Tell Us a Bit About SEWMANCE Festival
SEWMANCE Festival is a small, independent, community sewing festival in Brighton that believes in the power of community and connection through craft. SEWMANCE aims to offer you a safe space to be with your sewing tribe, enjoy our #sewmancemarketplace, learn something new in one of our workshops, and be inspired by our #sewingstories. We want to encourage sewists to get off their phones and meet up in real life!
What Inspired You to Create SEWMANCE Festival?
SEWMANCE was created after I went to a large corporate craft fair in London, and I left feeling really disappointed. I was upset that it had been just a big sell! I wanted to experience a fun day out with fellow craft enthusiasts, and connect with new friends and learn something. I didn’t get this from that event, and I left wondering if there was an event like this around. There weren’t any I could find in Brighton, so with the encouragement of our Brighton sewing bee community, I set about trying to create it… as a result SEWMANCE was born.
We have had 2 successful events to date and our #summersewmance this June is the next. The #summersewmance is on Saturday June 3rd 11-6pm at St George’s Church and it’s looking to be the best independent community sewing festival we have organised so far.
What are Your Main Goals With the Festival?
SEWMANCE aims to make you smile, to inspire you, to encourage you to try something new, to show connection through craft, and to make you aware of the power of our sewing community. We need to be connected! More and more of our lives are lived online and we need these types of events so we can meet up in person, to talk, to connect and to use our hands to make. Sewing is cathartic, and can be the remedy to the stressful, busy lives that we all lead in this modern age.
You Say You Are ‘Not Another Craft Fair’, Why Is This?
I just want to say first that I LOVE CRAFT FAIRS! They are wonderful. I just wanted to create something different for SEWMANCE. An event focused on sewing, and our sewing community. We also wanted to create the same atmosphere as our sewing bee meet ups. We want people to walk in, feel welcomed and to breathe out, ‘Ahhhh finally my sewing tribe.’ I want people to stay all day, do some workshops, hear some inspiring #sewingstories, munch on some yummy cake from the Brighton Belles WI, enjoy the #sewmancemarketplace, and just revel in being somewhere where everyone feels as passionately about sewing as you do! We love sewing, and we know you do too!
What Has Been Your Biggest Challenge So Far In Organising?
Last minute cancellations suck! They always happen and it’s such a pain, but I now have a mental contingency plan B that helps. Also crappy weather isn’t helpful, but as I realised at the last SEWMANCE, the amazing people that come to our events are a dedicated bunch who won’t let something like the weather get in their way.
What Else Should We Expect?
SEWMANCE is also dedicated to being environmentally responsible. We recycle. We sell only vegetarian and vegan food at our events. We promote small, local, ethical, organic and sustainable businesses. The goal is to make SEWMANCE as ‘green’ as possible, as I believe that we all have a responsibility to tread lightly on the earth.
Tell Us About SEWCYCLE!
I am also planning a new social enterprise called SEWCYCLE that will launch in Autumn 2017.
SEWCYCLE is a new textile recycling initiative dedicated to saving fabric and sewing related items from going to landfill. We will be intercepting this pre-loved treasure, and making it available to our sewing friends through monthly #sewcyclesales.
There is so much unnecessary waste produced in the fashion, sewing and craft industries, and we want to do our bit to help stop the throwaway mentality and encourage recycling, promoting upcycling as an alternative. We need to consume less, and reuse more.
We will be having our first #sewcyclesale at SEWMANCE!
What Are You Most Looking Forward To?
Warmly greeting everyone that comes, and engaging in conversations with people that share my love for sewing. I also want to get to about half way, look around the room, and sigh with relief at all the happy, content faces enjoying a special day with their sewing tribe.
Why Do You Think Sewing and Knowing How To Sew Is So Important?
We all need hobbies and passions to function in this stress filled, technology heavy world. Sewing and craft are coping tools for me. Using my hands and sewing was my way of dealing with post natal depression after the birth of my son, and continues to help me deal with my mental health struggles.
Sewing and being able to make your own clothes is an essential skill which is often undervalued, and also described as ‘women’s work.’ Fuck that! We should all be able to at least sew on a button, mend our jeans and re-hem our trousers. We have a responsibility to look after the clothes we wear and increase their longevity by mending them.
You’re Going to be Offering Lots of Sewing Workshops By Inspiring Dressmakers. Who Are They and What Do They Do?
- Sew In Brighton will be offering free tutorials all day from Bust Darts to inserting sleeves
- Sew Fabulous CIC will be offering free workshops all day including customisation and Pattern cutting tasters.
- Julia Hincks and The Friends Centre will be offering free Demystifying Overlocker workshops and City and Guilds Q&A sessions.
- Free ‘How to sew lace knickers’ demonstrations with Claire Tyler
- Stamp a fabric square £5 Noolibird
- Print a tote with Eco Inks. Rose Honick £5
- Sew Pyjama shorts with Sew Retro £15 includes all materials
- Make your own pin cushion jar Remade in Brighton £4
- Sew an accessory using Water soluble fabric Anna Liversidge £8-£10.
Can You Give Us a Little Insight Into a ‘Yarnbomb’ And What It Is?
A Yarnbomb is an act of craftivism, that involves covering everyday objects, architecture or the urban landscape in knitting and crochet. It can be decorative and/or have a message, political or not. Yarnbombing supports feminism by turning the ‘traditional female crafts and their rules’ on its head. Yarnbombing is street art.
In collaboration with Remade in Brighton we are hosting a ‘Marine Menagerie’ Yarnbomb, to draw attention to the coral bleaching that has been happening in The Great Barrier Reef due to pollution and waste. We have received donations of squares, starfish, mermaids etc.. from crafters all over the city. We will be assembling the Yarnbomb on Friday for SEWMANCE, and it will stay at St George’s until the Thursday after. Then the installation will move to FIELD Brighton, Lewes Rd for World Wide Knit In Public Day Saturday 10th.
Here at Revival Collective we are very excited for this year’s SEWMANCE Festival, taking place Saturday the 3rd of June – it’s going to be so much fun and very inspirational! We’ll have a table, and we are also going to be speaking as part of the #SewingStories. So, come down and say hi!
To find out more about SEWMANCE festival and to get your tickets visit their www.sewmance.co.uk.
Or if you can’t make it, keep an eye on our social media for live updates throughout the day.