Sew Crafty is becoming Samantha Claridge Studio

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You may have noticed some changes around here, especially if you came here after looking for Sew Crafty Online. Well after 15 years as Sew Crafty, we have decided to change our name to Samantha Claridge Studio.

There are lots of reasons why Sew Crafty didn’t feel right any more but the most compelling one was that when we decided to change the name back in 2005, after two years of running it in the name it came with, we were a small local shop, with no plans to go online. It didn’t matter that there was a company in the States with the same name and there weren’t a million small businesses with the name either, we were the only Sew Crafty in Berkshire, and that was great.

In the past 10 years or so since going online and the world being linked by social media that way it is now, the name ‘Sew Crafty’ has become less and less unique.

I thought it was about time the shop had a name that was as unique as the collection of products that I stock, I always have and will aim to only carry fabric and supplies that I would use in my own sewing room. So, Samantha Claridge Studio seemed to be the perfect name to take the business in to its 18th year.

Obviously, our Gorgeous group of makers are still very much onboard and are now members of the Samantha Claridge Studio Design Team. You will be able to see all their projects here first and shop the fabrics and supplies they have used in their projects from their blog posts.

With a new name came the opportunity to create a brand-new website, something we have been wanting to do for a really long time. Hopefully this will become our dream home in the internet, it has functionality and gives us options that we have never had before which means we can offer you the best service possible.

We will still be sending out a fortnightly newsletter with all the newest fabric arrivals, special offers and discounts. If you want to sign up head to the home page and fill in the form to get on the list. Of course you can still follow us on Instagram too @samanthaclaridgestudio.

We have some fun new features for all of you that choose to sign into an account when you shop with us. There is now a dedicated account area where you can view your Wishlist, past orders, available coupons and gift certificates. It is also where you can keep a track of any downloadable products that you purchase and edit any personal details.

As you can imagine, this is quite a big deal for us and has been something that we have been working on for a really long time. I am so happy that I can finally share it with all of you.

Thank you for your continued support.

Samantha

We’ve been nominated for The British Craft Awards 2017

We are INCREDIBLY excited to announce that we have been nominated by the Immediate Media Team (the girls and guys behind Simply Sewing and Mollie Makes magazines) to win Sewing Retailer of the Year at The British Craft Awards! Eee! Isn’t that amazing? We are so so chuffed.

You can vote in The British Craft Awards right now by heading to their website and clicking your faves in each category question. We’re right at the end of the SEWING category.

Click the link below and click “Sewing” to find our question! 😀 Thanks in advance!

If you’re a UK resident you’ll also get the chance to enter the prize draw for a chance to win big! They have a total of £500 Amazon vouchers up for grabs! Voting closes at 11.59pm on Tuesday 20th December 2016 and will be announced at the CHSI Stitches show in February.

Wish us luck!

>>> www.britishcraftawards.com <<<

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Festival of Quilts 2016

Our pal and member of our design team Lou popped over to this years Festival of Quilts, had a ball, and decided to tell us all about it, with some FAB piccies! Thanks Lou! These are great!

Hi Ladies,

FoQ was amazing! It’s a sewing /quilting paradise filled with so many amazing quilts and shops full of fabric!
This year, for the first time they had a modern quilt category, so it was great to see so many amazing quilts that I’ve been admiring via IG in actual real life!
It’s also a great opportunity to meet up with other seeing  friends, old and new!
Here’s some of my favourite quilts:
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Look at the matching binding! Winner of modern quilts category – Sarah Humpherys

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Winner of best in show. An epic whole cloth quilt by Sandy Chandler

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By Beatrice Lanter
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By Anna Galvin
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By Ellen Beavan
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By Jennifer Letchet
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Both above quilts by Nicola Howard Hobbs (that bottom one is a hand pieces La Passacaglia!

There’s also a quilt creations category. Here’s a few eye catchers from there:
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By Claire Dollin
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By Louise Jessup
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By Daisy May Collingridge.
Stunning creations – thanks for sharing Lou! If you go to any amazing exhibits or shows related to sewing and craft please let us know, and send us some piccies if you’re happy to share! 🙂

Our trip to Stitches 2016

Last weekend we headed up to Birmingham to have a peruse round our industry’s trade show Stitches! Or the CHSI. This is our 16th year heading up as a company (my second) and it was as much fun as it always is!

