Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hello, my name is Anna and I'm an addict... (aka Craftaholics Anonymous)

Well, I will blog about last weekends thing later (there are still some pictures to be taken), but yesterday I actually went to a craft fair in Birmingham. This was a bit of a surprise event for me, as I actually didn't know about it before Sheila from the B&B told that she's going. So, I tagged along...

It was held by ICHF Events
@NEC Birmingham and with the same ticket you could enter all three parts:
1) Fashion, Embroidery, and Stitch
2) Sewing for Pleasure
3) Hobbycrafts

I had looked at the website before and the main things for me to see where a workshop by Bernina (Bernina in Finnish) & Madeira. There were actually three options for me, but I got my first choice, the stitch covered mini notebook, which was perfect timing-wise. The main idea was to try free motion embroidering with a machine, so that's why I had some choice. That started only at 11:45, so I had time to go an listen to Stuart Hillard's 10:30 talk on wardrobe customization, which was the other main event for me.

While I was waiting for the talk, I looked around a bit and just next to the talk podium, they had The Giant textile books. So, amazing! See the pictures below for two of the books and visit their website to see more pictures and past exhibitions.

So, then it was time for Stuart's talk. If you've never heard of him, shame on you. Well, not really, but he was a contestant in the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee. He gave really good tips on what you can do with just few simple things. I'm a lot better at doing something from scratch than customizing, so I was excited about this and he didn't let me down. And I even got a picture with him! And just look at his pants, I love the color!
Stuart demonstrating what you can do
with a t-shirt and a tie
Me and Stuart. I have the worst posture ever in
this one and it makes me look kind of fat...
well, at least Stuart looks good :)

I had a bit of time before my machine embroidery workshop, so again, I was just looking around. And I saw this guy making all kinds of cords with an interesting method. And of course I decided I need to learn it and I got the kit. There was a beginner's kit, but the one I got included the beginner's kit + more advanced stuff. I think I'll be ok with it :) The method is called lucet and you can find more about it at Ziggy's website.

So, then finally it was time for the workshop. It was taught by Pauline Verrinder from FibreFusion. And in one hour, she managed to help us learn free machine embroidery (no embroidery machine needed!) and we made a small note book as well. First it was a bit of practicing, I tried to do a flower (that looks better than I would've expected for my first try and then I tried writing my name, which was a less successful attempt. But I think my final product looks pretty good. You can see here the actual notebook (the cover keeps opening, so I needed to weigh it down with my camera case) and a zoom in to one (the better one) of the flowers.

After this workshop and lunch I went to see if I could get to an appliqué workshop in Sizzix stand. It was a workshop without reservations and the next one was starting in half an hour, so I decided to sit down and wait. I actually got very tempted to buy the cutting machine they advertised (which I guess was the point of it all), but I think with the amount of quilting and appliqué I'm doing at the moment, I can be without one... The workshop was held by Angela Southey, who also writes on the Sizzix blog. I got so much out of it and I think my needle case turned out ok (and I didn't have one!)

I also met a really cool person who I shared the machines and iron with. Jenny has her own company and she buys bags which she then embellishes and sells further. Take a look at her work on her website.
Needle case with a butterfly appliqué
After all of these workshops it was 14:30 already. But this was kind of perfect. The place didn't have a lot of places to sit down, so people started to get tired around this point. I had sit most of the time until then, so I was totally ok for walking. So I missed the worst rush. I had managed to buy a few things in between the workshops, but now I started to have a hard time controlling my shopping impulses. I think I used more money than I had planned, but everything I got was useful (well, I really shouldn't get more fabric...) and things I haven't really seen in Paris. Or I'm sure some of the stuff you can get there, but I would have to go look for it.

So, at this point my shopping included, in addition to the lucet stuff: a meter of tweed remnant (£5) and some general stuff for sewing like glue pens, rotary blade sharpener, some cable needles for knitting, and a scissors case. I still needed an embroidery hoop for machine embroidery, which wasn't too hard to find.
Linton tweed: 100 cm x 140 cm / £5

I also saw some good deals on patterns, but luckily most of the ones I was interested in didn't have my size anymore, so I ended up getting only two. The underwear one is mostly for the corset as I think I can make a petticoat without an actual pattern. And I was very happy to find one of the retro patterns I've been drooling on in sale.

I also found some plain red cotton fabric, which is perfect for my vintage dress, that I'm still planning on to do. I have some linen in the same color, but I've been a bit worried that it might be a tad thick with the polyester.

And then I saw this really cute tractor fabric at Doughty's and I really need to sew a shirt for my nephew. He just loves tractors: my mom got him a t-shirt with a tractor on it for Christmas and he only took it off when my sister told him that if he doesn't give it to her to wash now, he won't have it for the whole next week... So, just to have a dressier shirt, right? And when I was in line to buy that I saw the girls in front of me getting the cool camera fabric below and I just had to be a copycat and get some. The color isn't really my color, but at least there are some yellow cameras... And maybe I can combine it with something... :)

After I got some food, I had a bit more energy left and I saw the cutest cat fabric ever! It was in thre Little Laura's Haberdashery and they had the same one in white as well and while I was pondering out loud to the lady next to me that I would get it as a contrast, she pointed out to me that there was actually even a better contrast fabric on the shelf. The black one with paw prints on it. How perfect is that. I'm thinking of Alma & Chardon (with a contrast edge), or maybe something like Ava or Macaron...

And then something draw me back to the tweed and Linton. Maybe the fact that I got into my head an idea of a tweed jacket and my 1 m piece wasn't big enough for that (for the 1 m piece I'm actually planning Thurlow). So, I went back and looked at the 2 m pieces that were meant for jackets. And I saw it right away. It was actually one of the most expensive ones at £60. I really loved it, though, and while I was wondering if I should get it the lady asks me if I'm a student. I said I was, although an astrophysics student, and she told me that the student price was £45. She kind of sounded like I should've actually been a dressmaker student or something, but I guess she felt sorry for me: I'm sure she saw how much I liked it... And the best thing: this was actually a fabric ordered by Chanel, but when the fabric is older than 3 years they can start selling it as a fabric as well. So, I need to make a Chanel jacket, right? And what is a better pattern than V8804? So, I think I need to go pattern shopping...
Vogue 8804

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