Most worn - fabric from shows or sales?

Before I get to the actual blog content you should know that you can win a pair of tickets to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October - skip to the bottom for details and to enter.  

Yes, I do have free tickets to give away to you lovely people, and a code that you can use for a discount. The Knitting and Stitching Show asked if I'd like to offer these and I'm all up for sharing the love - and bargains!. But it got me thinking.... how much do I actually use or wear what I buy at the shows? I go to the autumn and spring shows every year, always coming back with a bag full of buys but this year you know I'm all about paying attention to what I use most and doing more of that. Mainly I've been thinking about patterns, but now I'm wondering about my buying habits too. I hardly ever buy from shops - my stash is almost entirely from online stores and the shows. I also make most of my online purchases when there's some kind of sale on so right now, the question is, do I make most use of what I buy from shows or sales?
(FYI - This isn't an advert. I'm not asked to write this. It's just my thoughts)

The past 18 months - Total - 50 projects (!). This includes sewing and knitting, and makes as part of the #sewmystyle2018 blogger team.


Using purchases from shows - 12
Using purchases from online sales - 9
Using purchases at full price online or shops - 16
Gifted - 4


Using purchases from shows - 1
Using purchases from online sales - 1
Using purchases at full price online or shops - 7

Looking at this, it's clear that I mainly use what I have bought full price online or in a store (aka John Lewis). Clearly it's how I buy most of my supplies. However, what I've also noticed going through my stash is that it's also the fabrics bought in this way that make up the bulk of it. I have one fabric piece left over from a show currently and also one online sale purchase in there. This says to me that I use more of what I buy at shows or from online sales than I buy elsewhere.

The opposite is true with yarn. Most of what's left in my stash I bought at a show or on sale. I use mainly what I intentionally purchase for a project.

What other things have I bought at shows? Knitting needles, scissors and magazines. Do I use these? A lot.

Int-er-est-ing (to me anyway). I think I've become a lot more intentional with my purchases, as well as having the benefit of experience to see what I love to buy and what I love to make or wear are not the same thing.

I think I suffer as many other crafters do with dreaming bigger than I have time for. Every time I buy something it is definitely for a specific project that I know I'm going to make. It's just that it takes longer to make them than I think, and then life happens. Before I know it I've accumulated all sorts and the season has changed.

Online sales last Black Friday were really good - in the region of 20% off I found. Shipping still needed to be sorted, but if you know what kinds of fabrics you are looking for there's deals to be had. There's also a lot of room to end up with lots of fabrics that end up languishing in the stash (ask me how I know).

Great British Sewing Bee Live

For shows, unless you get a free ticket (enter below!!!!) you do have to pay for this. I always use a code if there's no freebies to be had so it comes out at about £15 upfront. That's a few lots of shipping. At shows, you don't necessarily get a certain percentage off, but you do get other deals and can purchase from suppliers who do not have an online presence. Generally I'm on the look out for less than £10 a metre fabrics here so in this way what I buy here is cheaper than what I buy in the sales. There's also a lot to be said for actually touching the fabric in person - I've got quite a few online purchases that arrived different to what I thought and so have not made it further than the washing machine. (Tips on how to get the most out of shows are on an older blog post here)

It's blindingly obvious, but what I do wear most from either shows or sales is what I have intentionally planned to make based on an emergent need. Or based on what I'm finding I wear most and will need to make more of. Perhaps I'm also braver with my show bargains and will take the plunge more readily?

So, how to be smart about this? I'm trying to not to buy too much this year in general. I feel it's easy to be greedy and I don't like accumulating too much (don't get me wrong, it's not a lot, but I think my ideal situation is a shoebox sized!). However, I do have certain things I need that aren't in my existing stash and I have purposefully not attempted to buy elsewhere because I'm pretty sure they'll be at the show. They will end up most worn because of my focus this year!

Anyway, those are my current thoughts and ramblings.
I've ended up on the side of the shows I think. Not just because of finance and what I wear most, but also because there's a fair amount of entertainment to be had there too. It's nice to get out and be sociable with other people who share interests too. Thanks if you followed along until here - it's just my thoughts and what popped into my head when these tickets came up for giveaway.


To win a pair of tickets just leave a comment below telling us whether you find sales or show best value for you before 19 September. You can double dip with the Instagram giveaway too (head over to @petitepassions for more details).

New! Discount code for The K&S Show at Ally Pally is PETITE19. The discount will be £2.50 off standard advance adult/ £1.50 off advance concessions (£13.50 instead of £16.00 adult advance/£13.00 instead of £14.50 concessions), plus £1.95 fulfilment fee per transaction (£2.50 for posted tickets). This discount is for advanced bookings only and can be redeemed before 23:59 on Wednesday 9th October. Tickets can be booked online at or by calling 0844 873 7343 and quoting the discount code. Full Terms and Conditions are available on the show website.  

*Winners can use their tickets any one day of the show excluding Saturday 12th October.  If a winner wishes to attend on the Saturday, there will be a £5 fee (which you liaise directly with the show organisers)

*Winners will be drawn by random number generator and contacted on 20 September. The first comment here will be Number 1, followed by the rest here and then by those on Instagram.

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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