Charlotte Jenner – Stitching Workshops

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My only stitching qualification is that I have been obsessed with making and textiles since I was a small child. I was fortunate to grow up in a family where making things by hand was completely normal. My Mum has always knitted and sewn and now derives great pleasure from quilt making. My Dad spent most of his non-working time dreaming up kite designs and making them for us to try and fly. My paternal aunt and grandmother were amazing makers – my aunt in particular was a wonderful seamstress, artist and small holder.

I am a keen believer in mending and have been known to take my mending pile away with me to work on when going on a much loved annual women’s craft weekend. There is something very satisfying about continuing the life of a favourite shirt or pair of trousers. I am quite a ‘free’ (messy) sewer so imagine my joy as visible mending became acceptable, rather than aiming for an invisible repair!

I have been practising visible mending for some time and am slowly improving my technique. Although mending clothes is universal, recently there has been a great deal of interest in the Japanese ‘Boro’ technique. It is a very ancient practice where families patched fabric on top of existing fabric using utilitarian stitches, strengthening the fabric and making beautiful cloth. I have extreme gratitude for all the people who have shared this technique with the wider world and we must respect the cultural background to it.

Modern visible mending technique is an amalgamation of Japanese Boro using sashiko stitching and other traditions where running stitch is used to quilt and reinforce garments. Using small running stitches you can be as neat and tidy as you like or completely relaxed and free!

I invite you to spend a relaxing few hours learning the basics of this technique. I will provide you with cloth, thread and needle and we can explore the theory and the different stitches and patterns. If you would like to bring a piece of clothing – denim items work very well – then please bring them along and we can make a start on mending any areas that need patching, or simply adding patches and stitches anywhere you want them! If you would prefer, I will also have some aprons which you can patch and sew and I will lead through that

The workshop will be on Saturday morning, with the opportunity to continue on your own during the rest of the day and on Sunday morning. I will be on hand throughout the weekend and will hopefully be able to help you with any queries. But the main thing is just to sit, and enjoy the meditative qualities to sewing. The patching will never be completely ‘finished’ because there will always be another patch you could sew on, or another hole that may develop. But that is the beauty – the process helps you move away from goal-centred living and towards a more accepting approach: concentrating on the present moment and staying open to what unfolds in the future.

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