Autumn Cosy – October 2017 Workshops

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I can’t believe it’s already October and I haven’t told you all about October’s fabulous Autumn wardrobe workshops yet.

I’ve got a return of the Tilly & the Buttons Agnes Jersey Top Workshop in Swinton on Saturday 14th October. For this workshop, all your fabric is included (from a special selection from Thread Mill Fabrics), as well as your Tilly & the Buttons multi size pattern.

Here I am in the long sleeved version pointing at this fabric in the shop.

In this workshop, you will learn how to cut out and sew with jersey fabric and make one of the different versions of this fabulous top.

There are short or long sleeves, ruched, puff sleeves or straight sleeves, with a ruched neckline or scoop. The choice is yours to make the version that suits you.

Book Agnes Jersey Top Workshop Here – Pay £15 deposit

On Wednesday 18th October (6.30-8.30pm) I will be holding a brand new workshop to help you read and understand dressmaking patterns.

If you pick up a dressmaking pattern and it’s like reading a foreign language to you or you just can’t figure out the right size or how much fabric you need and what all the symbols on all that tissue paper actually mean – join me at this workshop for it to all make sense.

Book the Read & Understand Patterns Workshop here – £25

Then on Saturday 21st October in Bawtry I will be holding a grand celebration for my first year in business and participating in Sew Magazine’s Sew Saturday.

The full day workshop will be making the Patterns for Pirates Cocoon Cardigan, £55 including a multi size pattern. Fabric is not included for this workshop, allowing you to make something perfectly suited for your style, Full guidance will be given on booking. £15 deposit secures your space.

Again this pattern has lots of options, for a cropped or tunic version (mine is a tunic) and short or long sleeves and a narrow or wider band. It’s also a jersey fabric, so you will learn how to cut and sew with jersey.

Since I made this sample last week I have worn this cardi every day, it’s such a good autumn wardrobe staple and so comfy too!

If you can’t attend the whole workshop, do pop in and join the party, get a free goody bag and a slice of cake and see what a Bagladybird – Learn to Sew workshop is all about.

Book Cocoon Cardi Workshop Here – Pay £15 deposit

Last but not least in October I’ll be hosting an upcycling workshop in Austerfield on Wednesday 25th October (7-9pm), as the weather’s getting chillier we’ll be upcycling your jumpers into winter woolies, (option for hat, scarf or fingerless mittens).

Keep them for yourself or give them to your loved ones for Christmas. This workshop is £25 per person and you will turn something old into something new & fabulous.

Book Upcycling Winter Woolies Workshop here – £25

There will be even more lovely workshops coming in November and if you want to hear about them first, sign up to my newsletter here.

I look forward to seeing you at a workshop soon.

Alison xx


What to expect at a Bagladybird Workshop…

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I’d love to tell you some more about my dressmaking workshops.

I’ve been asked a few times recently about what exactly happens at one of my Learn to Sew Workshops, so I thought I would talk you through a typical workshop…

If you book your place on a full day workshop (except Learn to Sew Your Own Project Workshops), I will ask you for your measurements and from this I will make your pattern to the nearest size to your measurements. This pattern will then be available for you to use on the day and to purchase for £10 to use again.
If fabric is not included, I will also give you guidelines on the amount and type of fabric required and also recommendations on where to shop if you need advice.

As you arrive at the venue, I will greet you and introduce myself and the other participants and get you settled in to a space for you to work. Usually each person has a cutting table all to themselves, so there’s loads of space for you to lay your fabric and pattern out, and if you need it we can often get a second table out for you to use to give you even more space. (If you’re used to cutting out on your living room floor or on your bed or your kitchen table, you’ll understand what a luxury many people find this to be.)

I’ll talk you through the project we’re making and show you a sample. For example, recently we were making shift dresses, so spoke to the ladies about the dress, the different techniques we will be using, and explained the different options available to make.

I will spend some time chatting to you individually, finding out about your chosen fabric and your sewing experience, so that I can help you get the most from your Bagladybird Learn to Sew Workshop.

