I’ve been part of the creative community my entire life. My creative childhood wasn’t a hallmark moment or a pinterest pic, it was for most of my family a way of life. This way of life meant that we could live. My wonderful Mum made our clothes on the kitchen table, Nan an incredibly talented knitter made all of our soft toys, including a beautiful collection of hand knitted Beatrix Potter characters. My Aunt machine knitted her 250+ fostered and adopted childrens’ jumpers. My other Aunts and Great Aunts were bakers, dressmakers and all round handy women.
Not forgetting the fellas who were boot makers, tailors, farmers, carpenters, engineers and fencers. The men who would darn socks and make rag rugs from scraps. The family getting together to sew and repair horse rugs, taking up/in a hand me down dress or cutting it up to make something new.
Back then the art of making was starting to die out with generations not wanting to learn these skills, or older generations not wanting to teach them. Off the peg clothes have become so inexpensive, making clothes isn’t so much of a cost cutting exercise and so the skill has become lost.
Not in my family, I come from a long line of seamstresses and tailoresses. Cottage industries where women would work to create garments or household items not only for themselves but others. This wasn’t their hobby. It wasn’t trendy. It was their job. Their creativity and skills were their living, it paid the bills and kept food in tummies, a roof over your head.
Today, these skills are sought after which is fabulous but as they were not passed down and are not longer taught as regular curriculum the teachers of the past are few and far between. The Aunt that taught me to sew, she died in a home not really knowing who she was. I’m lucky that she taught me. The professionals from the West End and Saville Row that looked me up and down not expecting me to last, they taught me. The manager who gave me a chance in my first retail job, she taught me. She also taught me that you will never know everything and you will never be finished with education. Boy, was she right.
Above all, I’ve spent over 30 years in the creative community, 20 of those from a professional standpoint and for the most part, we’ve all been in it together. As a creative, I am incredibly passionate about what I do. I love to share that with people. Whether it be with someone just starting out or a fellow seasoned pro, the genuine love of creating just spills over into conversations on a daily basis. Through this community I have seen amazing things happen, women given better chances at life after sexual violence, children being made to feel more comfortable in hospital, Manchester being covered in hand made hearts after a horrific terrorist attack… I could go on and on. It’s something I have always said that the creative community do, time and time again: support. It’s via this amazing community that I have been afforded the benefit of gaining family and friends. I know that through these relationships, I can recommend someone for perhaps a craft that I’m not proficient in or share the love and pass potential customers along to other creatives. The whole “I can’t do that but I know someone that can” mantra is something we hold to here at Habbydays which is why we hand out so many cards for other small businesses and make recommendations. If that means we lose a sale, so be it. We’re more concerned with a patron getting what they need/want than forcing a sale on someone who doesn’t need or want it. We pride ourselves on our 50+ combined years of knowledge and insight into the creative world.
Within the creative community there has always been competition, with the skills in which we deal with dying out, competition has become more about big businesses making more products and garments ‘efficiently’, driving down costs and pricing individual professionals out of the jobs they worked so hard to get. Now we see more people having a go because of resources such as Pinterest or TV shows like The Great British Sewing Bee and it is awesome! Even more awesome if you learn something and can earn money doing something you love to do! Which is where it starts to sometimes become a grey area. We help support small businesses locally with our trade accounts but often receive backlash for not including licensed fabrics and goods within those terms. This is for very good reason and those products are protected by licensing, trademark and copyright. I’m a huge supporter and member of ACID, I’ve worked with Trading standards and it is quite distressing to see how many people who are in it for the money just rip off other people’s ideas and designs. Not just small businesses but large corporations: Ellie Ellie vs. Boohoo.com Elf for Christmas vs. B&M to name a couple. Of course there is going to be overlap in ideas but to see something that someone else is making to sell and think to yourself “I could do that” is pretty cool and awesome that you’ve been inspired. Too see that idea and think “I could do that” and start reproducing those exact ideas is in my humble opinion wrong and shortsighted. Then there are the people who see these ideas, copy them and claim to offer the same product or service at a cut price at a lower standard…
The keys to being a successful creative is for a start, to be creative. The second is to experiment and learn, find yourself and your style and thirdly stick to that. Don’t half arse other people’s ideas, even if a customer asks for it. Your integrity is in question not only as a creative but as a human being. In my opinion, you can’t just have a bash/watch a youtube video/read a book chapter once and decide that you can make to sell, teach or offer that service. It takes experience, even if it’s you practising a swiss roll bake 20 times a day or making more cushions than one house needs.
If you do make to sell and are confident in your product, service or lessons make sure they are bomb proof! There’s follow up care, basic instructions, trouble shooting and the odd student that just doesn’t get it so you have to think outside of the box to help them. With making to sell, is it a toy, if so is it CE tested? Mug painting, can you wash it? Teaching a class, do you have enough time and experience to complete the class and if not what follow up do you have? If you take in alterations are you prepared for how badly finished some off the peg garments are? What if there isn’t enough original fabric to complete the job?
