June 2013 – Clothes Swap

After the massive success of our clothes swap last year, we decided to bring it back for a second round!

We had another great turn out with lots of regular members and also a lot of first time visitors. We were also lucky enough to be visited by some very lovely and glamorous ladies from Hatch Grange WI who were interested to see what Sotonettes are all about.

After the formalities of a few announcements, Aly from Bobbin Sewing School in Winchester got the meeting off to a lovely start by taking us through some simple ways or altering clothing to improve the fit or even completely change the look of an item – she even showed us how you might change a sleeveless jumpsuit into a dress with sleeves (I was particularly impressed by that one) and how to completely make over a dress with just the addition of some ribbon to make a waistband and add detail to the neckline.

Bobbin Sewing School is based in the Winchester Discovery Centre in central Winchester. They run lots of sewing classes from the basics of using a sewing machine through to dress making, curtain making and working with different kinds of fabric. They even have some classes for children to get involved in sewing.

Our committee member Kate recently attended one of their classes and had a great time. Aly was a lovely, knowledgeable and entertaining speaker so I don’t doubt that her classes are great too.

I must say, I think I am guilty of breaking her golden rule though – Don’t Be A SABLE (Serial Accumulator Beyond Life Expectancy)!

Find out more about the classes, when they run and how to book on their website – http://bobbinsewingschool.co.uk

After Aly’s talk we got down to the serious business of Swapping! There was a huge selection of really nice items on offer and everyone seemed to have fun rummaging through and I’m pretty sure most people left with something new (to them). We would love to see any pictures of you wearing your swaps, especially if you put any of Aly’s advice into practice and make some alterations.


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Clothes Swapping, or Swishing, isn’t just fun and a nice way to clear out some old clothes and replace them with something different. The WI have campaigned on the issue of Fast Fashion – mass produced clothing that can be socially and environmentally harmful. The people producing our cheap clothing are often not paid well and don’t work in safe conditions – as we saw in the factory collapse in Bangladesh earlier this year (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/bangladesh-factory-building-collapse-community). Also, low quality, cheap clothing has been seen as part of our disposable culture, where we are very quick to throw things away and buy new replacements instead of fixing, altering or swapping. Clothes that get thrown in the bin go straight to landfill and production of new clothes uses up valuable resources – so reusing, recycling and upcycling are much better options for the environment.

To find out more about Fast Fashion and the WI campaign see the WI website (http://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns/recent-campaigns-and-initiatives/fast-fashion).

We would like to thank everyone who came along to the meeting and brought their items to swap. We hope you had as much fun as we did. Also, huge thanks must go to Aly for giving us her time and sharing her knowledge with us.

Next Month’s meeting is on the theme of Grow Your Own – more details of speakers and activities will be coming soon. Remember the date has changed due to conflict with the New Forest Show – we will be meeting on Tuesday 23rd of July, usual time and place.

On Tuesday 30th July we will be visiting the New Forest Show – I think we have enough people for a group booking discount now, but if you still want to join the group then drop us and email at sotonettes@gmail.com

Best Wishes

Liz, on behalf of the Sotonettes Committee


The Sotonettes and The New Forest Show

Some of you may already know about The New Forest & Hampshire County Show but for those who don’t, it’s an extremely popular annual event held in late July with livestock displays, showjumping, fruit, vegetables, flowers, all sorts of exhibitors and also (most importantly) a large WI tent.  Last year even The Queen and Prince Philip attended, as well as a few of our committee members!

It’s a great day out in the New Forest and everyone who went last year had a fantastic time.  The show is on Tuesday 30th July, Wednesday 31st July & Thursday 1st August.  Make a space in your diaries!

If you’re interested in the show, there are a few ways you can take part as a Sotonettes member:

1. Come along! We’ve moved our usual meeting date (the last Tuesday of every month) to the 23rd of July so we can head off to the New Forest on the 30th instead.  It would be fantastic if as many people as possible could come along and join us – last year we got the train to Brockenhurst and then jumped on the free specially provided shuttle bus to the showgrounds.  You can get 15% off the ticket price if you book before the 11th of July, or we can arrange a group booking discount if we get enough interest.  Email us at sotonettes@gmail.com if you’d like to come and we’ll let you know if it’s easier to buy a single ticket or get a group together.

