Thursday 28 July 2011

Liberty Time in London

Yesterday afternoon I managed to bag myself a spot of half-day holiday time and got to meet up with the delightful Elizabeth from SEWN.

Elizabeth is over from New York in the UK for a holiday, and she suggested a meet-up of sewers at Liberty's of London.

We met up at 2pm outside the ornate entrance (a beautiful display of flowers outside by their in-house florists greeted us). In all on the shopping expedition we had Elizabeth, myself, Catherine (sorry I don't have a link for your blog yet Catherine!), Helen and Eugenia

We spent a fun time inside the hallowed halls eyeballing the softest Tana Lawn cottons - and surprised by the costly, yet prettily packaged tiny packets of ribbons and trims (treats for the magpie-like shoppers no doubt). £19.95 for a felt needle book - "Thanks but no thanks" from me! They had the cutest looking little plastic jars of buttons in colour-groups, but for £6.50 a jar I'd end up never using them, so back on the table they stayed.

But, what I did spot was the remnants display! Now, usually the Tana Lawn retails for £21.00 GBP per metre (approx. $34 USD), but in this display they sold 1 metre length pieces for £11.95 each (approx. $19.50), so a 43% saving (yay!). Catherine helped me to measure the width of the piece that caught my eye (we realised the display tables of books, and trinkets all have the old-fashioned metal rulers inlaid into their front edges - v. helpful LOL!) and at 150cm/59" I realised it would be big enough for a simple shell top (Sorbetto?), and maybe I'd think of added a short cap sleeve to it too :)

03 - Liberty Tana Lawn, Cotton Fabric (Shoes Print)
Shoe Print - Tana Lawn Cotton fabric by Liberty's

Note: if you buy remnants you get the plastic carrier bag - so if you covet one of Liberty's posh thick paper carrier, and having your beautiful purchase wrapped and folded delicately in tissue with fancy stickers, you best of paying the extra for the full-price stuff (hehe!). Needless to say I got the plastic bag LOL!

Next, we headed of slightly westwards to hit Berwick Street. Where our first stop was No. 47 'The Cloth House'. (Check out the videos of the store on their website: Here I grabbed 30cm of a red cotton/lycra poplin fabric for £2.61 (cheaper than buying a whole metre for £8.95 GBP/$14.60 USD!). The shaed of red is like a slightly softer, more muted tomato red and it perfectly matches the red of on my Liberty shoes print! The red will be the Peter Pan collar methinks!

04 - Liberty Fabric and Matching Red Cotton-Lycra from The Cloth House

We also stopped to rummage around and touch 'n' play the fabrics at Borovicks, and The Berwick Street Cloth Shop - there were lots of very soft faux-furs around, and some crazy ruffles sewn onto yards of fabric fab. Plus a very sparkly, very colourful faux-jewelled number in the window which would've done Dame Shirley Bassey very proud (sorry I forgot to take a pic) ! We also quickly nipped into the haberdashers Kleins, were I picked up 1 metre of some beigey-skintone elastic for 90p.

With tired feet we sloped off to The Kings Arms pub on Poland Street, and we commandeered the whole of the 1st floor to ourselves (we were the only ladies in there, it being according to Google a pub popular with "*bears". Here we were joined by Karen and Melissa. After a few drinks and a lovely long time to chat, with much laughter and smiles all around we had to break up our merry band - parting is such sweet sorrow indeed! Ladies it was fab to meet you all, I wish these kind of meet-ups were every week (or even month!).

I shall leave you with a sneek peek of my newest creation that I wore yesterday - hot off my sewing table... (more pics and a dedicated post on the weekend).

Sorbetto Top - Back, 02

*If you don't know - don't ask me what this means (!) Okay you twisted my arm... bears are grown-up men, they often sport beards 'n' tash's (and I'm given to understand a goodly covering of fuzzy-fur about the rest of their person's) and let's just say that when these bears go out to "play in the woods today" - they don't invite the little girls to join them for toys 'n' games (it being a boy-bear-only kinda thing if you get my drift).

Sunday 3 July 2011

Maps Ahoy! Fabric, Notions 'n' Sewing Places in Brighton

EDIT: 24/05/2013 - I have now consolidated both the maps below into a single map :)

Following on from last Saturday's fun (and here). I thought it might be nice to share a map of where we all visited. So here you go courtesy of Google maps :)

The first map locates all the sewy-places we visited for Zoe's of 'SoZo's' Me-Made-June-2011 Brighton Meet-Up :-

Fabric & Sewing Shops - Brighton

View Fabric & Sewing Shops - Brighton in a larger map

The second map shows a bunch of other sewing/fabric shops and places that can be found around Brighton too.

We didn't get to visit any of the places on the 2nd map on the big day - but I will be sure to check them out on my next visit to the seaside!

Enjoy :)

Oh, and here's a link to my last map for Brick Lane in East London (see bottom of the post).

Saturday 2 July 2011

The Bountiful Brighton Haul

So, what pretty bounty did I haul back with me from Brighton last Saturday then? Well, we did the rounds of the shops first, then we ate lunch and after that was the grand-swap.

Here's what came home with me last week :)


First stop was Ditto Fabrics (who have a great online store too by the way!).

