Myself and my friend from Liverpool Sewing Club Jan visited the first ever Great British Sewing Bee Live at the Excel in London a fortnight ago and it was AMAZING!
We travelling down in the Friday, visited Liberty and went to see Kinky Boots the musical in the evening. The show is fabulous and we have brilliant seats in row B so had a great view. I’d definitely recommend seeing it and if it goes on tour and comes to Liverpool I’ll definitely be going again!
We then spent the whole weekend at GBSB Live and am very glad we bought two-day tickets.Although I do kinda wish we’d waited till closer to the time to book them as we paid almost £30 each and there were some great discounts later. At least booking so far in advance meant we got spaces on two great workshops: The Maker’s Atelier Origami Top with Claire Tyler and Perfect Piping with Celia Banks, I’ll go into more detail later in this post.
I wore the new dress I’d made specifically to visit the show, using the amazing Alexander Henry Home Sewing is Easy fabric from Fabrics Galore!.
As we were wandering along the waterfront from our hotel to visit The Great British Sewing Bee Live at the Excel, we met the lovely mother and daughter Julie & Stacie:
We had a plan to work our way round the stall methodically but got distracted by shiny things, oops! I did have fun over at the Love Sewing Magazine who had a magazine cover to pose in front of and become a ‘cover star’
We also bumped into the lovely Paul Clarke (season 3 GBSB contestant) and his partner Neil. Paul does a lot of demos at my local fabric store Abakhan Fabrics in Birkenhead, so I’ve met him a few times and he’s a fab bloke with rather similar taste in fabric to me!
More random wandering took us to the ‘Absolutely Fabulous – Creating the Costume!’ exhibit, which I browsed whilst Jan chatted to Debbie Shore on the Create & Craft stand.
Met up with the lovely Kara and wandered round the stalls, spending way too much money and enjoying the fabulous displays on goods on sale. How stunning is this dress and dolls from Sew La Di Da Vintage!?
Also had to pop along and see Stitch Fabrics after being one of the first to tell them about the show and make sure they were visiting!
I also saw the lovely folks and Fabrics Galore and met my headless twin!
We then spent the afternoon doing a workshop with Claire Tyler making the Makers Atelier Origami Top. I’ll blog about the workshop and the pattern at a later date, as I need to do a little finishing off on the top. Claire is a great tutor and can happily recommend her classes. Myself and Jan enjoyed making the top and they came together so quickly that we actually ended up running out to Doughty Fabrics, buying another meter of jersey and making a second one!
After the workshop we popped round to see the lovely Melissa of Fehr Trade and her stunning sportswear pattern range. I even ended up buying the ‘Knot-Maste Yoga Set’ pattern! (although it could be a while before I make the trousers as my bum’s too big for the pattern, oops!)
We then met up again with Kara, Julie, Stacie and Beatrice and went to the pub for tea (of course)
We tried to be more logical in our approach on Sunday and started at Melissa’s stall then worked our way round, however 11am was quickly upon us and we had to take our seats for the Super Theatre. Jenny Eclair was an amazing host as she introduced the alteration challenge contestants, each working with a former Sewing Bee contestant. The GBSB judges Patrick Grant & Esme Young were then interviewed, and Lauren Guthrie provided a demo on using snaps. The winners of the alteration challenge were announced and the hour was over!
A little more wandering, a bit of lunch and it was time for our second workshop. This time with Celia Banks of Sew Fundamental – Perfect Piping. Having never done any piping before I was a tad nervous but it was great to see a familiar face in the form of Harriet and her mum Lindsay who were my sewing buddies at The Sewing Weekender
The workshop went really well, Celia is a great teacher and I learnt loads and found that piping wasn’t as scary as I thought and I’m looking forward to adding it to any future projects.
We visited Love Sewing Magazine , so I can be a coverstar again and I decided to sign up for a subscription.
Wandered round a few more stalls and had a lovely chat to Laura from Sew Different and bought her Everyday Chic Dress pattern.
We then decided it was time to watch the final fashion show of the day, with patterns from both the ‘Big 4’ and the independant designers with stands at the show:
Caught a quick glimpse of Lauren in the Live Demo Theatre:
By this time myself and Jan were all shopped out, so decided it was good time to take advantage of the Champagne Bar:
The Vintage Gallery was amazing, full of amazing Liberty garments, I’ve picked out a few of my favourites:
A quick wander round the Bees Gallery was great to see some of the garments from the show up close.
Then time for the return train trip home! Although I can’t finish this without showing you all my purchases from the show.
My fabric purchases:
The purple embossed scuba is from Simply Fabrics;
The colourful peacock feathered jersey is from Stitch fabrics,
The Christmas jumper & buttons cotton are from Sew Sew fabrics;
The galaxy jersey is from Girl Charlee UK
The purple flecked jersey is from Doughtys.
How AMAZING is this Alexander Henry ‘Frida La Catrina’ border print from the lovely Fabrics Galore (poor lighting sorry, the background is actually a dark blue not black)
My pattern purchases:
The Sew Me Something Bianca coat;
The Sew Different Everyday Chic Dress
The bottom 2 patterns from The Fold Line’s swap. I’ve been after a jersey blazer pattern for a while & the Debbie Shore bag is cute 😊
The practical purchases:
1m of fusable fleece from Empress Mills;
Boot socks from Community Clothing,
A subscription to Love Sewing Magazine.
