Saturday, 15 June 2013

Birmingham Meet-Up: Saturday 15th June 2013

Please forgive my tardiness in posting this write-up!
It's nearly 2 weeks since the lovely day happened, and time just flew away with me (bad, bad Claire!!!)

One of the entrances to the indoor "Rag Market" in Birmingham, UK
One of the entrances to Birmingham's Rag Market
Well now, what can I say that hasn't already been said better by my 2 comrades in arms Kat 'n' Marie? Not much I'll warrant LOL!

We came, we met, we wore cute brooches (especially made by Kat and Marie), we swapped, shopped, the sunshine was gorgeous and we ate made baked goodies! What's not to love? :)

Below are a few photos I remembered to snatch during a busy 'n' fun-filled day, plus a few borrowed from other bloggers too (all duly credited to the original sources). For a great run-down of folks see the huge list below :) - where possible the links will go straight to their own blog-post about the meet-up day in Birmingham.
Alana - Lazy Stitching
Deborah - DFabrication
Louise - Thread Carefully
Amy - Almond Rock
Anna - Get Crafty
Caroline Bones - Cotton Heiress
Hannah - Hugs and Kisses
Caroline B. & her daughter Phoebe
Helen - Helen Made
Caroline N.
Sarah - Not Found
Charlotte - English Girl At Home
Charlie - Charlie Says Sew
The day was very well structured - thanks to the organisation set in place by Kat , Marie, (& yours truly LOL!). Folks met up at Birmingham New Street station in the morning, then the sewing-troops decamped to Barry's Fabrics. There, we enjoyed browsing and shopping the huge warehouse of great fabrics (sorry they don't sell online peops). Here I was clearly seduced by the super 10% off they'd offered to our merry band as a fair few metres of fabric made their way home with me.

Inside of 'Barry's Fabrics' at Birmingham UK
Inside of Barry's Fabrics  - this is only part of the store - it's huge!
Fabrics bought at Barry's where starting middle-left working around clockwise:

Floral 100% cotton, Polyester-Viscose Mustard Yellow Twill, 100% White Cotton (Medium Weight), 100% Cotton Polka Dot, 100% Cotton White/Blue Checked, and 100% White Cotton Lawn. (The floral fabric reminded my of the first ever dress I made from a Prima Magazine pattern when I was 15 or 16 years old - I may even try to reproduce it LOL!)

Fabrics bought at Barry's Fabrics
Items bought at Barry's Fabrics
Fabrics bought at Barry's Fabrics
Close-up pic of the floral cotton & the mustard twill
I also picked up 4 spools of polyester Gutermann 'Sew All' thread in subtly different shades of cream / off-white, as I don't know about you but I never seem to have just the right shade of cream thread when I need it. So, they'll be a handy addition to my thread stash.

After eating our yummy lunches at 'Cafe Soya', we cleared the decks on 2 large tables in preparation for Le grande Swap. We had one whole table dedicated just to fabric, and another for patterns, and yet a third table for notions, magazines & other sundry crafting bits 'n' bobs.

Unlike, previous smaller meet-up gatherings where everyone takes individual turns to pick out "new-to-them" goodies from the vast array; here there was plenty of room for everybody to dive in at the same time :)

Fabrics I donated to the swap!  Fabrics I donated to the swap!  Fabrics I donated to the swap!
Pics of all the fabric that I donated to the swap-pile!

Counting down to the start of the grand swap
Counting down 3-2-1 still the start of the grand-swap!
Photo originally from: 
Emma at My Oh Sew Vintage Life

Fabric table for swapping!
Fabric table - ready to swap
Photo originally from: Louise at Thread Carefully

Table of patterns ready for the swap!
Table full of patterns!Photo originally from: Charlotte at English Girl At Home
I picked up some nice deep pink cotton fabric and a length of red grosgrain *ribbon (*which I shall be using to experiment with covering and making my own pattern weights!).

My intension for the swap was not to return home with anything that I'd brought me. And, thanks to Anna who mid-swap volunteered to take home with her unclaimed items, no had to reclaim any unloved swap items. Anna very kindly took the things home to be donated to New Life charity.

We then traipsed around the Rag Market, where I picked up some large cones of overlocker thread, buttons, and some Singer-branded hand sewing needles too (which are for my Mum - who's a bit funny about buying only "Singer" made stuff LOL!) other bits from one of the indoor stalls.

Notions bought at an indoor stall at the 'Rag Market'
Thread, buttons & needles
Those red button above I thought were bright pillar-box red, but they're more of a lurid flourescent orange red... oh well! That's what you get for examining colours indoors under artifical lighting LOL!

At the outdoor fabric stalls I picked up 2 metres of a lovely soft drapery petrol-petrol-blue fabric with dark-cream polka dots (a few other ladies we're taken with it's charms, and also bought it too).

Petrol blue with dark cream polka dots fabric
Mmmmmm.... polka-dots!
We then reconvened at 4pm outside one of the doorways to the indoor market, we made our goodbyes to some ladies who headed off home on their trains (not before sharing out the cookies and chocolate brownies that I'd baked for the occasion). If anyone wants the recipes - let me know ;) !

Then we headed off to our last stop of the day... the Fancy Silk Store! 4 floors of fabric heaven :) I managed to finally locate a plain non-stretch denim to match up with some beautiful printed denim I received from Karen at the Walthamstow swap in February earlier this year. (I plan to use the printed fabric for back of the pockets, waistband and hem-band on the 'Moss' skirt pattern by Grainline Studio.)

Plain dark denim bought to match the patterned fabric
The (new) plain denim matches the patterned denim really well - yay!
I picked up some strong 100% white cotton too (for making more Pressing Hams!).

100% White cotton fabric, and plain dark denim
100% White Cotton, Plain denim & notebook  - from the Fancy Silk Store
And, I was given this natty little notebook and pen too :)

Notebook from the 'Fancy Silk Store'

Then, all to quickly for my liking the day was over. Much hugging and fond farewells and bunch of happy tired sewists said goodbye to sunny Birmingham.

I had a lovely long chat on the train home with Julia and Helen. And, it was lovely to meet up with so many friendly and familiar faces again, and to make new friends too.

I can definitely see a return visit to the West Midlands in my future!

If you fancy visiting Birmingham for a sewing/fabric shop yourself - here's a Google Map I put together that may help you :) :-

Fabric & Sewing Shops - Birmingham
A few fabric stores & sewing resources in Birmingham City Centre.
I have listed the following onto this map - you can save the link on your Smartphone to view on the go if you fancy :)! :-
Birmingham New Street - Train Station,
Barry's Fabrics,
Cafe Soya,
Bullring Indoor Market (Rag Market),
and the Fancy Silk Store Ltd.

View Fabric & Sewing Shops - Birmingham in a larger map


  1. That looks like it was so much fun! I've not been to a blogger meet-up before (too shy about masses of people!) but it's very tempting to come to the next! And what a helpful guide to the Birmingham fabric shops. Thank you! x

  2. It was such a fabulous day, and so nice to see you again. And I love the blue and cream spots. Thanks once again for all your hard work organising. Gutted I missed the cookies and brownies though, especially if they were as delicious as your Brighton cakes.

  3. Excellent day, thank you! I would LOVE the recipe for the cookies! Yummy.


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