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A lovely day out at #sewbrum

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Saturday 28th October 2017 is a date that has been eagerly anticipated by a great deal of the sewing community in the U.K

It was the date of the annual ‘Sew Brum’ sewing meet-up organised by the wonderful Charlotte from English Girl At Home and as it’s name suggests it is a friendly gathering in Birmingham of sewing enthusiasts from all over the U.K  which consists of lots fabric shopping, tea drinking and chatter!

Our meet up point was at the John Lewis restaurant where everybody gathered between 10 and 11am. The restaurant quickly filled up with lots and lots of excited chatter and it was wonderful to meet up with old friends and make new friends too. I believe that over 130 people had signed up to attend and many had travelled a very long way to be there.

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The itinery was fairly relaxed. Charlotte had provided a list of suggested fabric retailers in the City and it was a case of deciding where to go during the morning before reconvening in Moseley Village at Guthrie & Ghani to meet for lunch and an afternoon at this wonderful fabric shop.

Myself and my group of friends decided to start off at the famous Birmingham Rag Market, and we were not disappointed. I purchased my first ever piece of African Wax fabric, and also some pretty navy floral jersey which will probably end up as another Agnes Top.

Next it was off to Barry’s Fabrics.

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Barry’s is a short walk from the City centre, but the weather was dry and it was totally worth it! It’s a small warehouse style fabric store and is packed from floor to ceiling with hundreds and hundreds of rolls of fabrics. Bliss!

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We spent quite some time here. So much fabric to look through! Hard to believe – I did not find anything that I wanted particularly and decided to save my pennies for a special fabric from Guthrie and Ghani later that afternoon.

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Outside Barry’s was this beautiful wall and I could not resist a pic of my ‘partners in crime’ for the day. In the middle is Kate  and on the right is Vena. We did not stop laughing all day. Such great girls.

No time to rest, and it was off to find the bus stop to take us on a 15 min journey to Moseley Village to tie up with the rest of the sewists at Guthrie and Ghani.  It was a bit of a squeeze in the shop, but great fun and we were made very very welcome by Lauren and all the team. We all bought raffle tickets and had a little browse around the shop. It’s so beautiful. It’s a pretty black and white timber framed building on the main through road and houses a great range of superb quality fabrics, patterns and haberdashery items downstairs and another room upstairs where a lovely range of workshops are normally held.

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I could not resist purchasing a super soft pink fleeceback jersey fabric, and I will share what I make with it here in the next couple of weeks or so.

A fabric and pattern swap was held at the shop, I took along a couple of pieces of fabric and two patterns that I didn’t want and swapped them for two patterns and two fabrics that I wanted from the swap table! Thank you to whoever donated these pieces – I am going to enjoy them very much!

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The raffle prizes were amazing. Fabric suppliers, pattern houses, sewing magazines and the like had generously donated some wonderful prizes and I understand that the outcome was that £431.50 was raised for The Eve Appeal and £80 to provide a toilet for a village in Africa who doesn’t have one. Pretty great I think.

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This is Lauren, the owner of Guthrie and Ghani selecting the raffle prizes, and Charlotte picking out the winning tickets!

The day was over in a flash. It really was disappointing when it was time to go, especially as I felt that I hadn’t had the chance to chat to everybody that I had wanted to. I know that everybody I spent time with said that they had enjoyed their day immensely, and it is so very generous of Charlotte to give so much of her time to organize such a great event. Thank you also to Lauren and all the team from Guthrie and Ghani for looking after us all in the afternoon.

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Sewing friends are the best friends don’t you think?

I feel I was quite restrained in my fabric purchases considering all the temptation of the day, but what I brought home I am thrilled with and am looking forward to sewing up.

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My fabric purchases on the day were: top – fleeceback jersey from Guthrie and Ghani, middle – jersey from the Rag Market and bottom – African Wax from the Rag Market.

After a tiring day it was time to say goodbye to all, I was especially sad to leave Vena and Kate, and hope it won’t be too long before we see each other again.

I, for one, am already looking forward to #sewbrum 2018!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A lovely day out at Sewisfaction

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Being part of the blogger team at Sewisfaction is a huge honour and great pleasure, but so much of sewing blogging is spent working and communicating online from home. So recently the lovely Sheona, who most of you will know as the owner of fabric and haberdashery shop Sewisfaction, arranged a little get-together for the Sewisfaction Blogger Team. The plan was to all meet up at Sewisfaction ‘HQ’ and spend a lovely Sunday sewing and chatting. Bliss.

