Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

How to tackle arts and crafts like a pro


Kirstie Allsopp shares her advice on how to approach arts and crafts and what you need to get started.

Get your kit bag sorted

“There a few items every self-respecting crafter needs on hand. Do not attempt any project without the following in your easy grasp: Pins, safety pins, a glue gun, superglue and PVA, sticky tape, needles and thread, scissors (small and large), a scalpel, and my personal favourite, <pinking shears>. It’s also handy to have a tape measure, ruler, cutting mat, a (sharp!) pencil, florist wire and pliers.”

Develop your eye

“Craft materials are all around you, you just need to know where to find them. Yes, nature can provide seashells and beautiful greenery from the garden, but it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for old glass bead necklaces in second hand shops or bargain bins of ribbon ends in haberdashery departments. Not only will they be cheap, they’ll feel unique too.”

Start small

“The quickest way to lose motivation is take on a project that overwhelms you. Never made your own clothes before? Start with an unlined A-line summer skirt in an inexpensive cotton. Shirts, jackets and any lined items should be left until you’re far more comfortable with patterns, material types and rectifying mistakes. Nothing is more galling than cutting through four metres of shot silk only to discover you’ve done it wrong. It’s the same with knitting (not my forte!), there’s no shame in making a small square so long as it’s made well.”

Channel your inner neatness and organised self

“I’m inherently neat and I find that helps me <hugely> when it comes to making things. Ensure you have everything in order for your project before you start, get a checklist and tick it all off. There’s nothing more annoying than starting something and having to stop because you’re missing a key ingredient. Also, keep things super tidy as you go; threads snipped; yarn balls rolled, not knotted; and for goodness sake put down newspaper <before> you start pinging paint all over the place."

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again…

“I truly believe <everyone> has a craft they can do. And if the first thing you try looks more ‘dog’s dinner’ than ‘dazzling designer’, don’t lose heart. I can’t knit. In fact, I’m anti-knit (Lord knows how I won ‘celebrity-knitter’ of the year 2013). If knitting was the first thing I tried, my crafting career could have gone straight down the loo. Luckily for me, I’d tried some other crafts before that I knew I could do. My point is, I wasn’t the arty one at school, so if I can, anyone can. You just need to find what you’re good at.”

Kirstie Allsopp will be welcoming over 12,000 visitors at The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace this September, which will host workshops and talks from craft kings and queens including Cath Kidson, chocolatier Paul A. Young, quiltmaker Jo Colwill and interior designer Sue Timney. Kirstie’s The Handmade Fair is on from 19-21 September at Hampton Court Palace. For tickets go to thehandmadefair.com



Victoria, Cara and Alexa lead the way in sharing candid snaps from fashion week


Los Angeles cafe serves coffee in chocolate-dipped waffle cups


Autumn's hottest must-reads


'Girls are conditioned to feel shame about their sexuality, that's not OK,' says Reese Witherspoon


Brits go to bed at 10.45pm and still don't get enough sleep


25 jumpers and sweaters to keep you cosy and impeccably dressed


The best possible gifts for when flowers aren’t going to cut it

17 unusual and thoughtful gifts for when the s**t hits the fan

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This Battle of the Sexes legend wants you to STOP asking about McEnroe

“I would like to see John McEnroe win a Grand Slam tournament while pregnant”

by Susan Devaney
22 Sep 2017

“The real reason we should all be upset about Uber”

Grow up: your bank balance really isn’t what’s at stake here

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Sep 2017

There's a huge sherbet fountain coming to London - and it's free

Bompas & Parr are planning a weird, wonderful and nostalgia-filled event

by Helen Brown
22 Sep 2017

Rick and Morty creator responds to sexist trolling of female writers

The show hired four women. Cue cries of “Worst. Episodes. Evah.”

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Uber being banned in London

The taxi firm has had its license revoked by TfL

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

The new Baileys flavour you’ll want to drink well beyond Halloween

Perfect autumn cocktails ahead

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This unexpected town has been voted the best place to work in the UK

We didn’t see this one coming

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

Harry Potter fans, this epic Hogwarts goblet is actually magical

It's perfect for Butterbeer (or prosecco)

by Megan Murray
22 Sep 2017

The hidden meanings behind the nation’s most popular baby names

Prepare for lots of girls’ names ending in ‘a’

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017