If you’re lucky, my little helper (Jack) will come and take your drink order and offer round biscuits. On other days you just get me as your waitress!

You’ll then spend some time, laying out your pattern, pinning and cutting your fabric, getting guidance and tips from me as you go. Preparation is key, so we take our time to get this right. All the tools you need are provided, however if you prefer to bring your own, please feel free to do so.

The sewing table is a group area, where we all sew together, making it really social and friendly and you can pick up knowledge from more experienced sewers in the group.
We use Janome 525s sewing machines and they will all be set up for you, ready to use and if you have never used a sewing machine before or need a bit of a refresher, I will show you all the functions we will be using throughout the workshop and make sure you feel happy to thread up your machine.

You will each have a set of written instructions for you to refer to if you wish, but I am on hand to show and tell for every step of the way. Feel free to ask as many questions as you need, you are here to learn and have an enjoyable day, and my job is to make that happen, so I will happily answer any questions you might have.

Everyone works at their own pace and this is perfectly ok, don’t worry if you’re getting ahead or if you’re not as fast as others, I will make sure everyone gets as much input from me as they need. We will take a break for lunch when we reach a suitable point, you will be ready for it as sewing can be hungry work and you won’t realise how hard you’ve been concentrating until you take a break.

Once your garment starts coming together, you will try it on and we can make minor fitting adjustments before sewing the hem and adding the finishing touches. I love the look of joy and excitement on everyone’s face when they realise that they have created a wonderful item of clothing that they will love to wear.

Once we are getting close to the end, I will pop a note on your table with the balance owing and just be sure to settle up before you leave.

To see a full list of upcoming workshops: Click Here.

If you have any other questions, either specific to workshops or more general, email me at and I will get back to you.

Hope to see you at a workshop soon.
Alison xx

Back to School – Learn to Sew in September

The kids are going back to school.. you can too!

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It’s that time of year again when the summer holidays are in full swing but all the adverts and shops are shouting about Back to School!

Well I’m joining in their chorus to say that as the kids go back to school it’s also time for you to learn something new. What better time for you to Learn to Sew?

This September there is a bit of something for everyone in my workshop programme, whether you are brand new to sewing or are a bit more experienced, check out what I’ve got coming up…

Saturday 2nd September – Learn to Sew Shirt Dresses – Oh Sew Sweet at the Hut, Wombwell (S73)

This relaxed fit shirt dress is flattering and comfortable. Learn how to sew a yoke and a collar as well as making buttonholes.

£45 – To allow you to create something more personal, fabric is not included for this workshop, but full guidence will be given on booking. (£10 extra if you want to keep your pattern to use again.)

Call Oh Sew Sweet to book – 01226 805955


Saturday 9th September – Learn to Sew Shift Dresses – Bawtry (DN10)

This workshop is always so popular. Make your own version of this easy to wear shift dress. This workshop is ideal for beginners as there are no zips or buttonholes used to fasten it.

£45 – To allow you to create something more personal, fabric is not included for this workshop, but full guidence will be given on booking. (£10 extra if you want to keep your pattern to use again.)


Monday 11th September – Learn to Sew Upcycling T-shirts to Big Knickers – Bawtry (DN10)

Bring a new lease of life to tired old t-shirts or leggings and create a pair of knickers similar to the ones below.

£25 – bring any t-shirts, leggings etc with elastane content – all other materials & tools are provided for you to use.


Saturday 23rd September – Learn to Sew Your Own Project – Bawtry (DN10)

You bring the fabric the pattern, fabric and any other notions required to make your chosen item and I’ll help you learn the skills to make it.

£45 – Sewing machines & tools are provided for you to use.


Thursday 28th September – Learn to Sew Jersey Techniques Workshop – Bawtry (DN10)

I get asked a lot about sewing with jersey fabrics without using an overlocker, I’ll show you tips and techniques so you can get the best results with this tricky fabric with just a regular sewing machine.