Here are a few of our favourite piccies we got from the weekend. So much to see and take in, we were exhausted by the end! But stay tuned for the gorgeous new bits and bobs we grabbed that will be coming to the shop as soon as they arrive!

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It was amazing seeing our dress pattern on the shelf on the magazine stand, and seeing people picking it up! We also caught up with the Ads and Sales girls from the different magazines which was lovely!

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The Yarnia display was wonderful. So much work that must have gone into it! We couldn’t see who the artists were so we’d love to mention them if anyone knows!stitches 2016 sew crafty stitches 2016 sew crafty zips stitches 2016 sew craftystitches 2016 sew crafty haberdashery embroidery thread super hero motifstitches 2016 sew crafty rico buying fashion buyer fabric

Mooching around all the new products out there was so much fun! We got so inspired and may have ordered one or two pieces… 😉stitches 2016 sew crafty dashwoodstitches 2016 sew crafty dashwood

Ahh we love Dashwood Studios. We had another lovely chat with owner David Sweet and we’ll be working  with them closely in the coming months. Exciting!DSC_3249 copy

We did a video seminar with Sara Naumann. It was super interesting and came at the perfect time as we’ll be starting to produce our own videos very soon, so stay tuned for that! stitches 2016 sew crafty catwalk   stitches 2016 sew crafty catwalk

The catwalk was fun. The models didn’t look too happy but we enjoyed seeing the different choices companies made on what to showcase!stitches 2016 sew crafty hoooked tshirt yarn ballshoooked stitches 2016 sew crafty giraffe  stitches 2016 sew crafty hoooked purses

And last but not least – we are HOOOKED on Hoooked! 😀

Did you go to Stitches this year? Do you go to conventions like this? Its the Knitting and Stitching Show in London this weekend. We can’ t make it but let us know if you do and how it went!

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The Handmade Fair First Timer

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As I see myself as a relative newbie to this whole “handmade scene” and I now write for a business snuggled in the thick of it, I thought it only right that I should fully immerse myself and go to my very first craft fair! The Handmade Fair seemed like the perfect excuse! Not knowing what to expect at the beginning, it turned out to be one of the best days ever!

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As part of my ticket I signed myself up to doing a couple of the workshops. After a quick mooch around one of the sellers’ tents it was time for the first class – Make your own necklace and bracelet with I MAKE KNOTS! It was clearly super popular because even though we arrived 10 mins early the tent was nearly full. Riannon was super sweet and had time for everyone as we all had a go creating fun jewellery from thick jersey “wool.” Definitely something I’m going to try again at home. “Keep knotting!!” was Riannon’s sign off, and I shall!

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Shopping and mooching around the stalls was just wonderful… but slightly dangerous. I wanted everything! Luckily I had saved a bit of spending money specifically for the show, and I’m glad I did! Though I could have spent a lot more… Here are some of my favourite stalls:

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Acorn &  Will

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Death by Tea

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iBeads

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The Alice Boutique

The next workshop I’d signed up for was for Jane Means Ric Rac Rose. Honestly, I didn’t know what Ric Rac was before this class, but I love roses and soon learnt as they handed us all a piece of Ric Rac whilst waiting in the queue. After a very quick intro we got to making the roses. Very simply roll up the Ric Rac and sew one end together to make the bottom of the rose! Done! She next talked us through how to make a paper envelope. Would have been nice if we could have done it along with her, but hopefully I’ll remember how it went.

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Then it was snack time! We had to get the churros and a Pims. Yum! We had another mooch around the stalls where I met the gorgeous Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons. Then we headed for main tent to get ready to watch the lady herself Kirsty Allsop and her friend Joe Canta chat about cocktails. I got chatting to the girl next to me in the auditorium about her beautiful dress. Her mother had made it the week before for her, and she spoke about upsizing the pattern as she was so tall. Of course I told her about Sammy’s sizing up blog post a few weeks ago and she was very grateful. 🙂

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The cocktail show was fab, I was gagging to try all the delicious drinks they made though! Then with that it was time for home and to go through all my fabulous treasures from the day. I’m so sad the Christmas version is so far away from me(in Birmingham) but I can’t wait to get to another craft fair very soon. I’ve heard Renegade is a great one!

