Sunday, 9 May 2010

Sewing for Pleasure at the National Exhibition Centre

I am an active member on The Sewing Forum, which is a free source for sewing and craft information, as well as allowing the development of relationships with sewers and crafters alike. Many times I have sought the helpful advice from fellow members and found inspiration for projects too.
The Sewing Forum is also great for spreading the word with up and coming events, like the Sewing For Pleasure exhibition at the NEC which was held on 28th March - 30th March 2010. When I saw this being discussed on the forum I decided to go along and see what all the fuss was about.
The price of the tickets if booked in advanced were £8.50 for adults and £10 on the door, I booked in advance.I travelled down by car and parked at the nearest train station at Martson Green to save on car parking fees at the NEC. The train cost about £2.20 return and stopped right outside the building, however there was a long walk to the place where the Sewing For Pleasure Exhibition was being held, it was like walking through an airport.
When I finally arrived at the doors to go in at around 9.40am I handed over my ticket and got my hand stamped to be able to enter again later that day. The exhibition rooms were emerged into one gigantic room for all three of the exhibitions, Hobbycraft, Sewing for Pleasure and Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch.
Firstly I looked around the Hobbycraft exhibition which had plenty of card and jewellery making materials for sale, demonstrations to watch quilling, stamping and all sots of other crafty techniques. I spent about 1 hour in this area as I am not into the hobby making stalls and main reason that I went was to see the Sewing for Pleasure exhibition.
After walking around looking at all the pretty items I ventured into the sewing & embroidery side of the exhibition. The Sewing for Pleasure exhibition was full of colourful fabrics,handmade crafts, patterns galore, books, sewing workstations,and machines.There were also magazine stands to where you could sign up  for subscriptions like Cloth, Sewing World and my favourite magazine Sew Hip where I managed to have a glance through their previous issues. My head was feeling dizzy with all the bright colourful stalls and glowing new products to try out. After an hour of walking around looking at the stalls I came across the catwalk area, where I sat down to catch my breath. I watched some very inspiring clothes collections from local university students on what they had made out of having only £5 to spend and having to up cycle clothes from a previous fashion show. Also well known magazines like Sewing World and Sew Today were showing off their latest clothes collections, it was a truly wonderful experience to watch.

When lunchtime arrived I decided to try to find somewhere to sit down, it was extremely busy in the NEC and people were sitting on the floor to eat their sandwiches. I managed to find a corner and sat down for 20 minutes where I ate my lunch. There are places to eat or get a hot drink but everywhere was so busy and I was prepared with my own pack lunch to enjoy.
Once lunchtime was over I walked around the stalls one last time to make sure I hadn't missed any of it. I was shown a demonstration on a very small lightweight steam iron, which could go over buttons and T-Shirt motifs and  it was very tempting I nearly brought one. Then I looked at some fabric stalls and purchased 2 metres of a retro style print with purple and green circles on it.
When I turned around I noticed that I had started to venture into the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch exhibition, which had a collection of medieval costumes to admire. There were demonstrations going on with people trying out embroidery machines and handmade items to purchase.
It was only about 1.30pm and I felt I had seen all there was to see at the NEC so feeling quite exhausted I decided to call it a day and start my way home. 
I really enjoyed myself, there were a lot of friendly people willing to chat about the type of craft they are interested in and I did not feel alone. I found a lot of the products to be pricey and not many bargains to be had. Though I feel exhibitions are there to inform you of the up and coming products and to have a go at trying them out. It was a great experience to take away with me and I may go to another one later in the year.

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