Tag Archive | festival

Sewmance by the Sea

I had a lovely Saturday at the Sewmance festival in Brighton. It held in the rather quirky Tempest Inn on the seafront, but to be honest, I didn’t get to see much of the actual sea. It was quite a grey day, so we were far better off indoors with a load of lovely sewing goodness to keep us occupied.

The day started well, I suppose. As I left Brighton railway station, I was greeted by a man on a bench with a can of something alcoholic, who told me “I like your style, miss!” (I was wearing my hong kong top). Well, I’ll take that, thank you.

I got to the venue, and started to find my way around the Tempest Inn, which was very quirky and all nooks and crannies. The first stall I saw was Cocowawa Crafts and it was lovely to chat with Ana, as I hadn’t had much chance to do that when I saw her at the Fabric Swap three weeks ago. She was due to do a talk, later, so I promised I would support her there. I was immediately taken by the t-shirt yarn she sells, and the white one with small dots really called out to me, and that was the first thing to find its way into my shopping bag.

Sewmance Haul

Sewmance Haul

The rest of the haul came from the Fabric Godmother, and again, it was a highly instinctive purchase. When I first saw her fabrics, this black & white floral ticked two of my personal style boxes, because if there’s two things I like, it’s black and whites, and florals. Technically it’s ivory rather than white, but that’s definitely close enough. I’m thinking this would work as a really simple sheath dress or shift dress, something that will allow the beautiful fabric to speak for itself. What you can’t tell from the picture is how soft and tactile this sateen is. I can well imagine that as soon as I’ve made this up into a dress, I’ll spend all my wearing time just stroking it. I’ve also bought the Colette Moneta pattern, so that I can have a go at it, since Me Made May showed me so many lovely versions.

I took  a workshop, with Sarah of Sew Retro, to make a make-up bag. I was so impressed that she had us all completing gorgeous bags in such a short time. I feel like making a million of these now!

Sew Retro bag - so sweet!

Sew Retro bag – so sweet!

And I also made a brooch, with the ladies of Saltdean Crafters. It was lovely and relaxed, sitting and sewing, companionably. I ended up going for a floral theme, because florals. Although that was the overriding theme, based on the fabric I started with, I didn’t have a specific plan in mind, and it just developed organically as I was going along. I’m pretty chuffed with the results.



So all in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and highly productive day.  I met a whole load of lovely sewers and crafters, including the fabulous Zoe of So Zo, What do you know? (my all time favourite sewing blogger!), and of course Stacie Madden of the Brighton Sewing Bee, who organised the whole kit and caboodle. And we saw the Sewing Stories documentary which was beautiful and told such inspiring stories. It will hopefully go up on YouTube some time, so I’ll try to update this with the vid, if & when that happens.

There’s going to be a November Sewmance, so I’m very much looking forward to that, and it will go into the diary as soon as the date is confirmed.

Going home afterwards I was surprisingly tired! But very happy!

A quick post on meetups

As a result of following new sewers on Instagram, I’ve got two real life meet-up opportunities this month, so I shall be more of a social sewer!

Firstly, I shall be at the Foldline Fabric/Pattern Swap tomorrow, in central London, hosted by Kristy of Scientific Sewing. I found out about it earlier this week, but didn’t think I could go, because of a prior commitment, but that visit got swapped to Sunday last night, so I’m free to go on up there. It fits in with my StashWatch pledges to myself, because swapping doesn’t increase my stash, and it means I can ditch those fabrics that I don’t really like any more, and patterns I know I will never ever sew, entirely guilt-free! And since I’ve now met my promise to myself to use 5 stash fabrics before I could buy any new ones, it will be ok if I come home with a bit more than I left with. Especially if I go up early and take a wander down Goldhawk Road.

And a bit later this month, on 18th June, I shall be trekking down to Brighton to the Sewmance Festival, organised by Stacie, who runs the Brighton Sewing Bee. It looks like a lot of fun, with loads of workshops and talks and a Stitch’n’Bitch area, I’m not entirely sure what that will entail, but I’m probably well up for it.

