Saturday, 7 April 2012

What Happens in Walthamstow - Doesn't Have to Stay in Walthamstow...


Today was an absolutely fabulous day! The sun may not have been shining bright - but the fun, friendly company of these fabulous ladies more than made up for it!
  1. Alana - Lazy Stitching
  2. Camilla (no blog, but still lots of fun!)
  3. Catherine - Catherine Daze's Blog (Cyberdaze)
  4. Claire (me!)
  5. Jane - Hand Made Jane
  6. Karen - Did You Make That?
  7. Kat - Krafty Kat
  8. Marie - A Sewing Odyssey
  9. Melizza - Pincushion Treats
  10. Michelle - Naughty Little Epoch
  11. Rachel - House of Pinheiro
  12. Rehanon - MissDemeanour
  13. Suzy - SuzySewing (Suzy Patterns)
  14. Zoe - 'So, Zo...'
02 - Karen eyeing up the swap-items
Karen eyeing up the swap items on offer

We all met up today from 11.15am onwards at Walthamstow Central Station in North East London. Kat and Marie had even travelled from Leicester to join the fun today! Then a quick route march off down Selbourne Lane - a sideways dip into Willow Walk, then a left onto the High Street had us arriving at our luncheon destination - Ricco's Cafe.

The lovely Manager had reserved the back area for us - and in between gulps of coffee, and bites of bagels we made great use of his cozy space.

We commenced the swap-a-thon proceedings in the [by now] customary fashion:
  • Show 'n' tell - taking it in turns per person to quickly talk through the stash donations we had brought along to donate.
  • The 1st person takes their pick of the bounty - they select an item from a 2nd person - and they can select from anything on offer.
  • That 2nd person now has their turn to select an item.
  • Say it's your turn to choose - but you don't fancy anything you can "donate" your picking-turn to another person.
  • And, around and around we go!
  • Get to a good point where everyone has had a lovely time swapping...
  • and then, it's a free for all everyone swapping with whomever else they like!
A weird thing happened mid-lunch a stall-owner from the Market came in and very forwardly approached our little happy gathering to ask if we "...were selling fabric?" as someone had told her about our wee huddle in the back of the cafe. We politely pointed out that "Nope we we just having a fun time getting together and swapping out stuff". She then asked us the visit her stall (of crafty hand made items). She even came by to speak to us again when she saw us out on the street by the fabric stores. Clearly we all had secret invisible crafting homing-beacons inserted under the skin switched to the activate signal... 'cos we've never been a magnetic force for other sewing/crafters before LOL!

At the end of lunch we decided to pool together anything that anyone didn't want to take home with them - and the lovely Zoe kindly ran down the road to the local Age UK charity shop to donate them (so we're still paying-it-even-more-forward with the sewing Karma :)! ).

Sometime after 2pm, we headed a few yards eastwards down the High Street to Saeeds Fabrics (which has recently doubled in size - taking on board the adjacent shopping unit). Many, bags left heavy-in-hand from that store (LOL!).

Then, we were off to Fabric Store, Ribbons (a trims/haberdashers), New Fabric Shops, Sai Fabrics, and Hussains Fabrics.

03 - Claire (me) and Rachel
Me 'n' Rachel in her Cape
04 - Claire (me) and Suzy
Me 'n' Suzy in her Minoru Jacket
It was a lot of fun browsing roll upon roll, of fabric - much starting at only £1/£1.50 per metre! There was a particularly good range of printed knit fabrics in New Fabric Shops. And a few bundles of joy left with us from there!

Some of the ladies came looking with specifics in mind - for instance Rehanon was in search of Quality Street purple lace (but sadly none was to be had). Suzy was on the look out for lovely drapey blouse fabrics. I was searching for some fabric for my Minoru Jacket but couldn't find anything to pull at my heart strings.

After hitting up all the shops east of the junction at Willow Walk, we then did an 180o degree turn and headed back along the High Street through the market stalls and stopped to visit the 2 fabric stalls outside of the Sainsbury's supermarket (on the South side of the High Street). I also picked up a foam pad to cover and turn into a seat pad for my sewing room from the man nearby, who is only on the market on Saturdays - a result at only £2 for an approx. 15" squared pad!

