Friday, 8 June 2012

Jubilations & Craftaganza in Brighton

Brighton - Union Jack Postcard
Very apt photo - I was visiting Brighton, but I live in London!
We've just had a super lovely extra long Bank-Holiday weekend at the start of this week, culminating in a short 3-day working week (anyone else felt like me and sooo didn't want to come to work on Wednesday morning LOL?). The long weekend (Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th of June were our public holiday days) was in celebration of The Queen's 60 years on the throne - her Diamond Jubilee.

On the Tuesday I popped down to Brighton to mooch around a couple of fabric shops, and to also check out Zoe's craft fair Craftaganza which was being held over the 2-days in Fabrica on Duke Street.

It was a rainy day but it didn't seem to dampen the British spirit, as there were plenty of people on the streets, in the shops, and at the craft fair of this historic seaside town in East Sussex.

I arrived around lunchtime, and my first stops were the fabric shops C & H Fabrics. C & H have been around donkey's years - although I hadn't visited them in what seems like at least a decade, the store layout and decor had not appeared to of changed one jot! (Full set of my C & H photos are here on Flickr.) 

02 C & H Fabrics Shop, Brighton 03 C & H Fabrics Shop, Brighton

Downstairs is a mixture of tourist gifts, handbags, and a display of ready-made curtains.

The 1st floor is furnishing fabrics, curtain making, and a surprising array of crafts lights.

04 C & H Fabrics Shop, Brighton 05 C & H Fabrics Shop, Brighton
06 C & H Fabrics Shop, Brighton 10 C & H Fabrics Shop, Brighton

On the 2nd floor is the knitting / crochet area, dressmaking fabrics, haberdashery, notions, sewing-accessories and other crafts (patchwork / quilting, scrap booking etc.), and weirdly (to my mind at least) 2 different clothing brands Eastex and Dash! I was also intrigued by their custom button-covering service, but prices start at 45p per button, it seemed better to try this at home (I didn't need any made up for me - but  do already have a few years old half used kits I can play with if need be).

They also had a good selection of zippers. All their zips seemed to be a make called OPTI, that I've not come across before. A quick web search told me that it's a Coats & Clark brand.

I had a good rummage on their remnants table and picked up a piece of thick cotton drill for £2.79. I liked their range of notions and haberdashery and picked up a magnetic pin dish, some new shears, some buttons and some metric seam / measuring gauges.

01 04
I already own several Imperial / Inch marked seam gauges (their seriously in my top 3 favourite sewing notions), and keep them dotted around so I don't misplace them; one at the sewing machine, another by my cutting table, another by the pressing area, and a spare in my glass jar. It's now ice to have options between cms / inches to choose from.

Next stop was a few yards down the same road at Fabric Land. I've always found their quirky online store somewhat tricky to navigate, so I was keen to experience this more pocket-friendly shop in person. I didn't spot any home decor / furnishing fabrics so if that's your thing you'd need to stick with C & H. On the ground floor they did had a whole lot of cottons and polycottons for under £4 per metre, and a range of knits in polyester, cottons, blends, and rayon (viscose). Also on the ground floor are their wall of buttons and their haberdashery and notions display. (Full set of my C & H photos are here on Flickr.)

01 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton 02 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton 04 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton

Fabric Land felt a more sewing-crafting community friendly place - with posters in the window, and a noticeboard of events, clubs etc. near the stairwell (can you spot the Craftaganza poster bottom centre of the last pic on the right?).

03 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton 06 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton 07 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton 08 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton 09 Fabric Land Shop, Brighton

Of the 2 stores the Fabric Land staff seemed the happier, friendlier and more approachable bunch. The prices were cheaper than C & H, and there was a definite hustle 'n' bustle with plenty of customers milling about - many queueing up a the cutting table to pay, as well as browsing. All the Fabric Land staff were actively serving customers and barely had a moment to rest before the next customer was upon them. In C & H it seemed very quiet on the actual selling side of things - few people buying, and 99% of the staff seemed too be standing still either at a cash desk, or just tidying stock on shelves etc. Overall I'd say C & H had the better rang for haberdashery, notions and accessories.

This is what I bought in Fabric Land (a girl can never have too many seam rippers now can she!?)

It's 2 metres of a polyester Ponte Roma in Teal Blue - intended for a batwing top, as inspierd by Elizabeth's versions.

Last stop before heading home was Craftaganza (Full set of my Craftaganza pics are here on Flickr.) Craftaganza is held at Fabrica on Duke Street in Brighton. Fabrica's venue was formerly a church.

01 Craftaganza Brighton  03 Craftaganza Brighton 

It was a hive of activity inside. People were crocheting, and embroidering. There were cupcakes for sale, cushions, jewellery and all manner of pretty handmade things to warm your crafting-soul.

04 Craftaganza Brighton  05 Craftaganza Brighton 

I picked up a few bits (who could resist the urge to support local artisans, AND boost the British economy at the same time eh?).

I ordered a sweet little Bunny Brooch in custom-colours from Lucy's stall : Little Things I Make (she's also on Etsy).

06 Craftaganza Brighton 07 Craftaganza Brighton

On Betty Shek's stall I picked up 2 darling rings - made from re-fashioned buttons!

09 Craftaganza Brighton  11 Craftaganza Brighton  10 Craftaganza Brighton

And, last but not least I bought 2 silver-plated pendants from Ladybird Likes - one in the design of a pair of scissors very sewing appropriate I thought (I've been proudly sporting them all week), and a weeny little blue butterfly one.

12 Craftaganza Brighton 13 Craftaganza Brighton

Here's the actual handmade purchases :) Alongside the lady responsible for pulling the Craftaganza event together - Zoe!

05  14 Craftaganza Brighton

Lastly, we can't leave out the Jubilee fun - Brighton seemed in a celebratory spirit... here's a few pics:


  1. ah I wish I could have gone too... what a lovely day x

  2. Is that really oil cloth? and the bits with the vintage Union Jack and the bicycles with guards? How did I miss this when I have you in reader?


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