Birmingham Weekender, SAMPAD & NAF

So, SAMPAD recruited NAF into the Rangeeli Parade at Birmingham Weekender.

Fran ran workshops to make Umbrellas, Joe, Myself, Celia and Sally helped the home education groups and ran other workshops at NAFCafs or NAF events to complete flags, animals on sticks and hats to take into the parade.

I was also separately enlisted to help make 20 hooped skirts for the dancers from the Hall Green Dance troop to wear in their section of the parade. Below are some photo’s I took whilst working with a group of 4 ladies to complete the task:


So here’s the short version of events:

Myself from Northfield Arts Forum, Sophie from Hall Green Arts Forum, Joanne and Keira (local volunteers from sewing course) Came together for an initial workshop to run through the requirements and ideas SAMPAD had for the skirts. Having missed out on the Batik sessions due to my being holiday, the fabrics were already prepared. We had clear instructions to ensure we used a mix of plain red, blue and then batik fabric within the skirts, but we had free reign as to the design inside ( i.e 3 panel, 4 panel, whole) We were also asked to complete 20 skirts to fulfill the waist measurement of 22″ and an outer seam circumference of 3.5m.

We created a quick first example between us, quickly finding our strengths and putting them to use. Keira having a preference for pattern making, Myself and Joanne competent sewers and Sophie being on construction duty ( those 3.75m fibre glass rods were not easy to get in lol).  After a lot of faffing at the second session, trying to get machines working and a production line set up – we agreed we would collaborate to cut out all the skirts and then work from home or in SAMPAD office to assemble them.

I put forth that some of the largest batik fabrics would look better as whole skirts, Joanne not being confident in creating a one piece skirt left those 5 in my hands. We cut out 19 more skirts – 5 whole, 10 quarter skirts, 5 in thirds. I also took 5 of the 4 panel skirts home to complete. I did most of my sewing in the NAF hub, but did end up doing some at home:

The next week we regrouped to allow the sewn skirts to be hooped by Sophie. We had 12 skirts completed, I returned 9 and Jo had completed 3. this week I took 3 skirts away to sew plus the original prototype as it had not been waistbanded before it was hooped….

The fourth week we assembled to hand in all the completed sewn skirts, my 4 return and I received a message two days later informing me that we were 1 skirt down! great, I had completed 13 of 20 skirts and although I had some spare panels in case of damage etc, I had not enough to create a full skirt :/ I conferred with SAMPAD and they spoke with the leaders of the troop and agreed the 20th skirt was unnecessary and it was left, a day later and SAMPAD dropped into the hub with a 3 panel skirt they had found uncompleted, #19!

I quickly started sewing it together so they could take it back to find that the panels for the third skirts cut were not right, I am not sure how but we were nearly 3″ out on waistband and consequently 8″ ish out on the base hem 😕 I offered to repair the 3 other skirts that had been sewn in the wrong measurements but they were content to leave them a ‘little ruffly’. My OCD went a bit blurgh at this point. I corrected the skirt I had available and returned it into SAMPADS hands. Having at this point sewn no less than 16 skirts of 19 I felt I had accomplished fulfillment of my duties but was still a little confused that as a group we’d managed to ‘lose’ a skirt and create 3 dodgy ones! I think possibly Joanne was struggling with her health and that she had bitten off a little more than she could manage, with her part of the sewing being the 3rds; which were completely off skew perhaps she struggled to get them together, it threw me out for a minute until i spread it out to see what was wrong. Hindsight – allow a full extra session for correcting possible mistakes, and make sure people are not scared to ask for help if they are struggling! This was not my project to manage but it definitely gave me a lot of experience  of working with an unfamiliar team that was most helpful to my development.

Either way, the skirts looked awesome in the parade, I was very pleased with them and here are some pics of the finished items!


Here are all the other pictures I took on the day, set up, in the parade and the seperate sections that were behind us 🙂



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