£25 – all materials included


Saturday 30th September – Learn to Sew Kimono Jackets – Swinton (S64)

Create your own version of these brilliant easy to wear Kimono Jackets at this workshop in association with Thread Mill Fabrics.

£55 – all materials included from a selection from Thread Mill Fabrics (£10 extra if you want to keep your pattern to use again)

If you need any more info on any of the upcoming workshops, just email me at and ask any questions you might have. 

Hope to see you at a workshop soon,

Alison xx

Lovely Sewing Happiness Coming Your Way in August!

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I’m so happy to announce the Learn to Sew Workshops for August (as well as a sneaky one for early Septempber).

Saturday 5 August (10am-3.30pm) – Learn to Sew Your Own Project – Bawtry – £45
If you’ve missed any of my previous workshops and can’t wait for me to run it again, book your space on this workshop.
If you’ve got a dressmaking project you need some help to get started or to get finished then this workshop is for you.
Do you want to push yourself out of your comfort zone with your dressmaking then bring your pattern and fabric and book on!
Click here for more info and to book

Wednesday 9 August (7-9pm) – Learn to Sew Upcycled Jeans to Skirt – Austerfield – £25
Bring a pair of your boring old jeans and you’ll transform them into a lovely denim skirt that will bring a new lease of life to your jeans. (You bring your jeans, all other materials included.)
Click here for more info and to book.

Saturday 12 August (10am-3.30pm) – Learn to Sew Kimono Jackets – Swinton – £55
In the Kimono Jacket workshop you will learn how to work with drapy fabrics and to sew French seams. The Kimono Jacket is one of my most popular workshops and will be something you can wear again and again.
This workshop is in association with Thread Mill Fabrics in Swinton and a selction of suitable fabric is provided for you to choose from and is included in the price.
Click here for more info and to book.

Thursday 17 August (6.30-8.30pm) – Learn to Sew Zip Techniques – Bawtry – £25
Have you got “the fear” of sewing zips?
Take away the fear factor in this techniques workshop. Learn the tricks and tips to help you insert any zip with ease.
All materials included.
Click here for more info and to book.

Saturday 19 August (10am-3.30pm) – Learn to Sew Agnes Jersey Top – Bawtry – £55
Another Tilly & the Buttons pattern workshop, Agnes is a cute and vesitile jersey top with 8 different combinations that you will love to make time and time again.
A Tilly & the Buttons printed Agnes pattern is included in this workshop.
Click here for more info and to book.

Saturday 2 September (10am-4pm) Learn to Sew Shirt Dress – Wombwell – £45
In this workshop at Oh Sew Sweet at the Hut, make yourself a relaxed fit Shirt Dress. Learn how to create a soft collar and yoke as well as buttonholes.
Click here for more info and to book.

Have a great weekend and hope to see you at a workshop soon.

Alison xx

What’s coming up in June…

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Hey lovely,

Can I tell you a bit about whats coming up at Bagladybird – Learn to Sew this June?

Learn to Sew A-line Skirts – Bawtry
Saturday 3rd June (10am-3.30pm) £45
This is a great skirt for summer, make it in denim or a fun cotton print for your unique made for you version. You will learn how to make pockets, apply interfacing and insert an invisible zip.
Click here for more info or to book – £15 deposit secures your place.

Learn to Sew Notebook Covers – Helm in Balby
Wednesday 7th June (7-9pm) £25 (all materials included)
Personalise your cover with some machine applique and create your handy A5 notebook cover. (Photos of samples coming soon)
Click here for more info or email me at to book your place.

Learn to Sew Shift Dresses (in association with Thread Mill Fabrics) – Swinton
Saturday 10th June (10am-3.30pm) £55 (all materials included)
This popular workshop is ideal for complete beginners, you can choose from a specially curated selection of fabrics from Thread Mill Fabric and make a fabulous shift dress that can be worn casual, to the office or more dressed up.
There are no zips or buttons on this dress, to keep it nice and simple to make… you will learn how to apply interfacing, sew darts and finish seams.
Click here for more info or to book – £15 deposit secures your place.

