NEW - Wardrobe essentials sewing retreat - 3 day/night at Abbey Home Organic Farm

Introducing our brand new and exciting residential sewing retreat on a beautiful organic farm in the Cotswolds, hosted by Lauren Guthrie, owner of guthrie & ghani and finalist on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, 2013 and Layla Totah, expert dressmaker and highly experienced sewing tutor.

Indulge yourself in some well deserved ‘me time’ whilst sharing your love of sewing with others and making some gorgeous ‘wardrobe essential’ garments. This fully catered 3 night and 3 day residential retreat will give you the chance to tackle a bigger sewing project with the expert help and guidance of Lauren and Layla.

Have the freedom to choose two ‘wardrobe essential’ sewing patterns from our collection to suit your style and skill level and get a laid-back and tailored teaching approach to help you develop your confidence and sewing skills.

Our exclusive use of the Orchard accommodation and Green room at Abbey Home Farm will give you the perfect chance to relax, feel taken care of and escape from normal life while you focus on your sewing projects.

The location

Abbey Home Farm, run by Hilary and Will, is a beautiful, rustic and laid back organic oasis. It is an award winning 1600 acre mixed organic farm near Cirencester. The farm has a very strong organic ethos and boasts an amazing farm shop and cafe, with delicious home cooked food prepared using whatever is seasonally grown on the farm. For more information on the farm, follow this link to their website. For details on the farms location and travel by car follow this link and for travel by public transport follow this link

The accommodation

The Orchard is Abbey Home Farm’s homely residential accommodation and is nestled into the side of a woodland strip. All rooms open onto the large south facing veranda that overlooks the vegetable garden and beyond.

It has 7 twin rooms and 2 single occupancy rooms. All rooms have an ensuite shower room and toilet with underfloor heating and organic cotton bed linen.

Also in the orchard is a cosy shared space with sofas, dining table and kitchen which is available for our exclusive use whenever needed during our stay.

For our retreat we are offering 12 shared occupancy spaces and two single occupancy spaces (both now booked).

The food

Our retreat is fully catered with 100% organic vegetarian food cooked onsite in the farms cafe kitchen. A lot of the food has been grown on the farm itself and is seasonal, delicious and nutritious.

Breakfast will be a self serve selection of fruit, cereals and yogurt with tea and coffee.

Lunch will be a seasonal soup with freshly baked bread, local cheese and homemade cake.

Dinner will be a two course vegetarian feast.

Unlimited tea, coffee, juice and fruit will be available throughout the day.

The sewing

One of the joys of having sewing as a hobby is that you get to wear and use the things you make afterwards! During your time at the retreat you will work on 2 projects of your own choice from our suggested list of independent sewing patterns (see below). The projects you choose will give you an opportunity to challenge yourself and build on your dressmaking skills whether that might be in techniques or fitting adaptations.  

All of our dedicated sewing time will take place in the large and spacious green room which was built with oak from the farm. It has lots of large tables meaning everyone will have plenty of space to spread out for cutting. There are adjoining toilets and a secluded side room should you need some privacy to try things on as you progress through your project

Sewing support before and after

Start planning your projects and get to know your fellow retreaters ahead of time in the private retreat facebook group hosted by Lauren and Layla.

2 weeks prior to the retreat Lauren and Layla can help you to plan what you’d like to achieve and work out specific things you’d like to learn about so that any demonstration and specific teaching can be tailored to your preferences.

2 weeks after the event, Lauren and Layla will continue to take part in the group on a daily basis to answer any questions or offer any further advice and support you might need on completing any projects at home. You will also be able to share pictures of your completed makes with your new found sewing friends within the group. Please note, participation in the closed and private facebook group is completely optional, but it will help you to get even more out of this sewing experience.

For the full itinerary click here

The sewing projects

Tailor your sewing experience to your skill level and personal style by choosing two patterns from our suggested range

  • True Bias Lander Pants/shorts
  • Closet Case patterns Sasha trousers
  • Megan Neilsen Flint Culottes
  • Closet Case patterns Jenny Overalls
  • Sew House Seven Burnside bibs
  • Deer and Doe Magnolia Dress
  • Tilly and the buttons Bettine dress
  • Tilly and the buttons Ness skirt
  • Tilly and the buttons Nora jumper
  • Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater
  • Grainline Lark Tee
  • Merchant and Mills Camber top and dress
  • Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt and dress
  • Deer and Doe Melilot shirt

We have suggested what we think are great wardrobe essentials but you are welcome to pick other patterns - please get in touch with us to check first.


Running Time
Check itinerary for details

Further information

You will learn

Depending on the projects that you choose to make you can expect to learn and be shown how to tackle all aspects of the pattern from collars and button stands, to fly fronts and trouser fitting.

Our aim to to help you get the very most out of the sewing experience and through the private facebook group we will be able to establish your learning preferences and tailor any teaching or demonstrations to the projects you choose to make and the level of sewing ability that you have.

Skill level

This retreat is suited to those that already know how to sew and make garments. Depending on your past level of experience you can choose more simple garments or more complicated ones to really tailor what you will learn. We will help you make the best choices for your skill level and what you hope to achieve.

The maximum numbers of this retreat mean that there will never be more than 7 students to 1 tutor. This will ensure that you get plenty of 1:1 help and support as needed.

This retreat runs from the evening of Thursday 30th May to Sunday afternoon 2nd June 2019. 

What's included

  • A choice of two sewing patterns from the list above

  • Individual use of a Brother sewing machine, please feel free to bring along your own if you wish.

  • Shared use of Janome overlockers and Philips irons.

  • Use of all sewing tools and equipment, please feel free to bring along your own if you wish.  

  • 10% off any fabric or sewing supplies needed to complete your chosen projects from the guthrie & ghani shop. If you don’t live local to the shop please call the shop to place your order over the phone so the discount can be applied for you. We can either then post it to you prior to the retreat or we can bring it along to the retreat for you.

  • Prym goody bag

  • A welcome farm orientation walk by farm owner Hilary

  • All meals and refreshments. Alcohol is available for you to buy from the farm shop if desired.

  • Dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Breakfast and lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Please let us know of any dietary requirements before hand and these will be fully catered for you.

  • Use of bed linen and towels.

  • Private access to the closed retreat facebook group with the other member of your retreat.

  • Talk and demonstration on common fitting issues and pattern adaptations.

You will need to bring

  • Any fabric and notions needed to complete your chosen projects.

  • If desired your own sewing machine and sewing tools.

  • Comfy shoes for refreshing farm walks (optional).

  • Any fabric or patterns you wish to put into the swap.

Your tutor

Layla Totah and Lauren Guthrie

Layla has been teaching for over 15 years and sewing for 10 years. She started as a secondary school English teacher in London and later moved to Beirut, Lebanon where she set up a small school teaching sewing to ex pats and locals.

Since moving back to London Layla has taught sewing in many different studios around the country and to many different levels learners, however dressmaking is her expertise.
She sews almost all her own clothes and those of her husband but draws the line at her cats! As well as sewing (pretty much all the time) she also teaches English at a secondary school and knits.

Lauren founded guthrie & ghani in 2013, the same year she appeared as a finalist on the BBC's Great British Sewing Bee. She has been making her own clothes since and child and rediscovered her love of it 10 year ago and hasn't looked back since.

Please note - the booking and cancellation terms and conditions for our retreats are different from our regular workshops.

Please read and consider these when booking. Course cancellation insurance is recommended in case of illness or injury. Please follow this link to see the full retreat booking terms.

No dates available

Sorry there are no sessions planned in at the moment, but drop us an email.
We'll let you know about future dates.