Finally, and this one is online rather than IRL, as a result of following Sewmance on Instagram (@sewmancefestival) I’ve embarked on their #mysewingstory video challenge. It’s day 3 today, out of 5, the theme is “why do you sew?”. Instagram only gives you a minute of video time, so that’s going to be a tough one to edit my thoughts down.

Massive Fangirl Squee!

I went to the Thread Festival at Farnham Maltings today. The top highlight of the day was definitely meeting the lovely Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons fame. She was doing a talk about how she wrote Love at First Stitch, which was *really* interesting. Not that I ever have any intention of writing any sort of book, but it was fascinating to hear how it all came together.

Love at First Stitch

Love at First Stitch

I’ll confess, I’ve read Tilly’s blog for as long as I’ve been reading sewing blogs, but it had not prepared me for how jolly *nice* Tilly is. I am now officially smitten.

I had not anticipated buying the book, I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before today, that there would be copies there for sale, but there you go, the thought hadn’t even flitted through my head. But as soon as I saw it, of course I was going to buy it. Why would I not? It’s a beautiful, not to mention useful, thing, and I spent the next half hour after Tilly’s talk, in the café poring through it and trying to work out what I want to make from it first, and surreptitiously sniffing that lovely new book smell. I’m definitely up for a Delphine skirt, and possibly a Megan dress. It’s a very inspiring book.

And look, it’s autographed and everything!



The other cool thing was chatting with one of the ladies from Gather, about how I really would like to buy their Mortmain dress pattern, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d have to do such a massive grading on it, and how they’re aware that there *is* a market for larger sized patterns. I know it’s so much more difficult/expensive for the independents to do the grading for larger sizes, but it’s nice to know that they are thinking about it.

I was also fascinated by the ladies from the Guild of Silk Painters. I could have watched them for hours!


I went to my first sewing festival today, Thread at the Farnham Maltings.

Thread- the Great Hall

Thread- the Great Hall

It was busier than this makes it look! I took this photo towards the end of the day.

It’s a new festival, and I think they’ve used their experience with running Unravel, which is a yarn & knitting/crochet based festival that has been going for several years now, to create a textiles/sewing based festival. It was an interesting experience for me, as a sewing n00b. It was fun, though it would have been even more fun if I’d had anyone to go with!

First off, it was pretty busy, but not outrageously so, so it was a pleasant afternoon, not an afternoon of not really seeing anything much! I think I got around to all the stalls. If I’d been a lot more prepared I’d have pre-booked myself onto a workshop, maybe- there was one on making & using bias binding, by Lauren of Guthrie & Ghani, and one on shibori indigo dying, that I might have been interested in. Next year, I’ll be better prepared! I did get to go to a couple of the talks. One was by Kate Smith of The Makery in Bath, about setting up and running her craft business. The other was by textile artist Alice Kettle, and was about thread as the fundamental basis of all our lives- its potentiality, its linearity, its symbolism. She included a lot about her personal inspirations and experiences as a working artist, which I found very interesting.

But onto the shopping… I decided I wasn’t going to go bonkers and buy up everything in sight, even though there was an awful lot of CUTE CUTE FABRIC! I managed to restrict myself to a small length (I think I can justifiably call it a thin quarter!) of Japanese cotton, with a beautiful floral print from SewSister, and a fat quarter of shibori dyed indigo cotton from Changs. I manfully resisted the allure of a bias binding making machine (because I know I wouldn’t use it right now), but I did buy a load of long & pretty dressmaking pins, because I’d been promising myself some for a while, and they were very reasonably priced.



I spoke with a lovely lady from the Basingstoke Embroiderers Guild, and an equally lovely lady from InStitches Textile Courses, both of whom were waxing lyrical about how creative you can be (which makes me feel like a total fraud for my piffling attempts at creativity!) and I blagged a couple of badges from the University of Creative Arts.

Unique and Awesome

Unique and Awesome

There was so much beautiful work on display, awesome(!) creativity and design flair, cute and quirky things, ravishingly gorgeous things, work which beggared belief. It’s left me fizzing with ideas and inspiration, which may or may not ever see the light of day. I’m glad it wasn’t too big an event, because I don’t think my brain would have coped with anything more! How do people manage at huge events like the Ally Pally one a couple of weeks back?