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



Revealed: the original idea for Disney's Frozen was far darker

The animated ode to sisterhood started off far more sinister

30 Mar 2017

Quiz: which Buffy the Vampire Slayer character are you?

It’s time to find out your place in the Scooby Gang, once and for all…

by Kayleigh Dray
30 Mar 2017

This proposal post makes an important point about how we use Facebook

He "proposed" nine times in a day

by Hayley Spencer
30 Mar 2017

Revealed: the best language for English speakers to learn

If you're thinking of taking lessons this might make your mind up

30 Mar 2017

A pizza playground is coming to London

Everyone's going to want a slice of this (sorry)

by Hayley Spencer
30 Mar 2017

These tweets will remind you why Muslim Women's day was needed

Social media users wanted to remind everyone why Muslim women's voices need amplifying

30 Mar 2017

Netflix now lets you request the shows you actually want to watch

Time to make your feelings known.

by Moya Crockett
30 Mar 2017

The Glastonbury line-up has been confirmed

Male acts outnumber female 62 to 24.

by Hayley Spencer
30 Mar 2017

Reese's have created a peanut butter creme egg

The ultimate Easter treat?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
30 Mar 2017

The top 5 food and drink trends you’ll be seeing at weddings this year

The rise of the brunch wedding (we’re on board)

by Amy Swales
30 Mar 2017