Monday, 24 October 2016

Sewing Retreat: further details

I am happy to be able to provide more particulars concerning the Guild of St Clare's first ever Sewing Retreat, to be held at the Carmelite Retreat Centre, Boars Hill, Oxfordshire.

The priory at Boars Hill

The Retreat will run between Friday 10th and Sunday 12th February. Our chaplain is Fr Richard Biggerstaff, the Director of the St Barnabas Society, and he will give us spiritual conferences throughout the weekend and also be available for Confessions. There will, of course, be daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and other devotions as well. Sewing sessions will mainly be dedicated to mending and making vestments. We don't expect retreatants to have any previous experience of this, so complete beginners need not be put off! All materials will be provided. There will also be a small (very small!) shop selling sewing equipment, so if you haven't a sewing kit or need to replenish the one you've got, there will be ample opportunity to invest. Please do bring a basic sewing kit with you, if you have one: small sharp scissors, needles, pins, tape measure, a thimble if you use one.

Bring your pocket money!

There will also be a chance to do some hand embroidery. The Guild will provide, for a small extra cost, a choice of surface embroidery kits with liturgical designs, for anyone who would like one. Tuition will be on tap to anyone interested in learning how to embroider. We would also like to encourage people to bring their own sewing with them, for social times; hand work would be easiest to manage but if you have a sewing machine project that has got stuck, we would be happy to help you re-start it.

Amanda's liturgical goldwork, begun at the Royal School of Needlework and since completed

The cost for the whole weekend is £150 per person for a single room. Two people sharing a twin will pay £130 each. There is a non-refundable 50% deposit when booking. Full payment is a month in advance, the 10th January. To book a place or for further information, please email me at The number of places is limited so if you are keen to come, don't delay.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Forthcoming Events

It's Michaelmas Term and the Guild of St Clare has a busy schedule of events coming up. In addition to our sewing retreat in February, we are also holding the following workshops:

Blouse making, taught by Clare Auty: 19th Nov & 10th Dec 2016.
Vestment mending (an informal session at the home of Lucy Shaw): 15th Oct 2016
Coat making, taught by Daniella Stevens: 28th Jan, 18th Feb & 4th Mar 2017

The blouse making and coat making workshops cost £40 per day, or £20 for children, and take place at the church hall of St Anthony of Padua in Headington, Oxford between 10am and 4pm. Please email Lucy ( for more details or to book a place.

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Sewing Retreat in Oxfordshire

We are delighted to announce that the Guild of St Clare is holding its first ever sewing retreat on the weekend of the 10th-12th February 2017, at the Carmelite Retreat Centre, Boars Hill, Oxfordshire. Our chaplain is Fr Richard Biggerstaff, who will celebrate the Traditional Mass, and give us spiritual conferences alongside our sewing sessions. Details concerning the schedule and the price will be announced shortly. In the meantime, please email Lucy ( if you would like to book a place.

The Priory at Boar's Hill

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Monday, 1 August 2016

Embroidered Scapulars

The sewing class at the St Catherine's Trust summer school made embroidered scapulars this year. It was a fairly advanced embroidery project, involving trellis stitch, coral stitch, feather stitch, long and short tapestry shading, and - the piece-de-resistance - bullion knot roses, which have been known to reduce students at the Royal School of Needlework to tears. I had in mind the possibility of simplifying the design if it should prove too difficult, but it wasn't necessary - almost everyone completed it within the time available. Well done everyone!

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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Make a Memory Quilt

As membership of the Guild increases, demand for training in a variety of different skills is rising. As part of this we are introducing quilting classes. The first of these will be held on 16th July at our usual venue, the church hall of St Anthony of Padua between 10am and 4pm. We will be experimenting with different methods of piecing, including machine piecing and traditional English paper piecing. This is suitable for beginners, and is an opportunity to use up your scraps for a traditional "memory" quilt.

One young quilter at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School

A block combining Tumbling Blocks and Five Pointed Stars to create an exciting pattern

Clamshell piecing

Hexagonal hand piecing

Strip piecing

This course is suitable for beginners; if you are more advanced, you may not find it so useful, but people of all levels of skill are welcome for an enjoyable day of thrift stitching. You do not need to bring a sewing machine, as we will provide some. However if you have one you may like to bring it. Tea and coffee and cake are provided - please bring your own lunch. The cost of the day is £40, or £20 for children.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Learn to make a skirt

In response to popular demand, we are introducing dressmaking workshops under the supervision of our own in-house expert dressmaker, Clare Auty. The first of these will be spread over two days, the 7th May and 11th June, when we will make a lined skirt with a zip and waistband, and the option of pockets which can be embellished.
Clare making a rose-coloured altar frontal
There is no need to bring a pattern; Clare will bring a skirt block which can be adapted to your size and your preferred shape. If you prefer, you can bring your own pattern, in which case you will need to check with Clare that it is suitable for the course.
Skirt block
Inserting a zip
The cost of the course is £40 per day - £20 for children. Tea, coffee and cake will be provided, and you will need to bring a packed lunch. The venue is the church hall of St Anthony of Padua, Headington, and the sessions will run from 10am till 4pm.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Embroidery Training Day

I'm delighted to announce that we will be holding another embroidery training day with Jacqui Macdonald, the RSN tutor.

On Saturday, 12th March she will be coming to Oxford to teach us. She is happy to teach any of a wide range of embroidery techniques including crewelwork, goldwork, whitework, stumpwork and surface embroidery techniques. 

Jacqui's stumpwork vegetable patch kit, available from her website

This is a very unusual opportunity to study techniques not often taught in day courses. Please email me at if you would like to know more, or to book a place on the course. The price is £80 plus materials, and the course runs from 10am till 4pm. Space is limited so please don't delay!

Jacqui's Tree of Life crewelwork kit, available to buy from her website

Jacqui came to Oxford in February 2013, in October 2014 and again in December 2015 and taught the Guild group a variety of techniques including stumpwork, whitework and silk shading.