All You Need To Sew...
An insight into the world of Bee Jackson, a relatively new and admittedly 'novice' seamstress who has recently wowed Fabworks' social media followers with a range of superb home sews using fabrics from Fabworks' range of wools..
I am Dawn, Fabworks Online product specialist & description writer. This is my own story & sentiment for the inspiration behind our recent Heart of Huddersfield project
People often ask where I get my inspiration from when writing Fabworks’ fabric descriptions. I always say that I am inspired by many things especially nature, particularly the landscape and flora and fauna within. I am a proud Yorkshire woman and I was blessed with parents and grandparents that were also born and bred Yorkshire, who instilled in me an appreciation for Yorkshire’s countryside as well as its people, plants and animals.
Grandparents on my father’s side were both involved in the Heavy Woollen trade around West Yorkshire, my Grandad Ewart’s profession for most of his adult life was as a boiler engineer for the huge steam engines that powered the woollen mills around West Yorkshire, thus consequently provided a good standard of living for his wife and three sons.
Grandma Lillian along with her mother and two sisters also had a job within the woollen trade and had spent significant time as weavers. In an age where they had already lived through hard times, poverty and war, they were equipped with the skills to make, mend and make do. Lillian was an amazing seamstress; dressmaking, tailoring, knitting, crochet, embroidery and all the other homemaking skills that housewives of this generation were expected to have honed.
Ewart would often bring home fents (short pieces of woollen fabric) for Lillian to make clothing and homewares with. So it’s no great surprise that I learnt to sew at a very early age thanks to her. She sat me in her lap at the old Singer Treddle sewing machine (which now takes pride of place in my home) and encouraged me to wind the wheel and play with pieces of fabric she called dolly patches - that would eventually become clothing for my toy dolls!
|Three sisters - all weavers||Great Grandma, Grandma & friends - all textile workers|
When I wasn’t engrossed with a textiles project my grandparents would encourage my siblings and I to play in the garden - vegetables patches, fruit trees and flowers galore. We grew up with a passion for all the wonderful things nature provides.
The Heart of Huddersfield project is something that I have been heavily involved in from the beginning; designing, planning, testing, but most influential with the description writing, these are ‘mine’. The HoH fabrics were designed to take inspiration from the Holme & Colne Valleys (the location where they were woven), notably the landscape and the nature within it; such as the woodland, moors, pastures, hills and streams, as well as the weavers’ own homes and gardens (of my grandparent’s generation). Each fabric description takes you on a literary journey to the places that occupy my mind, in the hope of conjuring up the essence of our proud Yorkshire heritage.
My practical skills as a seamstress and my passion for all things textiles-related gives constant inspiration for what to make with such wonderful wools. I can always find a use for fabric! My thrifty grandma taught me the value of using things wisely and not wasting, half of the fun is imagining what you can make from a random shaped off-cut.
The Heart of Huddersfield range is both special to me and the family business of Fabworks, because we all have strong links to the Holme Valley and the woollen trade.
My paternal great grandparents lived at a farm in a little village called Netherthong, a picturesque place just above Holmfirth (home of television classic Last of the Summer Wine). Great Grandad William was advised to take on the farm mainly for the health benefits after the grime and dust of the woollen trade had given him severe bronchitis. His son Ewart then following in his footsteps, going back to those dark satanic mills to forge his career as a boiler engineer. You see we were all drawn by these textile roots back into the trades that shaped our lives originally.
When I first started working at Fabworks all the strands of my ancestry seemed to join up, it felt like I had finally found my vocation after working in different areas of textiles. My childhood, influences and heritage are steeped in West Yorkshire's woollen trade. I've tried to bring to life these memories and emotions when designing the gorgeous Heart of Huddersfield range of wools and writing the fabric's descriptions, evoking heritage, tradition, family values and putting a good old Yorkshire stamp on things. Textiles is in the blood!
|Sands Farm, Netherthong||Great Grandparents William (father of Ewart)|
|Me on my christening day, another generation of textiles fanatics|
I’m Penny and my main hobby is dressmaking. I am old enough to have been brought up under the original 1960s I’m backing Britain campaign and I always look to buy British produce where I can. I was therefore very interested when I saw that Fabworks were bringing out a range of Heart of Huddersfield British wool products and signed up to hear more.
When the range was released there were so many of the fabrics that called to me but the very first one that caught my eye was the Honeycomb Harvest - Birdseye weave wool. I loved the colour palette of rich terracotta, ochre yellow, dark brown and oatmeal. Anyone who knows me will tell you this is my perfect colour selection.
