The Handmade Fair took place September 14-16 at Hampton Court Palace in London. Founded in 2014 by Kirsty Allsopp, a British television presenter, the mission of the event is to help attendees appreciate the beauty of handmade and to become makers themselves. The show offers an exciting weekend of learning, community, and shopping for crafty people of all kinds. This was my first time attending the event and, coming from Missouri, it was a real treat.
Hampton Court Palace is a delightful location for an outdoor show. The grounds include 60 acres of formal gardens and 750 acres of historic parkland. It’s the former royal residence of many Tudor, Stuart, and Georgian monarchs – most famously Henry VIII.
Vendors were selling both handmade wares and supplies including fabrics, tools, and notions, as well as a few selling vintage finds. The class programming was extensive. There was a mix of lectures as well as hands-on projects to make. Lisa Comfort’s Sew Over It booth was first on my list since she’s a leading influencer in the growth of apparel sewing in the UK. I’ve been following Lisa on YouTube via her Lisa Comfort and Sew Over it channels so seeing her in real life was a special treat. Later in the week, I visited her store in Islington which was also amazing.
Visiting booths like Tilly and the Buttons was also a lot of fun. The show also had an area of sponsor tents and Janome was the sewing machine sponsor. The Pink Sewing Bus with Miss Libby Rose offered a unique classroom for make and takes. There was also a fun make-and-take called Pimp your Pom taking place in the Swarovski tent.
We enjoyed Max McMurdo’s lecture, “Creativity and Me,” where he shared his inspiring story of building his company, Reestore Ltd. Max is a DIY celebrity know for his upcycling and his double-decker Upcycling Bus.
As founder of a sewing pattern company, I was particularly interested in the fabrics offered at the show. The range of fabric for apparel sewing was particularly appealing. There was, of course, Liberty of London, but so much more! I also loved Fen & Co. Jewelry created with vintage imagery. I took home the monarch earrings. There were several surface designers selling finished goods made from fabric their own fabrics.
We also enjoyed meals and snacks from food trucks as well as a charming afternoon tea at Alison’s Vintage Kitchen. Overall the show was a delight and I hope to attend again in the future!
Amy Barickman is the founder of Indygo Junction, a sewing pattern company with 26 years of experience selling to independent retailers. With a knack for anticipating popular trends and new talent, Amy’s ability as a collaborative entrepreneur has allowed her to design over 1200 patterns and 80 books as well as introduce new brands including her Vintage Notions book series and Fabriflair®, dimensional paper piecing. Amy is a passionate collector of vintage sewing materials, which inspire much of her work. Indygo Junction has always offered on-trend fashion patterns and has a new focus on this area with their simple chic Indygo Essentials pattern line. Through her Youtube channel, blogs, websites, and e-newsletters, Amy inspires quilters and sewists to explore their own creative spirit and experiment with the newest sewing, fabric and crafting techniques.