade yarn lampshades for my house; but I’m over a year in an have only finished two so far! I also love getting out in my garden and though it’s not crafting, the creative part of planning the plants, colours, layout etc is really fulfilling.

Pop up weaving loom by Hawthorn Handmade

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

It would have to be my hands! I need so many tools to create all the different designs for the kits that I couldn’t pick just one, but every craft needs my hands. I’m really careful about them as well, taking care not to do anything that might put me out of action! Coming in close second would be my sofa where the majority of my design work is done… My comfiness has a direct correlation to the success of a creation!

Interview with Stephanie Carswell Hawthorne Handmade

You can find out more about and book Stephanie’s upcoming classes here and her weaving products here. Check out the Hawthorn Handmade website  and follow her on Instagram at @hawthornhandmade!

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Let’s get to know Ana Valls and CocoWawa Crafts!

We are forever extending our amazing range of dressmaking patterns for you all and we are super excited about our latest designer. The lovely Ana Valls from CocoWawa Crafts has answered our questions so you can find out more about her company!

Ana Vals CocoWawa

Tell us about CocoWawa Crafts!
Hi! CocoWawa Crafts is an independent sewing pattern company based in London. A one-woman business bringing comfy, simple and classic designs with a twist to your handmade wardrobe that you can make and wear all year around.

CocoWawa

Describe the style of your garments in three words:
Quirky, comfy, cute.

CocoWawa

Tell us about the woman you design for:
I actually don’t have a specific woman in mind. I design my patterns for any woman who wants to feel comfortable wearing something she has made, easy to fit and that it has that detail that makes it different. From optional ruffles and bows to more simple alternatives that they can wear at work, social events or just out and about on a normal day. The designs have also a Japanese and geometric inspiration, and a vintage touch from the late 50s and early 60s.

CocoWawa

What body shapes work best with your patterns?
Any I would say. For example the Marshamallow Dress is such a great floaty design that anyone would feel comfortable with. The same happens with the Chestnut Sweater and Top for example, easy to fit, comfortable and with lots of options available.

CocoWawa

What should home dressmakers know about using your patterns?
The CocoWawa Patterns are available in both pdf and paper format. The pdf version comes with the usual print-at-home A4 alternative, and also a copy shop one. All of them come with a booklet packed with technical drawings, step-by-step instructions on how to make the garment, tips and tricks, size charts, fabric suggestions… And! for each pattern I have uploaded a YouTube video where people can actually follow and see how to make the garment.

Cocowawa

CocoWawa

Thanks Ana!

You can find out even more about CocoWawa Crafts on their website and follow them on Instagram here. Find our selection of CocoWawa Craft patterns here or pop into our West Hampstead shop!

 

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Meet our teachers: Eva Jaber, mosaic making

We are delighted to introduce you to the most recent member of our teaching team! Eva Jaber is a self taught mosaic tutor who loves nothing more than teaching people new skills and techniques involved in mosaic work. Read on to find out more about Eva and her upcoming mosaic classes!

Eva Jabber

Q: Where did you first discover your love for Mosaic?

A: Whilst on holiday in Brighton I bought myself a large mirror with a mosaic frame using vintage china tiles. I fell in love with the way this looked that I had to try and make something similar myself. I am self taught I attended a few mosaic courses and I use books and the internet to learn all the various methods of mosaic work and how to cut the tiles etc.

Eva Jabber

Q: I see from your blog that you sell your handmade items at Old Spitalfields Market, that is super exciting. Tell us a bit about how you got into this.

A: I regularly visit Old Spitalfields Market especially when they have a handmade theme. I decided to make wares to sell there. Some of my regular customers asked if I do workshops, at that time I didn’t but the idea stayed with. Eventually I started holding workshops which have been so popular that I no longer have time to make pieces to sell. I have fond memories of exhibiting there as it was great fun and that is where the idea came to me by my customers to start tutoring.

Eva Jabber

Q: Where do you find the inspiration for your work?

A: I love vintage styles and colours I look at wallpaper designs and vintage posters that is where I often get my inspiration by the colours I see.

Eva Jabber

Q: We are really looking forward to your upcoming classes… what can students expect?

A: My workshops are super fun and there is no right or wrong way to make a mosaic. My classes are freestyle so students can design whatever they want and it will look great. It’s like an abstract mosaic but using china tiles I’m very attentive to my students and I’m guiding them all the way.

Eva Jabber

Q: What one crafting tool/gadget could you not live without and why?

A: My tile nippers, this is what I use to cut and shape my china.

Eva Jabber

Q: What is your most favourite piece that you have worked on? Why was it particularly special?

A: I made a mosaic piece of art for my daughters bedroom. I mixed china tiles with new tiles so it was like a mixed media piece. I added glitter and mirror tiles which made it very glitzy and special. Every girl loves a bit of bling!

Eva Jabber

Thanks Eva!

You can find out more about and book Eva’s upcoming classes here.

 

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Let’s get to know Peggy Mead and Sew House Seven Patterns!

We are so happy to be now stocking the awesome patterns from Sew House Seven and we invited the lovely Peggy to join us for a quick Q&A so you could find out all about her pattern company.

Sew House Seven Patterns

Tell us about Sew House Seven!
Sew House Seven is my small, independent pattern company based in Portland, Oregon and run by me – Peggy Mead. I have a long history in the apparel industry as a pattern maker, designer and surface designer. Sew House Seven was created in 2014 from my need to return to my original passion of sewing and creating and a desire to leave the world of fast fashion behind. I also have a mission to encourage more people to sew their own clothes. The focus of Sew House Seven is on however, not limited to creating simple, easy to follow patterns that encourage the beginning sewist yet appeal to sewists of all levels. Detailed instructions provide an opportunity
to learn while sewing.

Sew House Seven Patterns

Describe the garment styles in 3 words:
The designs could be described as feminine, simple and unique.

Sew House Seven Patterns

Tell us about the woman you design for:
I have found the woman who wears Sew House Seven to be a difficult one to pin down. I have seen garments from my patterns on a very diverse group of women. I think my patterns appeal to the woman who wants something simple yet unique (as in my three word description above). My customer hails from all over the world and is a multitude of shapes, sizes and ages. I’ve had some women say thank you for making clothing that works on women over 65 and I’ve had others ask why I don’t design for women over 65 so I think my styles don’t necessarily cater to a specific age, it just depends on how the customer interprets the pattern and if they feel comfortable in my designs. I think sewists are a different breed of customer than ready to wear customers. A sewist can usually look at a design and decide how they can make it their own and make it work for them so I in that sense, I feel like my designs are a blank canvas for a broad focus of customers.

Sew House Seven Patterns

What body shapes work best with your patterns?
I don’t set out to design for a specific body shape however, I do design things that I would like to wear and so I would say my body type definitely influences my designs. I am short with an hour glass figure. Because I am broad and short, I tend to like to define my waist.

Sew House Seven Patterns

What should home dressmakers know about using your patterns?
I try to make my instructions very thorough with lots of drawings. It may be over kill for some people but I want to make it as easy as possible for someone beginning to understand as well as someone who may not read English very well. I also try to make my instructions educational. I try to include some new technique or tip and sometimes come up with my own way of doing things such as the vent and hem on my Toaster Sweater #2.

Sew House Seven Patterns

You can find out more about Sew House Seven on their website, follow her on Instagram and find our selection of patterns in our shop here.

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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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