DSC_2117DSC_2126DSC_2128DSC_2131DSC_2121Did any of you get over to the Handmade Fair? Did you find an awesome designer/maker I missed? Let me know!

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QUIRKY QUIPPERS REVIEW FESTIVAL OF QUALITY QUILTS

Festival of Quilts – Special Report

In the last newsletter we asked you guys to send us in your thoughts on this years Festival of Quilts. Guest writer Alexandra Brancato-Merritt of AllyBrancatoDesigns wrote us this fantastic report of her day. Thanks Ally!

I’ve only been sewing about 15 months so it was my first time at Festival of Quilts & I went on the Saturday. I got there on an organised coach, but it did take the coach driver about 40 minutes of driving around & around the NEC complex before he finally found how to get into the drop off zone at the entrance as there were quite a few of us with mobility issues so we couldn’t walk from the far away car parks. None of the NEC staff seemed to know where we should go & there was a complete lack of signs & organisation. 

Anyway we got in a bit later than expected so I immediately went to Hall 9 to see if there were any places left on any Quick & Easy Workshops. Unfortunately all but 3 courses were sold out when I got there at 10.15am, but I was lucky to get a place on “Landscapes: Two For The Price Of One” course with Mick Stead at 1pm. After I booked that I wondered around Hall 9 & then came across the Rowandean Embroidery stand & they had a little class running on their stand which I signed up for & started, even though I’ve never done any embroidery before, so I was a bit scared of it. But I soon realised it wasn’t as daunting as I’d always thought. I was there over a hour & surprisingly really enjoyed it & found it really relaxing, but I didn’t fully finish my project as I had to go to the other class I had signed up for.

The short 2 in 1 Landscape pictures course was only for an hour so not much time to do much, but the idea was to learn the technique by cutting out the fabric for the main parts for 2 separate patchwork landscape pictures & Bondaweb some parts & for the most pin them in place so you could take them home to finish off & sew them at home at your leisure. It was also a technique to teach you to think how to carefully cut things out to make the most of your fabrics so you can use 1 small piece of fabric for 2 different projects, especially if you had hand dyed them yourself & to limit any scrap wastage.  It was such a fast paced course I did have some trouble keeping up as I’m not the fastest, but I did really enjoy it & I’m really pleased I had something to show for it at the end & when I get the chance I will finish them by sewing them both, embellishing & then quilting.

The picture below shows the unfinished embroidery I did at the show.

The picture below shows the unfinished 2 in 1 Landscape pictures I did on the course at the show.

After that I spent the rest of the afternoon looking at various quilt exhibitions and exhibitors & supplier stalls & I spent lots of money of course. I did see everything in Hall 9 but I didn’t manage to see everything in Halls 8 & 7 as there just wasn’t enough time before our coach was due to pick us up at 5pm. I can now see why people told me it really takes about 2 days to see everything at the show & to take a shopping trolley to put everything in that you inevitably purchase, which I’ll bear in mind for next year’s show.

It really was an amazing day, it’s given me some great ideas for future projects, I learnt a variety of new techniques, I have 3 projects started from the days 2 classes I took & even more enthusiasm for patchwork, quilting & sewing than I had before. I will definitely be going again next year & I would love to do another Quick & Easy course at the show next year but I will definitely pre-book it in advance next time. I was also quite surprised the show wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be on the Saturday & that the show was so well spaced out so that those with mobility problems can easily get around, so next year I will hire a mobility scooter there for just £15, which you can either pre-book or hire on the day subject to availability.

My favourite quilt displayed was a really effective & bold tree wall-hanging below, which I can imagine myself doing elements of;

I also loved these 2 bold quilts below;

Helen Martin got in touch to let us know about the amazing artist she discovered at the festival:

Had a fabulous time at my first Festival of quilts, top of the pile for me was the work by American Artist Luke Haynes who creates digital pictures of himself and then uses appliqué to create the photograph, plus traditional log cabin, or half square triangles for the background. He must have used hundreds of different pieces of different fabric, the effect was stunning.

It was a hugely inspiring day, completed by plenty of shopping! Thankfully a bunch of masseurs were on site to give aching muscles a rub!

Thanks for getting in touch ladies! Looks like you both made the most of a great event.

Did you pop down to the festival this year? How do you think it’s changed over the years? What caught your eye this year? Please do comment below and get the conversation rolling, its what its there for! 🙂