As a great deal of you will know, Sheona opened her ‘bricks and mortar’ shop a couple of months ago. It is located in the idyllic Berkshire countryside on the outskirts of Wokingham, at Holme Grange Craft Village. The craft village has a great location near motorway links and is also not too far from Wokingham railway station.

As is often the case it is tricky to find a time and location that everybody can make. We were so very sorry that Lesley,  Suzie, and Maddie were unable to make it this time. Fingers crossed that we can all be together one day – how awesome would that be!

It was so exciting to actually visit the shop at last, after seeing it online so much in Sheona’s vlogs and on her Instagram account, and it did not disappoint. The shop is easy to locate in the Village (plenty of free parking by the way), and you are greeted with a welcoming selection of pretty fabrics, haberdashery items, sewing patterns, knitting wools and general sewing lovliness! New fabrics are being added to the shop all the time, and you will usually find Sheona will mention them on her social media (particularly Instagram), so if you want to be the first to know what’s going on then do give her a ‘follow’. You can also sign up on the website to receive updates and news from Sewisfaction is this is easier for you.

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Don’t forget to tag your makes #mysewisfaction and you may well find yourself on the ‘wall of fame’!

It was a huge thrill to finally meet Sheona and two of my fellow Sewisfaction Bloggers –  Amanda and Samantha . What lovely, lovely girls – truly sweet, and I felt like I had known them for years. Also I was super happy to meet Suzy who a great deal of you will have seen in Sheona’s vlogs, again what a sweetheart – and we all had the most amazing time sewing and chatting accompanied by plenty of tea and biscuits!

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The shop has an impressive sewing space where we were able to use the wonderful Janome sewing machines and overlockers that are available at Sewisfaction for the many sewing courses and classes that are held there. Check out the website for a full list of what is available – there is something for all abilities including parties and half term activities.

Lunch was the perfect opportunity to have a little break, and there is a pretty little cafe just downstairs from the shop where we grabbed a sandwich before more sewing in the afternoon.

All too soon it was time to go – not before some fabric purchases were made – well, it would be impossible to go home with nothing don’t you think? You might have seen my fabric purchases on my Instagram Stories, and I will of course be sharing the finished makes on here in due course.

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I hope it won’t be too long before we are all able to meet up again. Sewing and chatting really is the perfect way to spend the day. Thank you to Sheona for all her hospitality, and also to Amanda, Samantha and Suzy for making my day so enjoyable.

Here’s to the next one! #teamsewisfaction

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Wonderful Day Out at ‘Fabric Meet Birmingham’

Yesterday was just lovely. Fabric shopping in Birmingham on a beautiful sunny day with lots of creative and inspiring sewists. What a perfect way to spend a day. Let me tell you more..

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About a month ago, Samantha from Create It Samantha and Bianca from Sleepless in Bavaria decided to host a fabric shopping trip and get-together in Birmingham. It sounded like too much fun to miss out on so I stuck my hand in the air straight away!

We were all meeting in John Lewis, which was perfect as I was arriving by train and John Lewis is on the doorstep! Samantha and Bianca had thoughtfully arranged for us to have use of a private dining area next to the restaurant which was so perfect as we could all grab ourselves some refreshments and get to know each other before we started.

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During this time we had a little pattern/fabric swap. I was delighted to pick up a Colette Patterns Peony dress pattern. Thank you to whoever donated this item, I am thrilled with it! Further more Samantha and Bianca handed out goody bags for everyone. I will pop a picture of all our goodies at the end of this post. Totally spoiled already and we had only been going an hour!

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Firstly we met June who works for John Lewis in their haberdashery department. We enjoyed a lovely demonstration on their range of sewing machines, and had the opportunity to give them a try ourselves. I enjoyed using a machine with no foot pedal for the first time – it has a start/stop button instead, and quickly made a little quilted square. Such fun!

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Forgive that it is a little wonky, it was cut without ruler or measuring and not pressed, but you get the idea!

After this, it was time to move outside into the sunshine and take a walk to the Rag Market. Plenty of bargains were bagged by us all as there were lots of fabric stalls inside and outside.

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One of the stalls inside the Rag Market

No rest for the wicked, it was then off to a much anticipated visit to Barry’s Fabrics. Boy! we weren’t disappointed. Packed to the rafters with rolls and rolls of fabrics, we had a wonderful time, like kids in a candy store.

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By this time I think we were all beginning to flag a little. Perfect time to break for lunch. Of course lovely Samantha and Bianca had already reserved tables at The Stable, so it was a quick walk back to the Bullring area to grab some lunch. Two long tables had been booked which was so perfect as we could all continue to chat together as large groups and didn’t need to separate up into smaller tables.