Learn to Sew 50’s Style Dresses Weekender – Austerfield
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th June (10am-3.30pm both days) £90
Together over the 2 days we will fit and sew your very own fabulous circle skirted 50’s style dress. This workshop is suitable for beginners as full guidance will be given, and more advanced dressmakers will also take a lot away from it as we will make a toile (mock up) bodice to get the correct fit before cutting out in your actual fabric. The dress has an invisible zip and the bodice is fully lined.
Click here for more info or to book – £15 deposit secures your place.

Learn to Sew Casual Trousers in association with Oh Sew Sweet at the Hut – Wombwell
Saturday 24th June (10am-4pm) £45
Elasticated and drawstring waist with pockets and a slightly tapered leg, these trousers are great in a lightweight cotton, linen or viscose for relaxed summery vibes.
Click here for more info or call 01226 805955 to book.

Learn to Sew Kid’s Skirt and Headband – Bawtry
Friday 30th June (9.30am-3pm)
This brand new workshop is aimed at those who have never sewn before, learn how to read a pattern, use a sewing machine and you will make a cute matching skirt and headband set.
Click here for more info or to book – £15 deposit secures your place.

If you are not already a member of my lovely supportive Facebook group full of ladies like you who are just learning to sew and others who have more experience but are always happy to offer advice and share their experience, please click here to join.

Hope to see you at a workshop soon.
Alison xx

PS. Emma Gould, you are still to claim your prize from Slowdown Sunday, your apron is ready and waiting to be posted to you, just email me at with your address.

Bagladybird at Slowdown Sunday


I hope I’m not too late telling you about this, but I’m taking part in the Slowdown Sunday part of the Delicious Doncaster Food and Drink Festival this Sunday 14th May.

For full details and a run down of everything that’s happening on the Sunday read the Doncopolitan Blog about it here.

I will be in the Corn Exchange in Doncaster Market from 11am – 4pm hosting a free Bagladybird – Learn to Sew Kid’s Aprons Workshop. You can learn to make a kids version of the fab cross back japanese style aprons pictured below with food themed fabric supplied by SewCute Fabrics on Doncaster Market.

The adult aprons pictured below will be given away as prizes on the day, so even if you don’t want to sew on Sunday, come along to be in with a chance of winning.

Join the fun, eat the food, listen to the music and slow it right down and take it easy.

Alison xx

PS If you need any more info that’s not answered in the links above, (directions etc), just drop me an email.

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Amazing April! Make it happen. Only 3 spaces available.

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March has been an amazing month for Bagladybird – Learn to Sew, with lots of exciting opportunities coming my way. It has also been a strange month as my poor little Clio failed it’s MOT big time and I have been without a car since the beginning of March and that looks likely to continue for another few weeks! But I’m not complaining as the weather has mostly been fine and I have been able to make use of my lovely bicycle to get about locally. (If you see me, please don’t beep your horn!)

It’s been a fantastic month for my awesome 121 clients and we have had some great successes.

  • Jess was a complete novice and was able to replicate an old favourite dress. She said that getting 121 lessons for Christmas was the best gift ever.
  • Anna had received a lovely pattern and fabric for Christmas and she was terrified of cutting into it and not doing justice to the thoughtful gift that her daughters had given her. We worked together to fit the pattern perfectly to Anna’s body so she could confidently cut out and make up the lovely dress which would fit her comfortably.
  • Angie was fed up of feeling frumpy in ill-fitting clothes, she is an experienced seamstress but hadn’t been able to make herself anything that made her feel confident and professional, she is now part way through her booking and is happy that she is well on her way to getting a great fitting basic block that can be adapted to create a great fitting work wardrobe.

So whether you are a novice or more experienced, there is lots you can learn in private lessons with me.

  • Have you been invited to a wedding this summer and do you want to make sure that you feel amazing in a dress that nobody else is wearing?
  • Do you struggle to get a good fit from patterns and want to know how to alter a pattern to fit you?
  • Have you got a craft business and you want to up your skill level to make more money?
  • Has your body shape changed and you want to know the how to get the best fitting clothes?
  • Would you love to see your children dressed in clothes that have been designed and made by you, but you just don’t know how to start the process?
  • Have you dreamed of making your own wedding dress but need some help to make it happen?

