One of the highlights of the sewing year (in London, at least) is The Stitch Festival, a showcase/exhibition of brands relating to contemporary dressmaking, sewing and stitch crafts. It's such a lovely day out for sewing friends - you're able to take your time and wander around the massive Design Centre in Islington and see loads of new and favourite sewing brands. From sewing machine manufactures to indie pattern companies and fabric shops, to workshops run by people from the sewing community, to a catwalk show featuring real sewists modelling makes from their favourite brands, it really is so much fun to attend.
I signed Michelle Sews up to exhibit at Stitch Festival 2023 (which took place at the end of March) some time in the second half of 2022. It was a bit of a punt, to be honest - I thought I would go along and see how we'd get on! Months went by, and I tried to do bits of organising, picturing what I'd need for the stall, but it wasn't really until I realised in January that it was somehow two months away that I really managed to get myself in gear!
First up, was preparing the products. I would be selling our printed sewing patterns, of course, but also a small selection of fabrics and fabric kits that needed to be packaged up for the stall.
I was also really pleased to be able to debut our upcoming Charlie Jacket pattern. The Charlie Jacket sample took pride of place in our display and it was lovely to see so many people come and take a closer look, ask lots of questions and show Charlie so much love. I'll tell you more about Charlie soon, when she's ready for release!
I showed up at the venue a bit like a deer in headlights but was quickly taken under the wings of various lovely fellow exhibitors who were more experienced at attending these shows and knew exactly what to do. Special shout out to Tora of The Jewellery Stop, Zoe of Crafty Baba, the ladies of Seasons of East and Emporia, and Janet whose company/brand name I foolishly didn't write down (all I can remember is that it was a quilting company!) but who came to check on us newbies. Honestly the way everyone shared wisdom, advice, experience and encouragement - not to mention sweets and treats - was so beautiful. Last but not least, my fantastic mum, who came along for all four days and made all the stall design/layout choices that made it look good, when I was hyperventilating in the corner not managing to make my brain function!
The best part of the show, for me, was the opportunity to connect with people in person. It was lovely to meet some of the sewists who have been supporting Michelle Sews online, including some of the Instagram sewing community that have become my Instagram friends and with whom I feel like I've been speaking for years even though we'd never met in person. It was just as lovely to meet people who'd never heard of Michelle Sews but stopped to have a bit of sewing chat. Honestly, it was an AMAZING four days. I loved it!
If all this sounds right up your street, then you'll probably love the Knitting & Stitching Show which will take place in London in October (at Alexandra Palace). We'll be there! I'd better start prepping already...
Were you at Stitch Festival, or would you be interested in going next time? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!