The Handmade Fair – what dreams are made of


I had the honour/pleasure/pure joy of attending Kirstie Allsopp’s handmade fair this weekend with the reluctant Tom Wilkins and it was obviously brilliant.

Admittedly I spent most of the day stalking the contestants of the Great British Sewing Bee, but the actual fair was an excellent source of secondary entertainment. There were two huge marquees filled with stalls, make workshops, talks and skills workshops throughout the day. We mainly just ate and drank between our talks but it was lovely to see everyone getting together and making in a big crafty community.


Talk 1: Mollie Makes Mash up – Momtaz Begum-Hossain vs Mr X Stitch.

We didn’t really know what to expect with this one. Tom booked it because I love a bit of Mollie Makes but it was actually really good, who knew watching other people craft could be so fun? It was basically a bit of a craft off, with two craft bloggers going head to head on one of those plain decoupage stags heads you can get from Hobbycraft and the audience voting on whose make is best. I hadn’t heard of these two before but they were very charismatic and had lots of cool things to say. Momtaz runs a craft & travel blog and Mr X Stitch is a subversive cross stitcher after my own heart.

Talk 2: Kirstie chats to Annie Sloan

I was fangirling HARD during this one. Kirstie’s programmes are cool and all but ANNIE SLOAN! The women pioneered chalk paint! She did a presentation about colours and how to match furniture to your room, which amazed me and confused me in equal measures. She was really funny in an unintentional way, seeming a bit scatty and clearly very artistic. She was just all round brilliant and her paints are beautiful. Did you know you can dye fabric with her paints too?!

Talk 3: Kirstie and Fiona Cairns talk cakes

Fiona Cairns is the lady who made the royal wedding cake. Not that you’d know, it’s not like she slipped it into every second sentence or anything. It was really good to see how to make crystallised petals and icing flowers but Fiona was just so intensely unlikable. She kept being really rude to her on-stage assistant so I just spent the whole talk internally cringing. Has she not seen the Great British Bake Off? Does she not know the joy that baking is supposed to bring?

I also spent a fair amount of time window shopping at the stalls. It’s poor month so I was very restrained (go me) but it was really good to get some craftspiration and kill Tom off from boredom. All in all, would definitely go again, if only to see the hilarious ratio of men to women. Tom may even go with me as he really enjoyed the non existent queue for the gents.


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