With this particular fabric I find the birdseye ‘roundness’ of the weave appealing as it almost has the appearance of a knitted fabric rather than the straight lines of a more traditional weave.
For this reason I thought it would be perfect to make Waffle patterns ‘Arare’ pullover anorak. My aim was to make an autumn walking overlayer in a tweedy fabric that was not a conventional tweed jacket in style but which did have the same properties. The pattern calls for lighter weight fabrics than the HOH wool and I was a bit concerned when the fabric arrived that it would be too stiff for this particular garment. After having thought about it I decided I would wash the fabric which I did, very carefully, on a cold wool wash. This had the effect of softening it up quite a lot and greatly improved the drape.*
I then proceeded to make up the garment and I have to say the fabric was a dream to sew. It is very stable and takes steam extremely well so it’s possible to get nice sharp lines and corners. The only problem I encountered was sewing over the zip and front pocket junction where there were 12 layers of fabric/interfacing to stitch together. After the application of lots of steam and some hammering of the seam I managed to beat it into submission and I’m pleased with the end result. I lined the funnel neck with a plain linen remnant to avoid any itchiness around the neck. The resulting garment is just what I hoped for.
I’ve worn it a lot already. My other half has been very unwell and part of rehab is a daily walk. This garment is perfect for wearing on these walks. The wool is wonderfully breathable so not too hot when you’ve puffed up a hill and is also warm against the cool wind. I bought two other fabrics from the Heart of Huddersfield range at the same time and am looking forward to making those up in the near future. Happy sewing!
*Please take extra if you choose to wash your Heart of Huddersfield Wools. Fabworks does not take responsibility for any damage to your fabric once laundered. For more information please see our Heart of Huddersfield FAQs
Get your creation featured at Fabworks:
We’re absolutely loving seeing what people are creating with the gorgeous wools from our Heart of Huddersfield range of Yorkshire tweeds. In fact, we’ve even featured a couple already in our posts. Well we were raving about these and suddenly thought, wouldn’t it be lovely to make more of this! After all what greater pleasure is there when you’ve made something new and you’re bursting with excitement over it, than other people seeing it and hearing them cooing over your work?
So this is our call out to everyone who’s beavering away making wonderful pieces from our HoH collection. Send in a picture of your work, with a few words about it and we’ll feature the most exciting ones on our social media pages (Facebook & Instagram).
Put your name to it, shout it from the rooftops, congratulate yourself… and we’ll share it with anyone and everyone!
Here’s what we’re looking for:
We want to see exactly what you’re making, why you decided to make it, what influenced you in the first place, why you chose the colour scheme or weave type that you did, why you think others should do the same.
HoH is something of a luxury but often sometimes a necessity too (we all know how happy our day is when new fabric lands in our lap😉) so what better way to show how happy and proud you are of your latest creation than to show it off to a whole community that share the same interest as you. Who knows, you might discover something you’d never even thought of!
How to get your creation featured:
Please send clear photos + a short piece of text by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to be able to share your makes on our social media pages (Facebook & Instagram) and accredit the work to you (tagging your page, etc). If you run your own business this is a great platform to jump onto. Thousands of people visit Fabworks Online & its social media pages every week. There is nothing to lose!
All we’re asking for is clear, uncluttered and well-presented photos focusing on Fabworks’ bespoke Heart of Huddersfield range of woollen fabrics that we can share with our online community. If you want to be part of this here’s your check list:
- Are you happy for us to post your images?
- Do the photos display your piece well? (taken in clear light, no filters, colour distortion, pixelated, etc)
- Is the scene/setting of the photo suitable for social media? (no cluttered bedrooms, no photos taken in a mirror)
- Your feelings - the fabric / your influences / why you chose this project
Here’s our example of a perfect post that we’d like from you, in order to be able to share it online:
Name / Company name: Emma Redfern at Hole House
Instagram / Facebook handle: https://www.instagram.com/emmaholehouse/ (this is only if you want us to tag you)
Text: I’ve made this bag using the Marina Plaid Twill wool from the HoH range. I love using wool, not only can I stitch it on my domestic sewing machine, but it is also hard-wearing and water resistant, which means that it is the perfect alternative to leather for the home sewist when bag making I also made a leather tassel decoration to incorporate as many of the colours in the bag as possible. It’s these little details that I particularly love spending time on and I think it’s something that distinguishes a handmade bag from something that is clearly shop bought.
Emma Redfern’s post is absolutely perfect but you don’t have to be a buzzing social media influencer or running a business to get your work featured. Here’s a lovely post from one of customers who sews purely as a hobby; https://www.instagram.com/p/B3XlDvzAEah/
Don't forget to send your work to us by email: email@example.com