Christmas Shopping at Makers’ Yard

Make it a handmade Christmas and come shopping at my studio building, Makers’ Yard, where you can buy from the other tenants in the studio building as well as me. I’ll have a lot of samples for sale (cushions, bags, scarves, brooches etc), as well as discounts on books, fabrics, sewing tools and gift vouchers for sewing enthusiasts.

Please come along to the exclusive evening event with mince pies and mulled wine on Friday 15th 6-9pm or any time on Saturday 16th November 10-4pm when there will be additional artists and makers selling their work too.


MakersYard_Web copy

2014 textiles workshops

Just a brief outline of the new workshops to come in 2014, full details soon!

Workshops 2014
All workshops are 10am-4pm on Saturdays at Ruth Singer Studio, Leicester. £55 each or book 3 for £150

Miniature Art Quilts. 25th January
Criminal Quilts 2

Shadow Embroidery. 23rd February

Criminal Quilts 2

Cut-surface quilting. 22nd March

'Squares'  hanging, 2013. More details here

‘Squares’ hanging, 2013. More details here

Family Stories. 26th April

Whiting Laundry

Handmade fabrics. 31st May

Suffolk puff cushion

Smocking, Shirring & Gathering. 28th June  Rescheduled for 21st June

English smocking

Found objects and amulets . 19th July

Metamorphosis detailPhotos on Fabric. 30th August

Monumental Folly pincushion  25x15cm More  details here

Monumental Folly pincushion 25x15cm More
details here

Wild Dyes. 28th September Rescheduled for 20th September

mixed dyes

Trapunto Quilting. 1st November

Trapunto quilting

Transparency. 6th December. Rescheduled for 13th December

shadowwork detail

Beginners Dressmaking Course

New dressmaking class starting in August

Dressmaking open session
Wednesdays 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th August & 4th, 11thSeptember,  10am-1pm
£20 for each session or book a term of 6 for £100
Book here

This Wednesday morning session is for new and improver dressmakers to practice with support and learn new skills. Bring your own project to work on and get help when required, and make use of space to spread out, tools, sewing machines and expert assistance. In each session we will cover a different technique to help you develop your sewing skills. Techniques will be demonstrated in the first part of the session (approx 30 mins) and then you are free to use the rest of the session as you wish:, getting on with your own project or practicing the techniques. You will also have access to Ruth’s library of sewing books and magazines for techniques and inspiration. All levels are welcome at the sessions.

Week 1 – Using a pattern; the basics.
Week 2 – Facings and interfacing
Week 3 – Seams and hems
Week 4 – Zips – inserting a basic zip and introduction to invisible zips

Week 5 – Darts and curved seams
Week 6 – Buttonholes

Term 2
9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th October & 6th, 13thNovember
(content of workshops TBC but suitable for all levels)
Book here

Crafty Mamas: a new workshop designed for mums with tiny babies

New mamas don’t have a lot of time for themselves, so we’ve put on this monthly drop-in session to give you a chance for some creative time without having to worry about preparing and clearing up, or sorting out childcare. Young babies are welcome and the workshop is very flexible, so don’t worry if you have to feed or change your baby during the session, and we won’t throw you out if the baby decides to cry! We provide you with a kit and instructions so you can finish making at home if you don’t get done in time. These sessions are designed for beginner and improvers but all levels are welcome. 

“I loved having the opportunity to sew as part of a group without worrying that my baby would disturb others. A lovely simple project which was easy to achieve during the session, a great reminder of a fab morning. Ruth is a really friendly and open teacher with a workspace I am very envious of!” 
Emma, mum of Lauren.  
Workshops take place on the first Tuesday of every month at Ruth Singer Studio, Makers’ Yard, 82-82 Rutland St, Leicester, LE1 1SB. 10am-12pm. £18. Book online here


Notes for mamas 
This sessions is aimed at parents with pre-crawling babies as the workshop isn’t safe for mobile babiesA sling might be useful so you can have both hands free to make. We have a few baby gyms and playmats for your baby and basic baby changing facilities.  Please book in advance but if there’s a baby crisis, you can transfer your booking to the next session if you let me know on the day. Drinks and biscuits included. What about dads? I’m more than happy for dads to come with their babies but men are incredibly rare at any of my workshops so I have aimed this at mums.  

Why learn to sew?

I’ve been asked many times over the last year why there is has been such a growth in people wanting to learn to sew. I can’t tell you what everyone’s motivation is, but I know at first hand just how excited people are when they make something for the first time. The sense of satisfaction is huge. 




It is like baking a difficult cake and getting to eat it EVERY DAY. You make something amazing then it lasts forever. You learn a skill that will grow with you and enable you to carry on making amazing things that you are enormously proud of and that you loved making. 


Mother & daughter sewing team


You learn a skill for life that you can pass on.


skirt workshop 2


You get to wear something totally unique like a skirt made from 1960s curtains. 


Apron workshop


Or an apron for your husband with skulls and roses on. 


coastal creatives bag course sept 2006 - 14


Or a gorgeous handbag. (This really was her first time sewing). 

