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The Knitting and Stitching Show 2019

Last week I was incredibly excited to attend my very first Knitting and Stitching Show. It is the ultimate event regarding all textile based crafts, and I have been desperate to see what it is all about for quite some time now.

I am very grateful to The Knitting and Stitching Show for supplying me with a Press Pass so that I could go and see for myself what the show is all about, and in turn I can now share with you a little of what I saw on the day that I visited.

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The show ran from 10th – 13th October this year and it was held at the beautiful Alexandra Palace in North London. I attended with my good friend Vena, and made arrangements to also meet up with a few more friends when inside.

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Beautiful London skyline

The show is an incredible mix of crafty demonstrations, advice, workshops, fashion shows, exhibitions and an enormous gathering of knitting and stitching related retailers for you to shop until you drop (which was almost the situation in our case)!

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The Palm Court Foyer

There is so much to see and take in, we really didn’t know where to start. I decided to travel in by train. By the time that I had then caught the Underground and jumped on the bus up to Ally Pally, most of the morning had gone, so on reflection next time I will probably drive down, as it would take me less than 2 hours, and I understand that there is free parking. Either that or set off MUCH earlier!

So we set off and started weaving up and down the aisles so as to try to not miss anything. It was really really busy, and initially I found it tricky to have a good look at anything just due to the crowds, but after lunchtime things seemed to settle down and it definitely became easier to wander around and see what there was to see.

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The Great Hall – overlooked by the beautiful ‘Rose Window’

If we had been a little more organised then we would have definitely considered taking a workshop. They’re a good excuse to have a short break from the shopping, rest your weary feet and learn a new skill. Workshops range from between 1-2 hours and run throughout the day teaching such skills as macrame, embroidery, knitting and needle felting to name just a few.

After a super short sit down for something to eat, we had a little time left to mooch around some more stands, but honestly, we didn’t get around everyone. Whilst we stopped for something to eat, a lady told us that she travelled down and stayed in a local hotel for a couple of nights so that she could attend the show over 2 or 3 days, and I can see why this would be a good idea if your finances/time off would allow. It was a brilliant but very tiring day out, and I can only imaging how the exhibitors must feel after 4 days – they must be exhausted!

Highlights of the day for me were meeting some of the people that I admire online. Particularly those that I have worked with on sewing projects but never actually met. I was so delighted to meet the lovely Lisa from The Avid Seamstress, as I have worked a little with her in the past and you all know how much I love ‘The Day Dress’ and ‘The Blouse’. Lovely Lisa is everything that I hoped she would be – warm, welcoming, friendly and a great hugger!

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Photo credit – The Avid Seamstress (regretfully my shyness prevented me from asking for a pic)

Also, this, what can I say. I was always going to wear my new Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Dress, and to meet Tilly was a real thrill. * Happy sigh*

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Thanks for taking and forwarding this pic to me Sheona! x

I was quite restrained with my shopping I think. The reason being that I had attended the ‘SewBrum’ meet up the previous week and had spent a fair bit on that day out.. but I did treat myself to a few goodies.

Firstly this starter kit from Happy Fabric. I have been desperate to try out their heat transfer vinyls since seeing them in action at the Sewisfaction Summer Party this year, and will now be embellishing everything in sight!

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This adorable Dropcloth Samplers pincushion kit which I picked up from Beyond Measure (her stall was amazing and it was almost impossible to pick just one treat from here)!

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Finally, some English Paper Piecing essentials from Barnyards. Not that exciting to look at but I needed some Bottom Line Superior Thread and a thimble for trying hand quilting with. I haven’t always got on with thimbles, but with something like hand quilting I need some protection for my poor sore needle pushing finger!

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More dates for Knitting and Stitching shows this year are – Dublin from 7th-10th November, and Harrogate from 28th Nov – 1st Dec.

Thank you so much to The Knitting and Stitching Show for such a great day out. What a show!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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A ‘behind the seams’ factory tour with Fashion Enter.

Last Friday, myself and some other sewing bloggers were lucky enough to be invited along to visit the premises of Fashion Enter and Fashion Capital.  It was a perfect opportunity to learn about a thriving ethical garment production factory, here in the U.K, which is also home to some incredible training and development facilities too.

