We’ve become accustomed to sewing by ourselves or on video platforms as a result of the pandemic, but we’re feeling optimistic that most of us can come together once more to sew and quilt collectively. For many of us, going to an organised quilting group or guild is an obvious option, but sometimes that’s just not possible, or you might not want to, for whatever reason. Maybe you could set up your own small sewing group instead. After all, it’s about getting together, having fun, catching up, and if you get some sewing done, it’s an added bonus!
We’ve put together a few ideas and things for you to consider before you send out the invites, so that you can be fully prepared and have a plan for how it’s going to work.
How many people, where, and how often?
The first thing you need is a venue, and this could well be your kitchen table! First, you need to decide how many people you want to invite, so that everyone can have adequate room to spread out and have enough space to work in. You’ll then need to think about the best time of day to meet, and also how often. Once a month is probably a good option, as it’s regular enough to keep momentum but not too much of a commitment. You will also need to think about how long you want the sessions to be for, whether they are just a few hours or for a full day. If you’re running the group, do what works best for you!
Hand or machine sewing?
This is an important consideration. If you’re using sewing machines, you’re going to need to make sure you have enough space, plus enough plug sockets and extension cables. You’ll also have to take health and safety into consideration, as you may wish to cover up any trawling cables if needed. One other thing to consider is noise levels. It can be harder to chat and hear one another if you all have sewing machines whirring, and also if you have young children asleep upstairs, it could be noisy for them and wake them up. Hand sewing is a good option as it’s quieter and allows for more chatting and easy communication, but then the participants are limited to hand sewing projects.
Lighting the way
This is an important one. If you’re meeting in the evening, you will need to make sure that everyone can see their work and what they are doing. There is nothing worse than straining to see! Sit down in that space when it’s dark and check that you can see, or maybe invest in some daylight lamps or ask people to bring their own if they have them.
Drinks, Snacks and Cake
Who doesn’t love a piece of cake when sewing with friends?! However, be clear to establish whether you’re going to be making the cake and providing the snacks every session or whether it’s something you want to take turns doing. If you have a rota, it shares the load. Also, if you offer to make people drinks, you can spend quite a lot of your time being a ‘hostess’ and not getting much sewing done yourself. So why not have a ‘help yourself to drinks’ policy from the outset so that everyone makes their own, or takes turns in making drinks for everyone. That way, you get to enjoy the session too.
Share those Scraps
I don’t know about you, but I always find that other people’s scraps are so much more interesting! So why not get everyone to bring their scraps and have a scraps swap. Everyone comes away feeling like they’ve got something new, and it’s sure to get the creative juices flowing.
Show and Tell
Everyone loves to share what they’ve made with fellow quilters who are going to appreciate it, so why not get everyone to bring along their latest make or talk about what they are working on. It doesn’t need to be a formal session, more of a chat and a great chance to look at other people’s work, ask questions, get advice and get inspired.
Communication is Key
Find a way to invite and communicate with everyone and stick to it. It could be email, but things like What’s App or Facebook messenger groups are a lot more informal, and it’s very easy to share photos, important messages and even cute gifs. Find a way that works for your group to stay in touch.
And that’s it! We hope this is a useful guide that will encourage you to set up your own sewing or quilting group, if you have the time! It’s so rewarding spending time with quilting friends in a relaxed setting, and a great way to catch up and have some fun too.