I have been wondering about this for some time. When I speak about bloggers that I ‘know’ to my real life friends, I feel the need to explain. You see I chat to some bloggers regularly, through Facebook, via their blogs, email, Instagram. I don’t even know what some of these women look like, but we get along because we share the same passion. On many occasions I have chatted into the early hours of the morning, getting excited about our latest sewing project, beautiful fabric, patterns that we love and blogs that we admire. These women certainly feel like friends even if I have never met them before.
But a couple of weeks ago I did something that I never expected blogging would lead to. I went to Paris and met 13 other kid sewing bloggers from 9 European countries. Strangers that I ‘knew’, bought together on this special weekend because of our love and appreciation of handmade clothes.
Well, how did that happen?
Well, of course…
It would be a chance to meet some of the women I chat to, some of the women I admire and others that I am inspired by.
1 Marte from Compagnie M. (Belgium)
2 Gioia from dotta (Italy)
3 Annika from Näh-Connection (Germany)
4 Marta from Do Guincho (Portugal)
5 Maartje from Huisje Boompje Boefjes (Netherlands)
6 Sophie from C’est la vie (France)
7 Nienke from Pienkel (Netherlands)
8 Victoria from As it Seams (UK)
9 Laura from Craftstorming (UK)
10 Oh look! It’s me
11 An from Straight Grain (Belgium)
12 Laura from Behind the Hedgerow (UK)
13 Nina from Fliegfederfrei (Switzerland)
14 Maria from La Inglesita (Spain)
14a Maria’s friend Miren (Solo Sewing)
The build up
We had a secret Facebook group where we would plan, organise and discuss our trip. Excitement mounted as the days drew nearer. Every so often someone would post about sponsorship they had sorted for us. We were very lucky indeed.
I can not wait to start making things with my beautiful fabric and amazing patterns.
And there could be something for you too, so keep on reading.
Our weekend in Paris
We stayed at St Christopher’s Inn, a hostel walking distance from Gare du Nord, but don’t let the word ‘hostel’ put you off. It would normally bring out the snob in me but I thought if everyone else is OK about it, I’ll pack the snob away and embrace the idea. I was pleasantly surprised, it was nicer than the hotel I stayed at the first time I was in Paris.
Some of the girls stayed in a 6 bed dorm. A really good option. Clean, spacious, 2 bathrooms and a great view of Paris. I would thoroughly recommend it. They welcomed us with everything one might need for a weekend in Paris. A map, a mug, sunglasses, a raincoat, eye mask, ear plugs, a water bottle, a wristband and a bottle opener. I can not think of anything else I might need, I think they nailed it.
We were also supplied with maps, guides, a free ticket for a Seine River Cruise and a cute Eiffel Tower key ring by the Paris Office du Tourisme. Really, we were thoroughly spoilt.
Thanks goes to Victoria for organising all this.
When I arrived at the hostel none of the other ladies were to be seen. I sat anxious and excited in the bar, hoping I would recognise a face. Then in walked a dress that I had Pinned some months ago. It was Maria, my Pinterest board was coming alive. I immediately stroked her dress, a habit of mine that I must try to control. We sat and talked with ease, even though we had never met before, we had a lot to talk about.
Talk less, listen more.
Before I arrived in Paris I had pretty much lost my voice and was suffering from the lurgy. I hoped that I would be better for the trip but it was not the case. The more I tried to speak, the less that came out. In the end I had to resort to blog style comments during our weekend and a lot of listening.
Soon there were more of us, Laura Titchener I had met a few weeks prior to our trip, we had chatted a lot via Messenger so she already felt like an old friend.
The bubble shorts pattern that I have nothing but love for was designed by Marta. I’m hoping that she’ll bring out another pattern soon. Most of what she wore in Paris was handmade, so I think I must have stroked her at least 3 times.
When An approached me at the hostel I did not recognise her at all. She has not 1 picture of herself on her blog, no wonder I nearly walked straight passed her. She designed the beautiful hanami dress that I made here and here. I’m inspired by every one of her blog posts.
Before long most of us were together, admiring each others handmade clothes, getting to know each other better and the odd conversation about fabric (of course).
On meet Nina’s husband, I said hello and instinctively stroked his jacket (knowing that Nina had made it). He didn’t seem to mind, infact he even took it off so that I could inspect it further. It was perfection, just like all the handmade outfits Nina and her daughter wore for the duration of our trip. I totally admire her style and her skill.
And guess what we did next? Yep, we hit the shops (with fabric in mind). I made my first purchase, some trimmings from La Droguerie.
We stumbled upon the cutest, most quaint shop ever, selling vintage haberdashery.
Nina and An looked at home amongst the visual delights.
But it was not just shopping and fabric. We also had time for a visit to Notre Dame.
The next two days flew by. If I thought Paris was going to be a restful trip I was mistaken. We were constantly on the move, we were on a mission, to see Paris and to
see buy fabric.
Unfortunately Nienke had twisted her ankle during a gymnastics accident just a few days before, so her pace was a little slower than most of ours. Otherwise I’m sure she would have been cartwheeling her way up the steep steps leading to the Sacré-Coeur.
Bernina had given us enough Euros to each buy 2m of Atelier Brunette fabric from Anna Ka Baazar.
Nina, Maartje and I wiped Anna Ka Baazar clean out of the checkerboard fabric. I actually have no idea what I will make with it.
Bernina also paid for our dinner on Saturday night, I was overwhelmed by such generosity.
Sophie (from France) came into her own at the restaurant, so took over and made sure that we all knew what we were ordering. Thank goodness otherwise I might have just stuck to poulet for every meal to avoid accidentally ordering frogs legs.
I had heard about a shop in Montmartre, at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur, that had 5 floors of fabric. We just had to check it out.
It wasn’t as impressive as I hoped, bargains were to be had on the ground floor, the 1st floor was so unimpressive I can’t even remember it, the 2nd floor was my favourite and I nearly bought some French terry, the 3rd floor sold upholstery fabric, the 4th floor sold fabric for curtains, the 5th floor sold fabric for net curtains, but I walked out empty handed.
I was more impressed by the surrounding coupon (remnants) shops, usually around three metres of fabric and priced very reasonably. I added 4 more pieces to my Paris fabric collection, I didn’t go crazy.
I spent my last day with Marte and Nina, we went to a flea market and a quick visit to the trendy Les Abbesses. I fell in love with this hand painted giraffe wall light made from bamboo and covered with silk at Petit Pan.
I had the most wonderful weekend with 13 amazing ladies. I will always have fond memories of our time in Paris. We are all still very much keeping in touch through our secret Facebook group (well, not that much of a secret any more) and WhatsApp. We are already thinking about Paris Sew Social 2016.
If you are on Instagram you can check out what we got up to by using the hastag #parissewsocialI really don’t know who was putting all those photos on Instagram whilst we were in Paris 😉
Paris Sew Social and this giveaway were made possible by our amazing sponsors, thank you Bernina, Lillestoff,Cousette, Nosh, FabFab, Telaria, Alles für Selbermacher, Supercut, Imagine Gnats, Nutta, Mon Depot, Tuttle,Aurifil, Snaply, Joyfits, Ottobre, Compagnie M., St. Christopher’s Inns & Paris Office du Tourisme
And thank you for getting to the end of this ridiculously long blog post.