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nicola220Nicola Ogilvie has been sewing as long as she can remember, and loves new challenges. From a very early age, she has attempted most things you can make on a sewing machine, from creating her own wedding dress and recovering a chair to quilting and embroidery. In her early career, she was employed by Courtaulds, working in a factory making underwear for Marks & Spencer!

Through her sewing business, Just Sew, Nicola now shares her passion with a new generation. She runs workshops, mostly for children, and teaches in the after-school program of a local international school. She loves the fact that even the youngest get a great sense of satisfaction from their completed projects. After a number of requests, she will soon be offering courses aimed at adults.

Although sewing is clearly Nicola’s thing, she admires all craftsmen and women, and loves to see how people use their creativity.

www.justsewgeneva.weebly.com

blog curtainsEmery

By Nicola Ogilvie, Just Sew Geneva

This is not a question I have had to answer for myself as I always make my own curtains. Depending on how many curtains you are making and the size of the window or windows it can be a relatively easy and satisfying project or a big, slightly daunting, but even more satisfying project!

If you would like to learn how to make curtains for yourself, sign up for my next workshop series “Sewing for the home”. We will be making curtains, cushions and Roman blinds.  For those with little experience we will start with simple cushions to update your sewing skills, then move on to piped cushions, curtains and Roman Blinds.  The series is being held in my sewing room in Commugny, every Wednesday morning for 5 weeks starting 28th October and I have 1 spot left. You may come for the whole series or just for the morning that you are interested in. Take a look at my website: www.justsewgeneva.weebly.com.

However, if you have neither the time nor the inclination to make your own, I have checked out a few places in the area to see what they offer. I started my research with a Google search “rideaux Genève”. I was surprised how many options I found and spent last week touring around having a look at the shops and chatting with the owners. Some keep restrictive hours and some require appointments but the following shops I was able to visit.

nicola summerblog workshop

By Nicola Ogilvie, Just Sew

The school summer holidays are nearly upon us. For those of us with children this means long days in the sunshine at the pool or the lake, long walks in the mountains, holidays, visits home, or catching up with relatives - the pressures of school timetables relieved for a couple of months. Here`s hoping for a lovely sunny summer. But if the weather should be poor, even for a few days, the days can seem long, with too much screen time for children, be it endless cartoons, gaming or texting and face booking.

Why not get them off the screens and give sewing a go, children and teenagers both enjoy it! Its creative, fosters small motor skills and a completed project gives a great sense of satisfaction. Here are some great ideas to try at home.

For the very young, threading pasta shapes onto string, ribbon or wool is the very first step. You can paint the pasta, if you can cope with the mess.

For the next step, felt is great. When I am sewing with children, ages 5 to 8, I use Chenille needles, because they have big eyes, for easy threading but are sharp, unlike tapestry needles, so they easily pierce the felt. I also use cotton yarn that can be bought in Manor for less than 3chf a ball. I find this better than embroidery silks as they are a single strand. When teaching younger children teach them to push the needle through the fabric, pull the needle until all the thread is through then turn the piece over and then push back through the fabric. Repeat front, back, front, back. The most common error with children is to always sew from the top and the thread loops over the edge.

nicola summerblog owlpurse

nicola summerblog owlpursemeasurements 

Pictured is a cute coin purse made from felt, a good first project. Simply cut 2 pieces as shown, be sure to decorate the front BEFORE sewing the 2 pieces together, I show an owl but I have had children make a cat, a fox, a monster, the options are as varied as their imagination. Try and incorporate the flap in the design by making it the nose or something similar. A button is then sewn on the front and a hole in the flap to close.

nicola summerblog cushionFor 8 to 10 year olds cushions are really popular. I use fleece blankets from ikea for fabric for cushions. They cost less than 4chf and the children love the soft surface, and they can be decorated any way they like. Again remember to decorate the front before sewing together. Ikea for pillow pads is very reasonable and for younger children the envelope style cushion is simple and effective. Cut 1 piece of fabric the size of the cushion and 2 pieces the width of the cushion and ¾ the length of the cushion. When the front is decorated lay face up on the table, place one of the back pieces on top, face down, lining up the edges so that it covers ¾ of the front, then lay the third piece, again face down, lining up the uncovered edge and overlapping the 2nd piece in the middle. Pin, then sew all around the square, and then the cushion cover is completed. This can be done by hand but is also a great starting project for using the machine.

For tweens and teens, its all about clothes. There is a host of simple sewing projects to be found on the internet: here are some of my favourites, with simplicity in mind. Convert an old shirt of dads into a summer dress, cut out the sleeves, cut off the collar and cut the bottom level if it has tails. Try on the shirt and mark your waist. Take a ribbon at least 2.5cm wide and pin it around the shirt at the point you marked for the waist, carefully sew close to the edge of the ribbon, thread in either some elastic or some thinner ribbon through the sewn in ribbon. If you have used elastic make sure it fits you around the waist and then secure each end. If you want the dress to be longer you can add some fabric to the bottom, either gathered or not.