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After lunch we jumped into taxis and made the 10 minute journey to visit the Adam Ross warehouse. We were warmly greeted by Jas, Faisal, Saira and the team, and enjoyed refreshments whilst we learned about the company and how they work. Did you know that Adam Ross offer free postage on all orders, and always aim to get orders cut and dispatched on the same day. Very impressive. If you would like to check out their website you can do so here.

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Jas took us over to their cutting table to show us their newest range of fabrics. We wanted to buy all of them!

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Next came the moment we had all been waiting for. A good look around their warehouse. Two enormous floors worth of fabrics. I have never seen anything like it, we were given free rein to take our time and wander anywhere we liked and choose any fabric that we wanted to purchase.

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The welcome that we received from the team at Adam Ross was second to none, and just when I thought our day couldn’t get any better we were each given beautiful little notebooks which had been bound and covered with their fabrics. I picked a navy blue with star design.

Thank you so much to Bianca and Samantha for ensuring we all had the best day. Every little detail had been carefully planned, and not only was the fabric shopping amazing, the friendly company of such wonderful ladies and gent was a great experience. New friends have now been made and will be treasured.

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My fabric haul from the day. Top two from Adam Ross, middle from the Rag Market, bottom two from Barry’s Fabrics.

Finally let me show you the lot! As well as the fabrics I purchased, take a look at the beautiful fabric bound notebook and pen from Adam Ross, and the extremely generous gifts from Samantha and Bianca. Also the pattern I picked up from the pattern/fabric swap!

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I think if this wonderful event is ever repeated, it might be wise to follow Vena’s example and bring a suitcase on wheels. We all had a bit of trolley envy at the end of the day when we had to carry our bags home!

I hope you have enjoyed this little insight of my day out in Birmingham, it was lovely to meet so many new friends and hope to see more of you all in the future.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

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A Lovely Day out at the Leicester Dressmakers Meet-Up

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I was so chuffed when I heard that Sarah and Freya from Crafty Sew and So in Leicester were going to arrange a meet-up, I have been counting the sleeps! Leicester is my home turf so naturally I was all over it.

The day started with an informal gathering at Kai Kitchen Cafe in St Martins Square. This is very conveniently situated just over the way from the Crafty Sew and So shop. I’ll be honest, this was the most difficult and nerve wracking part of the day for me as I’m pretty shy, and walking through the door to meet a group of strangers was a little difficult for me to say the least.

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However I was very warmly greeted by Freya, and a large gathering of very friendly sewists, many of whom were also there on their own, and before long the room was buzzing with laughter and excited conversations. It was the perfect opportunity to break the ice and get to know some very lovely people. Delicious food and drinks were consumed, and after an hour or so we were ready to hit the fabric shops.

The weather was a little cold unfortunately, but never mind at least the rain held off. We headed off and were first shown The City Rooms where the upcoming Dressmakers Ball will be held in May. From there it is just a short walk to the market where our shopping began.

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Stuart’s Fabrics in Leicester market
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Ash Fabrics in Leicester market

Time to move on, and next we were taken through to Odeon Arcade which is the home to  Material Magic. Lots more purchases were made before wandering over to a lovely little haberdashery shop called Button Boutique, in Malcolm Arcade. This really is a great place to stock up on all your sewing notions and it has the best choice of loose buttons of anywhere I know.dressmakers-meetup-5

Finally it was time to move on and walk back round to St Martins Square and the warmth of the Crafty Sew and So shop. We were welcomed with tea and very delicious looking home made cakes (what a shame I’m on a diet), and given the chance to take advantage of a generous discount off all items in store.

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Such a welcoming window display

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This place really is a little Aladdin’s Cave of all things sewing. An extensive range of sewing supplies, fabulous range of independent sewing patterns, fabrics, machines, fabrics and a sewing workshop to boot. The team there were friendly and helpful and it really was a pleasant way to spend some time with your friends.

A little while later and it was time to gather to enjoy a talk by Charlotte from https://englishgirlathome.com/ What a delight! This was an informative and funny talk through the world of blogging and vlogging from Charlotte’s perspective and I really enjoyed it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon. Many thanks to Sarah, Freya and all the team involved with arranging this get together. I was so happy to meet up with so many like-minded sewists and have the opportunity to chat about sewing to our hearts content all afternoon!

I may have made a few cheeky purchases, none of them needed of course, but, well you know…dressmakers-meetup-8

Thanks to all for a very lovely Saturday.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon.

Kathy x

 

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