So this week saw me do the first of three sewing classes at the sickeningly gorgeous Ray Stitch on Essex Road. I met Mrs Ray, not her real name, at a Selvedge Magazine Craft fair in June 2010 – I’m not quite as stalker-y as I sound I just remember because the fair was held across the road from a friend of mine and having not seen her for a while I thought it an opportune time to pop in on her too only she had buggered off to Glastonbury Festival (a distant memory for me now, expect I won’t go there again). Anyway, Mrs Ray and I got to talking about selling wool amongst other things and she said she was looking for premises for a shop but had recently lost out on somewhere.
Jump forward a year, and my not having made any purchases from the Ray Stitch online store whilst still lusting after the just so Ray Stitch lifestyle or even just style, and my friend J (a very cute hip young slip of a girl) knowing that I liked all things sew-y and knitty told me about this shop she’d noticed that was due to open soon that she thought I’d like. Well, even though I was excited about the prospect of Ray Stitch in the flesh it still took me a couple of months to visit the shop – all I can say is I need a new better paid job because it’s like fabric porn in there and the little café is pretty good too with a lovely and very friendly young man behind the counter – their flat white was even, dare I think it, better than the one I get from Shoreditch Grind!
Desperately wanting to take one of their new sewing courses, and yet able to sew from a commercial pattern already so definitely not a beginner and maybe not really an improver, I plumped for the make a blouse improvers course run over three weeks. I reasoned that I lust after the Ray Stitch look because on the clothes and projects they feature the lines are so clean and simple and they only work because they are beautifully made. I can make more or less anything but I’m not the most careful crafter on the block so I thought that this lesson would get me back on neatness track.
I’d gone in to the shop the week before and bought some beautiful Anna Maria Horner fabric from her Little Folks range so that I could pre-wash it (shown below at the cutting stage) and now I was ready for my class.
The lessons take place in the basement, a lovely space – though I found it not big enough for cutting out the paper pattern and the fabric, set up for six students one of whom turned out to be Mrs Ray!!…hehe. We were offered wine and there were nibbles including some delicious bruschetta topped with a sweet red onion relish and a generous couple of slices of meltingly soft goats cheese and smoked salmon and cream cheese.