Let’s just start by saying I have a reasonable quantity of fabric. Well, actually, if we’re being honest, a LOT of fabric. In fact, if we are aiming for total editorial accuracy, AN UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNT OF FABRIC. (Yes, that statement has been verified by independent non-fabric loving humans and suffice to say, after the hysterical laughter, tutting and eyeball rolling, they all agree, it is A LOT). *Ahem* Well, I think we’ve cleared that up then.
With that in mind, you may ask yourself what I was thinking going to the fabric and knitting mecca that is the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London, last Friday. In my saner moments I asked myself that very same question. Trouble is, the annual trip with my Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group is a pilgrimage of sorts (alright, pilgrims don’t normally ply themselves with copious amounts of alchohol and cake on the way to their enlightments, but what can I say, it works for us.) I just couldn’t not go … it would be rude, right?
I was, for once, properly armed for the occasion. I made careful notes of the patterns I wanted to make in fabrics I don’t currently own, I even did little drawings in a notebook (together with fabric quantities scribbled next to them) so I would only buy with a specific garment in mind. What a marvellous plan, surely that would keep me safely on the path to minimum extra purchases. It all seemed to make sense … but what I came home with was this:
OMG – Every time I look at that retro Michael Miller print fabric I feel like I need to quit my job, stay home and dedicate my life to making dresses. I totally abandoned the list and my plan and bought anything I loved. There was quite a lot! The handpainted silk (bottom left) is like a slice of the Caribbean. No idea in my head what I’ll make with it. I may just keep it in a darkened cupboard and take it out to stroke once in a while. I think the only thing that even slightly resembled a rational purchase was the cheap viscose print (middle left) bought with the sole purpose of running up a wearable toile of the By Hand London Anna dress. As for the rest – it was just love at first sight.
Talking of which, will you cast your peepers on this …
*swoon* Penguins with newspaper print and sunshine yellow background by Kokka – about as near to fabric perfection as I think I’ll ever get. If only this was a dressmaking weight rather than a linen weight – otherwise these little fellas would be debuting in a dress rather than the bag I now have planned. At the moment this haul is “resting” in the kitchen before I find room for it relocate it to the sewing shed.
All in all we had a fantastic day. One of my favourite parts of the day is when we all head back to the coach at lunchtime and start to compare swag. It’s always brilliant to see what every else has scored in the morning and means you still have time to go back to something you may have missed out on later in the day.
The other highlight of my day was meeting Stuart from The Great British Sewing Bee (Season 1). He was charming and genuinely a lovely man and we had quite a chat about how The Sewing Bee should start to throw in challenges involving large scale prints and more challenging fabric choices. It reminded me of why he was my favourite in the series.
Then all too soon it was time to come home. Exhausted we all trooped back to our coach, now drenched but still smiling to do another quick show and tell on the way home. I did make one extra purchase on Friday. Ta da!
Ooops … seems I bought a shiny new sewing machine. Sadly, I have to bide my time for it to arrive and am feeling very impatient about it. I have been sewing with my Elna now for around two years, but this year it had an unfortunate accident involving an impatient seamstress, a bunch of pins, a buckled needle and then a ruined machine. Basically, I tried to sew a zig zag stitch through a large metal solid invisible zipper foot. It didn’t end well. Although the machine spent several weeks in sewing machine intensive care and cost a small fortune to put right … it’s never been quite the same. Buttonholes are a serious issue nowadays (as if they weren’t bad enough before!).
I had been toying with the idea of a new machine for a while but hadn’t seen or tried one I felt was right for me. I tried all kinds at the show and had given up hope by lunchtime, but one of my sewing enthused Stitch ‘n’ Bitchers suggested I go back in the afternoon and give the Viking Husqvarna Opal a try. I loved it! What was even better was that the lovely sales ladies on the stand were all dedicated dressmakers, rather than quilters, so they showed me exactly how great all the features were for sewing garments. I feigned resistance until they demonstrated the perfectly balanced buttonhole feature. I knew in that moment I was a goner.
I did walk away to call my bloke, hoping for a dose of rationality or a sewing machine purchase intervention, but he just said,”Buy it babe.” So I did. Those of you who know me know, I always do what my husband tells me!