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The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show

On Friday my alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 6am (ungodly because I went to sleep at 2.30am!) ahead of my day in London at the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show.

I’ve been looking forward to this for some time but as per usual with me I left my outfit to the last minute. All week I had been grading up the Sew Over It Betty Dress and was almost at the point of fit perfection when I decided to give up and make a ‘quick make’ Moneta by Colette. Starting at 10pm the night before the event was never going to be the right time to start a new project.

The Moneta didn’t take long to cut out (I have made 3 before) and sew together but when I tried it on just before hemming it just didn’t look good. I think partly due to the fact I was rushing it and partly due to making the waist too loose, I just decided to scrap that idea and go to bed.

When I awoke in the morning I planned on wearing a black and white dress that I’d made a while ago but getting creases out of crepe appeared to be harder than it needed it to be. I also scrapped that dress and wore my first Betty, that I made last year for my wedding.

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I was on the bus at 6.30am, on the second bus by 7am, on the boat at 7.45am, in Southampton at 8.15am and on the train towards London by 9am! I arrived at Clapham at 10.15 and at Olympia by 10.45am.

Olympia is right by the train station which made finding things easy although I did have to walk around to the other side of the building which was a bit of a walk.

Almost as soon as I arrived I saw Sian from Kittenish Behaviour and her mum, which was handy as I was planning on meeting up with them. I said hi and then went and found my bearings.

My first thoughts were that although big I think I expected there to be more about it. I am not sure what, though.

My event guide said there were 200 stalls, there was also stations where free dressmaking talks were going on and a learning centre where presentations were taking place by a variety of designers and dressmakers. You could also pay for workshops but I didn’t do that – my main point of interest is pattern cutting and I didn’t see anything around this.

I had a good browse and bought some elephant cotton lawn that I may use for a Negroni shirt, and some blue needlecord for another Cleo.

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There was a lot of walking that took place and as I was a VIP (paid extra for this) I went and had a sit down in that area. They gave me some free thread which was lovely.

Sian and her mum came and sat with me for a bit so that was nice, then they went their way and I decided to pop over to Tescos across the road to buy lunch. There was a cafe inside but it didn’t really cater to my gluten and soya free needs, and I’d heard it was really expensive. I bought sushi and crisps and a drink and went back to the VIP area to eat.

After this I had another walk around and was starting to feel a bit rough (from the lack of sleep and all the walking). I had messaged a couple of people for meeting up but for one reason or another that didn’t happen but Tree from Stitchless TV did reply to tell me where she was (giving a demonstration in the learning centre) so I went and watched her for a bit (I am in her video for this when they span around to look at the audience – I didn’t know until I saw it online though as I was looking at my phone at the time!).

I saw a few vloggers and others that I recognised from online. I saw Lisa Comfort and had wanted to say hi but she was so busy talking to customers and serving that I didn’t get a chance.

I didn’t want to leave having only bought 2 fabrics so I had another look around and ended up purchasing a canvas fabric with Flamingoes on it and then I headed back to the train.

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I had been planning a trip to Goldhawk Road as it is close by but by this time I was exhausted and my bag was heavy so I decided against it.

When I got on the train back to Southampton there were no free seats so had to stand up for at least half of the journey which I really didn’t need. But it was 4pm when I got off the train so that was a plus as I wasnt planning on leaving London until 6pm originally.

I’d missed the connecting bus to the boat so decided to walk through the town down to the water. It would have been rude not to make a slight deviation into Fabricland.

The main thing I wanted to pick up is some stretch denim in blue but when I got some I saw some stonewash grey and fell in love with it. I picked up 5m as I have plans for a few things (skirt, jeans, possibly cleo) so probably not enough in the long run. I also picked up 2m of some crepe de chine in pink, which I LOVE!

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I then headed to the boat and eventually made it home after a 12 hour round trip. Completely cream crackered as someone said to me!

Was the trip worth it?

It was a good trip to make but not sure it was worth such a long travel time. If I lived in London or home counties I would def make the trip. The fabrics and patterns on offer didn’t shout at me and most of which I could find online, so it probably would have been cheaper to shop in that way. That said it was a really good experience to have but if I did go again I would go with someone as walking around alone was a bit boring. Also really good to get out and about as I don’t manage that a great deal these days.

Just before going to London, two more fabrics arrived in the post – a purple stretch velvet bought to make the Morris Blazer by Grainline Studio and a pretty pink needlecord, both by Abakhan. I am not sure what I will use the needlecord for – potentially the Rosa, which I am yet to make up.

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Thanks for reading,

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4 Comments

  1. janeyo janeyo

    Claire!such a great account of your epic day!Your wedding Betty looked beautiful, reading your thoughts and decisions both pre event and the whole trip was exactly how it,d have panned out for me! You managed to fit in a lot but i really feel your pain with how mammoth a task it was(especially alone) a good fabric haul,denim is endlessly useful and you did a bit of sewing celeb spotting(of which you are one) so-result!
    Next best thing to me going xx

  2. Going to markets like The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show one can always ask afterwards the question was it worth the trip. On the other hand you’ve bought a beautiful selection of fabrics. I then always ask myself this question: would I’ve found them near to home. Looking forward to your makes.

  3. thanks for your blog – sent a longer comment just now but my internet went down in the wind (along with a few plants judging by the crashes outside!) so comment probably lost in the ether, anyway – thanks for the blogs, love hearing from others who are sewing (especially dressmaking) and often find it inspirational but also love aspiring to be better and seeing the makes that others post. Please don’t stop. thanks.

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