I just had the most fantabulous time today at the Sewing for Pleasure with Fashion Embroidery and Stitch fair at the NEC, Birmingham. While Dave and the little one carried on to Wolverhampton for a visit with Grandma, I met Caroline and Kate for a day of mooching around various craft stalls, exhibitions, demonstrations and general merriment. I’m not entirely sure what my favourite part was….. there was the artist brimming with enthusiasm as she demonstrated her technique to anyone who stood still for longer than 30 seconds; there was the stall containing buckets – yes buckets! – of glitter, sold by the scoop or the kilo for the very brave; the stall with beautiful products handmade by Burmese refugees; book stalls overflowing with inspiration; and of course the fabric counters, where elbows were required in order to get near the wares.
I picked up fabric for Dylan and myself, 2 magazines chock full of ideas and patterns, as well as a lovely hair stick with a dangly ornament. With an easy deftness born of practice, Caroline demonstrated how to use the hairstick, and I’m very much looking forward to experimenting with it myself. I also grabbed a few brochures on courses offered by local universities and independent tutors; I’ve been saving to buy a proper corset but how much more fun would it be to make it myself?!
(Which got me thinking. Looking at the overwhelming variety of arts and crafts on display, it occurred to me that there really is no limit to what I can do, or at the very least attempt. The only thing holding me back is my own fears – fear of mistakes, of failure, of not being “good enough”. Watching my mother-in-law at work has been an education; her finished pieces are brilliant yet I’ve seen her spend hours unpicking stitches, tinkering with the design, and sometimes starting over from scratch. The point being that it takes experimentation and yes, making mistakes, to create something beautiful and meaningful. Methinks there’s a lesson in that!)
I found the catwalk pieces overall to be strangely uninspired, and the models looked as though they were being forced at gunpoint to walk across the stage. Having said that, one or two pieces quite struck my fancy – the skirt made entirely of bras in particular caught my eye. And of course the display of gowns featured in The Duchess caused a double surge of envy and admiration, particularly the maternity dress – now why doesn’t Mothercare stock something similar?
Oh, and the day simply could not be considered complete without the presence of a large gathering of Storm Troopers, who quite happily posed for photos!