It’s not overstating to say the past few months here in the UK have been crappy. Crappy is too lightweight a word really. (But I don’t want to unleash the vocabulary I would really like to use) Terrorist attacks. A country seemingly more divided than ever over social injustice and inequality and racial division. And then there was Grenfell. A tragedy so unfathomable, so incomprehensible, so heartbreaking, that I think it sucked the air out of most of us. I know I’m not alone in saying, I have shed tears. Felt helpless. Sat there with my head in my hands, staring in disbelief at what was unfolding on our screens. Not just Grenfell but the tragedies that went before it. The Queen described it as a “sombre mood, pervading our nation”. But it’s more than that. It’s sadness and anger and helplessness. My absence from this blog of late is no coincidence. I haven’t had the heart to talk to you about sewing. I’ve barely sewn. It’s just seemed a bit….pointless. Insignificant. I’ve felt beaten down by all this death and tragedy.
But at some point a few weeks ago I realised that I was allowing the “bad stuff” to win. That we don’t overcome by curling up into a ball. We overcome by reaching out and pulling together. That’s the one positive that’s come out of the past few weeks. It’s the shining example of communities reaching out and pulling together. THEY are the many. WE are the many. The rest are the few.
So I decided to channel that sadness and anger and helplessness, into something a little more positive. A few weeks ago I launched a fundraising initiative over on Instagram called Makers for Grenfell. I hold this sewing community of ours in such esteem and I thought, there is something here that we can do. So I put a call out on IG…..and people responded. Sewists and businesses alike responded. And so far we have raised just over £1200. A drop in the ocean some might say. But the ocean is made of many drops. And we’re not done yet anyway 😉
So today I wanted to share with you a number of ways you can get involved, if you feel moved to do so. The bonus is, there is sewing loveliness involved in this fundraising effort! So without further ado, here’s what you can do….
The generosity of the businesses in our sewing community has been heartwarming. When I put the call out for some prizes for a fundraising raffle I was inundated with offers of help. Between us we have managed to put together a selection of prizes worth well in excess of £2k. Including some money can’t buy experiences not to be found elsewhere! Tickets cost £5 and details of how to purchase are at the end of this prize list. But in the meantime….take a look at what you could win! (btw….make sure you scroll all the way;))
Fabric Godmother has donated 2 prizes. A £50 voucher to spend online and an amazing “Day Out” package of goodies as follows:
GBSB Live have kindly donated 5 x pairs of tickets (worth £33 a pair) to their exciting new event launching in London’s Excel Centre on 21st – 24th September. (Tickets are for any day of your choice during the event. 5 winners will each receive a pair of tickets).
Named Clothing have donated a bundle of 3 patterns worth £30. Winner will receive a pdf copy of Reeta Midi Shirt Dress, Ansa Butterfly Sleeve Dress & Top and Ninni Elastic Waist Culottes
Elisalex of By Hand London is inviting you into her haven! Learn the basics of dressmaking with a one-on-one intensive three hour session with cofounder and Head of Design at By Hand London sewing patterns, in her own home studio. The class will be curated specifically according to your skill level and what you want to learn or improve on. And as an added bonus, you will leave the class with your choice of three By Hand London patterns to keep you going! This workshop is based in London, NW10. Approx value £140. (Fabric not included).
The Fold Line are also offering 2 prizes. 1 winner will receive a half an hour social media coaching session via Skype with Kate Underdown from The Fold Line. Kate will answer your questions and share lots of tips on how to grow your online community. Approx vlue £100.
1 winner will receive copies of both the Parker and Billie Collection sewing patterns worth £25 from Tribe Patterns
New Craft House are offering an exclusive 1 2 1 prize worth £200: Learn to make your own bra with Hannah and Rosie from The New Craft House. In the session you’ll get hands on tuition and learn all of the bra making basics, including fitting, cutting and sewing up your bra. You’ll be able to pick from a few bra patterns and styles and have your pick of Rosie and Hannah’s lace stash! The class will take place in The New Craft House’s studio, just behind Broadway Market in East London and will take 4-5 hours. Exactly date and times to be confirmed with the winner.
Wendy Ward is donating one of her fabulous Fulwood Dress Kits woth £65 which includes:
- a copy of the printed paper version of the Fulwood Dress pattern (which can be re-used to make more dresses!)
- over 2.5m of a beautiful quality medium weight cotton denim fabric in a choice of 2 shades to make one dress
- a reel of matching colour Gutermann polyester sewing thread
Cocowawa Crafts have gifted a bundle worth over £50 that includes the following:
3 balls of jersey yarn, 1 x Lily Dress and Blouse pdf pattern. 1 x Marshmallow Dress physical pattern. 1 x Mini Marshmallow Dress pdf pattern.
Girl Charlee have also been amazingly generous with this fabric bundle worth approx £150!
Minerva Crafts too with this bundle worth around £200 (this is not even all of it!)
