Manchester may not be the metropolis of fashion, but it is well known for its world-famous football teams, United and City, and someone has to be in charge of sewing on all of those badges and players’ names, right?!
While that may not be the case now with all of the computerized technology we have available to us, there are still a number of companies who hand-sew replica sportswear, however, this could be why there is such a high markup for fans wishing to wear their favourite team’s colours.
But technology (like industrial sewing machines) isn’t just used to embroider badges or sew on footballers’ surnames. Nike, the official manufacturer of the England kit and Manchester United’s match-wear, has also implemented technology in its manufacturing process with fabric designed to keep players cool and dry. This Dri-Fit technology has raised the bar in the sportswear textile industry.
Football kit has been heavily influenced by technology over the years. Photo credit: dullhunk on Visualhunt.com
Other key brands within this field of fashion which use clothing technology include Adidas, who developed Climacool for the same reason as above (to allow sweat to evaporate through special mesh panels and keep players dry and cool), Warrior, Liverpool’s designer who uses WarTech technology, Puma who use DryCell and Umbro’s Evolution X as worn by the England squad for many years during training sessions. All of these examples are said to help the players improve performance.
Technology has become incredibly advanced. When you consider how technology influences the fashion industry, you tend to automatically think of the sophistication of machinery and equipment but, in truth, technological research is directly impacting the composition of fabrics used and how they are woven and stitched together.
With the above in mind, it has occurred to many people that sewing, particularly hand-sewing, is a skill that is dying out. This is why so many people are keen to revive this retro hobby and try their hand at threading, knitting, embroidering, weaving, and sewing themselves. And while the fashion industry has moved forward with technology, it can now be seen taking a couple of steps back with hand-finished garments being all the rage and being sold at premium prices to reflect the unique skill.
So, don’t you fancy joining the revival and learn how to sew by purchasing an intro course?
Not so long ago, it was baking that was on everyone’s lips with people watching the numerous home cooking shows on television and trying to replicate the dishes themselves. Now, however, crafts are making a big comeback, in particular, sewing and dressmaking.
Fashion design is, of course, at the forefront of this revolution as styles are so diverse and changing all the time. With this experimental trend in full swing, people are reaching out for the needle and thread to see if they can make their own haute-couture items. Just some of the popular trends right now, which can easily be learned and effected at home, are embellishments like sequins, tassels, embroidery and fringing, cut-out designs, ripped or worn looks, and baggy, boxy and oversized clothing.
Clothes, handbags, and shoes aside, though, there has also been a surge in individuality in the home with homeowners opting for Scandinavian brands to give their living spaces a certain identity. Much like with fashion, soft furnishings like cushions, bed linen, rugs, curtains, and throws are being revolutionised with new trends like woven textures, pom poms, tassels and other modern additions.
And with the UK’s current weak economic growth, taxpayers are trying to hold on to their pennies and do what they can to save. If this means doing it themselves, then that’s what they will do!
The Craft & Hobby Trade Association (CHA-UK) has reported that more than 1million people in the UK, most of which are women, have taken up sewing in the last three years meanwhile Hobbycraft, the UK’s biggest arts and crafts retailer, confirms that sewing and knitting supplies soared back in 2016. Some are even paying more for a particular sewing pattern than they would do a finished garment in Primark which just goes to show that the population is getting excited about the craft again. Not only that, people are actually investing in the hobby too with sewing machine sales reportedly rising by 30%.
Sewing has, for a long time, been considered a retro or old-fashioned hobby but more and more young people are showing an interest in the craft. Photo credit: Kheel Center, Cornell University Library on VisualHunt / CC BY
So what has caused this rise in popularity?
Some might say that the increase in daytime DIY-driven shows such as Money For Nothing on BBC One, where items from the dump are revamped and transformed into money-making items for almost no money at all, are to thank for bringing this kind of activity to light, showing that you can easily and cheaply renovate scrap instead of replacing it. This ‘upcycle’ nature is not only good to encourage us to be less quick at thinking something is trash, but it also helps us to each do our bit to save our environment by creating less waste at our tips.
If you’re convinced that learning sewing techniques in class is the way to go for you, whether it be just to satisfy a hobby or obsession or to actually create items with value or transform old belongings to sell on, then you can find a number of basic sewing courses in the Manchester area.
Remember, though, that adult classes in sewing are not enough on their own to teach you the skill. You must be completely committed and invested in developing if you want to take anything away from your tuition. Outside of the classroom, you must make the effort to practise your home sewing and become more confident. Otherwise, you’ll be needing to pay for refresher courses to correctly remind you of the ins and outs and allow you to step up to that next level!
Deciding that you want to learn more about sewing at a sewing studio is the easy part, now to choose a course! Choosing which business or tutor to go with as well picking the set-up that suits you (i.e. a one-to-one course or a group workshop) can be really difficult.
Because we know just how tricky it can be to begin your search for a sewing class when you are new to the hobby, we have done some research for you and listed just some of the available sewing-related courses available to sign up to in your area to help you get an idea of what you can expect and to help you make your mind up what you want to achieve from your lessons.
Ministry of Craft, which is situated on Lever Street in Manchester, is a company offering sewing and craft workshops for all abilities.
Evening and weekend workshops are available in Manchester’s northern quarter and Chorlton and pricing varies from around £25 to £85 depending on the nature of the course, the course length and the level. Courses cover areas like making alterations and adjustments, attaching zippers, making a tote bag, decorating fabric with embellishments, taking hems up, quilting, making a quilted duvet, learning to crochet, repairing worn jeans, and sewing buttons back onto blouses.
On a slightly different note, have you ever thought of learning a valuable skill at your hen party rather than throwing money on drinks down the drain? Ministry of Craft has specifically adapted parties for celebrations like birthdays and hen dos which allow groups of individuals to get together, have fun and have a natter while they also learn a creative skill. Could this also be an idea for Christmas presents?
You could sew your very own veil or design a traditional garter to wear on your big day – how cool and unique is that? Furthermore, if celebrating a loved one’s birthday, you could get them booked in to create a textile masterpiece that reflects the significant birthday age and is something personal that they can treasure forever.
Stitched Up, with its HQ in Chorlton, offers a range of workshops, parties, and educational events to suit a variety of ages. You can attend a class to help you repair old clothes, find a course that helps you to transform lifeless garments into something new and exciting or you can simply be enlightened as to how to use your sewing machine confidently.
A campaigner for upcycling, Stitched Up also holds a Swaps and Sales event which encourages an eco-friendly way of refreshing your wardrobe.
School of Junk, which is a sister organisation to the Junk Shop UK, an independent clothing store selling vintage clothes and accessories, has set up a range of useful sewing project courses to further promote its passion for revamping an old piece of fabric or an accessory.
The type of thing you can expect to see in their catalogue is An Introduction To The Sewing Machine, Skirt-Making Workshop, A-Line Dressmaking, Shirt-Making Course and other dressmaking workshops aimed at beginners and intermediate seamstresses.
This establishment is based on Dale Street in the northern quarter of Manchester and is therefore easily accessible by public transport.
Learn to sew and start making your own unique creations from nothing! Photo credit: kellyhogaboom on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA
To find out more about their class schedule, please consult each individual establishment and don’t forget to ask what sewing equipment you will be expected to bring with you, if any.
You may have to go and visit your nearest haberdashery to get all you need in preparing for your diploma, like a swatch or fat quarter of your choice to work with.