Yesterday Elizabeth and I went to Empress Mills in Colne, Lancashire, to a Demonstration Day. At this point I must admit that I couldn’t remember what form the demonstration was due to take – I was so excited at the thought of going that everything else went out of my head! Honestly, I am like a child in a sweetshop!
|Interesting and colourful
Virtually the first thing we saw when we went into the Empress Mills Sewing Centre was this beautifully bright and cheerful quilt. Wouldn’t it be wonderful in a child’s bedroom?
|Exquisite embroidered flowers made
by Irene Shackleton
The demonstrator, Irene Shackleton, had just finished demonstrating to a group of people and was chatting to some of them and showing various items. we wandered over to the table to look at some of her samples, thinking that there would be a break until she began again. But, no! Having chatted pleasantly to those around her, including us, she segued easily into demonstrating again. She was talking about various products such as Insulbright, Fusible Fleece, Warm and Natural wadding and stabilisers. Irene showed a wide selection of items that she has made and, most helpfully, told us which products she used in each. For example, the flowers above were made on her embroidery machine using water-soluble stabiliser. ** The stabiliser is washed away gently in cold water when stitching is complete.
|Decorated small pressing pad|
Irene had not only made a very useful bag for carrying her iron (unfortunately the photographs I took of it were poor quality) but also a small pressing pad which she uses when stitching small projects. It is an ideal size using with a mini iron (not travel iron).
|The working side of the
The pad is made from calico and decorative fabrics for the front, Insulbright inside and Luminex for the pressing surface. This pad, and the iron carrier, have gone on my ever-growing “To Do List”. I bought the Insulbright and the Luminex whilst we were at Empress Mills yesterday.
|Free standing lace lavender
I must admit to not being a huge fan of machine-embroidery but Irene showed us some stunning examples. Her free standing lace (FSL) items were particularly lovely. I forgot to take any photos of the two Christmas window decorations she had made but I did manage to take one of this lavender sachet that she passed around. She made the FSL then attached two layers of organza in the centre to make the actual sachet, leaving a gap at the top. After filling the sachet, she stitched the top closed and added some organza flowers that she had made.
|Beautifully embellished needle case|
Other items that Irene had brought along for us to see included an hanging nappy store made in waffle cotton which she had embroidered and appliquéd onto, a Happy Birthday wall hanging, with detachable ordinal number (what a brilliant way to be able to reuse the banner year after year!), FSL angels made entirely with Empress Mills HT Poly under thread, notebook covers and cushions.
|Cushion cover with faux couching|
The cushion cover above was embroidered on Irene’s machine with gold thread wound onto the bobbin and the HT Poly underthread in the top of the machine. It is embroidered face-down so that progress cannot be seen – scary to do, I should imagine. The effect achieved almost looks like couching. It was certainly interesting!
Empress Mills and Irene put on a lovely Demonstration Day. Refreshments, including delicious chocolate caramel biscuits, were provided free of charge and, as always, the staff were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
Oh! I forgot to tell you how it is that I am famous! Oops.
Near the start of Irene’s demonstration she asked my name. When I replied that my name was/is Dina someone [unfortunately I didn’t catch her name ***] called to me and asked if I was Bossymamma! I said Yes and she told me that she has read my blog and seen me on the Shortcuts to Sewing forum. We commented on the ongoing difficulties with posting on that forum and I told her that a new forum has been set up so that members will be more easily available to post.
The new forum is called Sewing Shortcuts. It is open to anyone who is interested in sewing and textiles. It’s a place for exchanging ideas, passing on information, seeking or offering hints and tips and much more sewing-related stuff. And, it’s free to join.
** Quick tip from Irene:
When embroidering on towels, instead of using the fabric-like water-soluble stabiliser on top of the towel, using the one that looks and feels like plastic film.
*** I have now discovered that her name is Jennifer and she has joined Sewing Shortcuts! Welcome to the new forum, Jennifer!