It’s a cafe with tea that will bring us back to sew

Kal Ali will offer workshops at the cafe

Kal Ali will offer workshops at the cafe

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A NEEDLE and thread fan has woven her magic to bring the Capital its first sewing cafe.

Kal Ali, 40, will rent out sewing machines by the hour so people can create their own clothes while chatting and enjoying a cup of tea.

The hub, aptly called Sewing Bee Café, will open its doors on Leith Walk later this week and promises to cater for all sewing-based craft.

Ms Ali, who lives in Leith, said creating clothes, furnishings, accessories and Christmas decorations was an excellent way to save cash and get the creative juices flowing.

She said: “The craze started in Paris a couple of years ago and it works on the same principle as an internet cafe, where you can rent out a machine for an hour and do your own projects. We’ll be doing our own workshops as well.

“We’d like people to bring their own materials, although there will be some lying around. It is quite a social activity, and I have loads of workshops and projects in mind. The cafe offers an opportunity for people who are into sewing to get inspired by each other and get creative.”

Ms Ali explained the themes behind two workshops, a Waste Innovation workshop and a Sewcial Project. She said: “Waste Innovation is about creating eco fashion using recycled materials such as knitwear.

“The Sewcial Project is in partnership with Age Scotland. I was volunteering with a group, the Warm Hearts Quilting Group, who used recycled fabrics to make quilts for the homeless and a children’s charity. I thought that was amazing so I looked around and then I managed to get lots of Asian material donated by the Asian community. They have a lot of spare material as they make a lot of their clothes. So now, on Wednesday afternoons, volunteers will make a range of products, such as cushions and rugs, to donate to Age Scotland to sell in their shops.”

The cafe is set to offer tea and coffee, which people can help themselves to, and it will sell cakes, soups and sandwiches. There will be an art exhibition, Tactile 2011, on display and Ms Ali explained that she would be hosting talks at the venue from next year.

She said: “In February we’ve invited the fastest knitter in the world, Hazel Tindall, to come and talk to us and show us a few things.

“The point with this is that people can make so many things themselves with a few pointers. I make clothes, curtains, cushions, Christmas presents, everything. It is a great way to save money.”

The shop has ten sewing machines, which it will rent out at £7.50 per hour. Workshops will cost between around £60 and £70.