Friday, 25 March 2011

Super Shopping Day

Today I've been up to the NEC, to the ICHF 'Sewing for Pleasure', 'Fashion, Stitch & Embroidery' & 'Hobbycrafts' event.
Had to speedily get the day off work in the end as I was supposed to go on Sunday but then had no one to look after the kids and as we all know, shopping plus kids is a recipe for a hard day!
So I set off after the school run and had an easy drive up the M40, hooray for sunshine and a CD changer full of sing-a-long tunes!
I thought the advance ticket price of £9 was reasonable but then of course you then have to pay £8 for the parking! Thanks NEC but I don't think it's entirely justified.

The venue was halls 11 +12 which is sort of round the back, at the end and they're not the best halls, as there were about two toilet places and two areas for food, so with a lot of old ladies, these were both oversubscribed! 
My tip is to get your hand stamped and go out into the atrium, where there are more toilets/refreshments and quieter places to sit down! 
As always take your own lunch to avoid over-priced rubbish and take advantage of the cloakroom facilities for large shopping purchases!

So the halls are split into the three events, with lots of sewing exhibition pieces to look at and lots of shopping stalls!  I was organised this year, I had a list of what I wanted/needed and measurements!  Last year at the Festival of Quilts I was overwhelmed by the volume and choice of fabric and didn't buy much as I wasn't sure what I could justify!
The first stall I clapped eyes on was 'The Eternal Maker' and I was so happy as this is my favourite stall at all the sewing shows. With their selection of fabric, buttons and giant ric-rac it's impossible not to buy anything from them, they are also supremely lovely and helpful if you have a chat. 
I went for a lovely ladybird print (I've been looking for a good ladybird print for ages, as a bag lining, hopefully I'll get to reveal the finished article sometime now!)

and some lovely giant ric-rac, I could have chosen a metre from all the colours but went for the pink as it'll go with one of my other purchases....

They are also now doing SUPER giant ric-rac which is even bigger, which you must see!


Then I found 'Fabulous Fabric' which had some great prices, I spotted this needlecord at £8 a metre and knew it would be perfect for the reversible 'Sew Hip' childs cover dress.  If it gets the nod of approval from my youngest of course!  Should go with the ric-rac?!



Speaking of Sew Hip, they had a stand around the corner, with the new issue on sale (I got mine on Thursday as a subscriber but still haven't had a chance to sit down and properly read it!)
I believe this is Ruth Singer's re-fashion dress from the last issue, which was lovely.



I then found a lovely stall by Dandelion Designs, which had lovely felt & notions, patterns and kits, I chose this doggy kit, which as it looks quite Christmassy should give me time to make it!


Tucked away in the top left of hall 12 was the Fashion Stitch Challenge, which had designers (Charlotte Liddle & Rachel Henderson) re-fashioning and customizing clothes against the clock in front of an audience.  This was a great idea and you got to see them working close-up with the help of the cameras/tv screen. 



Here's the reveal, a jumper made into a bolero/shrug and a dress embellished with fabric flowers, the audience gets to vote on their favourite and the winner appears in the catwalk show in the Fashion area. For this one the bolero won.

Next to this was the truly amazing 'Above & Below the Waves' installation.  You have to see this to believe it, it's a coastal themed knitted display, which you actually walk through like a sea-life centre!  Everything is knitted, from the fish, to the sand and the amount of man hours put into it must be phenomenal and I hope it raises a lot of money for the RNLI.








In the fashion hall was a wonderful exhibition by Ollivier Henry, who is an embroiderer, teacher and costume designer, the detail on these were fantastic.




Hurrah for Clothkits, their designs are so timeless. I've been meaning to get one for ages and I have finally manged to choose a dress for my youngest (I seem to have bought a lot for my four year old, it's harder to find things for older kids isn't it?)

 I shall unwrap this tomorrow and investigate, but I am assured it's very easy!

Now for some Amy Butler love...


 I've finally found a fabric I love enough to try the Anna Maria Horner Mariposa tunic from her Handmade Beginnings book.  It suggests using her cotton voile but after finally finding some today, I found it a little too thin for me, it is lovely and soft though!
So I found this Amy Butler Love:Heart print at Doughty's for £10 a metre and I knew it was the one, it's good when that happen's isn't it, you're not sure what it is you're after but when you find it, you know!  Now I just need some confidence to cut it!


I also managed to find all the magazines I wanted, Homespun & Cloth are both new to me, so am looking forward to a lazy weekend of magazine reading!

Well, I spent too much and my feet ache, but it was a good day, if you are going this weekend, it's on until Sunday, word of warning avoid the Hobbycrafts section unless you like making you're own naff cards and beware of shopping trolleys, the curse of the old ladies!
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