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Useful tips when attending sewing or craft shows

10 top tips for visiting sewing shows

After the cold gloomy weather of the winter there is a bright light ahead – the Spring is full of fabulous sewing shows to put the sparkle back into your life.   Fabrics as far as the eye can see, sewing books and magazines, workshops, free seminars, and thousands of other sewing enthusiasts what more could a sewing fan want?  

In February those of you in the sewing trade cannot afford to miss Craft Hobby & Stitch International at the NEC.  You have the chance to networking with over 250 sewing businesses as well as preview new sewing innovations before they hit the market.  

For the sewing hobbyist there is Textiles in Focus in Cambridge end of February as well as the Edinburgh Spring Quilt Festival.  Both will be packed with stalls of fabrics and supplies as well as the opportunity to take part in workshops and demos.

March is a jam packed month with quilt shows in Kent & Exeter, The Knitting & Stitching Show in Olympia, the Country Living Spring Fair in London.   The spring season is rounded off by the mammoth Sewing For Pleasure plus Fashion Embroidery & Stitch and Hobbycrafts in the NEC at the end of the month!  You get entry to all 3 shows for the price of one ticket.

My top tips for when you are attending a sewing or craft show are below:

1)    Pre-book to save money on entrance tickets and to avoid queuing.

2)    Take your own food and drink as they can be very costly once you are inside.  Take plenty to drink, it is often hot and stuffy once inside the venues and it can cost well over £2 just to buy a bottle of water, why waste fabric money on expensive food and drink?

3)    Plan your visit – check the organiser’s website to see who will be there and if there's a printable floor plan.  If not then on the day pick up a guide on your way in and work out the best route around.  Exhibitor’s own websites will often tell you what stand number they will be on.  Make a list of the people you want to see and figure out the best route to get them all in before you start to flag.

4)    Don't follow the crowds, most people go in to the hall and then turn right and work their way around, go the opposite way and you'll find less queues at the stalls.

5)    If you are on a budget leave the credit cards at home and take cash as it’s easy to get carried away once you are there.

6)   Take a couple of good strong bags to carry all the freebies and leaflets you will accumulate on the way around.  Be wary of taking backpacks as some venues don't allow them because they get in the way when it is very crowded.   If in doubt check with the organisors first.

7)  If you have a Tesco Clubcard you can exchange points for entrance tickets to some shows and save a lot of money of the ticekt price.  For example it only costs around £4 to get a ticket for Sewing For Pleasure/Fashion Embroidery & Stitch/Hobbycrafts.

8) Have a look on exhibitor's social media or blogs to see if they are offering any vouchers you can use at the show.

9)  If you are using the cloakroom ask if you are able to drop your bags in at lunchtime so you don't have to carry them around all day.  They often let you do that using the same ticket you purchased when you arrived.

10)  Google the show name and the words 'ticket giveaway' 2-4 weeks before the show and you can often find the opportunity to win yourself free tickets.

For exact show dates and more information about the shows please visit www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/whats-on.

Sewing shows and events in 2014 UK