So, off I set to North London where I met up with some blogger friends. We were warmly greeted with refreshments and an overview of what the business is all about and how it can help customers as well as the training opportunities that it provides for individuals too.

They are a social enterprise who manufacture quality fast fashion garments in their factory and produce around 8,000 units per week for their core client ASOS. 

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We were kindly shown around the 7,500 sq. ft. factory and able to get an idea of how the garment making process happens. It is a clean, bright, safe and well organised space and quite an eye-opener if, like me, you have not had the opportunity to visit somewhere like this before.

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A smaller production department is also on site called The Couturier which produces more tailored and detailed designs in smaller quantities than the main factory.

The Fashion Studio is a design and development studio which helps the client bring their ideas to life, assisting in all areas including patterns, samples, and offering a full grading service to name but a few. We were shown where the pattern cutting team works and also how they use the Vetigraph and Gerber system to work with plans on the computer.

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Also on the premises is The Fashion Technology Academy  and The Stitching Academy. Here training is provided from getting to know and care for industrial machines right through to gaining qualifications in every area of the skills needed to become competent on the industrial machine. Pattern cutting is also taught here.

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We were shown a stunning sample portfolio folder from a student, which displayed examples of every type of sewing technique she had mastered. It was so impressive. I know that the business is particularly proud of reaching out to help needy members of the community such as the long-term unemployed, but these courses are available to everybody and I would encourage you to visit the website if there is any area of sewing that you feel you might like some training and support in – it is suitable for the home sewist as well and those who are training for work in an industrial situation.

A great benefit to all of us at home is that it is inevitable that there is always going to be fabrics that are ‘left over’ from the production process and these are available for purchase with a big discount on a separate website here. The prices are really great and new fabrics are always being listed so check back regularly to see what’s on offer. Myself and the girls were very kindly given 4 metres of our choice of fabric to take away with us,  I will of course share what I make with them.

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Having a good rummage!

I think I can safely say that the highlight of our day was a fascinating taster session with the wonderful Claudette Joseph. We were very kindly shown the art of the origami TR (Transformation Reconstruction) technique which Claudette learned from Shingo Sato. She now teaches this incredible technique herself, and what a joy she is to learn from.

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We were all given a paper half front bodice with a bust dart and using a process of cutting and adding additional triangular pieces, we all managed to create a paper pattern piece with this technique. This is definitely precision work and something that I need to perfect, but we were gently encouraged and guided by Claudette and all got there in the end. It was truly eye-opening, especially when Claudette showed us examples of some of the ways she had incorporated this technique using fabric samples. Once you master the basics, the world is your oyster!

For more inspiration you can find Claudette on Instagram here, or her website here.

Our finished results!

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If you are interested in a taster session on the TR technique with Claudette, and you are within reasonable travelling distance, then you can find details here.

I had such a wonderful day with my fellow sewing bloggers who I’m sure you all know already but if not you can find all the girls below:

Emily from Self Assembly Required

Amy and Nicki from Sewalicious

Alex from Sewrendipity

Sue from Susan Young Sewing

Rachel from House of Pinheiro

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A huge thank you to all involved for organising our wonderful trip and making our day so informative and enjoyable. We were incredibly well looked after. Thank you also to William Gee who kindly provided a generous pack of Coats Moon threads for us to take home in our goody bags. I’m a big fan of Moon threads and use them on my overlocker, so these were a super gift, thank you.

I know that the team in London would welcome any queries or questions that you have, and their contact details are available on the websites mentioned at the start of this post. I do hope that the details that I have written about are accurate – I must admit that there was a great deal to take in on the day. Please do head on over to the websites listed for a much more detailed explanation than I may have given here.

Sooo, after several hours learning all about this wonderful business, I decided to spend the rest of my day enjoying a little glimpse of some more London ‘attractions’.

Firstly a little peek at the new Sew Over it shop in Islington.

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Closely followed by a short trip to the Goldhawk Road. I definitely need to spend more time here on a future visit as I barely scratched the surface, but … wow!

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Finally, a trip to London would not have been complete without a quick browse around the haberdashery department at Liberty. So pretty.

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Take care, and I’ll see you soon,

Kathy x