Show and Tell

What is it about the big shows put on at exhibition centres around the country? I’ve been to several now for a number of different interests and there’s just something about them that’s somehow slightly disappointing.

Take today.  I went to the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show in Manchester.  It’s some years since I’ve been to one of these shows and the last time I went, what I was primarily interested in was cross-stitch and rubber stamps.  And there was an exhibition of costumes from Titanic (which dates me rather, doesn’t it!)

So I remembered it as being not bad.  I was aware in advance that it was likely to be biased towards the craft stitching end of things (not my bag at all) but, looking at the exhibitors, thought it would be worth a go.

I should state that I am, in many ways, proud of myself.  For starters, despite actually parking in the Trafford Centre car park to go to EventCity, I did not go in to the Trafford Centre and I did not make any unplanned purchases there.

This involved willpower.

Trafford Centre, just across the road from EventCity
Trafford Centre, just across the road from EventCity

In I trundled, very pleased with myself, and picked up the leaflet of show offers on the way in.

Nothing to do with dressmaking.  Oh well.

I went with a specific shopping list in mind; a walking foot, a rolled hem foot, an open ended zip, possibly some Gutterman thread as my machine has started eating cheaper stuff and some winter weight fabrics if I saw anything different.

After a good wander around, I located a sewing machine stall and got the feet I needed.  No discount (boo!) but at least they had the stock and I hadn’t had to order anything online.

After that, there were precisely 2 stalls which had anything of interest.  Even the stalls which I was interested in beforehand (including Abakhan) had craft cottons only and those weren’t particularly cheap – very disappointing.

One stall sold me a very lovely deep grey ponte di roma fabric (I AM going to tackle that fear of stretch fabrics I mentioned in my previous post) and some lovely Makower(?) cotton covered in 20’s women which will make a fabulous top next summer.

The other stall was M Rosenberg and Son, where I managed to part with a reasonable amount of cash!  First up was a rather wonderful deep purple “suiting” fabric with a waffle type weave which is definitely destined for workwear.  Would you make a Megan with this or would you go with the skirt of the Flora dress with an added waistband?

The colour is deeper in real life, but it feels fabulous!
The colour is deeper in real life, but it feels fabulous!

At £6 a metre for 60″ wide, I couldn’t resist!  Then I wandered back after looking at everything else and picked up 2 cotton lawn fabrics for tops for work – a total of £15 for 3 metres so I was happy!

All 3 cotton fabrics
All 3 cotton fabrics

At which point I’d finished with the fair.

So I left feeling rather disappointed.  I’d been hoping to find some more local resources for sewing supplies, maybe somewhere that offered the odd course etc, but no such luck.

I don’t really know why I feel disappointed.  I guess that, as much as I love this internet based sewing community, it would be great to meet some other people in the real world you could take sewing to. Never mind, I still got some luscious fabrics which need slotting in to my sewing plans!

I’ve also made further steps to tackle my fear of stretch fabrics – there is a Coco top which will be the subject of a future post and which I’m pretty happy with!

How about you – have you found a good show to go to or are they always a little bit disappointing for the dressmaker?  And have you bought anything lush recently that’s making the idea of autumnal sewing less depressing after all the pretty summer fabrics?

Becca x

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