Great British Sewing Bee Live

Hello!  Long time, no see (again!).  Let's just gloss over the fact that I'm currently averaging around one blog post a month shall we, and I'll show you the goodies I picked up yesterday.

Yesterday I took the day off work and went to the very first Great British Sewing Bee live with two of my lovely sewing friends.  After picking them up and driving down to Excel - where the car park was spookily quiet - we arrived just after it opened at 10am.  It was so quiet, which was nice in a way because it made it easy to look at the stands, but also kind of strange.  I'm used to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, which is normally all kinds of crazy. 

The GBSB is a very small show compared to the K&S, I would think due to the fact that this is it's first year.  It was nicely laid out with plenty of space between the stands.  I saw a few people I knew and met a couple of others I'd previously only spoken to online, which was lovely.

The stands were mainly devoted to dressmaking - either fabric or (mainly independent) pattern companies - but there was also a bit of embroidery and quilting dotted around, which suited me down to the ground as I am primarily a dressmaker, as you know. 

I bought some very pretty buttons within minutes of arriving, from the lovely Mrs Maven at Maven Patterns

After that we made our way to the Community Clothing stand as Patrick Grant had Tweeted a couple of days earlier that they would be selling off Saville Row remnants.  They had a selection on bolts behind the counter, which you couldn't really look at without asking to see each one, but there was also a big rummage bin where each piece was £5.  And some of them were big!

I got two pieces of teal fabric which will hopefully be enough for a jacket.  I'm not really sure what it is; I think maybe some sort of wool with an almost velvet pile on the front and a bonded rubber backing. 

I also got a large piece of striped cotton shirting which is so soft.  I'm hoping I've got enough for the new asymmetric shirt pattern by Dressy Talk Patterns.  

Our next stop was for coffee and a pain au chocolat, then it was time to head for the workshop we'd booked.  There were quite a number of different workshops set in classrooms around the edges of the main hall.  Here we are waiting to start ours.  We looked decidedly less happy during the workshop!

I'm not going to tell you which one we did because it was truly dreadful.  Poorly organised with an awful choice of fabrics for the project (okay if you like pink chintzy florals - which none of the three of us did!), incorrect pattern instructions and a tutor that spent half her time trying to sell us various notions that we may or may not need/want to use.  We were all really disappointed and I didn't even bother to finish my project. 

Then it was back to shopping!  I bought 2.5m of this bee print cotton lawn from Doughty's.  I'm sure it'll be a dress of some sort, not sure what kind yet, although I'm currently on a shirt dress binge. 

After lunch we set off for round 2, revisiting some of the stands we'd seen things we'd liked on our first trip round.  We went back to see lovely Saira at Olive and Flo Handcraft who I met a few weeks ago on a handquilting workshop, and I ended up buying a pattern for a needle turn applique quilt!  I must be mad, but it's beautiful and I'm hoping it will be something lovely to do on winter evenings in front of the television and fire. 

We had a look at the display of projects made for the Sewing Bee challenges by various former participants.  It was really interesting to see them close up and I was impressed by just how gorgeous some of them were in real life.  The evening dress that Lauren Guthrie made in the final of the first series was stunning.

By now we were getting tired and it was coming up to closing time.  I managed one final purchase, 2.5m of viscose - again for a dress! - from Fabrics Galore.  It was an instant "I love it" as soon as I saw it.

Not long before the show ended I had the pleasure of bumping into gorgeous Marie of A Stitching Odyssey.  Actually I jumped out and accosted her and her friend, but they didn't seem to mind.

We actually spent so much of our day shopping and chatting that we didn't get time to visit the Super Theatre and see what was going on there.  We did manage to catch sight of Patrick as we were walking round near the end of the show, but none of us were brave enough to speak to him or ask to have our photo taken with him.  Kind of wish I had now!