After 25 years of intermittent sewing (including making my bridesmaids dresses, umpteen pairs of curtains and a whole year worth of clothes as I took part in Goodbye Valentino’s 2014 RTW fast) I finally got round to having my first sewing lesson. Back in February when I was looking for a new sewing machine I stumbled across sewing lessons being advertised on the Janome UK website. Being a fan of the GBSB I was immediately drawn to their Celebrity Sewing Bee Week. I booked onto Heather Jacks course – successful sewing with silk – as I thought I’d learn more from her class than the others. The others seemed aimed more at beginners. Though I’d tackled all sorts of fabrics I do have 2 pieces of silk in my stash but I’ve never dared cut into them! So the day finally came and I headed over the Peninnes on the M62. The M62 is notorious for accidents on this particular stretch so I set off in plenty of time. I was so glad I did as it wasn’t long before the traffic was at a standstill! Despite the heavy traffic I was the first to arrive. I received a lovely warm welcome from the lady on reception and was offered a warm drink whilst the other ladies arrived. And what a lovely bunch they were! From near and far…. One lady had travelled from South Wales. When we had all arrived we were shown into sociable-sewing heaven! There were 10 workstations all set up, all with a different coloured piece of silk. Each sewing machine AND overlocker was already threaded with matching thread. I chose a baby pink coloured silk. We were all soon busy cutting out our silk and nattering away like long lost buddies. Heather is an amazing person, and really entertaining. We were each given our own copy (to keep!) of Butterick 6100, and were making view B. One of best things I learnt on day was the importance of truing up our fabric, using loads of pins (yes mum, I used a whole packet, and not a tin of beans in sight!!), and cutting out as precise as possible. One end of our fabric was torn and the other was cut. Heather demonstrated ripping the fabric to get a perfect edge, which then could be folded and the straight edges pinned together – can you see all my pins on the edge near the purple scissors? We were to follow the instructions mainly, with just a few additions. All seams were ‘frenched’ and we stay stitched the neckline – I would usually do this anyway. Heather got stuck in and helped us whenever we needed it, and offered advice every step of the way. As there were differences in sewing ability and experience we all sewed at varying speeds. The day went by so quick. We didn’t stop for a set time for lunch, though I suppose we could have done. A lovely buffet arrived and we all broke off around the same time for a bite to eat and more chatting. We didn’t stop for long as we were all keen to carry on. Heather had brought some samples of silk tops which she had made. This is a simple but stunning silk organza shirt. How I wish it would have been my size! I could’ve swapped it for my candy striped cowl neck top! Wonder if she’d have noticed! I think maybe she would!! The day just went so fast! None of us quite finished our tops. I needed to add my sleeves, hem the bottom and edge stitch and top stitch the neckline. I didn’t mind that it wasn’t finished. I’d overcome my fear of sewing with silk and there was a spool of matching thread to take home so it was no big deal. In fact I think I’ll be happier putting my machine through it’s paces with the silk in order to finish this top. If it had been finished on the day it might be a while before I get round to tackling silk at home (though I hope it won’t). Before we left we had a team photo: And I grabbed a selfie with Heather! I wasn’t intending to write a review when I wrote this post, just show you the pics and let you know what I’ve been up to! But now I’m at the end of the post I feel I should add my opinion of the course in general, what I learnt, and the facilities. The tutor – Heather you were amazing. One of the funniest, down to earth and most interesting people I’ve met in a long time! Course Content and supplies – I think the course was aimed at intermediate sewers, which I think I am. But there were ladies who were fairly new to sewing who, with Heathers help, were able to keep up. We were supplied with EVERYTHING!! There was nothing I could think of that was missing – special marker pens, rulers, pins, tape measure (seam rippers 😁 – needed once). And we didn’t have to share anything. The choice of colours of silks was varied – we all found a colour we were happy with. After all, if we’re going to sweat over this we wanted to be able to wear it! The room was amazing. Here’s another look: Even the loos were faultless! We were spread out enough to have plenty of room, but close enough to be sociable and see what the others were doing. The only down side about the day was that there was only 2 irons. On some courses this really wouldn’t matter, but there was a lot of pressing involved in making this top. Value for money. Big tick ✅. The cost of the day was £70 which included all materials, lunch, endless cups of tea/coffee/bottled water. Oh and the opportunity to be in the room with 10 other like minded ladies – PRICELESS!!