It’s an exciting bit of news to hear that there’s a new local craft shop on the scene, and even better when it’s not just a shop but home to a café with a mouth-watering menu and enough workshops to keep any craft addict happy for at least a good few months.
Make at 140 is the latest addition to Plymouth’s craft scene, situated just between the city centre and historic harbourside. It opened its doors in November 2015 as a ‘creative space to craft, make and create’, run by Lizzy, who has a wealth of experience in button and jewellery design.
Make is predominantly a haberdashery but does have an assortment of other crafty utensils, from crochet hooks to some very cute felting kits. They are still in the process of building up stock but this is about as far away from the Hobbycraft shopping experience of the same old bland assortment of cheap materials as you can get.
The fabrics for sale are a carefully selected range of funky, modern patterns. They are predominantly dressmaking cottons but they do have a small selection of other materials. I love the riotously colourful selection of ribbons on offer and there’s plenty of trimmings, piping and zips if you need them too. It’s nice seeing a store where so much thought has obviously gone into the layout and design, with plenty of vintage-style display stands and bobbins galore.
If you love buttons, then ‘Funky Poppy’s Button Boutique’ at Make is the place for you. The ‘wall of buttons’ is any magpie’s idea of heaven. Wood, ceramic, metal, green, blue, red, any colour, any material, it’s there. Just in case an entire display of buttons isn’t enough for you, there is a wide range of gorgeous handmade buttons throughout the store as well, including some amusing ceramic, farmyard animals.
For those of you wanting to get into crafting, Make offers the usual fare of beginners’ crochet and embroidery workshops, done either as one day ‘crash courses’ or over several weeks but there’s also more advanced techniques, an excellent range of dressmaking workshops and unusual ones like alcohol ink painting and macramé. It’s fantastic to see such a range of workshops and such a full calendar too. It can be a bit disappointing when you end up with an unexpected weekend off but you’ve missed the monthly one-off workshop that was fully booked six months ago.
Any crafter will tell you that the perfect complement to crafting is cake. Make has this covered with an in-store café with a menu that might mean you deliberately end up forgetting to bring your lunch to a workshop.
I ended up having a sandwich with a very generous slab of Millionaire’s shortbread. The bread for the sandwiches was superb and the incredibly delicious, sticky mess of shortbread left me somewhat defeated by a sugar coma. Not through lack of trying though. If you’ve got a special occasion coming up or fancy a truly decadent workshop experience, you can book a high tea in advance. The quality of the food is excellent, with very generous portions.
Maybe I’m getting a little grumpy in my old age, but it was refreshing to see a café serving loose leaf tea by the pot instead of the usual teabag fare. The prices are also very reasonable, particularly in comparison to certain chain coffee shops and the quality of the food is leagues ahead as well. If you have particular dietary requirements, there is a range of gluten free and vegan products.
I’m really hoping I get the opportunity to come back to Make for a workshop but this is definitely a place to keep an eye on, either for their delicious food or as somewhere to shop for unique, thoughtful gifts and supplies. Although Plymouth is home to some incredibly talented artists, craft shops are few and far between and there are fewer still offering workshops or selling anything outside of the usual mainstream brands. I think places like Make, that, in combination with friendly and knowledgeable staff, try to turn shopping into something more of an ‘experience’ than just purchasing goods, that really demonstrate what bricks and mortar stores can offer over online shopping.