Learn to Sew Lounge Pants – Review

Learn to Sew Lounge Pants was a fully booked workshop held at St Nicholas Church Hall in Bawtry on Saturday 23rd April 2016.

There was a good mix of those who had attended my workshops before and some first-timers.

A lot of preparation goes into making every workshop an enjoyable and educational experience for all attendees. From selecting and buying suitable fabrics that I think everyone will love, to pre-washing and ironing them to minimise any shrinkage and make them easier to work with. I also make up samples and ensure that there are patterns available in for all in the correct sizes. (This is why I ask for your measurements in advance of a workshop.)

As always, I am assisted by my wonderful boyfriend Gary, who helps in any and every way he can, from washing and ironing the fabrics, to fetching and carrying all the equipment and bits that we need at the venue. And of course serving drinks and biscuits throughout the workshop with his 6-year-old son Jack.

Massive thanks to Gary, I couldn’t do it without him!


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Rhianna (my niece and) my budding photographer was not at this workshop, so many thanks to Jill for all the photos that she took of the Lounge Pants Workshop.


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Our workshoppers had the choice of making an elastic waistband or a drawstrng wistband and the option for in seam pockets or patch pockets. So we had a combination of different waistbands, but everyone opted for the handy in seam pocket.

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Unfortunately we ran out of time at the 11th hour, some of the ladies had to take their lounge pants home to be hemmed.

Some fanstastic feedback from Suzanne:

“I had such a fabulous afternoon yesterday learning to make lounge pants! Alison is a brilliant teacher with an endless amount of patience and reassurance! Can’t wait for the next one! x”

The next two workshops are now fully booked – but if you want to hear about upcoming workshops first, please sign up to the BagLadyBird – Learn to Sew Newsletter here!

Alison xx

Ps. July & August workshops will be advertised soon & look out for a BagLadyBird – Learn to Sew Weekender in September 2016.

A gift to myself! – Joes Toes Slipper Kits

One Sunday morning a few weeks ago I was browsing Facebook on my phone in bed, as you do, and I stumbled across Make your Own Slippers Kits from Joes Toes. This instantly peaked my interest as I was in desperate need of new slippers but I had not worked out how this would fit within my ethical stance of making my own clothes rather than buying.

Joes Toes

I’m especially interested in footwear as I worked in an Independent Shoe Shop called Bawtry Shoe Company for many years.

I quickly selected my kit option, red and charcoal grey, so I could create myself some ladybird themed slippers and paid through PayPal, which is always my preferred payment option when shopping online. I will add that the delivery is really reasonable at £3.95 for orders over £10 and my order arrived within a few days.

These slippers are constructed from felt uppers, insoles, midsoles and outer soles and the felt is a minimum of 90% wool. The felt is so thick, soft and luxurious, even before they are made up, you know how comfortable they are going to be.


Frustratingly I was so busy for the next week or so preparing for my Learn to Sew Lounge Pants Workshop that my Joes Toes slipper kit hung distractingly in my workspace waiting for me to have time to look at them properly and make them up.

On the Sunday after the Learn to Sew Lounge Pants Workshop, I sat down at my table in my weekly 3 hour window of me-time, when Gary takes Jack back to his Mum’s. I opened up the bag and looked the instructions up on the laptop and within less than an hour the slippers were completed and on my feet!

I was so eager to make then up that I didn’t take the time to decorate them before I started stitching them together, which in hindsight was a mistake as it made it much more difficult to sew on my ladybird spots after my slippers were made up.

I stitched my slippers with a simple backstitch which was so easy and therapeutic and they made up into something tangible so quickly. The slipper soles and uppers are pre-punched with stitching holes that line up so perfectly, they really are a joy to create.

With over 4,000 colour combinations for you to choose from, and different sole options, there is a slipper for everyone. You can even create mismatched slippers if that is what you desire, and for the 60% of the population with odd sizes feet, Joes Toes will accommodate and you can buy a different size for each foot.


My completed slippers with my ladybird spots

Even if you have never thought of making your own slippers, I would highly recommend trying Joes Toes. They will make an ideal gift, if you are reading this and are someone who I usually buy a Christmas present for, don’t be surprised if you get a Joes Toes make your own slippers kit for Christmas!!

After wearing my slippers for a couple of weeks I am going to purchase myself another pair with a hard Vibram sole, so I can nip out to the garden in my slippers to feed the rabbits or put the bins out in my slippers. I will decorate my slipper tops before I sew them up this time and I will make sure I pull my stitches much tighter as my stitches have given a bit and the uppers are moving a little with my feet instead of holding firm as they should do.

Joes Toes are the brainchild of Cordwainers trained footwear designer Amanda Blackwell based in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. Amanda has used her knowledge of shoe construction to create these easy to make kits. Check them out for yourself at the Joes Toes Website or on Facebook.

Do you think you would like a BagLadyBird – Learn to Sew Slippers Workshop? – Watch this space!

Alison xx