Learn to sew together why its fun and could even change your life
My first sewing memory
Sewing a bag for my Barbie collection and their dresses is one of my first memories with my mum. We designed it together, cut it out together and did the sewing together. In retrospect she probably did most of it, but I loved the process of creating something together.
Never did I imagine that someday I’d make my living from sewing things
Thirty years later
After the Barbie bag, beyond making a few repairs and taking up hems, I hadn’t sewn a thing. Then a couple of years ago I got a sewing machine to make bunting for our wedding. I got a bit carried away, making hundreds of meters of the stuff. I was addicted to sewing.
Around the same time while visiting family in Scotland’s Tweed valley where I grew up I happened across one of the mills making tweed. Also, I’m the kind of person who only ever has one bag at a time. It has to work for every occasion. I’d use them until they were threadbare, and then struggle to find a replacement. So I thought maybe I could make the bag I wanted with the tweed Id found. I guess I probably shouldnt be a bagmaker, but it turns out I’m not the only person who uses bags like I do.
After watching a few YouTube videos on how to make bags I got started. The first few months were spent making really terrible bags, but then I started to get the hand of things and people liked what I was doing.
How learning to sew has changed my life
Making and designing bags is now my full-time job. And my husband has just joined the business too. We actually send bags all over the world. Although we now get help with manufacture, I can still make every bag we sell. One of the things I’m still most proud of is that I can take a look at my bags and say I made that it’s so satisfying. It’s just like when I was little with my mum, without the massive Barbie collection though!
Emmas top tips for getting started with sewing
As a kid I loved being involved in every stage of the making process. Even if you’re kids are a bit too small to help with the sewing part they’ll probably love to help design what you’re making, pick fabrics, cut things out and cut off the little bits of loose thread at the end. Making things is so satisfying – making things together is even better.
Just get started. Start small with something simple bunting is perfect. Buy some cheap fabric and learn as you go along. Fabrics shops often have a bargain bin, which is a great place to start or you can find bargains online.
If you don’t want to commit to buying your own machine, I bet you’ve got a friend or a member of your family with one in a cupboard gathering dust, ask to borrow it.
Sewing Classes work for some people, but I found the pace frustratingly slow. There are so many great resources online. I recommend doing a search for how to sew [whatever you want to make and I guarantee you’ll find great tutorials. Videos on YouTube are also really helpful. Learning this way means you can also teach your kids as you go along. It’s amazing how much more fun it is when there’s someone else around (mainly to laugh at your early mistakes).
Dont get frustrated at how rubbish your first efforts are mine were awful. Just remember it’s as
much about the leaning as the thing you make to start with.
Id love to see what make together. If you have any photos please let me see them.
If you’re keen to find out more you can follow my bag making journey through my blog which I started on Day 1 back in August 2012. Or see what I’m up to on my Facebook page.
About Emma Cornes bags
Emma Cornes bags are made in Britain using the very best British fabrics. Emma takes inspiration from the landscapes that inspire the Scottish estate tweeds that she’s best known for using. As well as striking designs, her bags include details inspired by how people really use their bags whether that’s using waterproof canvas for the liner or the range of handy pockets on the
About Emma Cornes
In 2012 Emma gave up her job as a freelance market researcher to start making and selling the bags she wanted to carry, but could never find in the shops. She taught herself to sew, made the first 250 bags she sold herself in the spare bedroom, and now she’s working with British manufacturers to make her designs.
To find out more
For more details on Emma, her bags and her story, you can:
*** This is a guest post by Emma Cornes ***