Then there is pricing. As a creative, selling your skill is hard. Most creatives do not even make minimum wage, ask a quilter how many hours they put into that beautiful quilt you saw and await an astonishingly high number or a dressmaker how much her dress would be including her time? It’s the same with services or teaching, you must pay yourself what you are worth. Now whether you undercut other people because you’re new and not sure what to charge or because you just want to undercut someone, you’re doing your fellow creatives a disservice. I recently had a chat with someone making blankets, they wanted to charge some tiny amount for this blanket that had taken them hours. This wasn’t their living, more pocket money for them, something on the side. We discussed as to why that would be a bad idea. Imagine being a creative who honed their craft after years of training, who can’t sell their beautiful hand knitted, bamboo baby blankets at a craft fair because the person next to you is selling a similar blanket that maybe isn’t as uniform and in a cheaper yarn for next to nothing. It’s gutting. Check out our previous blog post about knowing your worth as a maker here.
It’s the same with classes or services. Sure someone might have a class to make a teddy bear for £20 but the teacher has just skipped over a book or seen it on Pinterest and fancied undercutting the other teacher in the area who is a Teddy Bear creator, trained by Steiff themselves and charges £35 for a class to make teddy bears. Or the local alterations worker who already isn’t paid enough for their work (alterations work is too inconsistent to have a standing charge) losing out because someone else is doing zips for £5, despite not doing them very well. And even if they are doing it well, £15/zip is pretty standard, you shouldn’t have to drop your prices if your quality is the same as your competitor.
It’s why we have 3 price points for most of our products. It’s why we have demos to see something being made and get a feel for that technique, clubs to share knowledge with other like minded folks and actual sewing classes where you learn a skill or technique from front to back which you can use time and time again and is transferable to other creative endeavors.
In conclusion what it comes down to is as a creative, don’t undercut your fellow creatives. Stick to doing something you do really well and people will come to you, for your designs, knowledge, classes and/or services.
As a consumer, you often get what you pay for. Don’t be fooled by false economy.
Above all, celebrate creatives and your fellow humans. Build them up, if you’re having to lie about someone or behave in a questionable way to get one over on someone… it’s likely that people will start to question you and your integrity.
Tuesday 12th December: 10:00-17:30
Wednesday 13th December: 10:00-17:30
Thursday 14th December: 10:00-17:30
Friday 15th December: 10:00-17:30 Last Knit and Natter of 2017 11:00-14:00
Saturday 16th December: 12:00-16:30
Monday 18th December: Shop not open, last Sewing Club of 2017 19:00-21:00
Tuesday 19th December: 10:00-17:30 Kid’s Crafty Christmas Drop In, Create a Last Minute Christmas Stocking Workshop
Wednesday 20th December: 10:00-17:30 Kid’s Crafty Christmas Drop In
Thursday 21st December: 10:00-17:30 Kid’s Crafty Christmas Drop In
Friday 22nd December: 10:00-17:30 Kid’s Crafty Christmas Drop In NO KNIT AND NATTER
Saturday 23rd December: CLOSED
Tuesday 26th December: CLOSED
Wednesday 27th December: CLOSED
Thursday 28th December: CLOSED
Friday 29th December: CLOSED
Saturday 30th December: CLOSED
Tuesday 2nd January: CLOSED
Wednesday 3rd January: Warehouse open for orders, Shop CLOSED
Thursday 4th January: Warehouse open for orders, Shop CLOSED
Friday 5th January: Warehouse open for orders, Shop CLOSED
Saturday 6th January: CLOSED
Tuesday 9th January: 10:00-17:30
Wednesday 10th January: 10:00-17:30
Thursday 11th January: 10:00-17:30
Friday 12th January: 10:00-17:30 Knit and Natter 11:00-14:00
Saturday 13th January: 12:00-16:30
We cannot guarantee orders made after the 13th of December so please get your orders for Christmas presents in as soon as possible. We will of course continue to process orders up until December 22nd but cannot guarantee that you will have your order within our usual processing times.
We wish all of our customers and students a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
There are some stunning dresses and outfits out there as we approach the festive season. One that caught our eye was this £350 Jazz gold sequin dress from LK Bennett. But why pay £350 for it when we can supply you with all you need to get the same look for under £40
Take a look at our Sequin fabric at £7.10 per metre and Simplicity Patterns number 1586 for £8.95 . You may prefer to tweak the pattern to add a lining but even then, not only will you save a packet, you’ll also know it’s a perfect fit.
We are pleased to offer our latest stock, Presencia Algodon 100% Egyptian Cotton 3-ply threads in 40, 50 and 60 weight.
Presencia is a family-run Spanish thread producer which was founded in 1949 by the brothers Pérez Presencia. What sets Presencia cotton threads apart from other manufacturers is the use of certified Egyptian cotton and the processes they use to spin, dye and treat the thread.
In recent years, there has been controversies over companies labelling products as ‘Egyptian Cotton’ when the raw materials were actually sourced elsewhere. This has prompted the Cotton Egypt Association and other trade associations to go to the extent of even DNA testing products labelled as Egyptian Cotton to verify their source. Presencia cotton is fully certified and guaranteed 100% Egyptian Cotton from the Giza Valley.
