If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may be aware I was involved in organising a little bit of an event on Saturday. Together with fellow blogger, Sally, we put together a little, bitty Leeds based sewing meet up called Sew Up North.
And it was amazing!
Our day started pretty early (Sally’s more than mine as she has a lot further to come); we were waiting outside the doors of the Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen before 9am to drop bags of raffle prizes (and pattern and fabric swap stuff, we’re not mad!) off before heading down to Costa with bags and bags full of goody bags.
We were rather surprised when we got to Costa at around 9:20 and headed downstairs to find our private space was already quite well populated! Lots of people had obviously had the same thought we’d had (Saturday morning, 120 people, might be a bit of a queue for coffee…) and had allowed extra time.
We dumped our stuff, ran back upstairs to grab breakfast and then headed back down to the madness.
And it was incredible. So many lovely people, people we recognised from last time around, new faces, people nervously turning up on their own and wondering if there’d be anyone to talk to. The queue for goody bags was fairly constant for the best part of an hour, we had a few minutes chatting, tidying up left over goody bags and getting a couple of willing and eager helpers to sell raffle tickets, and then it was time to be off.
As before, people naturally broke up into smaller groups. One intrepid lot even got the train to Dewsbury for a Fabworks trip, making it back in time for our final venue! I don’t think anyone got left alone and if they did, I really apologise. It’s hard to keep track of so many people all at once! But every fabric shopping location I headed to had its share of Sew Up Northers already stroking fabric, comparing purchases and generally enjoying shopping with other like minded beings.
We headed up to Belgrave a little early to try and get set up before everyone else arrived. The place was great; they’d given us a massive upstairs room, provided tea and coffee for free, set up big trestle tables for the fabric and pattern swap and lots of settees and little tables.
I must apologise to the lovely person who went and bought me a drink; I don’t know if I said thank you properly or even caught their name (I am absolutely bloody useless at names) but thank you! It was absolute madness and I was running totally on adrenaline. This can make me a little loud and rather talkative, so I can only apologise.
We drew the raffle a few minutes late, simply because we’d sold so many tickets that we couldn’t fold them fast enough, even with the help of Sally’s lovely son Ethan and a few other willing helpers (Ethan, by the way, was an absolute star all day long, Sally, I hope you’re really proud of him and his behaviour)
We were still announcing sponsors the night before the day; some people even arrived on the day with additional raffle prizes (thank you to the kind souls who donated a Betty dress pattern and some theatre ticket vouchers), so it took some time to draw! There were a lot of pretty happy looking ladies by the end of that, although somehow my numbers didn’t come up. Not sure how that happened!
The day flew by and I think most people had a great time. Despite feeling rather like a headless chicken, I enjoyed myself more this time around than last time as I was kind of prepared for it, although with twice the number of people it was a LOT bigger event. I always leave feeling like I’ve not got to catch up with a lot of people I wanted to; when I could take the chance, I made myself stop and quickly say hello to a few people I’ve been chatting to on Instagram for ages.
And thanks to you lovely, sewing lot, we raised a whopping £724.27 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
You read that right. £724.27
Incredible, right? All that money going to help save lives across our region. It did take us so long to find a bank open and willing to take the funds that Sally and Ethan headed for the train before we’d successfully got rid of it, a lesson I will learn for another time; make sure you know which bank the charity banks with and where the hell the late opening branches are in the city centre. I can’t say I enjoyed lugging bags of left over patterns and fabric around with a handbag full of charity cash for over an hour! But I will be prepared next time.
You’ll all have to let us both know whether or not there’s demand for another one. It’s hard to overstate how much time and effort this took for both of us, especially Sally who started not just a new job but a change of career part way through, but for me, it’s totally worth it. I think we can learn some lessons (top of the list being, when people offer to help on the day, say yes! you can be way too British about these things, apparently) but we learnt some last time around too and it made for a better day this time.
Thank you so much to everyone who came, to all our wonderful sponsors, and to my partner in crime, Sally. It was a joy being involved in something this successful.