The world has gone mad for events and workshops, everywhere you look someone is encouraging you to sign up to learn about this or make that. It’s all about ‘experience’ now, not just shopping or product. Which, frankly, couldn’t have been better timed for me and my No New year.
Last weekend I was invited to VV Rouleaux to experience its flower making course for myself. Now, anyone who sews knows VV Rouleaux, it’s the Harrod’s Of Haberdashery, stacked from floor to ceiling with every conceivable luxury ribbon, in every colour available. Double-sided velvet, double faced satin wider than the spread of your hand, perfectly formed tiny autumn leaves strung together on chiffon, embroidered grosgrain, ostrich feather tassels and even slender velvet rope, it’s enough to make a person swoon. It’s not cheap, but it is glorious and the idea of sitting in the Marylebone store being instructed on how to make roses from its ombre-dyed ribbons was my idea of heaven.
Which idiot said recently that we’ve gone off experts? I am still thrilled to learn stuff from people who are really good at what they do and Fay – who led our class- was a wonder. She’s been with VV Rouleaux forever and there’s probably nothing she doesn’t know about things you can make with ribbon and trim. She holds classes on making hats and head dresses (weddings or festivals), wedding domes, knots and tassels (hugely popular apparently) and flowers, but will hold bespoke one-to-one workshops if you have a particular project you are working on. I was there to try my hand at roses, pansies and dahlias.
Fay explained everything very clearly and the class came with beautifully written and illustrated notes to take away with you, and the roses are so simple, anyone can do them. The biscuit plate and plenty of tea helped too…
We used pre-wired ribbons that you gently pulled and cajole into the right shape, pinning and lightly sewing to anchor the rose.
But as with all good teachers, we learned little tricks and tips about making the roses more realistic by doubling-back with our layers and where to put our anchor stitches to ensure a more beautiful leaf shape. All the while, elbow deep in those gorgeous ribbons….
My favourite flower was the dahlia, with its more scruffy edge and quirky finished shape. We made this by creating a frayed, jagged edge to the ribbon, cutting off one side of the wired edge. But nothing was wasted, the spare wire was turned into a more abstract flower stamen for later use.
The pansies were trickier but still very achievable, the hardest thing was narrowing down exactly which colour to choose for the petals and then what stamen colour…
It was a really enjoyable morning, I had such a lot of fun, the above image is one Faye made, but I reckon it wouldn’t take you long to get to this level.
The workshops cost £85.00 and would be a good investment if you are thinking of making your own wedding/ festival/ racing day/special event decoratives. We also received a 15% discount on any ribbons we purchased (needless to say that was VERY tempting indeed) and you come away very inspired, find out more here.
I became quite obsessed with the beautiful feathers and had to hold back from buying ostrich feather ribbons…
So if you are thinking of learning a new skill and have a thing for ribbons and haberdashery (I know it’s not just me) then check out the VV Rouleaux website.