Friday, 21 March 2014

Silks And Satins And Buttons And Bows…

…and all kinds of haberdashery and crafty bits. Yesterday I went off to the NEC in Birmingham- for the combined Hobbycraft/Fashion Embroidery and Stitch/Sewing for Pleasure show. I had a flyer in the post, and noticed that they were displaying the costumes from the film of Les Miserables, and Bob said “You should go”. I dithered a bit because of the cost [tickets £12 on the door] but then discovered that I could exchange £3 of Tesco vouchers for a ticket. That is a bargain! Furthermore, the ticket is a generic ICHF one, and covers any of their shows in 2014. So I knew that if I didn’t get there this week, I could use it for the autumn event. [Details here ]

sewing forpleasure

I left home before 8am, and arrived way too early, so parked the car, then sat down with a coffee and met a charming lady called Sharon who was also visiting the show. She designs wirework jewellery. Check out her Facebook page, to see the lovely items she makes. Her business is called “Shiny Stuff Designs” We queued together to go in- then kept bumping into each other all morning!

IMG_1660shinystuff designs

I have to say that I did not enjoy the show as much as in previous years. There seemed to be loads and loads of papercraft stuff, all very much the same. I did make a little Easter chick box with Cathie Shuttleworth, a papercraft template designer. That was good fun!



Loads of stands had signs this year saying “No photography”, which I guess is to prevent people copying their ideas. The lady at the display of gorgeous Palestinian Embroidered Wedding Dresses wanted me to buy the book – but I declined. However in the ICHF advert, there is this detail of a Bethlehem dress from the 1920s

palestinian embroidery


There seemed to be no restrictions of snapping this knitted Mum reading to her child- loads of people were photographing her!

I was surprised that the “Display of Les Mis Costumes” was a mere six outfits! I had hoped for a dozen at least. But here they are  - 1 Valjean, 2 Javerre, and 3 Thenardiers.


As I was taking these, two women were standing behind me. “Can’t see what the fuss was about. I hated the film. Nothing cheerful in it at all”  We all have very different opinions about the cinema, don’t we! It wasn’t clear to me why Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham-Carter and Russell Crowe were pictured, but not Hugh Jackman, as far as I could tell. I had hoped to see Cosette’s wedding dress on display, but sadly her costumes were all absent.

One of the best stands was the Leicestershire “Go Learn” display, where Andrea was happy for me to take a few pictures. There were lots of pieces [artwork, poetry, textiles] representing two things for which this county has been famed in the past – corsets and coal!


Much of this work is done through the museum at Snibston, which I know I have mentioned before. Sorry I don’t have many pictures to share with you. I spent a little bit of money – three craft magazines which together cost a fiver [and came with cover gifts and a small goodie bag] a transfer pen, for some embroidery I am planning- and finally a pompom making set.

Having seen all I wanted, I left, and was home for lunch by 1pm! I enjoyed myself, and was pleased that I did not succumb to buying any more wool or fabric for the Great Stash.If you are thinking of going to any ICHF events, I would recommend checking out the Tesco Clubcard offer to save 75% on your ticket.


I wonder if anyone else reading this blog is visiting the NEC this week? Perhaps we passed each other on our way round the stands! If only I’d thought sooner, I could have mentioned I was going and maybe met up with other bloggers.


  1. I don't think the costumes were very exciting. Like you I would love to have seen the wedding dress or more of Cosette's costumes.

  2. That's a shame it wasn't as good as expected but glad you got it for a bargain price rather than having felt a bit disappointed after £12! That said, I love the Leicestershire items!x

    1. You & C must come and visit our wonderful county sometime

  3. Les Mis is a fantastic story. I soldiered throught the whole book -- it's very thick. But the theme is forgiveness and so clearly portrayed. I love it. People really need to see beyond the words on a page or movie stars on a screen. They miss so much. Anyway the music is a great bonus.

    1. You are SO right - the themes of love, grace and forgiveness shine through - and the film reduced me to tears in place [esp "Bring him home" which may possibly become my favourite song in the film]

  4. Maybe the two unimpressed women had misunderstood the title, and thought it was actually Less Miserable?

  5. It was too far for me to visit, so I was very interested to read your post - Thanks! Your chick is very cute and wouldn't hold too much chocolate (as if that were even a bad thing!).


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