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Setting Up a Sewing Group

How to set up your own local sewing group

 

Once you discover the love of sewing you often want to share that passion with others. To meet up and share tips, advice, swap fabrics etc.  Using the search bar above you can check if there are any local sewing groups near you, but if there aren't why not set up your own?

I spoke to Beth Edmondson, founder of the Liverpool Sewing Club to find out how and why she set up her own sewing group.

What led to you setting up the Liverpool Sewing Club?

I set up Liverpool Sewing Club a few years ago as sewing used to be a community activity – helping each other and passing on your skills. Nowadays you can get support online but nothing beats meeting up with like minded individuals and getting that physical support; after all it’s rather difficult to fit something to your own back without an extra pair of hands!
 
I searched online and was unable to locate anything in Liverpool city centre that met in the evenings or at the weekend. I work full-time, so couldn’t join any regular daytime events. I investigated setting up my own sewing club instead, using online resources and trying to find a reasonably priced city centre location. As we’re a sewing club, not lessons I didn’t want to have to charge members a large fee.

How did you go about attracting members?

Beth Edmondson founder of the Liverpool Sewing Club
Beth Edmondson
Initially we just used the traditional forms of advertising, posters and flyers in local sewing shops. As time progressed I decided it was time to join the 21st century as I already used Facebook & Twitter personally so I decided to setup sewing clubs on both social media platforms - Facebook and on Twitter.  These have both helped immensely and have brought new members to us and also helped people to find us when searching online.

Where and when do you meet?
We meet twice a month (1st and 3rd Monday) at DoES Liverpool  a co-working and maker community located in Liverpool city centre. Working in IT and being involved in the geeky community in Liverpool, I already knew the founders and when they setup DoES in July 2011 they asked if I’d like to move Liverpool Sewing Club there. DoES Liverpool is a Community Interest Company and I found that this and their maker ethos was a perfect fit for the sewing club. The fact that they’re on the 4th floor of a building with great natural light also helped a lot, as all sewers know natural light is a must for working with fabrics.

What do you do in a typical session?

We run from 6pm to 9pm, so many people come straight from work, meaning getting the kettle and the microwave going is the first priority! When suitably refreshed, the projects start making an appearance, which usually results in a fair bit of admiring comments and questions.

We all get stuck into our projects, getting out any equipment that may be required, including the two sewing 
machines that we saved up to provide. We deliberate purchased two entry level machines so as not to overwhelm any beginners but still being versatile enough to be useful for most projects. Offers and requests for help occur as required, usually along with at least one more cuppa. Then when it’s time to pack up, which usually is a bit later than it should be as we’re having too much sewing fun, we all chip in.

What sorts of things do members make?
 
Doing pattern alterations
 Doing pattern alterations at sewing club
All aspects of needlework are covered at Liverpool Sewing Club, from embroidery to patchwork with a number of beautiful quilts being produced by our members; to homewares such as cushions; soft toy making; upcycling such as replacing the lining on a coat; bag making and full dressmaking, with a number of beautiful garments being produced by our members. We’ve even been known for members to bring along their knitting and crochet projects.

What are the benefits of being part of a sewing group?

We all find that meeting up with like minded individuals helps, chatting to someone who understands our need for fabric hoarding, which husbands/partners/non-sewingfriends just don’t get! Having the company and support of other people that love to do crafty things is great. It’s a friendly, relaxed and welcoming environment and nice to talk to people who just get the sewing bug. When dressmaking, having someone you trust and that understands fitting issues to help get the fit right is essential and getting the hem straight is much easer with a friend. Sometimes just another opinion can help, I know one member was trying to workout the layout of a quilt and having another sewers viewpoint helped a lot. I’ve been told by one of the members that sewing club is the highlight of her week!

What tips could you share with someone who wants to set up their own group?

Research – Is there already a sewing club in your area? If so, is it daytime or evening?

Advertise – Flyers and posters in your local sewing shops are always good. In this digital age, social media is a must - create Facebook and Twitter accounts and use them.

Venue – Find a good central location with reasonable rent and good amenities – a kettle is a minimum! Is there power available to plug in any sewing machines? Is there natural light?

Communication  - Speak to your members, what do they want from a sewing club?

Provisions – Decide what you will provide and ensure your members know this. Initially we just provided the space and members brought their own supplies; now we’ve been able to save up for the basics – sewing machines, thread, scissors, fabric scraps etc

Find out more about Liverpool Sewing Club here.

If you don't want to set up your own sewing group why not read our guide to finding a local sewing group.

Locate your local sewing club