Peeking through the windows of Sew Over It, the picture-perfect sewing shop in Islington, North London, during Zeena Shah’s seamless repeat design workshop in June, you couldn’t miss the eight eager students taking in all the design knowledge you could ever need for crafting the perfect pattern. Follow along as Zeena gives you a behind-the-scenes look at her hands-on class and then give seamless repeats a try with this beginner-friendly design tutorial.
Getting To Know Sew Over It
Sew Over It is a one-stop sewing shop based in London. With a shop stocked full of fabric, haberdashery and a own range of popular sewing patterns, they sell everything you need to make your own clothes. And if you’re not sure where to begin, or fancy picking up some new skills, they teach sewing classes too.
When you’re starting out, having access to classes is really important. There’s nothing like a teacher standing right beside you. All our teachers are incredibly passionate about sewing, which for me is a must. When you’re passionate about something it shows in everything you do, and you can tell our customers really sense that.” – Lisa Comfort, Owner of Sew Over It
Lisa set up Sew Over It in 2011 with an aim to get as many people sewing as possible. Lisa grew up sewing and knew what an amazing thing it is to be able to sew your own wardrobe. She knew it couldn’t become a lost skill. At Sew Over It they run classes for everyone from complete beginners who’ve never touched a sewing machine before, right through to advanced stitchers working on a complex coat. Get to know Lisa during her interview on the Love to Sew podcast.
A Seamless Repeat Workshop with Zeena Shah
Zeena: I’m a trained print designer and have been working in the design industry for the last ten years. I always start my print design process with a drawing and from there turn my drawings into repeat patterns to create a finished surface pattern design. I teach regular workshops in London and love sharing my skills to excited and inspired new creatives that have a shared love for print and pattern. I was joined by eight lovely ladies who were just that and keen to learn more about pattern design, drawing and repeat pattern making.
Almost everyone will have owned a printed garment, piece of fabric, scarf among others in their lifetimes as it’s one of the oldest and more traditional fabric printing techniques so it was great to be able to show the group the differences in the types of patterns designs across the Sew Over It fabric collections in store. There were simpler block pattern repeats where shapes are repeated in a regimented fashion as well as more organic all over pattern designs. The focus of our class was the latter: an all over print design and how to create one from scratch.
I started by demonstrating the repeat pattern making technique using some very simple drawings using textured pencils, pens and crayons to create interesting marks onto paper. They were all surprised at how simple the technique actually was, so I set them off with the challenge to create their own collection of repeat pattern designs by the end of the class.
We had a variety of art materials to work with from pencils and pens to watercolours and crayons so the breadth of mark making was lovely. The class was inspired by their favourite things, nature and the Spoonflower magazine. It was wonderful to see their designs take shape as they grew in confidence throughout the session especially as many of them had said they couldn’t draw. I assured them they could and were! The lovely Lisa Comfort herself (founder of Sew Over It) even popped in to see how they were all getting on and loved their designs.
It was so lovely to meet such a great group of ladies and be able to inspire and encourage their creativity. They all left with a brightly coloured bundle of pattern designs that they were ready to scan and upload to Spoonflower to turn into future projects. I can’t wait to see what they do with them!
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About the Guest Blogger
In late 2009, after working for both fashion and interior design companies, Zeena decided to quit her day job and create her own brand of hand printed textiles, determined to make a living doing what she loves. Inspired by her love of Scandinavian textiles, fabric, screen printing and her growing pattern collections, ‘Zeena’ was launched in June 2010.
A collection of hand silk screen printed and hand made home accessories, all her products are crafted in her East London studio making each item truly unique. When Zeena isn’t designing in her studio, you can find her working her way through a me-made wardrobe over on her Instagram feed @heartzeena.