Cotton Reel Studio have donated a £50 voucher to spend online…
Sew Hayley Jane have donated a “Super Stash Box” worth approx £50, packed with sewing and haberdashery goodies. (photos are for illustrative purposes. Actual contents may vary as each box is unique)
Love Sewing have donated a bundle of 6 sewing patterns as follows :B5988 sizes 8-16; K3955 sizes xs-xl ; M7094 sizes 4-26; B6178 sizes 6-22; M7533 sizes 8-24; M7536 sizes 6-22…..as well as a copy of Matt Chappel’s book Makeit, Own it, Love it. Total value over £70.
Village Haberdashery have offered this Rifle Paper Co Fat Quarter bundle worth £80. This bundle contains fat quarters of all 21 quilting cottons (including 10 metallic prints) in the Wonderland collection.
Cico Books have donated this phenomenal bundle of 6 book titles (as pictured) worth around £100!
Beyond Measure is donating this amazing collection of luxury Hiroshima needles and pins worth £39. (I can attest….these are gorgeous!)
Simply Sewing are generously donating a 1 year subscription worth £77
Cloth & Candy have donated 3 FQ bundles as pictured worth £30…
Suzy Magazine have donated a year’s subscription to their new quarterly online magazine…
Sew Essential have done exactly what it says in the picture 😉
And last but not least, rounding up this epic list of prizes…
Claire-Louise Hardie is offering up her time to one lucky winner with a full day 121 session at her North london sewing studio. AKA The Thrifty Stitcher-Sewing Producer for the Bee! If you can’t make it to london, then the session can also be taken via Skype! This 121 session is worth £170, and you’ll not only get expert sewing advice, but insider stories from “the bee” and a life lived backstage. 121 sewing sessions allow you to tailor your learning to exactly what you want or need. No dressmaking problem is too hard! Originally trained as a Costume Designer at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Claire-Louise has worked in all aspects of Costume for Theatre, Film and TV with an impressive CV of employers that includes-
The RSC:The Royal National Theatre:Regent’s Park open air Theatre and “The Audience” with Dame Helen Mirren.
Her diverse professional experience made her the perfect candidate for the role of Sewing Producer for TV’s “Great British Sewing Bee“ A role she’s done since 2012 when the show was first developed.In her spare time Claire-louise is undertaking a Masters Degree at London College of Fashion!
How about that then people? Is that not a sewing raffle on steroids?!!! If you want to be in with a chance of winning one of these fabulous prizes then you’ll need to buy a ticket! Here’s how:
- Head over to the Makers for Grenfell page on Just giving here.
- Donate the £5 cost of a ticket (by all means buy more than one!)
- In the section that says leave a message of support type “Raffle” followed by your full name.
Raffle will be drawn on 1st August 2017. Winners will be announced on this blog and prizes will then be allocated (ie winners will get to choose) on a first come, first serve basis. If after 7 days, no contact has been received, then another ticket will be drawn until all prizes have been allocated. You can subscribe to this blog by email to ensure you get notification of when the winners are announced. Or keep an eye out on my social media accounts.
But…..that’s not the only way to get involved! Here are some more…
Most of us have a few things in our stash that we will never use. So I have set up an Instagram account where anyone can go & post photos of their unwanted sewing/knitting/ craft related or handmade items. You then simply state how much you would like the “buyer” to donate to “purchase” the item. They donate directly to the dedicated Just Giving Page and you sort out postage etc between you. If you want to get involved and sell your unwanted stash, then DM me over on Instagram, either to @portialawrie or @makersforgrenfell and I’ll give you the login deets!
Of course if you have nothing to sell but are in the market to buy sewing goodies, then make sure to follow @makersforgrenfell to stay up to date with new items being loaded. But be quick as items sell very quickly. So would recommend turning on post notifications for @makersforgrenfell on IG so you get notified as soon as someone posts. The goodies have not been hanging around for long. When you view the site, it may look full….but that is because posts will eventually get deleted once the transaction is complete. So don’t be fooled if you only see a handful of items 😉
Organise a craft jumble, a stitch and bitch coffee morning, a fabric swap, a raffle of your own, an auction. There are all manner of fundraising possibilities that you can organise independently, either online or in your local area and donate the proceeds to Makers for Grenfell. If you want to let me know about an event then email me at email@example.com or tag me in social media and I’ll do my best to help you spread the word
A couple of businesses have already designated a “Makers for Grenfell Day” where a percentage of all sales on that day has been donated to Makers for Grenfell. It needn’t be all sales. Maybe sales of a particular type of product would be a better fit. And please don’t worry that it may be viewed as opportunistic self promotion. I know some businesses worry about this. At the end of the day it’s a good cause. That’s really all that matters. If you want to let me know about an “Makers for Grenfell Day” or something else you have planned. then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me in social media and I’ll do my best to help you spread the word.
And last but not least….
I rarely ask people to share and tag and all that jazz. But we all know how massive and awesome our online sewing community is. This blog, and me, is just one teeny tiny part of that. I can only do so much as one person. My reach is limited. But as a community we can do so much more. When we reach out and pull together. I’ve done what I can to get the ball rolling on this. Now I’m passing the baton to you. Let’s see what we’re capable of.