The Handmade Fair v Sewing Bee Live September 24, 2017 09:23
It’s no secret that crafting and handmade is back in a big way, and with TV shows such as Channel 4’s ‘Craft It Yourself’ being watched by millions of viewers, craft is definitely no longer a pastime of the minority.
And as craft has become more mainstream there have been an increasing number of events popping up around the UK catering for crafters. With so many to choose from we decided to take one for the team and review two of the most recent events – The Handmade Fair and The Great British Sewing Bee.
Artcuts fabulous stand at the Handmade Fair
First up was The Handmade Fair. Held in The Green at Hampton Court Palace, and spearheaded by Queen of Crafts Kirstie Allsopp, The Handmade Fair is like a mini festival dedicated entirely to crafting (and with much nicer toilets.) There are food trucks, talks, workshops, book signings, demonstrations, and of course plenty of things to buy. Handmade items from some of the countries best designer makers are available to purchase – from jewellery, to bags, to artisanal brownies (yes, we taste-tested those for you too and they were incredible.) And for those who enjoy getting in on the craft action there are plenty of stalls selling all manner of craft supplies. So whether you’re a fabric junkie, a yarn hoarder, or looking to take up needle felting, there will be materials and tools to tempt you.
The Super Theatre where lots of talks take place
But it’s not all about the shopping, as we had to keep reminding ourselves. The Handmade Fair has an amazing selection of workshops on offer too – ranging from origami, to basket weaving, to paper quilling, each one is a perfect introduction to a new craft. And who knows, maybe you’ll find your new craft obsession (or three if you’re anything like us!)
The lovely lady from Selvedge Magazine was caught in the rain a few times
The Great British Sewing Bee Live is held at the ExCel London, and showcases everything sewing related. Sewing workshops, sewing talks, drop is sewing clinics, sewing supplies to buy… you get the picture! Plus if you’re lucky you might even spot Patrick Grant himself wandering around (form an orderly queue ladies!)
Sewing Bee Live is big!
Like The Handmade Fair it’s much more than just a shopping event, but if you’re in the mood to spend some dosh then there’s no shortage of beautiful things to buy. The focus here is much more heavily on items you can use to make things, rather than handmade items, but they have everything you could ever need if you are a sewer, including every kind of fabric imaginable.
Sewing workshops for all skill levels
Fancy brushing up on your sewing skills? They’ve got you covered with workshops including pattern drafting, mastering an overlocker, and tailoring techniques. There’s a drop in sewing clinic where you can get one to one advice and tips from the experts, as well as some of the biggest names in sewing machines showcasing their latest offerings for you to test out.
Tilly and the Buttons lovely stall at Sewing Bee Live
So which one should you visit? Well if you’re a sewer then you will find nirvana at The Great British Sewing Bee as the entire show is dedicated to the one craft. However if you’re more of a general crafter like us, or a wannabe crafty type who just wants an inspiring day out, then The Handmade Fair is the place to go as there is a much larger variety of crafts on offer. Whichever event you choose we know you’ll have a great time – and who knows, maybe we will see you there? Don't forget to head to our Facebook page for more pics from both events.
If you’ve been to any brilliant crafty events then do please let us know – we love any excuse to get out of the office for a ‘business trip’! And if you can’t wait till next year to get your craft one, then why not check out our calendar of workshops - we’d love to have you join us.