You might want to learn to sew to make your own curtains, to make fabulous cushions, to make your own clothes, to make quilts for new babies, to make lovely handbags, to make your own wedding dress. All these things, and more, are possible with a little bit of knowledge, some new-found confidence in using a sewing machine and a little bit of fabric (although I recommend a LOT of fabric). 

My Learn To Sew workshops get you set up and ready to sew with confidence. The groups are small (no more than 6) so you get plenty of help and also have a nice social time with other equally-scared-but-excited new sewists while you share tea and biscuits. I use a variety of machines (old and older) and there is nothing scary about them at all – they won’t whizz away without you and unless you try very hard, you won’t break them. I will tell you all about the kind of fabrics you are best to start sewing with, so you won’t end up having any polyester-satin-related tears when you are sewing on your own. During the class you will learn how to prepare, measure and cut fabric properly so your sewing isn’t wonky and you will – I PROMISE – come out with a finished cushion cover at the end of the session. In just 2.5 hours you will learn how to sew and the world will be your oyster. Or fabric shop. 


Learn to Sew workshops are suitable for anyone who has never sewn before or has used a sewing machine a little and wants more tuition. This class is also good for those who are very rusty but if you can already sew in a straight line, try one of my other classes such as dressmaking or bags. Anyone over 12 is welcome to come to my workshops. You don’t need to bring a sewing machine or anything else – you can buy fabric from me; either some cheap and cheerful upcycled curtains, or maybe organic cotton or a special vintage fabric.



What you say:

“I recently attended an afternoon group course at the Ruth Singer Studio & came away with not only a gorgeous cushion cover, but much sought after new skills! Ruth is organised, friendly & clear and was on hand throughout the whole sewing process to ensure I fully understood what I was doing. I really enjoyed myself & would definitely attend another – today cushion covers, tomorrow the world!” 



Sewing for beginners and improvers

Top tips for starting to sew

1. Work with well-behaved, natural fabrics. I suggest medium-weight cotton to start with, not anything synthetic or slippery or inclined to stretch or fray. I like organic cotton best of all as it is soft, beautiful, eco friendly and chemical-fee. Raystitch do a nice range. For Leicester fabric shops, have a look at my list here.

2. Start with straight lines so you get the hang of sewing accurately before you start on curves and the kind of awkward shapes you get in dressmaking. Bags, cushion covers, curtains, basic patchwork quilts, scarves, and even some simple garments like children’s sleeveless tops or A-line dresses have minimal curves and complexities to worry about.

3. Use good tools. It is worth spending a bit of money on good scissors rather than trying to cut fabric out with blunt kitchen scissors! Ruth Singer Studio sells carefully-selected haberdashery and tools that are just right for all levels of sewing skills. Sewing scissors are just £10. Other shops in the city are listed on my Leicester sewing resources guide here,

4. Go to a class or buy a book. I would say this of course! But I do speak from experience as a self-taught stitcher, I have learned an awful lot over the years from other professionals and from good books. Everyone needs some guidance, although you will learn a lot by making it up as you go along too! My sewing techniques book Sew It Up is a comprehensive manual of techniques and gets pretty rave reviews on Amazon and on Good Reads (The Sewing Bible is the American version but it is the same book). You can buy a copy direct from me or from any good book shop.  

My beginners class involves making a simple square cushion cover but you will learn a whole lot more than just how to make a cushion cover. I think it is really important to learn about fabrics, about the importance of pressing, of accurate measuring and careful cutting and how to pin properly for maximum efficiency. Read more about the beginners class here

But what next? 

Confidence is the next step to developing your sewing skills, and you only develop confidence by practice! The workshops listed below are perfect for improvers to move on to. Full details and booking information on all the workshop is here.

Zip Purses
Monday 13thMay 6-9pm
Learn how to make a small make-up bag with a lining and perfect zip closure. This workshop is an ideal development class if you can already use a sewing machine a little and would like to expand your skills. Taught by Heather French.
£30 including materials.

Learn to Sew
Sunday 2nd June, 2-4.30pm
Make a cushion cover and learn how to use a sewing machine, as well as professional tips for marking, measuring, cutting and preparing fabric. Beginners.£35 including materials

Clasp Purses
Tuesday 25th June, 6.30-8.30pm
£25 including materials
Learn how to make a gorgeous pleated purse with a traditional clasp.
Taught by Heather French
6 places only

Learn to Sew
Saturday 3rd August 10am-12.30pm
£35 including materials
Make a cushion cover and learn how to use a sewing machine, as well as professional tips for marking, measuring, cutting and preparing fabric. Beginners.