03 - Purchases, Fabric from DITTO FABRICS

All 100% Cotton (yay!).
x2 metres of Navy Blue/White Polka Dot remnant pieces.
x4 metres of Cream/Spot/Anchor-Print remnant pieces.
x4 metres of Blue Gingham.
x3 metres of Beige Floral Ditsy Print.
x4 metres of Deep Blue very lightweight cotton.
x4 metres of Dark Lilac very lightweight cotton.

04 - Lovely lightweight cotton fabric
See how lovely and lightweight it is?
It's now all soft and drapey 'cos I washed it the Sunday.

The blue and purpley fabric are the same type/weight. Gill at Ditto Fabrics says it's a little heavier in weight than fine muslin. (NB: When she says muslin she doesn't mean the thicker stuff we call "Calico" in the UK which across the pond in the USA they call "Muslin".) I'm thinking some tops for the warm summer weather - maybe some Sorbettos?

Next, on our stop was The Brighton Sewing Centre - here I picked up a few notions.

08 - Purchases, Notions from BRIGHTON SEWING CENTRE 09 - Purchases, Buttons from BRIGHTON SEWING CENTRE

Pins - you can NEVER have too many ;)
Threads - to match the cotton fabrics from Ditto.

Pink - is to match some fabric I have in my stash already.
Blue - matches the fabric bought at Ditto.

Then, a quick trip around the corner to see the the man on the market stall on Upper Gardner Street. Here, I found some lovely little pale yellow vintage buttons.

10 - Purchases, Notions MARKET STALL

Plus, I got this mysterious thick yellow thread (I thought perhaps I'd use them to handwork some buttonholes on a denim skirt?). I'd heard others mention before that vintage thread (mainly old cotton's and natural fibre based threads I'd guess?) could easily break and be rotten. However, this stuff look thick, stuff and pretty darn strong, so for £2 I took a chance LOL!

The thread had some markings on the cardboard spool, so when I got home I did some Googling and found out what it was for.

11 - Purchases, Yellow Thread MARKET STALL
This stuff is hardcore-industrial thread for shoes, leather, tents etc.!

Final shopping stop before our luncheon was New Fabric Fair. This store has a very colourful array of stuff on display outside

10 - NEW FABRIC FAIR 11 - Leather Offcuts

12 - Assorted Belts, Feathers, Sequins and Faux-Fur 13 - Kitty Fabric

A pile of real leather offcuts for £2.00 Might make a cute purse/wallet! 

Outside of the store - an assorted display of curiously styled belts, Peacock feathers, sequinned fabric and faux-fur. Oh, and see the stripey rainbow-coloured satin fabric in the background? We reckon that would make a funky kids indoor play-tent.. but dress? Nooooo!

The inside of the store is a lot of fabric to see - problem is the setting is so tiny to get around that you only need to have 2-3 customer in there and you are overwhelmed. I think a trip back one early weekday morning when it's probably far more empty of visitors would give you better time to browse far more satisfactorily. I nearly bought some £9/metre seersucker Madras checked fabric (would've made a lovely blouse). However, I settled instead for this red and white beauty:
12 - Purchases, Red and White Gingham NEW FABRIC FAIR
£3.50/m some Polyester/Cotton Blend Gingham - 2 metres came home with me :)

It feels pretty soft for a polycotton, so I'm thinking it must have quite a high percentage of cotton to it - as it doesn't feel as "artificial" as some polycotton's I've handled before.

Now, for the really interesting stuff!

I was able to pass on some fabrics to new happy owners, and in return the Sewing Gods deemed fit to bring these lovelies into my stash :)

01 - Swap Items, Cotton Fabric, Leather Offcuts, Patterns

02 - Swap Items, Patterns
Close-up view of the vintage patterns - I lurve them!

I kindly received these goodies from other sewists/bloggers. Thank you so much ladies!!!

Blouse Pattern - Bust 40" - so hopefully no FBA adjustment needed (yay!)
Dress Pattern - Yup, it will need an FBA!
Blue Floral Cotton Fabric - sooo pretty! Gonna make a top from this for summer I think.
Real Leather Offcuts (Navy and Grey) - are destined to become purses one day.

Essential Shopping Kit!

13 - Essential Shopping Kit

Kit I brought with me on the day:

(1) Trolley - for the fabric/notion haul (saves aching hands and arms LOL!)
(2) Shears (or sharp scissors) useful to get swatches in a store to think about buying another day. Plus we used them at the meet-up to cut up any long lengths of fabric during the swap (some of my donated pieces were over 4m long!).
(3) Calculator - helps working out costs - 'cos I'm useless at mental arithmetic, or for dividing up the lunch bill :)
(4) Notebook + Pen - if I don't write down what I bought, where, when & how much it cost then I WILL forget (sad but true!)
(5) "How Much Fabric Reference Cards" - no need to bring pattern envelopes with me when I have this handy gadget (from here:

Yes - last Saturday was a happy day for stash building :)!

P.S. Oh! And, this little handbag from Yoma might have forced itself into my affections too - they even give you a natty little bag to take it home in (I might use it to put my lunchbox for work in it!) ;)

15 - Multi-Coloured Leather Handbag YOMA
Hmmm... this gorgeous little leather number called to me!

It's got a sturdy metal zip and 2 different detachable straps :)