A very crafty 2 days at Stitches 2016

Hey there! Phew buiiiiiisy weekend! Freya and I were at CHSI ‘Stitches’- a ma-hoo-sive trade show at the NEC in Birmingham. We had a really great time and discovered so many innovative, inspiring and beautiful products I’m so excited right now!

We got to the show on Sunday morning buzzing with expectation and excitement!

Moda, a fashion buyers show, was on at the same time in the next hall.
There was a marked difference in the clientèle for each show! Moda was all skinny ankle carrot jeans, inch of make-up, flouncy coats and sunglasses- and that’s just the boys! I had a real moment of realisation that I might have finally found the real me as we walked past versions of my past self and towards the Stitches entrance to see handknit-clad, slightly dishevelled- in a creative way- types smiling as they looked forward to a day of crafty inspiration.

We made a bee-line for the seminars and workshops booking stand to see if we could get in to one of the clock making workshops for the following day but unfortunately we were a bit slow off the mark.

We’d scheduled in for a few seminars anyway which proved to be nice rest breaks between shopping! The first was on blogging (don’t you love that blogging still comes up in a spell check btw!) with our lovely new friends Hannah and Rosie from The New Craft House.

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As award winning bloggers, they gave some great tips on how to write interesting content to keep you guys coming back for more. Hopefully you’ll see a marked improvement in my blogs!

As well as running a gorgeously inspiring blog – where it all started- they now sell a beautiful range of kits too! We bought the quilted make-up bag and hexi patchwork cushion cover kits for the Crafty Sew&So shop- I think they will fly out!

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We also discovered These awesome PINK cutting mats! This brilliant company are really listening to what customers are looking for and took time to talk with us about what we looked for in a quilting accessories range- I’m really excited to get some of their really innovative products in – but I’m keeping schtm about what they are for now. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled on our Crafty Sew&So Blog for more!

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We discovered so many new ideas- if I was to share them all this post would be like war and peace- but a bit more pink! But we’ll be sharing all our news over the next few weeks as new products come into store- so keep an eye on our facebook page

More importantly than all the lovely products, was something I’d not considered so much beforehand, It was great to get away from the shop and spend some time with Freya. As we get busier and workshops fill up and our days whiz by even faster than ever, it was great to have a chance to stop and reflect on everything we’ve achieved in the past 6 months and get really excited together about what the future will bring.

We went to the Craft awards on Sunday night which was fun- We’ve both never been to an awards show before so it was a nice end to the first day. That evening over dinner we talked about marketing strategies, staffing, doing up our office, systems to make everything work more smoothly and also social stuff too. It was really great.

I felt for Freya having to go into the shop on Tuesday- by Monday night my feet were aching and I was looking forward to enjoying a short lie in the next day but that night my mind was whirling around and I was awake by 7am designing display units in my head and recalling all the gorgeous fabrics we chose!

I spent most of Tuesday morning working on a social media plan, inspired by Warren Knight’s  brilliant social media seminar. I tend to get bogged down and properly ‘into’ this kind of thing and before I know it the day is gone so I pulled myself away from the computor and made up the rest of the blocks for our 6 week patchwork for beginners course.

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I reeeeally enjoyed doing this and I can’t wait to put it all together now with the help of our fantastic teacher Harriet. We’re so glad she’s agreed to run another course on Thursdays starting in April.

Happy sewing

Sarah x

 

 

All dressed up for a very special day!

As the rain hammers down on our attic room window I can’t help but think that today is a very good day to stay in bed and reflect on how fantastic Saturday was!

Saturday 6th February was not only mine and Matt’s 2nd “anniversary” but also the wedding day of one of my very bestest friends Helen!

The service was very moving, there was so much love in the place! And Helen looked stunning. She wore a layered lace dress from Bradgate Brides with a huge train.

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Mark scrubbed up pretty well too- rather dashing I’d say!

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I love a good wedding and seeing all my gorgeous friends looking even more beautiful than they always do!

My friend Lois wore a fab sparkly show stopper of a dress and looked stunning!

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And there was a definite deep blue/purple trend going on!

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I really loved Lucy’s geo print viscose jersey dress- I have a pattern quite similar to this and I think with a little persuasion she might come and make one with me at the shop!

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Any chance to spend more time with this lovely group of ladies always makes me very happy! (*and their other halves too- yes Mark!)

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I’ve never been one to go all out with hair appointments, professional manicures and a whole new set of make-up but I do like the excuse to get all dressed up and make a bit of an effort. I’ve been so busy with running the business lately I’ve somewhat neglected some of the things that make me happy, like a bit of selfish sewing for a very special occasion! So I’m really glad I made time to make myself a dress for the day.

In my last blog post I wrote about the jacket I picked up when I was down in London for Helen’s hen do and the fabric I bought as well to go with it (not really thinking I would actually have the time to make the dress!)

Well, I knew I had limited time- one day in fact- and I am not the fastest of sewers- so I used my fail-safe 1950s dress pattern which I knew would fit.

I spotted this dress which I really liked in London but there were (as per usual) a number of things I thought I would change!

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I liked the cut out back detail, the waistband and prom style skirt but I thought the duchess satin fabric had a bit too much body to hold the pleats properly and the skirt was mega short, also I’m not a huge fan of an exposed zip on formal dresses.

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I really liked the tone on tone brocade in this dress and thought it worked well as a pleated style.

So I took those details and applied them to my own design and voila!

