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I have been teaching bag making workshops now for two years. It was a total leap of faith when Jane at The Eden Workshop asked me to do that first one for her, she didn't know if I could. Neither did I.

In an unusually brave move for me, I accepted her offer thinking 'how hard can it be?' and 'how badly can it go wrong ... really?' and it turns out that it isn't and it doesn't. Which is a relief all round I think! I have just spent the last couple of weeks booking workshop dates for next year and bearing in mind I can only really work weekends whilst my husband is around for the children, last night I decided I was booked up. Which is really quite amazing.

The least fun part of the workshops for me is the preparation beforehand, getting everything ready and making sure I have enough supplies for everyone. I bring a lot of materials with me so that the only thing you need to bring is your chosen fabric, which is after all the fun bit!

The first workshop I taught has pretty much set the tone for all of them. We chat about fabric, do some sewing, everyone is lovely, someone else does the cooking, usually a sewing machine has a wobbly and at the end of the day I get paid! After that first one, I drove home with a ridiculous smile on my face and with a slightly guilty feeling that I must somehow have committed fraud. Work just shouldn't be that much fun.

The thing about sewing at home is that it can get a bit lonely. Its what I enjoy most and least about it at different times. Sewing in a group is really sociable, there are people who want to chat whilst they sew, those who are happy just to listen but I have not done a workshop yet where we didn't all get on. The people who come along range from those in their twenties, to those ... not in their twenties, and whatever the mix, we always have things to talk about. Albeit, mainly fabric, but there's nothing wrong with that!

'Belonging' is something that I mull over quite a lot. Probably because I don't feel that I do. I don't feel that I really 'belong' where I live having only been here for 4 years but equally, I wouldn't say I really belonged anywhere else. Sewing has introduced me to an online world of other craftspeople, through Facebook. Its a virtual place where I can belong in a small way and although it sounds a bit sappy, I really like that.

I have daily conversations with people who are at home making stuff, like me, and we all support and encourage each other. No one understands how annoying it is to find someone else has copied an idea you had, whilst passing it off as their own, quite like someone who has experienced exactly the same thing. Equally only fellow bag makers understand how fascinating a conversation about interlining can really be!

Workshops can bring that virtual world alive. For those like me who can feel awkward, shy, lacking in confidence or who perhaps just feel plain lonely, workshops are a wonderful way of meeting like minded people in an environment where, for a few hours, nothing else exists other than the project we are working on. Maybe most people are none of these things but just fancy a home cooked lunch they haven't had to make themselves and some peace to learn something new ...

Whatever the reason, if you think you might like to come along to one I have added some new dates for 2016 to my Workshop page here, but there are more that are just awaiting confirmation. They are best suited to those who can use a sewing machine, but we don't require any fancy know how or masses of experience so please don't be shy.

It would be lovely to see you.

Emma xxx

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