Meet the maker: Christine Leech

Christine Leech Portrait taken by Alice @ the polka dot

Feature image by Alice from @polkadot

The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Gardens this year was one of the biggest yet and we had an absolute blast. We loved meeting you guys, having our very own tent and running the Mollie Makes Mash Ups, as well as discovering loads of new designers, makers and artists. If you missed this year’s Fair, never fear. We’ve spoken to pom pom queen Christine Leech on her Handmade Fair highlights so you can read about all the best bits (and book your ticket ready for next year).

Christine's luggage

All images by Christine Leech, @sewyeah.

What did you get up to at this year’s The Handmade Fair?

This year I was working with Swarovski in their tent and it was so much fun.  Every day, I was running a mix of half-hour workshops making pom pom bag charms and weaving workshops in the larger tents. The weather was amazing and I loved catching up with people I might only see once a year or I’m only friends with on Instagram.

I’d been documenting my prep for the fair on my Instagram account @sewyeah, and it was so nice to have people come up to me throughout the three days and chat with me about what I’d been sharing. They also loved chatting to me about my garden makeover which I’d been showing off on stories for the last few months. Everyone at the Fair is so friendly and chatty; I don’t think I’ve talked so much in a long time.

Christine Leech at the Handmade Fair 2018

Were you nervous to teach your own weaving classes?

I love teaching workshops but it’s a bit nerve-wracking when I teach the first one.  I try and practise on friends and family before the fair to make sure the project I’ve chosen can be completed in the allotted time.

It’s always a bit trickier teaching 100 people at a time though as there are so many different abilities and speeds that people work at. Also, since my workshop was just after lunch, there were quite a few people who had had a tipple or two in the VIP tent just before!

I try and walk around as I’m teaching so everyone can see what I’m doing and ask questions as we go along. I hope everyone enjoys the workshops as much as I do; it’s so nice seeing everyone’s completed weaves at the end.

For you, what were the must-see stalls and events at this year’s Fair?

I never get to see enough things at the fair, there’s just never enough time. But I made sure I got on the “build your own bird box” workshop with Max and Phil (and Mollie Makes Ed Yvette) on the big Reestore bus. What a cool idea turning a bus into a mobile wood workshop.

I did manage to have a quick whizz round and got to see a few stands. I picked up some lovely sewing bits from Cloth and Candy and admired the amazingly intricate work of Lucy Elizabeth’s wirework. I bought myself a cute pin from Jazzy Lapin and my friend Rebecca from Betty Etiquette had a stand and was running workshops for the first time this year. I think they went down a storm. It sold out so quickly they had to put an extra workshop on! Everyone loves a bit of brush lettering.

Next year I am going to dedicate a good few hours to just going around the stalls and spending money.

Christine and Yvette at the Handmade Fair

We know you love to customise clothes and you’re always wearing amazing bright colours. What is it about customisation you love so much?

I think it’s partly because I can never afford the super fancy outfits I see on the catwalk so I always have a go recreating them at home. The top I made for this year’s show was based on a Delpozo (a fancy Spanish fashion designer) design from a few seasons ago and I love it so much.

It was very addictive to make and every time I thought I’d sewn the last flower I found space to add just one more. I just love how just a little extra ribbon or trim can turn something quite normal into something totally unique.

Finally, which is better: pom poms or sequins?

Now that’s a question I have pondered for many a long hour and I’m not sure there is an answer. Can I choose a sequin covered pom pom?