Monday, 7 April 2014

London's ExCel and Female Solidarity

Well, things are looking up since my last post - we've got a new laptop, which I've spent much of today using because I had to work from home. I have a cold and am definitely not fit for public consumption.
So, I suppose cold aside things are looking up. Mostly because my craft cupboard is now positively bulging with possibility and delight after my trip to the ExCel centre this Saturday. It's somewhat of an annual pilgrimage for me, my mum, and her mum. It sounds really twee but going to creative things with the people who taught me to sew and make things is really rather lovely. Granma's 87 now, so mum bought a folding stool for her to have regular sit downs, and we got to use the lift - score! My bag was really heavy by the end of the day.
As always, I went with a budget but this time I actually stuck to it. Due to perpetual brokeness (and a very expensive day on Friday buying tickets for gigs!) sticking to it was more a necessity than a challenge and I actually really enjoyed it: having to think about each purchase rather than being seduced my colours and textures and general prettiness.
So here's the fabric

There wasn't a lot in terms of new stands this time, but the usual traders were there and better than ever. Of course, I made not one but two trips to the wonderful Fabrics Galore. My weekend bag has been on the way out for ages so I'm going to make one from the map fabric. I later bought a really cool lining from John Lewis that I'll reveal when I've made the bag.

There was also Lili Fabrics who I'll admit to not having seen before, or at least not making a purchase from. I got the heart fabric and the wonderful white fabric with vintage ladies on from them. I was going to make this 1940s pattern with it but then thought it would look much better as a 1950s halterneck; what do you think?
Speaking of Sew La Di Da, the wonderful Caroline was there with her gorgeous and simple patterns AND she's got fabric now in her shop and she bought some with her. She is very honest about your choices and helped me find something that didn't make me look washed out (yellow is not my colour...) and I ended up with the green paisley and rose that will be used to make her beautiful Gypsy Dress.
The Parisian scene fabric from Fabrics Galore was shown as a lovely skirt with green Gingham pockets and piping round the yoke. It's a medium weight canvassy cotton so I'm thinking maybe a shirt dress? Perhaps something like this from Sew Over It (new website looking lovely, Lisa!). Short sleeves would work best I think for this fabric.
So, along with the cross stitch (I love cross stitch but am aware that it is the lamest of all my sewing endeavours - but it's Little Red Riding Hood! My favourite fairy tale and who doesn't love a woodland scene?!) and the mini sampler kit, I should be well entertained until the Knitting and Stitching Fair in October.
It was also great to see that the fair was both bigger and busier, but not just with the usual suspects: there were many young women there and teenagers as well. From eavesdropping (I can't help it) it was clear that some of them hadn't sewn much before and they were angsting with their companions about whether or not they could make the skirt pattern they held lustily in their hands. It was wonderful to see their friends offering genuine encouragement and support, offers of help and compliments on choices of pattern and fabric.
It was great, and does make me slightly ashamed that I spent today thinking bad thoughts about Miley Cyrus (I can't understand why she can't keep her tongue in her mouth). So it was good to see other women actually supporting each other rather than the seemingly endless sniping and bitching at each other.
There's much more to crafting than a pretty wardrobe.

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