Saturday, 21 April 2012

Jubilee Cushion class - Beautiful Things with Claire Mackaness

As you'll know, I do enjoy a few crafty activities! Mostly paper craft in recent years as I've discovered the joys of recording family life and crazy kids through photos and journalling.

Recently I was invited (through the amazing connection of Twitter) to try some new crafting with Claire Mackaness of Beautiful Things who lives just down the road from me. She offered me a place on her Jubilee Cushion making class last week...if I blogged about it! So here I am.

Let me say first that I am a right clumsy clot when it comes to gadgets and machinery. I've used a sewing machine at primary school (broke it..) and have dabbled with one at some recent scrapbooking crops but usually someone rescued me so I didn't completely bodge up my layout. But sewing, properly, on fabric with a machine which I might break or blow up....I was a bit nervous!

But I needn't have worried! Claire welcomed me into her home like an old friend and I met Ann and Leandra my fellow crafters. Being in Claire's home for the class was very relaxed and a lot of fun - complete with a cuppa in a Cath Kidston mug and a table with a gorgeous Kidston oil cloth - so I knew I was going to enjoy this! Claire gave really helpful and reassuring instructions on how easy the cushion was going to be to make and she was right. 

I had a shaky and wobbly start with my stitching - using the sewing machine was a bit like getting to know a clutch on a new or unfamiliar car - but with a few tips from Claire and being able to watch the other ladies skills, I soon got over my nerves and was in the 'zone'!!

We had great chatter as we worked - I love meeting new people and hearing about their lives and a class with 3 students and 1 teacher was a great place to do that.

Gradually, we measured out our cushion covers, back and front; pressed them; stitched the various layers of ribbon on (a technique called ribbon appliqué; then finished it off by tacking together back and front and stuffing (this took some effort) the cushion inner inside. And voila!!

What an achievement! Really proud of myself...a new skill, great fun and a beautiful item to take home. Claire and the other students were so patient with me and I was thrilled to have made such a beautiful cushion in just 3 hours!

I can't wait to go back to another of Claire's classes and recommend them to you if you live anywhere in Essex. She can turn her hand to so many things (she is teaching a fabric flowers class this morning for example!) and will do one to one sessions as well as group classes in your own venue. I'm already thinking of investing in a sewing machine and havng Claire show me the ropes!
 In my line of work, I can imagine that youth groups would really get a lot out of a few hours with Claire and her creativity... @clairemackaness on Twitter


  1. Was great to meet you too Alice. You mastered that machine perfectly! I'm sure we'll meet again in another of Claire's classes.


  2. You did fabulously Alice and there is a full list of classes now up on my website at hope I can tempt you again. And as for youth groups, let's chat......that's my background!