Just before Christmas I received an email from Annika (Naeh Connection) and Gioia (Dotta) with the subject: Invitation to a wonderful meeting of kid sewing bloggers in Paris. This email almost got buried due to pre-Christmas chaos, but it resurfaced in January and my mind started mulling over what a fabulous opportunity this would be to meet some of my favourite sewists and bloggers in real life!
Well, I say ‘fabulous’ but what I really mean is ‘fabulous with side of scary.’ Stepping out from behind a computer screen to meet ‘strangers’ in a foreign country felt a little daunting. But the thrill and excitement outweighed the fear so I organised the kids, dog and husband and signed up!
And I wasn’t the only one excited by the prospect of a sewing-centric weekend in Paris! In total, we were 14:
- An from Straightgrain
- Annika from Naeh Connection
- Gioia from Dotta
- Laura from Craftstorming
- Maartje from Huisje Boompje Boefjes
- Maria from Telaria Telas
- Marta from Do Guincho
- Marte from Compagnie M.
- Nienke from Pienkel
- Nina from Fliegfederfrei
- Olu from Needle and Ted
- Sophie from C’est la Vie
- Victoria from As It Seams
In the months, weeks and days leading up to our trip there were countless messages about logistics (lots of logistics – organising 14 people in a capital city is no mean feat!), sponsor details, what we all going to sew/wear, how excited we all were (lots of excited messages!), etc.
To add to this excitement, we were fortunate enough to have the kindest sponsors who helped us out with everything from accommodation (St Christopher’s Inn, Gare du Nord, Paris), to meals out (Bernina), to sightseeing passes (Paris Office du Tourisme), to (of course!) lots of fabric and patterns. [You could lock me in my sewing room now and let me out again in 2017 and I’d still be sewing through all the fabric and patterns I have in my stash!]
Bernina, Lillestoff, Cousette, Nosh, FabFab, Telaria, Alles für Selbermacher, Supercut, Imagine Gnats, Nutta, Mon Depot, Tuttle, Aurifil, Snaply, Joyfits, Ottobre, Compagnie M., Do Guincho, Titchy Threads, Made It, Kid Approved, Schneidermeistern , Delia Creates, Willow&Co, Mouse House Creations, Sofilantjes, Sewpony, LBG Studio, Loubee Clothing, Straightgrain, Elegance&Elephants, Hey June, Paisley Roots, St. Christopher’s Inns & Paris Office du Tourisme
And, not only were these sponsors kind to us but they’ve been kind to you too!! Keep reading for details of the #parissewsocial GIVEAWAY!
The weekend itself was just as magical as I imagined! We all arrived at different times via different modes of transport and I think we did a remarkable job of keeping everyone together – not an easy task! Each person I met truly felt like meeting up with an old friend! I met An at the station as our trains arrived at similar times and we did our best to find the hostel while at the same time chatting non-stop.
By the end of Friday night we were all together enjoying some of the great Parisian food and drink.
Saturday involved more meeting up, shopping (Anna Ka Bazaar was a particular highlight for all of us!), eating, and sightseeing. I spent a beautiful afternoon in the Rodin Museum Gardens with Laura (Craftstorming) just, you know, checking out The Thinker and discussing seam finishes, photography techniques, and pattern drafting…as you do!
Saturday night’s dinner was sponsored by Bernina – a tiny restaurant, an eccentric host, and delicious food.
By the end of the weekend we had all talked and walked ourselves into exhaustion! We all went home with full suitcases as well as hearts!
As I sat in the Eurostar lounge awaiting my train back to England, I had time to reflect on the weekend and what it meant to me.
- The internet as a force for good. As a parent of children growing up in the digital age, I am all too aware of the risks and dangers of unlimited and unmonitored internet access. It’s something I think about often and I’m eager to teach my kids about how to use this technology to their advantage without it taking over their lives or putting them in any danger. This trip has reminded me that this technology can also be a huge force for good. Without the internet, Facebook, Instagram, blogs and the like, this trip could have never happened and I never would have been able to take so much satisfaction from meeting like-minded friends.
- It’s exhilarating to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. I don’t think there was one of us on this trip that didn’t feel some anxiety about meeting 13 ‘strangers’ in Paris! What if we didn’t get on? What if there were awkward silences? What if the person you thought you knew online wasn’t anything like the real life version? We all had these fears and, at least for me, they were dashed within the first moments of meeting everyone. We came as strangers and left as friends – this would have never happened had we all not taken a step away from what feels comfortable and easy and exposed ourselves to something new and challenging.
- Happiness comes through shared experiences not material gain. I recently read an article outlining the reasons why you should spend your money on experiences, not things. It rang true at the time of reading but it became even more relevant after our weekend in Paris. Although the free fabric, patterns, and notions were great (reeeeeally, reeeeeeally great!) it was the whole experience of being with friends and having a shared experience that brought me the most happiness.
And finally, a big thank you to Annika and Gioia for coming up with the idea of this meet up and for meticulously planning all the details to ensure its success. So, where are we all going in 2016?! I vote for a pilgrimage to Merchant and Mills!
Not only were all these sponsors generous to us, but they’ve also donated fabulous prizes for our giveaway…that YOU could win! Here are the three prizes for you to drool over. To be in with a chance just enter by the Rafflecopter below.
The first prize includes jerseys from Lillestoff (the rose print sponsored by Lillestoff, the ABC print sponsored by joy fits), a Andrea Lauren bag filled with goodies from Alles für Selbermacher, an Ottobre magazin, a 15$ voucher for Imagine Gnats Shop and a sewing magazine from Stoffe.de.
The second prize includes a jersey with roses from lillestoff, a fun dinosaur fabric sponsored by mon depot, some pink ribbing from Nosh, a lace zipper from Snaply, nice spools from Aurifil, a paper pattern by Compagnie M. and a sewing magazine from Stoffe.de.
The third prize includes a flowery popeline from Lillestoff, white jersey from Nosh, blue Lycra (?) with Cupcakes from mon depot, a paper pattern from Compagnie M., spools from Aurifil and a sewing magazine from stoffe.de.
In addition to this the winners will get the chance to participate in a blog tour in June/July for which we all will sew something using the wonderful fabrics and patterns that we got (the winners don’t have to, but can participate!!!). The giveaway is open to international entries, void where prohibited by law. The giveaway runs until Monday May 11th 2015, 12am CET. The more of our social media channels you follow, the higher your chance to win one of the three prizes.
Since I’ve been home I’ve been sewing up lots of clothes/ with my new fabrics and patterns. I hope to be sharing some of these next week. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s on my cutting table this evening.
Thanks for reading and good luck with the giveaway,