On Friday I took advantage of a friend’s generosity… Nicole, a beautiful girl who teaches screen printing, offered me a ticket to the Knitting and Stitching show at London’s Kensington Olympia. She was teaching several screen printing classes over the weekend.
Having attended many a varied show held at Olympia, I gladly accepted the offer. I was keen to check out just HOW this show was set up with the idea of maybe showing my products there in the future.
It was my first time at the Knitting and Stitching show. And quite possibly, my last!
Last Knitting And Stitching Show?
As a visitor, it really overwhelmed me. There were too many people, the aisles were too narrow for all the visitors with their collection of prams / strollers and shopping trolleys. There were also FAR too many knitting stalls, as well as a very odd selection of random stalls; nail art, sweets and massages! Hello?
Bearing in mind that 90% of visitors appeared to be over 50 years old, it made me pause. Were these stalls here just to make an easy buck off an older demographic, or had research been done and there was a desire for nail art and massage stalls?
Sewing Brands At The Knitting And Stitching Show
After leaving Nicole to her first class of the day, I headed back to the start of the show and got exploring. There was much to see and do, most of it seemed dedicated to knitting, but I was able to pull out some great places to visit for sewing.
Tilly And The Buttons
Immediately in front of me was Tilly and The Buttons. Tilly had set up the stall perfectly. It was very much a case of ‘this is what I create (sewing patterns) and this is how much they cost’. I loved the simplicity and up front aspect of her stall, and she also had a super spot close to the show entrance.
Kennett & Lindsell
I then happened upon the Kennett & Lindsell stall – which of COURSE I stopped at! I desperately wanted to talk to the main man about the cost of a legs mannequin and their mannequin sizes in general. I have a K&L stand myself – it’s a size 12 BSL – but I find the size it claims to be – UK12 – is ACTUALLY more of a UK8. Shocking, but not surprising in this industry!
The problem was, every time I got close to the man to ask my question, someone else would pop by and engage in a chat about the mannequins. I took it as a sign, and left. (Though I did take the time to drop my info in their box for a chance to win a mannequin!) 😉
Guthrie & Ghani
I then discovered the stall of Lauren Guthrie of Guthrie & Ghani – who when I arrived was doing a demonstration at the creative space on inserting a zipper. I loved her accent and watched for a few minutes before carrying on. Her stall was simply set up, with a selection of fabrics and patterns. I would have stopped for a chat / browse but the space was tight, and I’m not good with crowds!
Amongst all the knit and crochet stalls there are some hidden gems. In particular pattern brands. I came across a new one on my radar – Trend Patterns!
Trend patterns are based around seasonal trends on the fashion week catwalks – so not far off my own pattern creation plans! I loved their packaging though did find that their pattern prices were on the more high-end range at £30 each. *shocked*
Sew Me Something
Sew Me Something also stood out to me because of their pattern packaging. Simple brown packaging, loved it. I think I have seen the Julia Pocket Top floating around Instagram for a few weeks now, and WAS tempted to try it out myself.I didn’t in the end as I was being strict on my spending!
I did check out their website afterwards however and felt they really aligned with my own ideas; not being a slave to fashion, listening to their customers frustrations and teaching industry techniques. I’ll talk more about that below!
Sew Over It
The only pattern I bought on the day was the Anderson Blouse from Sew Over It. It was made up on the rail and was a stunning simple blouse. I had seen the photos on the web, and the line drawing too, and neither left me feeling any excitement. Maybe as the versions I had seen were mostly print fabrics?
Well, in reality, the blouse was TOTALLY my thing.
I also loved the Lola Coat – something I would make up in multiple versions again and again – but unfortunately that pattern could only be bought as part of an online book – priced at £20. Yes, the coat was beautiful and so simple too – but I didn’t like having to spend £20 for just the one pattern. The others included weren’t really patterns I would make.
Anyhow… There were no Anderson Blouse patterns available in print format that I could see – and the queue to ask Lisa about it was bonkers, so I left and bought the PDF version instead. Boom!
Sew La Di Da Vintage
This is another brand that I had never heard of – and again, I was drawn to them because of their brand styling. They really did have that ‘vintage’ brand aspect to them. They again had quite a crowd, so I didn’t really get to explore the patterns on the back wall but I was inspired and impressed by their patterns – you can check them out here.
The Makers Atelier
The final pattern company I spent time admiring at the knitting and stitching show was The Makers Atelier. I had heard of them previously from a video review from Lisa at Sew Over It. Their patterns are beautifully produced, and the rails of garments they had with them showed some beautiful designs made up, but I didn’t think paying £22.50 for a top pattern made sense. I can after all make my own pattern easily enough and use the money saved on some beautiful fabric right? 😉
I spent time searching for companies that were more ethically minded when it came to fabrics but didn’t succeed. I had hoped to see my favourite – Offset Warehouse – there, but didn’t. It would be amazing to see a better representation of sustainable fabrics at such an event, as it would work wonders to raise awareness of eco fabric options. Not all sustainable fabrics are dull and boring!!
Demonstrations and Classes
So, as I mentioned at the start of this post, I won’t be visiting the Knitting and Stitching show again as a visitor. The classes that were available seemed more geared towards the beginner.
Creative Living Theatre
The Creative Living demonstrations were free (that I saw) and had two screens showing close ups of the presentation. I caught a bit to Lauren Guthrie’s ‘Make a Piped Cushion’ demo and knew all that she was explaining. For the sewing beginner I am sure there is a lot to be learnt – and for free – but not really that impressive for anyone with more experience.
Sew Today Pattern Classroom
I didn’t catch any of the demonstrations as I headed off after two hours exploring, but in theory these would be a great way to understand the process of simple pattern adjustments. I’m not sure whether it was something that was free or paid though.
There was also a vast array of classes available to book either online before, or on the day itself. This was one of the reasons I had attended – I wanted to check out whether it was feasible for me to register interest in putting on my own classes.
There are six class room spaces, and a great variety, though I’m not sure how popular my class ideas would be.
Final Thoughts On Knitting And Stitching Show
I ended up spending £32.50 on the day.
- Entry: FREE
- £5 on rotary blades
- £20 on printed cotton dragon fabric from Japan. It’s beautiful!
- £7.50 PDF version of Sew Over It’s ‘Anderson Blouse’
Overall, I enjoyed the brief visit, though I wouldn’t be so keen to do it again as a visitor. This is just me and my ‘being in crowds’ issues!
As a stall holder / class provider? Absolutely! And I am looking forward to researching into it further!
The one disappointment of the day was not getting my hands on the Lola pattern? I don’t want to have to buy a book to get the one pattern I love, so maybe I’ll just have to create my own version for myself??? Watch this space! 😉
RECOMMENDED READING: Loved this? Why not check out my 5 Easy Sewing Patterns for Beginners post? Or if you get excited at the thought of making your own patterns, check out this post on how to make a block / sloper from a commercial pattern!
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