We are stocking the 40, 50 and 60 weight 3-ply cotton threads, with the 50 weight being the most popular and available in the full 183 colours as it is ideal for general construction, piecing and appliqué and works well on a machine. We hold the most popular colours in stock for the 50 weight, and all of the 40 and 60 weight colours. The 50 weight cotton is mercerised, gassed and dyed using the Bleachfast technique to produce a strong, 3-ply thread that is shrink-fast, smooth, soft and lustrous.
Bleachfast dyeing ensures that the threads can be washed in hot-water and bleach without losing its colour. This is in contrast to the more common Colourfast technique which produces a colour that should only be washed in warm water and mild detergent.
The Presencia 100% Cotton thread comes in 400m reels for the 40 weight, 500m reels for the 50 weight and 600m reels for the 60 weight. All are £4.68 each.
We are supporting Macmillan Cancer Trust again this year by holding our own coffee morning.
The event starts at 10am and finishes at 2pm.
We’ll have cakes and refreshments for sale, a guess the height competition and cake bingo at 12pm.
The shop will be open of course, pleas feel free to bring down a friend and a table top craft for a knit/hook/stitch and natter.
Grab a bargain while the New Look pattern sale is on!
50% off of all patterns making all patterns from the current New Look catalogue just £3.48
We love New Look patterns for their ease of use and their wardrobe building potential.
Many of the patterns available from New Look not only have multiple options but multiple garments. Making it so easy to create an entire outfit from just one pattern.
Whether it be jumpsuits and dresses….
Or entire smart casual outfits….
Sportswear or lounge wear…
Or even outer wear, you can grab a bargain for £3.48 for a limited time in the Autumn sale.
If you shop in store, you can take advantage of our loyalty scheme when buying Burda, New Look or Simplicity patterns. Buy 4 patterns from the above brands and receive a 5th one for free. Terms and Conditions apply.
We like to keep up to date with what’s new in the world of textiles, and one fabric that seems to be reinventing itself is Denim. This cotton fabric long been known for it’s hard-wearing properties and has it’s roots in France for the fabric, Italy for the traditional indigo colour (Jeans being an anglification of the French for Genoa where the first denim trousers were made) and then America where it became well used in workwear in the mid 19th century.
But despite it’s long and valued history, Denim does have it’s drawbacks. Being cotton, it can be heavy and will absorb and hold moisture, as anyone who’s been caught in the rain wearing jeans will know.
There’s also the more recent issues to overcome from the weaving and manufacturing point of view. Around 5 years ago, cotton prices spiked to almost $2 per lb compared to it’s usual $0.6 per lb. Prices have returned to that $0.6-$0.7 level, but it was enough to prompt manufacturers to seek alternative fibres to incorporate into Denim to keep costs down and from that, also extend the reach of denim as a fabric, into clothing and uses that it hadn’t previously been suitable for.
These new hybrid blends are pushing the limits of what Denim can be and has been used for, and there are 2 mills that are leading that push.
Artistic Milliners have developed a denim they name ‘Catch-Move-Release’ which is a performance denim with a cotton/Cordura/Sorbtek polyester/Lycra blend to keep the wearer cool, dry and comfortable. With the inclusion of Cordura, a fabric more usually associated with protective motorcycle wear or outdoor equipment, the abrasive resistance of the Denim has been improved significantly, but by ensuring the fabric is still predominantly cotton,it retains an authentic Denim look. The cordura also improves breathability and moisture transportation which not only makes the garments more comfortable in hot or humid conditions, but speeds drying when the fabric does get wet.
NILIT have developed Sensil nylon 6.6 yarns which pairs with cotton allowing denim manufacturers to produce fabrics with additional characteristic functions such as moisture management, cool touch and odor resistance. With the inclusion of FIR yarns, the denim can also actively warm the wearer. FIR, or Far InfraRed fibres use a lead-free bio-ceramic to generate infra-red radiation, or heat, which can penetrate the skin by up to 4cm. The only energy required to generate this is the movement and flex of the fibres themselves. Granted, the temperature increase is not huge, but it’s still an amazing development of fibres which have previously only been found in medical and scientific uses. The Sensil yarns were showcased with a series of garments designed by Augusta Romano from Duplex Style SRL and created with advanced denim fabrics made by Berto Industria Tessile.
We know it’ll be a long time before these cutting edge fabrics make it into the garments we can buy on the high street and become available to the wider market, but we’ll keep looking out for them and hopefully will be able to offer such advanced fabrics when they become available.
Until then, you can still check out our traditional denims where you’ll find various weights, shades, colours and stretches.
Spend £40 and use the code BANK5 for £5 discount
Spend £70 and use the code BANK10 for £10 discount
Spend £100 and used code BANK20 for £20 discount
Available in store and online for a limited time only.
Terms and conditions apply
Can you believe that it is September already?
This week we are offering up a discount of over 15% off of our cosy corduroy.
Choose from several colours, bright or traditional.
Our favourites are:
Need some inspiration?
Why not make a Cleo dress. Designed by Tilly and the Buttons we have Cleo to be one of our go to patterns, perfect for new sewers and so easy to add to any wardrobe.
Find them here