The Handmade Fair 2016

img_2531If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I went to The Handmade Fair on Friday. It’s safe to say that I’ve been excited about going for weeks (correction, months), and this year wasn’t a let down.

I wanted to start this post by reflecting on why I was so excited. Looking back, it’s because I learnt so many new skills last year. Through the workshops/talks, I discovered a love for calligraphy, learnt how to lino print and then used those skills to make all of our Christmas cards! I also enjoyed being surrounded by so many other creative people. I’ve been to other shows before, but The Handmade Fair is so different, there is a real sense of community.

Fast-forward to September 2016, and five crafty friends battled rain and traffic to make our way to Hampton Court. When we arrived, the weather was pretty awful, but after a quick cup of tea and we were raring to go.

We all had one stand that we definitely wanted to go to, Tilly and the Buttons. Last year, most of us purchased a pattern from her, and we were looking forward to going back and showing off the clothes we had made (which had nothing at all to do with wanting a free badge, honest). It’s fair to say that we were all pretty excited, and I think this shows in the photo! I’m a huge Tilly fan, and aside from the fantastic patterns, I think it’s because the whole brand feels so approachable. The instructions are easy to understand, there are lots of blog posts to support you, and Tilly herself is just lovely. This year I treated myself to the Marigold pattern, as I fancy making myself some lovely patterned trousers.

Of course, new patterns need fabric, and the event had plenty to offer. Fabric Godmother was high on my list, having bought from them a number of times before. Josie was on hand to provide expert advice on what fabric would be best for my Marigold trousers. I ended up with some gorgeous navy and mustard print cotton, and I couldn’t resist picking up some star print chambray which I’ve been eyeing up for a Bettine dress for a while now.

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Fabric: The Fabric Godmother

I was also looking forward to visiting the Fabric Fox, and finally meeting Kirsty and Lee. I worked with The Fabric Fox recently on a tutorial using some of their fabrics, and I took along one of my finished products to show off. I love buying from independents and it was great to work with such a wonderful fabric shop. I couldn’t resist treating myself to a little fat quarter of fabric from their beautiful range.

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Fabric: The Fabric Fox. Earrings: Ladybird Likes

Towards the end of the day, I visited the Sew Over It stand to have a look at their lovely range of kits. As I’d already bought quite a bit for myself, I decided to treat Mr Makes. A huge Mad Men fan, I knew he would love a Don Draper style tie in a navy polka dot fabric, so this kit was given to him with a promise that I will make it one weekend.

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One of the most enjoyable parts of the fair is chatting to all of the lovely stallholders. Ladybird Likes was high on my list, having received one of Zoe’s lovely necklaces in my Blogtacular goody bag. I bought some cute silver cloud earrings, although it was hard not to snap up everything.

Zeena Shah’s stand was so lovely that I actually stopped by twice. The first time I picked up a little pin badge, and I then returned later to also pick up a screen print. It was lovely chatting with Zeena, and having done one of her workshops at the Fair last year, I’m really hoping to attend one of her screen-printing workshops in the future.

The Handmade Fair is also great for discovering new talent. Tipped off by my crafty BFF Rachel, we visited the Rachel Seymour Design stand. Her typography-based products are beautiful, and I couldn’t resist picking up a motivational print.

Aside from shopping, we did do some crafting too. Unlike last year, I went for an entry only ticket for 2016. I signed up on the day to Enamel Mug Painting (there was some mild panic when we thought they had sold out). Run by the Lovely Drawer, it was a lovely opportunity to sit down and relax with some crafting. Joined by Rachel and my sister Laura, we spent an hour learning how to work with enamel paint. We all freestyled a little bit, and our finished mugs looked fantastic! This is definitely a craft that I’ll be trying again.

Finally, I think my favourite part of the day was just chatting with so many lovely people. It was lovely catching up with some familiar faces, I bumped into Shelley Makes just before heading home, and it turned out that we must have just missed each other a number of times. It was also fantastic meeting lots of new people. Crafting really is a community and I’m so proud to be part of it. I’m sure that the Handmade Fair will run for many years, and I hope to make it a regular event in my diary.3

If you went to the Handmade Fair, I’d love to see what you bought and made!

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