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Patrick Grant opens Community Clothing in Blackburn

On Thursday morning Kay and I made the short trip across the border to the town of Blackburn, for the official launch of Community Clothing. Despite growing up in Yorkshire, I visited often as a child to buy fabrics in the market, as well as shoes from the  legendary Tommy Balls factory. Kay grew up in Rochdale but always wished she had a Blackburn accent! We were both excited to go back and I have been wanting to find out more about Patrick Grant's inspirational project since I read about it in the May issue of Sew Magazine (which I was very happy to be featured in too).  The big idea behind the brand is this: "Community Clothing is a manufacturers...

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The Festival of Quilts 2016 with Aurifil Threads

As an avid quilter, and an enthusiastic consumer of sewing delights I have no idea why it has taken me so long to make it to the Festival of Quilts. Perhaps it is because Europe's biggest quilt show is always in the middle of August and I am usually on holiday or surviving 6 weeks of no school with my 3 children.  However I was very determined to go in 2016 and booked it in the diary back in January. My friend Bradley at Aurifil then asked me to help on their booth so I got 4 days rather than 2, as well as the chance to spend time with Sheena Norquay who was exhibiting her work with them.   ...

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Jenni Smith Ltd is born and Beyond Magazine Feature

A lot has been happening behind the scenes in recent weeks. I have opened my new studio space and started to fill up all of my classes for the Autumn. I have also registered as a Limited Company, put in several trademark applications and started working on my branding and packaging.    My first garment patterns are in production (yippee) and this is a stage which I worried I might never get to.  It's very easy to have an idea, but to make it become reality takes a lot of work and even more bravery.  I think everybody is afraid of failure, and also the unknown but I am trying to not get too distracted by fear! I have also...

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Gaining confidence by sewing a blouse (amazing fabric by Heather Ross)

I have been a huge fan of fabric designer Heather Ross ever since I discovered her work 5 years ago.  I made by youngest child a quilt with her Nursery Versery prints, as well as some shorts featuring incy wincy spider which I tried to squeeze him back into last month but failed.  Heather released a new collection last year TigerLily including these ballerinas. My daughter Edie dances so I bought a metre of the cotton in pink to make her a top (still a WIP), then I ordered 2 metres in the cotton lawn for myself. I imagined it would look like a simple pattern from afar, but make people smile (and especially me) when they studied it up...

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Meeting Polly Leonard at Selvedge Magazine

I have subscribed to Selvedge magazine for several years and love it for so many different reasons.  Every issue I learn stories about cloth, and the people who make it worldwide.  Textile histories and personal stories are told in detail and brought to life with breathtaking photography. The fashion is ethically produced and always has a fascinating backstory. Every magazine includes garments that would sit happily in my dream wardrobe.   So many artists and craftspeople across the globe have come to my attention in the pages of this bi-monthly publication, such as Celia Pym, Julie Arkel and Adrianna Torres.  I have also learned about local women with rich textile histories including Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth who lived at Gawthorpe Hall, and...

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