Christmas Jumpers and Frilly Knickers…

Following my last post I began to get pangs for the satisfaction of achievement and so began looking into courses that might keep me out of trouble now that September is imminent.

My first port of call was the institution that is Dublin’s Grafton Academy. As they’ve been training budding fashion designers for over 70 years, and have a rather impressive alumni to boot, I firmly put my faith in their skills to teach even the most dexterity challenged of us. Along with the dressmaking classes that teach students how to read patterns and create something special from scratch there are also part-time courses for the ultra ambitious who are up to the challenge of creating the patterns themselves. The college also offers courses in Millinery… how fabulous a pastime would that be?? ‘Oh this old thing? I just took a birdcage and some pins and voila! a hat for every occasion’.

Elsewhere the marvellously named This is Knit offers various levels of knitting courses in the beautiful surroundings of the Powerscourt Centre. As well as learning the dependable plain and purl (never could quite get my wrists around that one), there are also crochet classes for one and all along with workshops on related crafts. Particularly great is the one hour ‘take your pick’ class that they offer once a week – just let them know what you need to work on and you can book them one at a time! Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a Luas carriage full of clicking needles rather than clicking iPhones?? There’s no App to make your aunty Flo a lovely Christmas jumper you know.

Nearby across in Castle Market my favourite haberdashers, Murphy Sheehy, are getting in on the expertise sharing. The store is an Aladdin’s Cave for everything dressmaking related and each visit inspires new ideas or projects so I’m especially excited about their two-hour sewing workshops. Here you’ll learn how to make one of three soft toys in delightful Liberty fabric. The slightly random fruits of your labour are then yours to take home, keep it handy in your bag or even pop on the desk … wherever it’s within easy reach for you to have a little brag about your newly acquired skills.

For the more surprising course content, I’m always interested in what Re-dress are hosting. The ethical fashion advocates hold an array of fantastic DIY courses, often one day workshops. Besides realising that wealth of talent that’s been bursting to get out, it’s also just a rather lovely way to spend a day and meet like minded folk. From their charmingly titled Crafternoon Tea fashion skills crash course to a Curious Collars class, they really do seem to have a little something left of centre for everyone. Although I’ve yet to make it to the course, it’s the French Knickers and Cocktails evening that I’m intrigued by … if only every girl on the town would make the same undergarment choice when Cosmos are involved.

Of course these are just a taster of what’s on offer in Dublin but if you do come across any other lovely courses or workshops around the country, please be sure to share them with me. I’d personally love to improve (establish) my cookery skills… although I’m pretty sure no one will be buying any of those particular creations.