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(Shame about the bra strap- I need to train up my photographer to spot these things!)

I will probably give this a very good steam press to set the pleats before I wear this again

Here it is with the jacket…

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I’d probably add an inch into the bodice and go a bit longer on the skirt if I were to do it again but overall I’m very happy with how it turned out. I really enjoyed revisiting some of my old commercial design skills; shopping for research, picking styling details I’d seen in other garments and incorporating them in my own style.

And last but not least my lovely Matt made his own tie for the wedding- with a bit of encouragement and a tiny bit of help- but not much! I think he looked gorgeous!

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I’m not teaching this week as Freya is away on her Holidays in Brrrrr..lin! Apparently it’s about 3 degrees there so she’ll be glad of the new coat she made and her snugly ponte-roma Tilly and the Buttons Coco tops and dresses- read more about what Freya’s been making for her trip on her blog The Dressmaking Diaries

Hopefully I’ll find time for a bit of sewing this week in the shop between looking for new teachers for our workshops which are really increasing in popularity and planning April’s timetable. Hope you squeeze in a bit of stitch-time too!

Happy sewing!

 

 

 

London- it’s all your fault! (but I still Love you)

I’m feeling a bit down today, or is it exhaustion, I’m not sure? I think that’s it. I did have a nice lie in today and have been working on a new dress to wear for my friend Helen’s wedding next weekend which I always enjoy but I’m just a bit flat. I’ll take a look back at what I’ve been up to and why this might be- maybe that will make me feel better!

So as I mentioned my friend Helen is getting married- next weekend! It’s been lovely enjoying the build up to the wedding with her. I have missed out on a few things which makes me a bit sad, I used to see the girls a lot but I’ve let work take over a bit too much in the last 2 months – I haven’t made it to the weekly Tuesday meetups and I missed our annual Christmas meal for a sewing event- I caught up with them for drinks afterwards but it wasn’t quite the same.

So that’s made the 2 hen do’s I’ve been involved in for Helen even more special.

A few weeks ago we got together at the shop to make bunting as a group. We made this lovely Mr & Mrs Jones bunting and everyone had a go at using our fancy embroidery machine aka “The Beast” and made a few flags each. I then strung them all together with Hessian ribbon. She’s planning to have it hanging at her wedding reception which will be really special.

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Then we went to London a couple to weeks ago for the BIG hen do! Oh my I had forgotten how much I love London! I lived there for 7 years, at uni and working before I ran out of money and energy and came home to Leicester. But I still love going back to visit, I love the feeling of knowing a little of the insider info on the good places to go but still constantly being surprised my how some things change so rapidly, whilst some stay the same.

We were staying in the east and we did an awesome treasure hunt around Hoxton and Shoreditch, I think it’s one of my favourite parts of London.

The rest of the hen do was fab. We went bowling at the All star Lanes then (after a disco nap!) we went to a restaurant called the Jones’ family project and partied the night away at the Electricity Showrooms.  I wore my new year ponte roma pink Chloe by Victory patterns dress. It was so comfy and I felt fab!

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On the Sunday the girls caught an early train back to Leicester and I spent a couple of hours treating myself to a private date with the East end. I went to a little independent cafe and had a delicious almond croissant and a mocha and watched the market traders in the bustling back streets off Brick Lane.

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I crossed Brick Lane and carried on down to Beyond Retro, a great vintage warehouse, then worked my way back up Cheshire Street dropping into a few of the vintage and unusual small shops along the way. There are some great shops down that street including The Duke of Uke- a fascinating ukulele emporium – and the gorgeous Porcelain & Red where the lovely owner let me try on several items of divine vintage clothing most of which were way to small as per usual including this beautiful simple tartan wrap skirt which is definitely going on my “to sew” list.

But I did find this gem! It’s a Chinese style brocade jacket and it fits like a dream- like it was made for me! Due to my pledge not to buy any new clothes last year I actually hadn’t bought anything for over a year until this- I’m really glad it was this lovely jacket which broke my shopping fast!

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I then popped into (read- spent about an hour in!) another old favourite, The Laden Showroom. This shop is a great showcase of small brands and designers and always has something interesting in. I was so close to buying this shift dress but it was just a teeny bit too tight on the hips- I shouldn’t have had that croissant 😉 ! I loved the print and colours.

I then dropped in to the old Truman brewery which has now been converted into a permanent vintage market- there was lots to see- too much in fact- records, clothing from all eras, tat and treasures! So I had a quick swoop round but by then I was feeling a bit shopped out and ready to head over to South London to meet up with my very best uni friend Chloe for the longest noodle lunch and long overdue catch up.

…But then I spotted a fabric shop! Open- on a Sunday! Well I couldn’t not go in! It was a claustrophobic’s nightmare with rolls piled high and trims spilling out of the spaces between. But I spotted a beautiful mock silk jacquard in gold with a water lilly leaf design and I knew it was the perfect fabric to make a dress to go with my jacket. So I bought a couple of meters ignoring that I had just 3 weeks to make it around a whole heap of other commissions, projects, social events and running a shop!

SO I started the dress last week and surprisingly it is coming together really well. I’ll save the details for next week’s blog and hopefully share a few nice pics of me in it – hoping it gets finished tomorrow!

So yeah, turns out I don’t have quite the stamina as I did when I lived in London and that’s why I’m a bit pooped, but I had a fantastic time and actually yes I do feel better for writing about all the exciting and fun reasons why! Thanks for reading

Happy sewing!