An elasticated skirt.
Measure around your waist, take this measurement and multiply by 2, this will be the width of your skirt. Measure the length you would like your skirt and add 8cm, this will be the length of your skirt. Cut a rectangle of fabric using your measurements.
Fold the fabric in half lengthways and sew together the open edges. This is the center back seam, iron the seam open. Fold over the top of the skirt firstly by 1cm and iron a crease in and then by 4cm and iron a crease in, pin in place. Sew around the top of the skirt close to the folded edge. Start 1cm after the center back seam and finish 1cm before the center back seam. This will be the opening that you will thread the elastic through.

nicola summerblog skirt

Turn up a hem by turning 1cm under and then the 1cm again so there are no raw edges showing, iron and then pin and sew close to the crease edge.

Thread the elastic through the opening at the back seam, adjust to fit and then tie or sew the elastic ends together.

Or to get them started try one of my sewing workshops! In 1 day children who have never sewn before get an introduction to sewing with a machine and go home with their creations. Those who are more ambitious can try one of the more advanced workshops. See the full range of workshops on my website www.justsewgeneva.weebly.com

Author's bio

nicola220Nicola Ogilvie has been sewing as long as she can remember, and loves new challenges. From a very early age, she has attempted most things you can make on a sewing machine, from creating her own wedding dress and recovering a chair to quilting and embroidery. In her early career, she was employed by Courtaulds, working in a factory making underwear for Marks & Spencer!

Through her sewing business, Just Sew, Nicola now shares her passion with a new generation. She runs workshops, mostly for children, and teaches in the after-school program of a local international school. She loves the fact that even the youngest get a great sense of satisfaction from their completed projects. After a number of requests, she will soon be offering courses aimed at adults.

Although sewing is clearly Nicola’s thing, she admires all craftsmen and women, and loves to see how people use their creativity.

www.justsewgeneva.weebly.com

UMM justsew

By Nicola Ogilvie, Just Sew

When I lived in England I enjoyed many weekend days mooching around craft markets, an activity I have found somewhat limited since moving to Geneva. I always go to the Unicrea markets and enjoy the Coppet garden show but would like to spend more weekends mooching, admiring, and buying gifts and unique hand made products.  

But there is good news for fellow moochers, a new series of craft markets is coming to the area! On the 30th and 31st May the first UpMarket Market is being held at the Hotel Beau Rivage in the center of Nyon. It is the same weekend as the Marché de Puce on the streets of Nyon making it a great day of mooching.

nicola cushion1

By Nicola Ogilvie, Just Sew

April - The sun has come out and the flowers are blooming. Thoughts turn to outside living, hurray, our outdoor furniture comes into focus and the sofa we bought 2 years ago, that we were so proud of, is looking somewhat shabby. The cushions are sun bleached and all different shades. So my mind turns how to refresh it.

Firstly I wanted to make some bright cushions that would smarten up the furniture. Thus the first problem! Where can I get fabric suitable to use outdoors at a reasonable price in Switzerland?  I went to the Internet and I found lots of options in the USA and some in the UK but as usual I wanted to do it today, not after waiting for delivery.  Then I found the solution, use a shower curtain! Problem solved and I am off to Ikea, and sewing that evening. Many of the designs were of water or ducks but I found a nice turquoise print, though I was also tempted by a couple of striped choices, cost under 15chf. While I was at Ikea I also bought some pillow pads, less than 5chf. On this occasion I bought synthetic, I usually prefer feather or down but for outside synthetic is a must as they dry easily and quickly if rained on.  

nicolablog quilting3

By Nicola Ogilvie, Just Sew

Where do you buy supplies for quilting in the Geneva area? I have discovered a number of fabric shops, all who sell a limited supply of quilting fabrics and notions, but a specialist quilt shop?

If you are interested in making clothes or accessories, doing alterations or soft furnishing, I am your girl.  Although I have given quilting a go and made 2 or 3, I have barely touched on the experience, skills and artistic flair of my friend, Elita Sharpe, so she was the obvious person to ask.

I met up with her recently and we were able to indulge in our mutual passion of sewing. Elita gave me a quick answer to the question, where could someone buy quilting supplies? From her! Elita can supply you with Quilter's Dream batting of different lofts and fibres at extremely good prices. She buys directly from the manufacturer and has a range you would find hard to match in Geneva. She also can supply quality cotton Aurifil thread in an enormous range of colours that she sources from Italy. The quality of thread is excellent and is less expensive than the Gutterman thread that is of the same quality and widely available in shops here. She also sells tools such as cutting boards, rotary cutters, glues, and markers amongst other things. Check out her website www.busyneedle.ch/.