Monday, 28 March 2011

Sewing For Pleasure 2011

Sewing For Pleasure

Abakhan's Stall
 Despite a rather nasty case of tonsillitus I made it to Sewing For Pleasure on the Saturday - an epic 9 hours travelling to spend 7 hours at the show!  Now that's dedication for you.  I am glad I made it though, it was lovely to see some of the people I chat to on Facebook and Twitter and to meet them in person, plus the lovely ladies from the Liverpool Sewing Club even took me for a drink after.

I popped over to see the lovely Steph and Amanda on the Sewing World stand and negotiated a second year of sponsorship with them as well as a lovely giveaway coming up...  I then went to see another site sponsor Abakhan Fabrics but as you can see from the photo their stall was heaving so I had to go back to them at the end of the day when it had died down a bit!

Afghanistan Inspiration

I helped out on the Rainbow Disks stall for a while where I met the talented Helen M Stevens who was demonstrating techniques from her new book One Simple Stitch.  She had her own stall at the show too which had been so popular she was losing her voice by the end of Saturday (I lost mine by the time I got home too).  Whilst manning the stall I noticed that Creative Fabric Techniques by Annette Morgan was proving very popular, well worth a look.

Janome Stand
 It was great to see that the Afghanistan Inspiration were there again.  I wrote about this fabulous project last year when I met them.  You can read the article here.  I made my way over to the teaming Janome stand where they were demonstrating a range of their machines and I got to meet Heidi Lawton who I interviewed for the site a couple of months ago but had not yet met.

Unfortunetly, I did not get chance to look at all of the exhibitions on display but I enjoyed the Undoing of the Corset exhibition and was amazed by the Above & Below the Waves Knitting Project, it was breath taking! 
The Undoing of The Corset

Above & Below The Waves

Sara Radford's Stall
 I managed to find time to visit a few of my customers who were exhibiting at the show, including having a lovely gossip with sewing tutor Sara Radford. Her stall looked absolutely stunning and was attracting a lot of interest.

Work by Jan Messent

Talking of gossip I bumped into the new editor of Sew Hip Wendy Gardiner, she has just taken the role and I'm sure will let us know more about her plans for the future of the magazine once she has had chance to settle in.  There was an amazing display of items made for one of my favourite books Celtic, Viking and Anglo-Saxon Embroidery by Jan Messent.

I also had the fortune to meet textile artist Dionne Swift, who specialises in Devore.  She said she would love to write an article for the site in the future to tell us all more about this technique.  I rounded the day off with a visit to the Prima stall to subscribe for me, my mum and my sister and came away with 3 huge bags of goodies worth over £40 each, and the subscriptions only cost £20 a year too - bargain.  It's just such a shame their stall was hidden away in a corner of Hobbycrafts where no one could find them, but i'm glad I took to time to track them down!  All in all a productive day and worth all the travelling, and the lack of voice for days after!

Friday, 25 March 2011

One Year Anniversary!

We are one!

Stall at Sewing For Pleasure 2010

The big day has finally arrived!  This day last year I was at Sewing For Pleasure launching The Sewing Directory completely unsure of what was to come.  It took 6 months hard work pre-launch to get the website designed and the launch planned, during which time it sometimes felt like it would never happen.  If only you could see those original plans you would probably laugh as the site has evolved so much since then!  The Sewing Directory in it's first conception was going to be a list of dressmakers throughout the country, no articles, projects or competitions, purely a database of streamstresses.

As the plans evolved and I conducted research I realised that what was needed was almost an online magazine of sorts, with more than just a database of businesses but news, projects, how to guides, competitions and much more.  Plus the sewing supplies and courses parts of the site somehow came into being and took on a life of their own!   I hadn't even thought about the social networking side if things, and now find myself with over 3,000 fans on Facebook and Twitter who have been so amazingly kind and supportive overt the last year.

It's been a rollercoaster year with some great highs and some unfortunate lows, but looking back I wouldn't change a thing.  I am very grateful to all of you who have supported me in this venture.  The hardest thing when you start a new business is wonder how people will react.  Will everyone else think it is a good idea, or just you?  Those first few people who come on board before you have even gotten off the ground are the ones that stick in your mind.  They show you, and everyone else, that they have faith in your idea and encourage you to succeed.

I am incredibly grateful to my first customer , Louise Parkes of Louise Parkes Interiors, who I met at the trade show last year, a month before I launched.  She signed up on the spot for a whole year, before the site was even live, and said she absolutely loved the idea.  I also owe a big thanks to Traplet Publications (owners of Sewing World and Patchwork & Quilting magazine), in particular Steph, who have been a massive support from when The Sewing Directory was just a vague idea and became sponsors before there was even a site to speak of.   Plus Cloth Kits, Janome and Abakhan Fabrics who all asked to advertise on the site, again before I had even launched, they all had faith that the site would succeed and I am proud to prove them right.

I have many plans for the second year of The Sewing Directory, hopefully most of them will come to fruition by the end of the year.  I always have a head full of ideas and no where near enough time to implement them all!   Anyway I don't want to waffle on so I would just like to say a huge big thank you to you all there are way to many of you to thank you all individually.  By way of thanks I am giving away a new Janome TXL607 on the site here, worth £499 so make sure you get your entry in!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Focus on.....

Focus on... Fancy Moon

Fancy Moon is an online fabric store with a huge range of fabrics, from vintage inspired quilting fabric to modern cotton lawn fabrics. Brands include Michael Miller, Kokka, Lecien, Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman and Makower.

You can browse the fabrics by designer, manufacturer, theme, and by type making it easy to find what you are looking for. We just love how colourful and funky the designs are plus they have lots of gorgeous fabrics with a vintage feel to them such as this one pictured and a great range of Japanese fabrics including over 100 Kokka designs.

You can also sign up to their monthly newsletter to be kept updated with their latest products and offers.
Visit to find out more.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Focus on.....

Focus on...... Jumping Juniper

Jumping Juniper is a site for funky handmade clothes for children. The site was set up by mum of 3 girls Nicky who started by making clothes for her daughters but people kept asking where they could buy them from so Jumping Juniper soon came into being.

She currently specialises in clothes for young girls, aged between 2 and 11. She has a range of pre-made tops, dresses and skirts available for purchase on the site, but can also make to order if you contact her to discuss.

They have a range of funky fabrics which could be used to create a unique item of clothing for your child with prices starting from just £10.

To find out more please visit:
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