Sewing for Pleasure 2014


On Saturday I went to the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC (which also had the Hobbycrafts and Fashion Embroidery & Stitch shows in adjacent halls). I can’t tell you how much I’d been looking forward to this; I’d not been to anything like it before and thought of a whole day surrounded by sewing machines, fabrics, patterns and other pretties was just so exciting! My big squish said, “You’ll like that mummy, I’m so excited for you.” That made me laugh quite a bit.

I decided that doing a couple of the workshops would be nice, so I planned to join in with making a Peter Pan collar, making a purse and also going along to two lectures. Of course, that didn’t go to plan as my train was late (thanks, London Midland!); by the time I got there the two workshops were full. Sad face. I do have a tutorial from this month’s Sew magazine for the collar, so I’m going to have a go at that myself anyway.

When we got to the NEC (I went with my friend Alison), the first thing I saw were a load of guys dressed like Stormtroopers! Now I’m a major Star Wars geek, so I accosted one of them and had my photo taken. If you’re wondering what this has to do with sewing, good question. It doesn’t. ComicCon was on this weekend too.


I couldn’t believe how busy the sewing show was, I mean there were literally people everywhere you looked, to the point where it was hard to see the stands. I was also surprised at the sheer size of it, there definitely seemed enough to keep us busy all day. The first thing we decided to do, after the disappointment of not getting into the workshops, was to head over to the lecture theatre to listen to Stuart from series one of The Great British Sewing Bee. His talk was about making alterations to your clothes, just like the challenge on the show, which is always one of my favourite bits.


He was very interesting to listen to and seemed just as chatty and friendly as on TV, which was great or I’d have been so disappointed! His best tip was to buy a glue pen from Sewline to use in place of pins. I hate pinning too, so I’m all over that idea. He also did a quick demo of using a tape maker, which was useful as I wasn’t sure and would have felt a bit daft asking someone. The little alteration he did that I liked best was adding a bit of colour to a man’s shirt by adding some tape where the buttons go. So guess what I’ll be doing to Andy’s shirts when I get chance?!

Yes, I did embarrass my friend by asking Stuart for a photo and his autograph; it made my day!


We spent the next couple of hours before lunch just wandering around and trying to take in everything. Oh my god, I cannot convey how awesome it was. To be honest it’s just as well it was the week before pay day or I might have bankrupted us. What can I say? I have a weakness for pretty fabric. And there was pretty fabric everywhere. I was good though and only bought two fat quarters, both destined to be something for my squishes for our holiday. As much as I love buying fabric and other bits and pieces, I’m trying really hard not to buy stuff unless I’ve got a project in mind. We just don’t have the space at home. Plus, I think I’m pretty spoilt living in Birmingham, not only do we have some great fabric shops, we’ve got the Rag Market (if you’ve not been, you need to!).


Does anyone read Mollie Makes? I was pretty pleased to get a trial subscription; three issues for £3, plus a free copy of latest issue. Bargain! Happily, it has a little free gift which is a purse making kit, so I’ll get to do that after all too.

I saw some lovely patterns and, as I’m getting into making my own clothes, I was definitely tempted. I saw a stand with the most gorgeous vintage style dresses, Sew La Di Da, and I fell in love with them all. Damn it not being pay day yet! The patterns even just looked pretty in their envelopes, I wish I’d managed to get a photo of this stand but it was so busy. Anyway, I am definitely going to be buying a couple of these patterns, so I’ll keep you updated on my progress. I have my Sewing Bee book full of patterns to be getting on with at the moment anyway, and I must stop adding things to my “To Sew” list, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Other highlights included seeing a stand covered with pom poms (I had some pom pom makers for my birthday), seeing embroidery machines in action (ooh pretty!) and getting lots of inspiration from everywhere for future Little Squish projects.

After lunch we looked around the Hobbycrafts and Fashion Embroidery & Stitch parts. I’m not into card making or papercrafting really, so this wasn’t as interesting for me, however if it was your thing you’d have loved it. I did stop at the Decopatch stand and I decoupaged a wooden heart. A couple of Christmases ago, Andy and I decoupaged some tree ornaments and it was really good fun. I think it’d be a great activity for kids to do too; if you’ve not tried it you should, it’s really easy.


Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos, but I saw some amazing examples of embroidery and textile art. There are some amazingly talented people out there!

The last talk in the lecture theatre we went to was a lady called Gill Arnold, who was talking about altering patterns to get a good fit on your clothes. I could do a whole other post on what I took away from this, she was really interesting. As you can see, lots of other people agreed, it was packed! We were 15 minutes early and still ended up sitting on the floor. Not comfortable.

After another look at fabric, and persuading myself not to buy any (I know, check me and my willpower out!) we decided to head into Brum for a coffee and a wander around the Rag Market. All in all, it was an awesome day out and all that walking around was great exercise. It was fab to see all sorts of people there too, just demonstrating what broad appeal sewing has right now. I can’t wait for next year’s show!

Here’s a picture of what I came away with (there were hardly any freebies, but I love the bag from Love Sewing magazine):


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