Author Archives: Wendy Gardiner

About Wendy Gardiner

Wendy Gardiner has been influential in the sewing industry for many years and is an internationally accredited sewing guru. She has been editor of leading sewing magazines Vogue Patterns, Sewing World and Sew Hip, is author of a number of sewing books, writer and presenter of several new sewing DVDs as well as a regular guest presenter on shopping channels Ideal World and Create & Craft TV.

Wendy has successfully worked as a freelance writer, teacher and author in the sewing industry all her working life, during which time she has held the role of editor of several leading sewing magazines as well as having written 14 books and presented 9 DVDs.

She also runs regular residential Creative Sewing Weekends, offering students the chance to learn new skills whilst enjoying a fabulous fun weekend and writes projects and technique articles for various other magazines and her own resource website which is packed with tips, techniques and projects.

All this has led to Wendy having a strong reputation and indeed fan base because of her enthusiastic and friendly approach to sharing her passion for all things to do with sewing.

Having just returned from the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show, I arrived to find some delicious fabrics on my doorstep – all crying out to be made up into new projects. And of course, I also couldn’t wait to unpack my suitcase, in which I had a sneaky length or two of new fabric bought at the show! I couldn’t resist – even though I have a number of fabric ‘stashes’, this lovely new jersey begged me to buy it and the coating was a snip, so couldn’t be missed!Simplicity 1777

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Coral felting

As many of you who read these blogs will know, Jennie Rayment and I run creative sewing weekends. Well, we’ve just done another!

It was great fun as usual, and each class created some wonderful pieces of work. I say pieces of work, as there was a diverse range of projects on the go.

We had a class Felting (Coral here is using her Simplicity Felting machine to make a book cover), and two classes spent the time quilting. In one room there was a mix of quilting styles on the go, here Jo is making a quilt for her niece.

To ensure all the blocks are correctly placed, she used the floor to spread them out! Which is something I do a lot as does Jennie as I’ve often come across her on her knees pinning or basting quilt layers together!

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If you are a keen sewist like myself, what more could you want than a whole weekend away sewing with like-minded people? Well that is exactly what I’ve just done.

Jennie Rayment and I run Creative Sewing Weekends a couple of times a year in an idyllic spot in Midhurst, West Sussex. We take over a 19th century manor house and everyone who comes is there to sew.

This time I was teaching how to Expand and Explore with your Sewing Machine and really put my students through their paces! I wanted them to go away with a full knowledge of their machine’s capabilities and feeling confident that they can do anything. Objective achieved!

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Tilda bag

I’m having a ‘bag lady’ spell in my life at the moment. I like making bags – particularly when I have some lovely fabrics to work with!

I was sent some beautiful Tilda fabrics recently which were to be on a Create and Craft TV show I was guesting on so I decided to make a few samples.

During the show I was asked whether there was a pattern for the bag – and although I made it up as I went along, I promised to put the construction notes on this blog. So here goes…

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1. Simplicity 1872We are now three weeks into the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC2 (Tuesday nights) and like many others in the sewing fraternity, I am delighted that my favourite pastime is being shown on mainstream TV. It is great to see the contestants tackle different garments, different fabrics etc (in show 2, they had to work with silky fabrics), although I would like to see more helpful advice being given by voice-over guy! I realise of course that there is only so much time to show everything, so I have put together some top tips for sewing with silky fabrics for Simplicity and share them here to.

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easy mini toteI’ve just got back from the Spring Knitting and Stitching show in Olympia, London, tired but elated because I’ve spent four days amongst sewists and crafters, new fabrics, yarns and products all related to sewing. What a dream!

One of my jobs is to organise the workshop programme for  the Knitting and Stitching shows (and Festival of Quilts) and this time we had 177 classes on offer ranging from machine sewing, hand stitched patchwork, quilting and quirky projects like fruit tartlets to wet felting, knitting, crochet and needlecrafts. I taught a class on getting to grips with your sewing machine making a tidy with tucks and decorative stitching, finished with French seams. We had lovely Makower fabric to work with, so the resulting bags looked fabulous and will make great gift bags. It’s a challenge to get a worthwhile project started and finished within an hour but it is very rewarding when attendees go away with something they are proud to have made whilst learning new skills. Makes all the hard work worth it.  Of course, I also had a good look around the show and bought some fabric, a tunic top with cats on it (I know I shouldn’t have, but it is adorable!) as well as saw some fabulous exhibits such as the new East London Embroiderers garments, the Alice Kettle installation and Woodlands Room of wet-felted soft furnishings.

One of the best things about exhibitions is the chance to meet other like-minded crafters. It is so lovely to chat about our passion for sewing, knitting, patchwork etc with others who feel the same.

Back in the office, I am now gearing up for my next Create and Craft TV show for Simplicity.. I’ve also got the page proofs of my latest book to go through, and if I say so myself, it’s looking good! (The Very Easy Guide to Using a Sewing Machine, to be published by Search Press in the autumn). So a busy time ahead, but it’s all good. Enjoy sewing!

Tilda image

If you had asked me what I was sewing at the moment at any time over the last few weeks, it would have been a different answer every few hours! I’ve had a flurry of sewing activity for a number of different projects that all seemed to be needed at the same time! Not sure if that is bad planning on my behalf, or just the way it goes…

Firstly I’d decided to do another DVD – it’s been three years since my last, so it was time!
I’ve been teaching sewing at my local shop and at exhibitions for a while and I noticed that many people are really quite nervous about starting to sew on a sewing machine – worried that they might do something wrong, right down to winding bobbins. So that is what the DVD is about – it’s a guide to getting started with your sewing machine (produced by Traplet Publications). To make it more useful, I wanted to include some easy projects, so not only do you learn how to use your machine, but you have fun doing so.

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