2. Get crafting! The WI are very proud to be part of The New Forest Show and each year they set some categories for craft/baking items to be displayed (and judged!) at the show.  You can find this year’s categories at http://www.newforestshow.co.uk/hres/J13-0022_NFS_WomensInstitute.pdf
We’d love to be able to enter every single class this year and put in a really good entry to show off what the Sotonettes can do!  We’ve got a few people interested in a few categories, but we definitely need more volunteers… if you’re a dab hand a cookie baking, italian breads, flower arranging or painting, amongst others, please get in touch!  One of our committee members, Jen, is helping to organise the entries – email her at jennifer.e.thomson@gmail.com for more info.  The deadline for entries is FRIDAY 14TH JUNE if you want to say you’ll be entering something – you’ll have until the end of July to actually make it.

3. Sell your wares!  If anyone makes their own crafts to sell or jams & preserves, the WI also has some space to sell your handmade treasures.  15% commission is payable to the WI to help with running costs of the WI tent.  more info is in the New Forest Schedule (http://www.newforestshow.co.uk/hres/J13-0022_NFS_WomensInstitute.pdf).  Forms can be obtained from Jen – just drop her an email at jennifer.e.thomson@gmail.com if you need more information or would like a form.

We’re all looking forward to a (hopefully sunny) day in the New Forest – hopefully you are too!


Denman ‘Mother and Daughter’ Weekend by Ann-Marie Skill

One of our wonderful members, Ann-Marie, recently visited Denman College with her Mum (also a WI member!) and wrote us a lovely review of their weekend. We would like to thank Ann-Marie very much – x
Inspired by joining the Sotonettes last December I invited my mum (North Lincolnshire WI) on a ‘Mother and Daughter’ weekend to the WI’s Denman College in Oxford.
Mum and I met up on Friday 24th May (left on Sunday 26th) at the College and what a beautiful place (picture below). We had a wonderful 3 course meal to begin with after the greeting and then a Petits Fours demonstration by Peter Lien (www.wicookeryschool.co.ukwww.facebook.com/WICookerySchool). We watched Peter make 3 different petits fours (Canele, Florentines and Blueberry Friands) then ate them in about 1 minute flat! Absolutely wonderful.
This was the first weekend of its kind (Mother and Daughter) and I was really excited about spending some time with mum and also learning a few things. There was a choice of classes and we had to have picked, in advance, 3 things to cover for the weekend. We chose singing for pleasure, Flamenco dancing and charm bracelet making (other choices were: fabric picture making, watercolour sunsets and facinators (head wear).
For a laugh see us Flamenco dancing http://youtu.be/_avCnPD9E7A.

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The accommodation was absolutely lovely, single room with en-suite, in one of the accommodation houses where each room is sponsored by a WI (I did wonder if Sotonettes should decorate a room!?) – we were in Oak. I stayed in ‘South Lincolnshire’ and my mum was in ‘Nottingham’. There a a few houses on the grounds and you can also stay in the main house (if you’d like to share a room you can). We had a 3 course meal in the restaurant every lunch and dinner time and there was a choice of breakfast; me being a greedy so and so went for a cooked breakfast both days. Meals were fantastic and the atmosphere was really lovely. Everyone mixed and chatted about the different activities. There were some ladies on a baking course – they were worked really hard and made around 8 cakes (the joy of their course was that all their ingredients were measured for them in advance!).
I did think it was a tad expensive initially at over £200 but I do now think differently having just thoroughly enjoyed being spoilt for the weekend. We fully intend to go back next year and I’m saving up for my next course, although I can’t decide on what yet – ‘Sewing Machine magic’, ‘Silver Jewellery: an introduction or ‘Breadmaking’? Why don’t you bring your mum along next time? http://www.denman.org.uk/
Ann-Marie Skill