The Big Sew Off 2023

Charity Community Sewing Event - Birmingham/Midlands Hub

I am excited to share the news with you that the g&g team and I will be taking part in 'The Big Sew Off' again this year with Lisa Comfort and the Sew Over It team - yay! It's a 24 hour sewing challenge to raise money for the charity Mind, which is an incredible mental heath charity that aims to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone. Read on for all the details and how you can get involved.

Save the date

The Big Sew Off will be taking place from Monday 4th September, 10am until Tuesday 5th September, 10am and the g&g sewing studio above the shop here in Moseley is the designated hub for those looking to support and take part here in the Midlands. We will be sewing from 10am-10pm on Monday 4th September.

I've made a short video explaining how you can get involved and help to raise money for this cause using your interest, knowledge and skills of sewing and dressmaking here in our gorgeous studio. You can also find more information on this great sewing community event in the blog below.

What is 'The Big Sew Off' Challenge?

Now in its second year, following a super successful inaugural event that saw the total fundraising pot reach over 10k, The Big Sew Off is a challenge set up and hosted by Lisa Comfort and the Sew Over It team in London that aims to promote the benefits of sewing and dressmaking for your mental health while raising money that supports mental health causes for anyone who needs it here in the UK through the work of the charity Mind.

The Lisa and the Sew Over It team will be sewing for a straight 24 hours from their hub at The New Craft House in London and here at guthrie & ghani we are opening up the sewing studio for 12 hours help the fundraising efforts and there are lots of ways our lovely customers can get involved.

The Birmingham 'Stretch' Hub

Open Sewing Studio - All Welcome

How the g&g team are getting involved

From 10am - 10pm on Monday 4th September Lauren and the g&g team will be hosting an open sewing studio event here at the shop that is themed around sewing with stretch fabrics. We will be sewing garments made from stretch fabrics throughout the 12 hours.

These garments will then be donated to local a local charity - Birmingham and Solihull Womens Aid. The clothes will be used for woman and children who are in refuge.

How can you, our lovely customer, get involved?

Donate fabric

  • Perhaps you have some stretchy fabric in your stash that you know you won't use? You can donate these fabrics that we can use to sew clothes with on the day. We are specifically looking for t-shirt weight jersey, French Terry, ribbing and sweatshirting fabric. We will be making ladies and children's clothes so even if you have some larger off-cut pieces it's likely we can use them! We kindly ask that they are minimum of 50cm for cut length pieces and off cuts need to be big enough to fit a sleeve or bodice on them. We plan to use a raglan sleeve pattern.
  • Simply drop them off at the shop (the team are there Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm) or you can post them to us. We will need to receive all donations by Tuesday 29th August.
  • Should we have any fabric surplus left over after the event, this will be donated to a a sewing project run by one of our lovely customers Mel. She voluntarily runs weekly sewing sessions for around 20 refugee women living in East Horsley, Guilford. This is what Mel has told us about the group. "Some of the women are very competent sewers and are desperate to have machine time and fabric. They are quite happy to sew their own projects and the garments that they make are amazing, without patterns and often without measuring as well. They use their hands to measure and they just draft their own patterns. They like to make clothes for their children and dresses, pillowcases, all sorts of things. They do a lot of alterations for themselves and their families and for other refugees too. The other half of the group want to learn how to use a machine so I’ve been teaching them little projects, scrunchies, tote bags and now we’re making a cross body bag. It is very rewarding though to see the smiles on their faces, and to hear the chatter of happy voices."

Come and join us in the studio and learn about sewing with stretchy fabric!

  • Come along any time between 10am - 10pm on Monday 4th September to our beautiful sewing studio above the shop and join in the sewing efforts! We will have materials and projects ready to go that you can help us to sew. Please feel free to come and go during the day. It would be great if you could fill in this short form linked here to register your interest so we can gauge numbers for the day. There are lots of lovely places nearby to get lunch or a coffee and cake too so it would make for a lovely day out.
  • Or come and bring your own project to work on (some prior dressmaking experience necessary as we won't be staffed to teach complete beginners on the day). We suggest making a donation to the Big Sew Off Just giving page for use of the studio.
  • We will have FREE tea/coffee and homemade cake available in the studio all day - donations welcome
  • Have you got a little one who is keen on sewing too? We are also happy to welcome children aged 7 and above, accompanied by an adult, who can work on a project together during the day.

FREE stretch fabric demonstrations throughout the day by Lauren, the g&g team and a SPECIAL GUEST!

  • Closer to the time we will be announcing a timetable of free demonstrations and tip sharing scheduled for throughout the day themed around working with and sewing stretch fabrics. From selecting the right fabric, cutting out, inserting neckbands and fancy techniques on the overlocker, it will be a great way to introduce you to the endless possibilities of sewing with this type of fabric.
  • The demonstrations will be in little bite sized chunks - ideal for building your stretchy fabric skills - that you can either attend in person or you can watch live on the @guthrie-ghani Instagram account.
  • We will also be joined in-person, in the studio by a very SPECIAL GUEST Lauren Tedstone of Sewing Bee Series 9 fame. We are delighted to be welcoming Lauren back to the studio, she joined in with the Big Sew Off efforts last year too! And - she'll be bringing some sweet treats to keep us all going from Heavenly Bakes - yay!


Do I need to book?

At the moment there's no need to book, but we'd love it if you could let us know you're coming so we can gauge numbers for the day. We've set up a simple form here.

Will the shop be open?

Yes! The shop will be open all day so you'll be able to do some fabric stroking while you're here.

How do I get to the event?

We are lucky to be located on one of the main bus transport links out of the city centre and are situated about 15-20 minute bus/car/taxi journey. For more information on access, travel and parking please follow this link to the visit us page on the website.

How do I donate fabric?

Stretch fabric can be dropped off at the shop Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm, or posted to us. Please donate fabric before Tuesday 29th August.

I can't wait to welcome you all into the studio for a fun day of sewing together for a great cause! The sewing community really is the best!


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