Monday, 28 March 2016

Bagmaking: Bag Camp

It feels like we've been waiting for a really long time for SEW BRIT  bag camp to happen. Actually it wasn't that long. My husband was still surprised when I announced I was off though!
There was a lot of preparation on my part. I know what he's like. He will muddle along, and spend a load of money on toys to occupy them, but not necessarily get them in the right clothes, or to the correct place at the correct time. So I did my micromanagement thing, and left a whiteboard with full instructions, and baskets of clothes for football, school, kung fu, etc. I then watched Joeys victorian assembly on Friday morning, and then headed to Derbyshire, via Leicester.

First stop - Fabric Guild. Lets just say a lot of money was spent. This place is awesome. I opted for large amounts of Cotton and Steel, and quite a bit of Alexander Henry. I left short of purse but feeling very happy.


Then I thought I'd pay a visit to the town centre. It wasn't much fun frankly. A bit depressing in fact. There are a lot of homeless in Leicester (no longer used to this living where I do) and the smell of weed wafting past became quite familiar after less than 2 hours. 
I had a look at the fabric shops in the market, but they were disappointing and expensive in comparison to the Fabric guild. I mooched around a few vintagey type stores and didn't even go in to the Irregular Choice shop as I knew I wouldn't be buying. Then I had a baked potato in M&S and left empty handed, save for a £1 lippy I got in superdrug.

So. Then was the battle to find Somersal Cottages. It took a lot longer than google maps told me it would, due to quite a lot of 'traffic situations' and me blindly following the GPS, however I arrived an hour later than planned at the village.  This is pretty much the view*:

* I have blatantly nicked some of these photos from Liz as I cannot get mine from my tablet to pc for whatever stupid reason

This was my room:

(it was beautiful - but the bed was really uncomfortable sadly)

Our base was two cottages, the mainstream cottage (ie. where the mainstream class was to be held) which was where I was sleeping, and the advanced cottage, where my class was to be held and where the meals were to be eaten. The living areas are huge, so Samantha (Mrs H) set up her hardware shop on the pool table in the Mainstream cottage, and Katy (the Littlest Thistle) and Lisa (Simply solids) set up shop in the Advanced cottage. 

Samantha was to teach Mainstream, Katy, who designed the Camp Bag - Advanced, and Liz would be flitting between the two giving us lessons on using faux leather.

Meeting everyone finally was fab. As well as the four ladies already mentioned, there was Chris, Jane, me, Lynn, Judy, Rebecca and Pam from Sew Hot, Bernice and Vanessa, Cathy, Lesley and Fiona. We spend Friday evening getting to know each other and making a little faux leather needle pouch guided by Liz. This was done in the Mainstream cottage.

The mess had started. We got goody bags (yey) and the secret sewing sister gift depositing started. I got a bottle of prosecco (from Jane, although I didn't know this until the last morning - hence 'secret' sister) which is always a marvellous way to start. Here are my goodies over the whole weekend from Jane:

I also left my secret sisters (Sam) first gift. I can't remember what that was. I think it may have been lip balm, or chocolate, or something!

One of my gifts to Sam - so easy to make and so cute!

I also made this music case for her - and yes I did iron it before handing it over!

Food was hearty cottage pie. A little too much vino was had by me. NOT a good idea but I was on holiday!

Day 2 was basically a day of breakfast(granola), sewing, lunch(soup), sewing, dinner(pasta bake and salad) wine (which I managed to throw about the table) and sort of vague stab at cutting out a Maisie bag ( I realised when I got home quite how badly this went - don't attempt crafts when intoxicated!)

The Camp Bag was a very large (think cabin bag sized) travel bag. Same pattern for both groups, but advanced group had a separate zipped bottom in faux leather, and a leather flap (I didn't opt for that)
We also had some lessons during the day - Liz came and did a bit of a faux leather talk which helped with our first session 'flaps and straps'.  Later we completed (almost completed in my case) the bottom of the bag. During this time, I killed Queen Liz (my Pfaff sewing machine) Fortunately Katy came to my rescue and let me use her Big Brother.
Its entirely possible I may have bought a bit of hardware from Sam. And a bit from Katy. But I didn't buy anything from Lisa till day 3!

( I won the clover clips for having to do the most unpicking on Day 3!!)

Day 3 was a very similar one to Day 2 - breakfast (I had bacon and eggs this time) sewing, lunch (baked potato) sewing, dinner (risotto) and a bit more wine. But not too much after the previous evenings shenanigans...
We worked on our main bag lining panels, and got a talk from Sam on applying hardwear - such as rivets, using punches etc. We then had a rush to complete our bags. Wahooo!

I also managed to win the 'guess the facts about the other bag camp residents' competition. (not many folk entered!) This incredible box of Aurifil threads was my prize!

So here is my Advanced bag. Quite a lot of blood and sweat and muttering and unpicking was involved. The fabric is some cotton duck from the Cath Kidston outlet (Paradise fields) and I matched it with some red faux leather I already had from ebay.

Day 4 - well we had to leave. It was a sad moment really. All weekend we'd bonded over our love of bagmaking, learned so many new things and had such a great time. Off to work I went (via Bayden the sewing machine man to drop off poorly Pfaff!)

All the advanced bags lined up on Monday, except Lisas as she had to leave on the Sunday.
L to R: Katys (the original advanced bag), mine, Chris's, Lynns and Fionas. Judys is on the table. Judy finished a close second to Chris, in spite of being ill the entire Saturday. Yes - she did that in one day. Amazing!

The mat outside the Mainstream cottage - indicating what happened over the weekend!

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