05 - Camilla considers her fabric options very carefully
Camilla considers her fabric options very carefully at the stall outside of Sainsbury's
The Beads and Buttons shop opposite Truro Road then got a good look around it's wools, notions and threads.

Jane then very wisely suggested that we stopped for coffee and cake - so we dropped into Marrakech (No. 154) located just opposite the junction with Erskine Road. Stomachs and energy levels revived we then completed the last leg of our tour de force... the final few fabric and trims stalls; and The Textile Centre store at No. 223.

06 - Shopping at one of the trims n notions stalls     07 - Another trims n notions stall
Trims stall browsing the wares

Around 5pm we decided to call it a day, I handed out the muffins and brownies I'd made to everyone (some sweet sustenance to see them safely home) and we all toddled off happy with our new acquisitions!

Speaking of
acquisitions here's the lovely stuff I came home with today!

08 - My new goodies
My lovely new goodies!

From top left (clockwise):-
(1) Bought - 2.5m of Grey floral fabric, very drapey for a new blouse/top. Only £2 per metre. For another Scout Woven Tee.
(2) Swap Item - White Polycotton with Black Polka Dots - 1 m of 150cm wide, received from Alana. Possibly for a Sorbetto top.
(3) Swap item - La Mia Boutique pattern magazine from Catherine.
(4) Swap Item - Vintage Pattern by Advance 6660 (Waistcoat, Skirt and Blouse) from Marie.
(5) Swap Item - Pattern by Butterick B5285 (Pleated or Gathered Skirt) from Suzy.

(6) Bought - 3.5m of 3/8" (9mm) wide light beige coloured Grosgrain ribbon (from a trims stall £0.50 the whole length).
(7) Bought - 6m of 2" (5cm) wide white cotton eyelet lace/ribbon (from another trims stall at £0.80 per metre).
(8) Bought - 2.5m of Grey/silver stable knit fabric for a Sewaholic Pattern - Renfrew Top (with cowl). Virtually no stretch to it. £1 per metre!
(9) Swap Item - Vintage Pattern by Maudella 1322 (A-Line skirt with pleat/tuck detail at front waistband) also from Marie.


  1. You outdid yourself in the organisational and hosting stakes today Clare! Thanks so much for an awesome day, I hope we can meet again soon!

  2. Wow oh wow, what a marvelous time!

  3. Claire, you don't mess around do you! I bet you blogged with via your phone on the way home! You are a force to be reckoned with and it's a pleasure to know you. Thanks again for all your hard work planning and leading yesterday's trip xxx

  4. Claire, wow girl... You are super woman . Thank you for lovely day. I really enjoyed myself xx

  5. It was a fabulous day. Thanks so much for being an organisational queen!

  6. Thank you Claire!!! It was such a fantastic day not possible without you!! I loved meeting everyone and fabric shopping and swapping. Five stars!!! xx

  7. WOW! Sounds like it was so much fun! I so need to come down for one of the Walthamstow meet-ups!!!

  8. Thank you again for a wonderful meet up. I had a great time. Hope to see you at the next one!

  9. Hi Claire! I've come along to say hello after reading about your fabric swap on Karen's blog. I've just moved to Walthamstow and am so excited to read about all the fun you guys seem to have here - I'll certainly be looking out for more of your fabric adventures :)


  10. I have that Buterick skirt pattern. View B is fab. Making a lovely linen version for when the sun comes back out.

  11. Oooooh! It looks like you ladies had SUCH FUN. I’m sad I only found out about this event after it has happened, I would love to come along. Although my wallet is probably quite glad. Hah hah.

    I’m only just getting up to speed with sewing blogs – I’ve followed Gertie and Casey for a pretty long time but only recently came across Tilly and the Buttons, and then her OWOP roundup led me to a whole new world of UK-based sewing blogs, huzzah.

    I will have to make a pilgrimage to the Walthamstow fabric shops! I’ve lived in Hackney for ten years but never made it up there.

    FYI - there is an excellent fabric shop on Ridley Road Market in Dalston called Dalston Mill. Well worth a look if you're in the vicinity. There's also a trimmings stall on the market just opposite.

  12. Please keep me posted on these! I normally live just around the corner from Walthamstow Market, but am on the other side of the world at the moment. Not sure when I will be back in the UK but nice to have something to look forward to in terms of making the most of Walthamstow when I'm back!


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