Monday, June 6, 2011

Handmade 2011

This weekend I attended a workshop at Handmade 2011, a craft conference/ workshop/ masterclass series held at Te Papa.  I enrolled in 'Take One Pillowcase' a class taught by Heleen Webb Blog link .  The purpose was 'upcycling,'  in this case converting old/ vintage pillowcases into new things.  The aim was to complete a bag and to start a child's dress/ top by the end of the class. 

It was very cool going to Te Papa and seeing heaps of women walking around with big bags full of crafting materials.  My workshop was held in one of the usual Te Papa conference rooms - converted to a mini sewing workshop with wide tables and six brand new Brother sewing machines.  I was a bit flustered as I'd been running late all morning (a work scheduling muck up with Vincent, magically partially fixed by him at midnight the night before) and I had thirty minutes to get from my house to Te Papa, park, pick up tickets and find my room.  I made it with two minutes to spare and set to work threading the machine.

The other particpants were either sewers from times past (hadn't sewed in about twenty years) or very new to sewing and not familiar with brand new machines.  It took us all about fifteen minutes to thread our machines and get thread onto the bobbins.  This may partially explain why we ran out of time towards the end of the class!  The machines were lovely to work on though, and if we didn't have a perfectly good sewing machine at home then I would be very tempted by this one.

Heleen introduced herself and took us through the project.  The small class size meant that we could work at our own pace, getting help when we needed it.  The bag project is relatively simple, but quite elegant in execution.  I had a lot of fun, and enjoyed the conversation while we sewed.  I learnt how to properly put on bias binding (although in the interest of time didn't apply the technique) and create boxing.  We ran out of time to start the dress, but left with detailed project sheets on the bag and dress, as well as a further sheet with an apron project and link to a couple of other pillowcase conversion ideas.


  1. thanks so much for the post and photos; I took none this weekend and I'm so sad I didn't! the dress turned out lovely, good on you :)

  2. the dress looks great. i loved the weekend too and am hankering for next year's one already.

  3. Thanks - the dress was probably the most satisfying of the projects as it was so quick!! I'm going to do a small version for my 10 month old, with either a matching skirt or pants, depending on how much of the pillowcase is left over. I also had a great time rummaging through pillowcases at the op shop yesterday!