A new type of crafts event, Ommel 2018 focuses on sewing and will be held for the first time in Suurpelto, Espoo June 8-10, 2018. Ommel 2018 is a three-day sewing festival that combines a fabric and sewing supply market, a sewing retreat, courses, lectures and workshops. The theme of the event is Finnish fabric design and the festival offers an all-round outlook at what fabric design is in Finland today. The entry to the event is free of charge.
Sewing as a hobby has gained popularity in the last few years. The largest Finnish Facebook group for sewing has over 33 000 members. There are also smaller groups with a couple thousand members with lots of active discussions.
– There is a strong communal aspect to sewing, sharing what you made and asking for tips and advice. You can get quick advice from Instagram and Facebook groups when you need it and also of course and endless number of ideas for you own sewing projects. This active group of sewing enthusiasts has lacked their own event, so we decided to organise one, Jenni Salminen, chairperson of Ommel ry, says.
Besides shopping for fabric and notions, visitors can learn new sewing skills through courses, workshops and lectures. There is guidance for sewists of all skill levels in e.g. sewing underwear, bags or hobby horses. Sign up for courses is currently on-going but lectures and workshops run throughout the event and you can pop in whenever there is a free spot. Bring your own sewing machines and join the sewing retreat for a day or the whole weekend. If you come from further away, you can even stay the night at the school the event is held in.
– We hope to reach not only sewing enthusiasts but also those who are interested in sewing, but need a little help getting started. When we go to craft fairs, lots of people say the wish they knew how to sew when browsing our fabrics. This festival is a great place to start, Salminen says.
Sewing enthusiasts are interested in Finnish products
The amount of sewing enthusiasts and new Finnish fabric shops have risen hand in hand. Over 30 businesses selling fabrics printed with designs from Finnish designers have been founded in Finland since 2010.
There is a long tradition of fabric design in Finland, following in the footsteps of Marimekko and Finlayson, but with the invention of digital printing small businesses can print their own fabrics since they no longer have to make such large minimum orders. Most of the businesses also sell their fabrics abroad from the year they start.
– Not a lot of people outside of the sewing circles even know that there are so many fabric businesses in Finland now. You could even call them fabric start ups. We want to showcase the whole field and bring forth Finnish knowhow, Salminen concludes.
The event is organised by Ommel ry. The purpose of Ommel ry is to advance sewing and to support the communal aspect of it as well as to promote Finnish textile design both nationally and internationally.