No Sewing, Plenty of Shopping!

Well, not no sewing at all, but I haven’t got much to report right now as I have no photos! I have a blue viscose tee and blue and white herringbone Burda trousers and a new pair of gorgeous Birkin Flares.  But nowhere to be seen.  What I can show you though, is fabric shopping….

My favourite annual fabric shopping opportunity happened this week, Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC.  I always go on the Thursday, the first day.  You get the best picks first thing on day one!  I went prepared, a wad of cash in my wallet that was all I was allowed to spend and two large carrier bags in which to stuff my purchases.   I was meeting with an ex-student whom I hadn’t seen in about 2 years, so it was going to be a good day!  We had a fabulous time catching up and buying pretty things.

I started at Rosenberg & Son – the only place to start.  As usual there was a crowd 3 people deep all trying to get access to the front to feel and grab precious bolts of fabrics.  Some people have sharp elbows…  Anyway, once I finally reached my destination I bought 2.5m of floral printed twill for a friend (who’s making a dress), 1.2m of blue and white geometric print John Kaldor viscose jersey and and 2.5m of the prettiest green and blue parasol print poplin.  My plans for the jersey is to turn it into a tee of some sort – no idea which pattern just yet.  The parasol print will be the trousers from the pantsuit in the plus size section of the April issue of Burdastyle magazine.  It’s going to look good on the beach next month!!

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First purchases from Rosenberg, Viscose jersey, print twill & print poplin

From there I found Doughty’s.  All 2-3 stalls.  Why so many? Anyways, one of their stalls had a majority of quilting cottons, the others had a mixture of good fabrics, including a decent selection of ex-designer fabrics like Paul Smith.  I bought a metre of pretty navy and white seaside print cotton to make baby things for a friend’s soon to be born little girl.  February’s issue of Burdastyle has some really cute patterns for baby clothes.

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Seaside print cotton from Doughty’s Fabrics

They always have lots of lovely fabrics, this time I managed to buy from two of the stalls.  On 2 different trips I bought 2 metres of washed linen in grey and white (looks like a cotton & linen blend) and 1.2m of black and white stripe viscose jersey.  I have a pretty good idea the linen will become a pair of floppy trousers, although a friend suggested an unlined jacket, and the jersey is destined to be a tee.  Again, pattern undecided.

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Linen & viscose jersey from Doughty’s

 

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Montreux Fabrics

I found a new fabric store at the show this time, Montreux Fabrics.  They haven’t got their website up and running just yet but they did have plenty of gorgeous fabrics! I particularly enjoyed rummaging through the “remnant” baskets.  Their selection of jersey fabrics was really good.  I ended up only buying 2 pieces, 1.8m of plain blue viscose jersey, again it’ll be a tee of some sort, and 1.4m of white viscose jersey that’s destined for Del.

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Beautiful blue jersey from Montreux fabrics

Just when I thought I’d done all my buying, daughter No2 turned up!  My friend wanted to go back to Rosenberg’s so we tagged along.  Bad decision!  Or maybe not.  Two more pieces of fabric were added to my bags!  Daughter no 2 liked a piece of Liberty lawn for a vintage blouse and then fell for a large floral print stretch cotton for another blouse.  I will wait for her to come home for the Easter hols to pick the exact patterns she wants.

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Cotton prints from Rosenberg & Son

I killed a little time at the Bernina stand, I still wouldn’t swap either of my old machines for one of them.  The overlockers look even more involved than mine!  I looked at the coverstitch though, it has three needles and costs a mere £599.  To sew hems….  Twin needles are much cheaper!

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Overlockers at the Bernina stand

I browsed the patterns stands, picked up one Burda trouser patterns but on the whole I left the commercial patterns alone.

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Looking out bargains at Doughty’s, Interesting print choice & lots of commercial patterns

So all in all it was a pretty fabulous day.  My wallet was empty, feet only a little sore and fabric bags full!  It was all so worth it and I have plenty to sew in the next 4 weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing for Pleasure

Yesterday I went to Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC with some students/friends.  The temptation monster was practically roaring at us from our first step inside the halls.  For those of you what haven’t a clue what I’m on about, this exhibition is all for the sewist!  If you are into embroidery, textile art, knitting, stitching and sewing, this one is for you!  Fabrics Galore had a prime site, on the right of the entrance!  And this wasn’t their main stand.

Fabrics Galore, this stand was full of Liberty fabrics at a real steal!

There was so much lovely fabric, I had to walk away, I only had a limited budget and was not about to blow it all on the first stand!  My friend, Laura, did succombe to a length for a pretty top she had designed.  They also had some great fabrics for the Jubilee.  One thing I was desperate to buy quickly was interfacing.  I was down to scratty bits, so I was off to find Gill Arnold to stock up.  Her interfacing really is the bee’s knees.  If you have some time, pop onto her website.  She offers day workshops on various subjects, and what she cannot tell you, you don’t need to know!

Gill Arnold’s stand. Purveyor of fabulous interfacings, and fount of knowledge!