There are a million and one reasons why you might want to book private Learn to Sew lessons with me, but the best thing about them is that they are completely tailored to you and to your creative and technical needs.

Reply to this email with your phone number to book a free 30 minute consultation with me to talk about what you would like to learn in your private lessons. I only have space for 3 new 121 clients in April, so don’t delay, do it today.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Alison xx

PS. I know that it’s important to you to know the price before you commit, so…

1.5 hour (single lesson) £50      Perfect if you need help with something specific.

4.5 hours (3 x 1.5 hour lessons) £125       You can make a simple garment in this time.

10 hours (5 x 2 hour lessons) £250       This is enough time to learn how to create a pattern from scratch, or for a total novice to make a couple of simple garments.


PPS. If group workshops are more your thing, there are still places available on April workshops. Click here for more info.

April 2017 Learn to Sew Workshops

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There’s a lot going on this April with Easter, school holiday’s and bank holiday’s so this months workshops are especially planned to try and fit in around this as best as possible! I hope you can come along to any workshop that catches your eye.

If you’ve been waiting to hear all about April’s Learn to Sew Workshops, check out what I’ve got coming up for April.

Learn to Sew Easter Bunny Pouches
Thursday 6th April – 7-9pm at Helm (DN4 8QN)
Click here for more details. Email me at: if you would like to book a place.

I made this... Easter Bunny pouch

Learn to Sew Pinafore Dresses
Saturday 8th April – 10am-3.30pm in Bawtry (DN10 6JD)
Click here for more details and to book your place.

I made this... Pinafore dress Jayne

Learn to Sew Bell Sleeved Blouses
Saturday 22nd April – 10am-3.30pm in Swinton (S64 8QA)
Click here for more details or to book your place.

I made this... Blouses

Learn to Sew Little Girl’s Dresses
Tuesday 25th April – 9.30am-3pm in Bawtry (DN10 6QL)
Click here for more details or to book your place.

I made this... Little Girl's Dresses

Hope to see you at a workshop soon.
Alison xx

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March 2017 Workshops


I’m spending a few days in London this week, seeing a show and seeing the sights. I’ve made myself a waterfall coat and a couple more of my favourite dungaree dresses to keep me warm and stylish while I’m there.

Would you love to be able to do the same? Whip yourself up some new clothes for a few days away or even for a special ocassion? If you’ve never sewn before or if you’ve not touched a sewing machine for years or if you would class yourself as a beginner, then all this month’s workshops are are ideal to get you started in making your own clothes. In each workshop you will learn some new tips and techniques that will help increase your sewing skills and experience level.

Wednesday 8th March (7-9pm) – Learn to Sew Storage Baskets – Helm, Balby, Doncaster (DN4 8QN)

In this quirky class you’ll learn to sew useful pretty storage baskets, that you can use on your dressing table, the kids room or hundred’s of other places around the home. You’ll leave the class with new skills, a lovely storage basket & the instructions to make it again. Learn bsaic sewing machine skills and how to apply interfacing and why we use it.
£25 (all materials included) – Click here for more info. Email me at to book your place.

Saturday 11th March (10am-3.30pm) – Learn to Sew Shift Dresses – St Nicholas Church Hall, Bawtry (DN10 6JD)

This is the most popular workshop I do and it is a firm favourite with me too! It’s such a great dress to wear, I used to wear one to the office (before I left the day job) and I regularly wear them now. They are easy to dress up or dress down and you can feel office smart or weekend ready depending on the fabric and how you style the shift dress. In this workshop you will learn about facings and darts.
£45 (materials not included) – Click here for more info and to pay £15 deposit to secure your place.

