Monday, 27 June 2011

All things Bright-on and Beautiful, all Fabric Large and Small!

(Sorry - couldn't resist this fromage-friendly post title hehehe!)

14 - Temptation (Restaurant)
How very apt a photo to start this post! So many tempting sewing/fabric places to visit in Brighton.

So, I arrived in Brighton at the appointed hour (11am). My bargainacious return 'Super Off Peak Day Return' ticket only cost me £6.60 (discounted from £10 by using my Annual Goldcard that came with my Oyster season ticket for the Tubes).

I hurriedly, exited the train to be greeted by the rear-views of oh, so many day trippers hoping to catch some, sun, sand (no luck for them there Brighton is a pebbled beach) and fresh sea air. Too many bodies in the way I had to weave, duck 'n' dive to get to the barrier... don't these people know that there are shops to be visited, sewists to be meet and fabric to be swapped! Come-on people get a wriggle on!!

01 - Arriving into Brighton Station
Platform view at Brighton train station. Move along people! I got fabric

02 - Eager faces
Ahhh... such shiny, eager faces, full of excitment!
Left-Right: Dibs, Justine, Santie, Ally, Tilly, Stevie, Laura, Suzy, 
(Aileen also joined us a few minutes later) and of course Zoe!
(Please do click on the links to visit their own posts about the MMJ-2011-Brighton-MeetUp)

But, ahhh... there ahead of me just beyond the ticket barrier I spied them - the '*Symphony of Sewists'. The fabric loving horde had congregated outside of the WHSmiths newsagents. There were many shiny, eager faces, and everyone had arrived on time (if not earlier), clearly time spent on sewing related activities is deadly serious to these special ladies [*nods own head sagely in agreement with this moral value*].

There were just over a Baker's Dozen of us all together (we were later joined by Aileen who missed out on the photo-opp in front of WHSmiths). Zoe started us off, we went aroud the group introducing ourselves, the name of our blog (if we had one), and what Me-Made-Items we were wearing (I wore my striped seersucker skirt). Then maps to the locations of fabric 'n' sewing-goodness were handed out, whereupon Zoe and her friend Stevie split the group into 2-gangs. The idea being that these smaller sizes would be far easier to manage around some of the little shops we were about to descend upon. I had my trusty trolley with me (piled high with fabric to swap at the lunch meet-up later) so I still had room to secrete more new acquistions about my person.

My motto: "Have trolley WILL shop!".

First stop was Ditto Fabrics, then The Brighton Sewing Centre, followed by the man on the Market Stall on Upper Gardner Street, and then finally New Fabric Fair.

Here's a slide show of our great day:

Gill at Ditto was v. helpful - giving shoppers washing tips to prep their fabrics, and being generally super-lovely :). The ladies at the Brighton Sewing Centre helped me to match my threads to my new fabrics (I'll be posting tomorrow about my new acquistions - bought and swapped), plus gave me great advice regarding a stitch in the ditch presser foot I was thinking about getting too (I couldn't remember if I had one or not)

It felt like we'd done so much walking - and I never realised a lot of Brighton's streets are on hills. Suzy had some amazing red peep-toe heels on, but her toes were getting strangled - however, not a girl to look a gift horse in the mouth she bought some fab new black shoes and was able to get around in comfort for the rest of our visit.

We came across some interesting sights - the store next door to Ditto Fabrics was the site of the first ever 'The Body Shop' (see blue plaque in my slide show above, and no trip to Brighton can be complete without spotting a gang of ladies out on the town for a hen-do, and it ain't a proper do without your pink wigs. Oh, and no restaurant is complete without a knitted palace and set of seagulls in it's windows LOL!

After all our shopping and walking, it was time to meet up for luncheon at All-Bar-One.

16 - Time for refreshment
Time for refreshment everybody
17 - Reserved
Zoe saved us all a seat :)

We rushed Daniel at All-Bar-One off of his feet bless 'im! (Photo nicked from Dibs's blog)

After plenty of good food 'n' drink it was time for the swap (see Zoe's excellent post for an explanation of how this was organised). We were highly civilized and took turns to select things - I don't think anyone went home without some new-to-them-sewy-treat :) We managed to turn things that made a negative, unloved dent in our sewing-souls, into positive fuel-ups for our **Sew-Jo :)

14 - How Much Fabric Reference Cards

My little set of 'How Much Fabric Reference Cards' seemed v. popular amoungst the girls... I got them from  they come in either metric (cms) or inches, and in 2 sizes-ranges. (And, yes they were still in my handbag when I got home, no one had decided to re-home them hahaha!)

I must say Brighton and it's lovely little shops and streets is certainly a feast for the eyes - so much to ***see and do, I truly cannot wait to go back (Zoe's already suggested a repeat performance for early Autumn, yippee!) :) 

Thank you ladies for your wonderful company, you're all such fun to be with.
And a big-up to Zoe, for suggesting and running this super-fun-filled day.

*I was trying to think what the collection noun would be for a group of sewing enthusiatsts and someone said "It's a symphony of sewists!" Brilliant!!
**A bit like Mojo, only more stitching is involved. 
***Including the obligatory Brighton Hen-Do... got a pink fluoro wig? Then it's time to paaarr-taaay!


  1. "Symphony of sewists" is lovely, but surely a collection of sewists must be a "Gathering," no? Or a "Smock"? Or a "Flounce"?

  2. I like a stitchery of sewists... but symphony works, too, especially for such a colourful group!

    Posts like these make me sigh wistfully. I really enjoyed my whole two weeks in the UK a couple of years ago. The part where you can get halfway across the country in a few hours on the train continues to boggle my mind, too... It looks like it was such an amazing amount of fun...

  3. It was fantastic to meet you Claire. Hope we meet many more times in future. My toes still hurt the day after but it was all worth it.


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