Then we ran into The Rosenberg stand.  This was DANGER in capital letters.  These guys have so much fabric, cottons, linens, jerseys, silks, you name it.  We had a good look and then headed off, we needed time to process!   We also needed to meet the rest of the gang.

A selection of the ex-designer silks at the Rosenberg stand. Only £12/m

Laura and I met up with more of the gang at the main Fabrics Galore stand – of course!  We proceeded to buy shirting, cottons, linen, etc etc!  They guy behind the stand was wearing a fab shirt made from Liberty tana lawn.  It had a print of a weeping willow in it, so pretty!  Then my eye was caught by the Oliver Twists stand, and I had to turn sharply and walk away quickly in the opposite direction!  Their stuff is like sweeties, and I am on a DIET!!

Piles of discounted wool and yarn for the knitters

Luckily I had no problem with this pile, I have no patience for knitting.  If my mum had been with me however, it would have been a different matter altogether.  We kept wandering, buying and mooching.  The Shuttle had a good selection of ex-designer fabrics, embroidered and embellished.  Then we got to the area where the embroiderers and textile artists had their stands.  Risky business!

We saw Dionne Swift finishing up a demonstration on screenprinting.  No-one told me how easy it really was!  She made the whole process look so simple, and here I was thinking I’d never be able to do it at home.  She runs workshops from her studios, so it looks like we’ll need a girly weekend away up north!

Dionne Swift – Textile Artist

By now we’re all pretty pooped, but still happy.  We had fabric, leaflets and most importantly, inspiration!

Two Happy Shoppers
Still hunting for bargains

A great day really, we bumped into old friends and collegues and bought stuff we have no space for.  These three now have enough to keep their Sewing Sundays busy for some time!  So what did I get??  Well……  I actually didn’t buy as much this time as I did last year.  I just couldn’t decide what to get, and I was determined not to go bananas.  I have enough fabric here already!

Clockwise from top: Blue and white floral stretch cotton sateen, grey linen & cotton blend and blue and ecru lightweight cotton. All from Fabrics Galore.

There’s more…..

Top: green and blue shot cotton from M Rosenberg & Son
bottom: white broiderie anglaise with silver shimmer over from The Shuttle

Of course I did manage to get 4m of interfacing before I got all those, phew!  But I leave you with a view of M Rosenberg & son’s stand.  Who could resist??

Rosenberg’s stand

Spring has Sprung

Wow, sunshine!!  Green shoots in the hedges and lambs in the fields – it’s finally Spring here in the UK.  Cue some drastic cleaning out!  Nothing makes you want to clean the windows like that faint flicker of sun trying desperately to get in.  Once started, however, spring cleaning is infectious.  All sorts of areas of the house that thought they were safe have been de-cluttered and de-dusted.  This included the sewing space.  Oh yes, that little monster took a day and a bit to get through.  I found things in boxes I didn’t know I had.  And things I forgot I’d bought.  I am so pleased with my new de-cluttered and re-organised space, I thought I’d share.

Before

So – before was…  yeah, un-inspiring.     Drum roll……..

After
After

Ok, so no great shakes, but it feels so much nicer!  And now I know what is in all those boxes!  I also know what not to buy at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC in Birmingham tomorrow.  No embroidery threads, no fibres, no fabric paint, NO ribbons, no buttons!  That blue and brown swirly patterned box at the bottom next to the chair is packed with ribbons.  The only way to keep it closed is to pile those other boxes on top!  I am also not allowed to buy any vintage patterns.  This is half of what I have…..

Vintage Patterns – half of what I own :s

So what am I allowed to buy?  Interfacing from Gill Arnold.  Anything from Linton Tweed.  And Fabulous Fabric.  And Rosenberg & Son.  And Fabrics Galore.  Get the picture??  😀

On another subject, I finished another cushion yesterday, the cutest!!  Not Jubilee inspired this time.  I had seen a tutorial on Pinterest for French Knot sheep and thought it would look fab on a cushion cover.  I hadn’t anticipated the time involved.  So hours later, here is my finished result.

Spring has Sprung! French Knot Sheep

Now back to “proper sewing”.  I have to finish 2 UFO’s before I’m allowed to start anything new, and I just know that I will want to get cracking on whatever I manage to haul home tomorrow!

Marching On with photos

Jersey dress, double jersey from Ditto Fabrics

Now I have the photos for this dress I realise I could do with the dress being a tad longer..  Lesson?  Make the pattern before buying fabric?  Make sure there is enough fabric before getting carried away making patterns?  Probably both to be honest, but I seriously doubt either is going to happen anytime soon!  I have a whole stack of fabric begging to be made up, so I will just have to made do!  😀

Flower is a brooch, detachable and changeable!

Oh, and it is Sewing for Pleasure at the N.E.C. at the end of March – if you are going, what are you going to buy?  Do you have favourite stalls to hit first?  I am looking forward to Rosenberg & son, Fabulous Fabric, Fabrics Galore, and of course, Gill Arnold.  I need to replenish my very dwindling interfacing supply.