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Craft lounge idea for all to enjoy in Holbeach is the dream of Yvonne Porter-Smith, who started out creating bridesmaids dresses for Harrods




Rediscovering arts, crafts and traditional hobbies have become more popular during lockdown - and that’s spurred an idea to bring a new ‘craft lounge’ to Holbeach.

Yvonne Porter-Smith, who runs haberdashery shop The Fabric Fae in High Street, is in the process of creating a hub in the store to bring people together to exchange ideas and learn skills in handicrafts.

There won’t be a charge to use the craft lounge if people are bringing their own items to work on - from knitting, to crochet, hand sewing and embroidery, and a small fee if people want to use one of the sewing machines in the store.

Yvonne Porter-Smith outside the Fabric Fae in Holbeach. (44400162)
Yvonne Porter-Smith outside the Fabric Fae in Holbeach. (44400162)

“It has come about because I have several health problems and because I cannot sew to the degree I used to,” Yvonne explained.

“Because it is a large shop I thought ‘what can I do with the large area?’ I thought if we had some fairly comfortable chairs people could come along and do crafts.

“We could do talks and put on some classes. I think Holbeach needs a bit of a hub. We do have places but not anything for cross-age groups. It just seems a good idea.”

Yvonne has over 30 years of professional experience in making items and sewing, starting out at the age of 16 creating bridesmaids dresses for Harrods in London.

“I literally fell into it,” she said. “I remember when I was little my mum sewing on a Singer sewing machine some dolls’ clothes for me and I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I said ‘that’. I learnt to knit at preschool age.

“I do all sorts of crafts. I am a great advocate of sharing knowledge. There are people who want to do these things and as you get stuck who are you going to ask? If there is a craft lounge there is someone to ask.”

Yvonne (60) only took a break from her creative career in her mid-40s, when she ran a London Underground station for ten years!

“I remember when I was little my mum sewing on a Singer sewing machine some dolls’ clothes for me and I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I said ‘that’. I learnt to knit at preschool age."

During the pandemic Yvonne (60) has had more people contact her to ask advice due to a renewed popularity in handicraft.

“I am a big one of people getting hobbies. There are a lot of people who do not have hobbies. It is so therapeutic.

“I will probably offer other crafts as we go along. For now, we will start off with what we have got. We will have to take bookings to start with due to COVID but I would like to do it when we can as something of a drop-in.”

Yvonne said her ‘absolute favourite’ is doing home decor.

“I used to make items for stately homes etc. After making the bridesmaids dresses I ended up in the bespoke home market in my early 20s and that is what my mainstay is. But I can teach anybody to sew anything.”

While the shop is closed due to lockdown, Yvonne hopes to look to spring or summer to open the craft lounge, and is also revamping the shop front.



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