Introduction to Appliqué
Saturday 3rdAugust, 2-4pm
Explore exciting, quick techniques to apply decorative fabrics to garments, cushions or other sewing projects using simple embroidery, machine sewing and bondaweb. £20 including materials

Applique workshop

Shopping Bags
Wednesday 14thAugust, 6-9pm
Take your sewing skills to the next level with this bag-making workshop. Use a simple pattern to cut and assemble a simple shopping bag with handles and learn how to make professional boxed-corners at the bottom. Bring ½m medium-weight fabric or buy from our range of new, vintage and organic fabrics. Taught by Heather French
£30 (plus fabrics if required)

Made by C on my Bag Making workshop last week

Learn To Sew
Sunday 8thSept 10.30-1pm
£35 including materials.
Make a cushion cover and learn how to use a sewing machine, as well as professional tips for marking, measuring, cutting and preparing fabric.

Quick Cushions
Saturday 28thSeptember, 2-4pm
Discover the fast way to make cushion covers out of old shirts and create a bespoke piece using easy appliqué techniques and simple machine sewing. Please bring along a man’s shirt to upcycle.
£20 (cushion pad not included)

Zips for beginners
Saturday 28thSeptember, 11am-1pm
Learn how to insert a basic zip using a sewing machine or by hand, suitable for a cushion cover or basic skirt and learn my professional tips and tricks. You will make two samples in this workshop to keep for reference.
£20 materials included

Creative hen parties for stylish brides

Hen parties
Creative, enjoyable and stress‐free hen parties at Ruth Singer’s beautiful studio 

From £25 per person for half a day, £50 for a full day

Parties for 6‐15 people available for evenings or weekends

We can come to you too if you have a suitable space

Activities include Corsages and fabric flowers, textile jewellery, pincushions, tea cosies, lampshade restyle, embellished undies or garments, bag‐making and more.

Contact me for more information

CRUNCH – Craft Lunch


One-hour workshops in your lunch break!
Do you work in the city centre or Cultural Quarter?

Once a month, take a creative break and drop in to Ruth Singer Studio for a craft lunch. Bring your sandwiches, £10 and your creative spirit. There will be a new craft activity every month including sewing, printing, jewellery, customising, origami and all manner of upcycling, suitable for all levels.

No need to book, just turn up at 1.15pm with your £10 note and take away something fabulous. We’ll email every month with a reminder of the date and details of what we’ll be making, so join the mailing 
list to keep up to date.

Friday 17thMay. Leather Brooch or pendant using recycled leather or suede

white leather corsage.JPG

Friday 21stJune.  Rescheduled to 14th June Hand embroidery for creative embellishing or decorative mending (bring a skirt or shirt)

Friday 2ndAugust. Suffolk Puff Brooch. Simple, hand-sewn brooches.

harding House gallery  - 2

Friday 30thAugust. Sewing machines for absolute beginners. Make a very simple purse and find out how a sewing machine works. Conquer your fear!

singer 221K - 2

Friday 27thSeptember Patchwork pincushion (for those who have used a machine before)

stripey pincushion

Friday 25thOctober Embellish a t-shirt with transfer printing (bring plain white or pale t-shirt)

transfer print tutorial - 7.jpg

Friday 29thNovember Origami for Christmas decorations

Paper bauble

Friday 20thDecember Felt garlands

Makers’ Yard: new artist studios in Leicester

Makers’ Yard, new designer-maker studios in Leicester. FINALLY.

Makers' Yard

It has been a long wait from this:

My new studio

to this:
Studio wall

Almost 2 years ago, I heard about the conversion of an old hosiery factory in Leicester’s cultural quarter that would become dedicated designer-maker studio space. I signed up immediately. It has taken rather a lot longer than anticipated & I’ve had two temporary studios in between (not fun) but finally, it is ready. I dropped off a load of furniture that I just collected from my Grandad’s house and one of the builders commented that it looked like it belonged there. And so it does.

I’ve got the ground floor, front studio with windows onto the street, so people can find me easily but the other studio spaces are perhaps even better; the rest are mostly bigger and the upstairs ones have fantastic light. I have to say that I am looking forward to a ground floor studio, for the first time ever, in 7 years… no more lugging teaching and exhibition stuff up and down lifts, stairs and corridors to the car! If you fancy a bit of studio space at Makers’s Yard, the details are here. I’m sure photos of the finished spaces will be up on the website soon.

Makers’ Yard is going to change Leicester’s craft landscape. We’ve long needed a dedicated space for makers and I am delighted to be part of it. I’ve helped specify the fit out in some of the spaces, including my own (very pleased about my extra door!) and was involved in the naming and brand identity of the building. I’ve been on several visits and had my face plastered all over the local papers several times. Sorry folks.

I’m moving in properly in a couple of weeks and workshops start on 23rd Feb and my personal open studio events (Studio Tuesdays) start on 26th Feb.

I’m running a craft social on Saturday 2nd March where you can come along with your sewing, knitting, beading, origami or whatever, and enjoy a nice afternoon with like-minded people, with tea & cake. And guess what….the heating is really effective! A studio-dream-come-true.

If you want to see the whole building, you’ll have to wait until 20th April when there is a full open studios with the whole building, plus events and fun stuff.

There are some gorgeous pre-renovation pictures of the building here and details about some of the other tenants here.