This event is going to be unlike anything we’ve hosted at Bows–in a good way!
Since we started offering sewing classes here through Sew @ Bows, we’ve noticed a growing interest in sewing and do-it-yourself craft projects. So when Nicole Blum, author of Improv Sewing, contacted us about hosting her book tour, we were more than happy to oblige!
This FREE event will take place Saturday, May 5th, from 3:00-6:00 PM.
Improv Sewing: 101 Fast, Fun, and Fearless Projects was dreamt up by Nicole Blum and Debra Immergut while they were both working at FamilyFun–an arts & crafts magazine for families and children. Originally the book was going to include around 30 projects involving sewing with jersey fabric, but when Storey Publishing picked up the project, they asked if Nicole and Debra could expand it to 101 projects. During the process of brainstorming project after project, a sort of philosophy took hold: they call it “improv sewing” or “fearless sewing”, and it’s all about departing from the traditional sewing method of meticulous patterns and careful stitches. Nicole and Debra’s book is about fun, art, and creativity–and it teaches you how to make a ton of cute things!
The book will officially be on shelves May 1st, but you can pre-order it on Amazon, and there will be a few copies available at the event. We will also have sewing machines set up so you can learn how to make one of the projects in the book! Plus, there will be happy hour specials!
I asked Nicole some questions about her book and sewing in general:
Have you been into crafts and sewing for a long time?
Yes and no. I am not one of those fortunate souls who grew up with a Grandma or Mom who passed along a wealth of sewing skills. I would say they passed along the love of pretty garments (Great Grandmother and Grandmother both owned dress shops in Atlantic City back in the day) which has informed my life, but the actual how-to-make-things skills have been self-taught. I have been crafting for a very long time, both in my professional life and at home, but sewing came much later. I tried my hand at complicated patterns and was a bit turned off by them, feeling like every time I wanted to make something I would need to take a deep breath, clear the decks, and dedicate a ton of time to make something I prayed would even turn out. Then I got a new machine and it was so easy and reliable that I began to play around more with fabric without any frustrating mechanical issues and I realized that it was awfully fun to make things up. An obsession grew and I began to look at sewing with completely different eyes – traditional rules no longer applied and I was freed up to make whatever I wanted.
Do you think people are generally interested in making their own clothes/crafts nowadays?
I think people are more into making stuff now than ever…I think people get a lot of satisfaction from making things with their own hands–deep satisfaction-and shopping might feel good for a minute (which is so weird but true, right?) but it doesn’t last in the way the being creative does. I do think there are still a ton of people out there that think making their own clothes and gifts and stuff for the home is too complicated and time consuming, but I hope we dispel that in our book and inspire the doubtful to give it a whirl.
Why do you think the “fearless” sewing idea is a good one?
The thing I hear the most from people when it comes to sewing is that they are afraid of their machine and all of the complicated directions they’ll have to read to actually make something. There was a time when I thought the same thing. It simply doesn’t have to be that way. Making mistakes is a fantastic way to learn something new, but being afraid of making mistakes is a typical aversion to acquiring new skills and confidence. I have made a million mistakes and have figured out plenty in the process. Our book will hopefully help sewists avoid some of the mistakes, but also encourages them to embrace the mistakes and figure out ways to improvise and make them useful. I sound like I am starting a new religion of the New Age Sewist!
What is “drawing” or “doodling” with thread?
By releasing the pressure on the foot of your sewing machine, you can guide the fabric in all directions. This freedom of movement allows the sewist to lay down stitches in any way they want – you can draw designs, shapes, objects. It is really fun and is a nice way to turn solid colored fabric into something decorated and original.
How did you come up with the projects in the book?
Luckily, Debra and I had worked on many things for the magazine where we had to brainstorm long lists of ideas for features- you know, 20 things to do with a toilet paper tube, or 10 simple and cute Valentine’s cards. 101 was different than that, but we had a lot of ideas that were fueled by the excitement of landing a book deal. We came up with 75 right off the bat, and then gradually got up to the low 100’s before weeding out the ones we thought weren’t worthy. We had a goal of not having one dud in the bunch and I think we were successful. The book took us about a year to finish and sometimes I was sewing for 12 hours a day while Debra was writing and writing great directions (I think she had the harder job, personally).
What can people expect at this event?
We are planning all of our events to include demonstrations and opportunities for people to sit at machines and make something. This event will have all of that plus it’s going to be a Happy Hour event, so we will be drinking Sangria or something while doing all of this, which brings it to a new and better level, don’t you think?
At Bows and Arrows, my plan is to show folks how to draw with thread and then apply their new skill to making the votive holder/vase. We will decorate pieces of canvas with thread with sewing machines and materials that I will provide, and then sew it into a sleeve that will slide over a jar. They are great gifts and really lovely in a sunny window filled with a posy of flowers or on the table illuminating your little dinner party with warm candlelight.
This event is FREE!