Fabric events: Tips & tricks
It is a big thing in the Netherlands, Germany Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Maybe in other countries as well. A giant market place, mostly indoors; goods fair specialized for the hobby sewing- and fabric world. You can see it as a sort of fabric fair, but for consumers. It is an event where various nationally and internationally known fabric suppliers present and sell the latest fabric collections. The average size of our exhibitions is 5,000 square meters, some smaller, some much larger.
Every spring and autumn on the same location in a big city, in the big cities of Europe, where event halls are present and an enthusiastic audience. So, now you know how it works. And there you are, walking around with a girlfriend who has the same hobby, a part of the website/blog team of a nice neighbor or daughter. It is overwhelming.
What do they offer?
“Women's fabrics, children's fabrics, lining fabrics, Haute couture fabrics, bridal fabrics curtain fabrics, lace curtains, furnishing fabrics, decoration fabrics, imitation or imitation leather, imitation fur, oilcloth, polyester foam and haberdasheries”. “Fabrics from well-known fabric brands and ready-to-wear workshops. Many fabric suppliers have patterns and patterns books available through their suppliers. There are also specialists in patterns that offer everything in the field of patterns. Because there are fabric dealers from all over the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and / or France at such an event, a unique offer is presented”.
And what is happening around us?
“Many demonstrations are given at Fabric Show. For example, the regional BERNINA sewing machine dealer demonstrates how to manufacture the best clothing with the latest machines. Known but also new techniques are discussed. It also shows how you can customize clothing by embroidering or applying applications. Fashion schools are sometimes present, to show you how you can train even better in the manufacture of clothing”. A Perfect day out ? “It is a great day out for everyone who is actively engaged in self-making fashion. At every location there is an opportunity to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Whether on the exhibition floor between the fabrics, or in the local Grand Café around the corner”.Yes indeed a perfect day out if you want to look for something special (A beautiful Bouclé fabric?) or you need to buy some bulk (linings, threads, inter-facings, etc. Etc.) It is unlikely you can not find the things you are looking for...
But how to survive this day?
It takes a lot of condition to shop around for hours and a lot of strength to walk around with your bags full of fabrics or other stuff. The problem with Bouclé and Tweed fabrics is also the fact that they are heavy and bulky. Three meters beautiful Woolen Bouclé and you already need a giant shopper.
To prevent you from becoming overloaded with too much goods and getting completely crazy about the events with all its impressions.
1. Plan travel and parking
It will be a long day and exhausting as well. Before you even enter the market halls you have already had a long journey and a lot of traffic and parking stress.
It seems unnecessary to report but look in advance especially to the website where you can park, how much it costs and how you can best travel there.
Event halls are often located on the industry area's of the cities and are therefore not within walking distance from the central station. Often there are buses, sometimes even organized buses. These events also often give you the opportunity to register online for carpooling. Just as easy; traveling with someone, shared costs and less stress.
2. Make a shoppinglist
The funny thing with our brains is the fact that if they are overloaded, you suddenly lose a lot.
You are looking some haberdasheries or some special fabrics, but the minute you walk into the event halls, you have forgotten it because you because suddenly everything comes to you and you come across an overload of supplies and goods. Keep you shopping-list in your pockets or your small fabric samples ( if you're looking for the right combinations so that you have exactly the right color with you.)
On such days, impulsive purchases are of course great and it is wonderful to find or discover new things, but also look for what you have been looking for or need in the short term.
3. Take your time
It is a day off. So take your time. Do not stress around or get exhausted before the end of the day. Treat yourself and your company to a nice lunch or dinner. No need to run around or to hurry. These event-days are only once a year.
4. Go with the flow
Or do not. We have literally turned it around; walk against the flow, start at the last market-shop-table instead of the first one. It can work if it is not the rush hour. Going with the flow sounds easier but on an event it can be very irritating as well if you have to wait, wait and wait before the market-seller has the time to cut your fabrics and you are able to pay for it, without needing to jell or push away fifty other jelling women....
Avoid rush-hour is a good idea as well. Start early and leave before closure-time. A great idea to avoid the big stress. (And lunch too early or too late, if your stomach agrees)
It might be interesting to wait for the last hours; sometimes goods will be sold very cheap. But quality fabrics will never be given away and you do not want to leave the halls when everybody else is leaving as well...
5. How to find what you are looking for ?
First of all; there is always a website. On the website there is plenty of information and sometimes even a
plan of the participants or a map of the event halls. Then there is the link page. You can always call upfront to the store or address of the participants to get more information if you are looking for something really special. Plan to visit these participants first. If you already have bought some nice but not-planned stuff, it will be exhausting to start looking for your specials at the end of the day. If it is really a burden to find where you are looking for; just ask around. Al these ladies; they just know. Or they might even help you....
6. Practical necessities
It sound a bit stupid but these days it is better to be prepared than to assume everything is going to be fine. We all know fair or event days are always exhausting and that has nothing to do with your physical condition, but more with the fact that it is days that are overloaded with impressions, products and offers. And of course with unknowing facts like: how to get there, where to park my car, how to find th toilets, where to eat, how to carry around my stuff and how to make sure we will stick together or where do we get back at the exit?
A list of things that you are glad you have not forgotten about:
1. Comfortable shoes!
Sure you knew already, but really NOBODY will take a look at your shoes, the shoes need to carry you all day, so just take the most comfortable shoes you have and forget about styling ....
2. A bottle of water
Yes, really. Somehow on these days it is almost impossible to prevent getting headaches
because of the too strong coffee, too little drinking on the way and the too dry air. Drinking a bottle of water, during the day, will be a great help. How do you know it did work? If these days do not end driving back home with a terrible headache, or the next day...
A healthy snack will also be a good idea. Do not expect to have a healthy diner in the café of the event-restaurant. Mostly they offer quick fastfood and a lot of sweet stuff. A healthy sandwich is a far better idea to have a great day with a lot of energy.
3. Enough money and your mobile
Easy but truth. Buying some extra fabrics will not hurt. Buying too little will be a shame because you know you can not go back the next day. in case you changed you mind or want the fabric for another sewing-project. Also on these fairs, there are always a lot of sales. Better to buy some haberdasheries and fabrics for the long terms as well....
4. Shoppingbags, a shopping troley
Yes sure, it looks silly and you do not want to be seen with a shopping trolley. But who cares. All the ladies are looking at the beautiful fabrics, not at you... Wear eyeglasses and a hat, if you want to be sure you will not be spotted with a shopping trolley and comfort-shoes............ Haha. ...........
5. Last but not least: Know the measurements of the fabrics you need
Write them down or keep them in your mind. How much fabric do you need for a jacket? A skirt? A coat? How much lining do you need for the jacket, or two or three? It will be wise to know because you will not be able to exchange the fabric or buy extra the next day or week, if your measurements were not correct.
Fabric events are great to buy fabrics. Be well prepared and enjoy your day!