A sewing stranger is a friend you just haven’t met yet (until you do at the Birmingham meet-up)

Bimingham meet up A

Sticker from Claire, and handmade rosette from Marie and Kat

Tell people you’re spending your Saturday with more than 30 strangers off the internet for fun and frolics and you get a few raised eyebrows. Which aren’t necessarily lowered when you tell them it’s all about sewing.

Regardless, this weekend I rocked up to a Birmingham meet-up, organised by Marie, Kat and Claire. And it was a total blast!

On arrival we all received a lovely handmade button rosette, found ourselves a buddy to keep us from falling behind, and headed over to our first port of call: Barry’s Fabrics.

Birmingham meet up C

It’s a great store, with a huge range of fabrics and we fair took over the place as we admired each other’s fabric selections and chatted about our love of material. After swamping Barry’s and indulging in a few purchases, we headed for lunch and the swap. Wow this was some swap. There was a table for fabric, a table for patterns, and a table for notions. Everyone was very generous with what they brought along.

Birmingham meet up D

After some masterfully self-controlled selections, we headed off to the rag market where bargains aplenty could be found. We had a handy map courtesy of our hostesses as well, so we could zero in on the best spots.

For those who were still standing, the day was rounded off with a trip to Fancy Fabrics nearby. Whilst not as cheap and cheerful as the market, it had some great fabrics, including a big selection of wools.

Birmingham meet up B

If you’ve never been to a meet-up, I really recommend it. Meeting a group of strangers is always intimidating but since you know going in you have something in common, starting up conversations is a lot easier. Plus it’s a real pleasure to chat to people who know and care about sleeve heads, french seams and burn tests!

Marie and Kat both have lists of the attendees, so you can check out all the lovely ladies in attendance, many with exciting blogs to check out as well.

My favourite part of the day was hanging out with such cool people who shared my passion. But what good’s a day-trip without some souvenirs?

Birmingham meet up E.jpg

1. Animal print viscose from Barry’s £7.95/m. 2. Navy and brown striped synthetic fabric £1/m. Stall in rag market. 3. Print knit from Barry’s £7.95/m. 4. Chambray from Fancy Silks. 5. Blue and white polka dot viscose £2/m. (Everyone bought some of this when it was spotted outside the market!) 6. Navy wool and polyester blend with gold thread £5/m from Fancy Silks. 7. Metallic sheen grey-blue fabric from swap.

And I maybe picked up some patterns in the swap as well…

Birmingham meet up F.jpg

1. Maudella 5877 dress. 2. Style 4365 dress. 3.  Burda Style 7283.

Whew. Many thanks to Maire, Kat and Claire for all their hard work and time. They created a really special day out. Proof again that the sewing community is a pretty fab place to be!

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9 Responses to A sewing stranger is a friend you just haven’t met yet (until you do at the Birmingham meet-up)

  1. Amy says:

    Great post! Was lovely meeting you at the weekend. I got some of the blue and white polka dot too 🙂 can’t wait to see what you make!

  2. senjiva says:

    Looks like a really fun time! I wish we had those fabric resources here in Ohio. It’s saaaaad here.

    • We were actually talking at the meet-up about how we envy American sewers because fabric shops seem more widespread over there! Grass is always greener. I have in my mind that there’s a shop like Jo-Ann in every mid-sized town but is that not the case? Or is the coverage patchy nationwide?

      • senjiva says:

        There IS a Jo-Ann in most mid-sized towns. However… thats is ALL for the most part, in my state at least. In fact, i live in Cleveland, a fair sized metropolitain area. I have to drive 15 miles to the nearest Jo-Ann’s and it is a real pain since I do it once a week because I sew for a living and don’t happen to own all bazillion colors of thread at once.

  3. Marie says:

    OMG I love your printed jersey from Barry’s…how didn’t I spot that! Might have to go back alone on a serious mission ;o) It was lovely meeting you, thanks so much for coming! Hope to see you soon!

  4. Hi Julia, it was great to meet you in Birmingham + thanks for the great company on the train journey home 🙂 Let me know if you need that link for the zipper-foot still ;)?
    Best wishes, Claire

  5. moseleydeb says:

    Enjoyed your photos! I love Barry’s too. Maybe see you all next time.

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