My day started at 6:45 when I was woken by the sun streaming through the blinds, and before long I was on the train using my coat as a bib in an effort to avoid coffee and chocolate stains on my new dress. It worked. ME SO CLASSY. I was miffed again by Marylebone – which is the sweetest and cutest station in London – who have replaced their branch of Paul with a Patisserie Valerie. Valerie sucks BAWS. When I was working in London I relied on the morning pick-me-up of the coffee and a pastry deal from Paul, made even sweeter by the handsome French men that worked in there. Sigh.
Anyhoo, slight digression there. Having eyed one another up on the southbound platform in Marylebone underground, Amy of Sylkotwist said hello to me on the platform at Piccadilly Circus. She was wearing a rather fetching Simplicity 2444 and carrying a red satchel that broke my resolve not to buy a satchel from the Zatchels sale (I bought a green one on my train journey home.) We got to the V&A early and chatted in the sunshine for a bit, and then the mass of seamstresses descended. I was excited to meet everyone but I have recently been chatting lots with Rehanon, Jo, Janene and Lizzy, so I was extra excited to meet them in the flesh. There was much excited squealing and hugging, and lots of catching up with familiar faces as well. I have been to lots of meet-ups now and I am always humbled by the amount of love and kindness in the room. Taking up sewing was one of the best things I have ever done. Not only for the very important creative outlet it provides me with, but the truly amazing women it has enabled me to meet. Getting a bit emosh here but fuck it. SEWISTS RULE.
The other MAJOR excitement of the day for me was getting to meet Charlotte and Elisalex of By Hand London. I was wearing a new Elisalex dress, so I felt like a bit of a stalker, but it was amazing. I fell pretty damn well in love with those two gorgeous, fabulous women, and we made plans for lots of fun sewing!
So, yeah, the photos! True to form, I was too busy gassing to actually take any photos but the incredible Rachel had organised a professional photographer to come and capture us all looking splendid against a stunning backdrop. I love Rachel, she is the bomb. These photos are all by the very talented Digpal Singh.
Would you look at Janene and Rehanon? I DIE.
Me and Lizzy
Here is the darling Lizzy surprising me with a piece of fabric. I could actually cry a little bit at this photo. The fabric was a gift, a little reminder to keep on smiling even when things are hard at work. It’s a little drop of Aussie sunshine, much as Lizzy is herself. She’s a total doll, every bit as gorgeous in real life as you could hope for someone to be. I can’t wait to sew something wonderful with the fabric.
Rachel and Janene ably shepherded us to Goldhawk Road, where I confess to feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sheer range of shops and fabrics. I played it safe though, in the knowledge that I’m going to be spending a week in Montmartre, so I limited myself to buying some royal blue polka dot cotton and some haberdashery bits. The royal blue polka dots have been on my shopping list for a while but had proven surprisingly difficult to get hold of. Then that temptress Janene seduced me into spending my lunch money on some rose print cotton-elastane, but I’m glad she did. It’s lush, and I have plans for it already. After all that me and Dibs took ourselves to a nearby coffee shop, where we caught up with Karen and Jane. Hurrah!
I could only stay for an hour of the epic lunch at the Cedar Village Lebanese restaurant as I was booked on the 16:36 home (which I made with literally two minutes to spare) and so I missed the swap. But to be honest, I think it would have blown my mind – which was already pretty well blown by the day!
Nic met me off my train in Leamington and listened to me chatter excitedly about my lovely day out, and took a photo of my outfit in the fading sunlight…
The Extraordinary Garden dress - By Hand London Elisalex dress and Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes
I bought this Amy Butler Paradise Garden fabric in Hobbycraft last week, when I popped in at lunch to buy some glue. It was on sale for £6pm and I knew 2m would make a fabulous one of these dresses. So that’s what I did. I love it! And that’s basically all to say on that score. You’ve all heard it all before! But I love it, and so did Elisalex, and here’s a meta photo of me in an Elisalex, with Elisalex, and the funny thing is that Charlotte was standing there wearing an Elisalex skirt. Woo!
In Elisalex, with Elisalex - honestly, have you ever seen someone so glamorous? I wanted to put her in my handbag and run away with her.
I must thank Rachel for organising this day. It was outstanding, and she never stopped smiling and being charming. She’s a treasure, and I feel pretty damn privileged to know her. And all of this lot. Look at them – aren’t they amazing?
Is that not an awe-inspiring sight?! You can see all Digpal's photos from the day here.
There’s another meetup in Birmingham on 15th June, which I’m definitely attending. And if I can get away with it, I’m leaning heavily towards hitting London on 3rd August as well. It's just too much fun not to. Now, I'm away to sew!