Saturday 18th March (10am-3.30pm) – Learn to Sew Casual Trousers – St John’s Church Hall, Swinton, Rotherham (DN10 6JD)

Fingers crossed, by this point in March, Spring will be well and truly on it’s way and these lightweight casual trousers will be just the perfect thing to wear. With a drawstring and elasticated waist and pockets they are the ultimate comfy trousers. You will learn to sew pockets and buttonholes in this workshop.
£55 (all materials included) – Click here for more info and to pay £15 deposit to secure your place.

Saturday 25th March (10am-3.30pm) – Learn to Sew Gathered Skirts – St Nicholas Church Hall, Bawtry (DN10 6JD)

This was one of the first clothing workshops I ever did. The skirts are lovely and ideal for spring and summer. In this workshop you will learn a technique for creating gathers and how to insert an invisible zip.
£45 (materials not included) – Click here for more info and to pay £15 deposit to secure your place.

Monday 27th March (9.30am-3pm) – Learn to Sew Kimono Jackets – Austerfield Study Centre, Austerfield (DN10 6RG)

These Kimono Jackets are fab for your spring wardrobe. I throw mine on as an extra layer if it’s a bit cooler and it is something that can work on a night out or as a casual jacket or as a beach cover-up. It is really versatile. You will learn abot working with different fabrics, how important the grainline is as well as how to sew French Seams.
£45 (materials not included) – Click here for more info and to pay £15 deposit to secure your place.

I look forward to seeing you at a workshop soon and to help you start to create your own wardrobe of fabulous clothes.

Alison xx

PS. There are still places left on Saturday’s Sew Your Own Project Workshop and Monday’s Learn to Sew Simple Woven Tees Workshop. Click here for more info on upcoming workshops.


Get to know your Sewing Machine – Ten Top Tips

Have you got a new sewing machine? Have you had a machine for years but are still a bit intimidated by it? Do you sew regularly but are never fully confident of your stitching?

Whether you are a novice or are a bit more experienced, I have putt together ten top tips that will help you get to know your sewing machine better and make you a better sewer!

Ten Top Tips #1

Only turn the handwheel forwards.

Turning it in the opposite direction can cause your threads to get tangled and/or snap.


Ten Top Tips #2

When putting your thread onto the machine always make sure the thread is coming off the spool in the right direction.

If on your machine, the spool lies flat then the thread should be coming from underneath. If your machine has upright spool pins, any writing on the spool should be the right way up.


Ten Top Tips #3

Use the correct needle for your fabric.

The lower the number the finer the needle, and the finer the fabric, the finer the needle you should use.


Ten Top Tips #4

Remove your thread from the machine, by unthreading your needle first and then cutting at the top near the spool and pulling from the bottom.

Whipping the thread out from the top can upset the tension discs.


Ten Top Tips #5

Understand your machine dials – read your manual

  1. Tension
  2. Needle position/stitch width
  3. Stitch Selection
  4. Stitch Length


Ten Top Tips #6

If you are having tension issues, thread the top and bottom in different colours so you can more clearly identify the issue.

If the thread is bunching up under your fabric it is an issue with your top threading.

If the thread is bunching up on the top of your fabric it is an issue with your bobbin.


Ten Top Tips #7

Change your needle regularly – you will not sew well with a blunt needle.

It is recommended that you change your needle after 8 hours of sewing, but I tend to change it at the start of every new project.


Ten Top Tips #8

Use the seam guides on the machine base to keep your sewing straight.

Your pattern should tell you what seam allowance to use, find the guideline that corresponds and keep the raw edges of the fabric level with this line.


Ten Top Tips #9

Play about with the different stitches, so you know what your machine can do.

Consult the manual.


Ten Top Tips #10

Find out what the different presser feet you have are for.

The only ones I ever use are:

  1. Regular presser foot
  2. Zip foot
  3. Invisible zip foot
  4. Automatic buttonhole foot


If you want to get to know your sewing machine or overlocker better, for £30, you can book in for a private 1 hour get to know your sewing machine lesson at my home sewing studio in January. Just click here, pay & I will be in touch to book your date and time.

Alison xx

PS. If you want more tips and advice, inspiration and support, join my Facebook Group, Learning to Sew, here.