Myself and Jan had a great weekend at The Great British Sewing Bee Live, it’s so good to see a dedicated dressmaking only show, finally!. I loved every minute and am really hoping to be able to afford a visit next year. Although I do wish they would follow in the style of The Knitting & Stitching Show and have one up North as well, so I can spend more money on fabric and less on travelling and accommodation! 🙂
Me, Susan, Nele and Eleanor with our golden ticket!
I was lucky enough to receive 2 Golden VIP tickets to Abakhan’s Secret Sale last Saturday, the 18th July at their Mostyn branch and was able to take 3 of my friends from Liverpool Sewing Club. We had a great day, buying lots of bargains in the secret sale, shopping in the rest of the large Abakhan store, sitting in the sun eating, drinking and having a great day all round.
As I blogged about a while back I went to Abakhan’s first secret sale on the 28th March. This was a ‘Warehouse Style’ Sale with discounts of up to 85% off normal retail prices and held in one of their stock warehouses. This caused a few issues with long queues due to the size of the warehouse and therefore the related number of customers that could be in at any one time for health and safety reason. I’m happy to say that Abakhan learnt from this and at the most recent sale used a much larger warehouse, with well organised tills inside and an orderly queuing space, with a marquee providing shelter, in case of rain! Therefore queuing time was much reduced at this second secret sale as 150 were allowed inside at once, as in opposed to 40 last time! Also there was much more fabric was available for us to browse through, which made me very happy!
Golden ticket secret Sale time
On arrival with our golden tickets we were signed in and given exclusive 15% off discount vouchers and then we were allowed early access to the sale, an hour before the general public, so there was lots of time to browse and of course rummage! The warehouse was very well laid out with the different options very clear and well organised and the walls were lined with rolls and rolls of fabrics. I also loved the fill a bag for £10 section and of course had to have a proper rummage, as you can see!
Gotta have a proper rummage!
The £10 fill a bag haul! All of this plus another 3m of polyester that’s already been used!
It was also a good opportunity to meet members of the sewing community that I chat to on line but only get to actually see occasionally, – Rachel from House of Pinheiro, Celia from Sew Fundamental, Michele from Swiss Army Wife and Paul Clarke who appeared on Great British Sewing Bee and of course – Will Abakhan!
Myself, Rachel & Paul
Myself with Michele & Ceilia
Myself & Will
There might be a slight chance I bought a wee bit too much fabric but the bargains available were amazing. Dress and house fabric rolls and bolts started at just 50p a meter and could only be bought in full rolls, so the price depended on the amount of fabric left on the roll! To be honest there were a lot more rolls and bolts of fabrics that I almost bought but I didn’t want to scare the bank manager too much! I love wearing jersey, so tending to sew a lot with it, therefore that was what I was mainly on the lookout for but some other fabrics just jumped out at me and had to be purchased! My secret sale purchases were as follows:
Some great knit fabrics
2 great rolls of fleece & a lightweight double sized faux fur
Lots of other fabrics – purple voile, household Clarke & Clarke polka dot, great loose weave, mid weight grey & lightweight abstract florals.
Not bad for just £65 in total!
A very kind member of staff helped us get the cage to the car!
All the staff were encountered in the warehouse, were very friendly and helpful. Myself and Nele bought that much fabric that we had to use a cage to take it all out to the car!
I was also very glad that I swapped my little Ka for my dad’s much larger Meriva for the weekend! Made packing the car a lot easier, although we still managed to fill the boot that much that extra purchases had to be put on the back seat!
By this point we were very grateful of our free breakfast bap in the onsite Abakhan Cafe, as it had been a very early start of 7am to ensure we got there in time to use our golden ticket early access opportunity and maximise our bargain hunting!
I’ve been to the large Abakhan Mostyn branch before but Susan (being originally from America) had never been before and this is much larger than the Birkenhead and Liverpool stores we’re all used to, so with our 15% discount vouchers we headed off into the main store for some more fabric based retail therapy. The store was busy but there were ample friendly and helpful staff available to help us and we had great fun exploring the rolls and remnants available, with all of us making more purchases and again more bargains were to be had – Susan even managed to get some Hello Kitty rip stop, of which I’m very jealous! The liberty lawns available were beautiful and I spent a while admiring them.
Lots of Liberty lawn
Lots of fun was had exploring the rolls and remnants both upstairs and downstairs in the main building with both myself and Nele making more purchases. The prices in Abakhan are great to start off but then with our special 15% discount vouchers we got even better bargains and therefore erm, seem to have purchased even more fabric, oops!
Main store purchases
After all that shopping we needed another break and decided to have a light lunch in the Abakhan Café and as the sun was shining we took advantage of the outdoor seating to relax and then to enjoy our free golden ticket desserts – a delicious and well-presented summer fruits brulee with a handmade shortbread biscuit, a perfect summery desert to be enjoyed in the Welsh sunshine.
We all had a great day out at the Abakhan secret sale and got loads of great bargains, am already figuring out and planning what projects they’ll be used for. If you would like to find out when the next Secret Sale is then complete this form on Abakhan’s website (you might also spot a familiar face in the photos of the day).
Did you also visit the Abakhan Secret Sale? If so, why not leave a comment below telling me what you thought and what you bought?