Tag Archives: fabric

Exploring Goldhawk Road

16 May
Image source: Google maps

Image source: Google maps

Hola! I hope you are all having a good Friday. I am currently sitting in the sunshine in our garden, enjoying my last bonus day off before starting a new job on Monday. Eek! The new job is a pretty big change from what I was doing before, but it’s an exciting change. I said a very emotional goodbye to my wonderful (former) colleagues at my old job last Friday, who gave me this lovely sewing box and accessories as a leaving present. They know me so well. Or, I just talk about sewing a lot. And a cuddly sloth :) because, well, who doesn’t need a cuddly sloth?! I have a bit of an obsession with them recently, and they agreed with me that Marcus was being unreasonable in saying I couldn’t have a real one ;)



I am now enjoying a week off just to chill out a bit at home before I start the new one. I will now be working half a mile from my house – I’m swapping my hour’s drive to work for a 10 minute walk, and I can’t wait to get that time back! I’m going to spend at least some of that extra time sewing – yay, more sewing time!

I have spent most of this week doing admin-y chores at home that I had been putting off, and needed to be done, but I did manage to get a bit of sewing in as well. On Wednesday evening my lovely friend Kate came over to do some sewing. I showed her how to use my overlocker and she knocked up a gorgeous infinity dress. So speedy! I managed to trace and cut out the pattern for a Renfrew. I made the top up yesterday (my first garment that I’ve ever finished in one day!), and I’ll do a blog post on that shortly. For now I am going to talk about one of our favourite topics – fabric shopping!


The fabric for my Renfrew came from a shopping trip to Goldhawk Road in March with Claire, Daniela, Jenny, and my friends Clare and Laura. Having been to one of London’s fabric meccas, Walthamstow market, I’d been meaning for ages to take a trip to Goldhawk Road. I did manage a very fleeting visit a few months ago, when I had to go to London for a work training course, and went down a bit earlier so that I could call into Goldhawk Road on my way, but I literally had 40 minutes there, and only managed to visit two shops. That didn’t stop me from buying a fair amount of fabric (mainly gorgeous lawns from Classic textiles), but I wanted the chance to have a proper explore.


For this trip I went armed with my colour wallet from my House of Colour colour analysis, and a list of exactly what I was looking for. Admittedly it was a pretty long list, but I wanted to make sure that I only bought fabric with projects in mind, to try to exert some control on my ever-growing fabric stash.


We started in A to Z fabrics at one end of the road, where I got some gorgeous stretch cotton sateens, which were one of the things high on my list of things to buy. I’ve got the By Hand London Charlotte skirt pattern waiting to be made, but didn’t have any suitable stretch woven fabrics to make it out of, I also want to make some Anna/Charlotte and Elisalex/Charlotte mash-ups, and I want to try making the Stella blouse in a stretch woven – I think it would allow a tighter fit, especially round the sleeves, while still being able to move! And so the first purchase of the day was made!

Goldhawk Road fabric shops

Image source: google maps

I got a 5m length of this gorgeous turquoise stretch cotton for £30, and got 3m of the pink for £6/m as it was the end of the bolt.



From A to Z, we worked our way along that side of the road, visiting every shop along the way! Of course, I cannot now remember exactly which shop I got each piece of fabric in, but I did get a few pieces in another shop along this side – but I really can’t remember which one!

Whichever one it was (it was the same one Claire got the lace for this lovely Laurel), I got 2m each of these beautifully drapey poly viscoses, for £2/m.


I’m going to use at least one of these to try making a draped top, following Tania’s tutorial. The mustard yellow one is not within my palette of allowed colours, but I am going to use that to make something for my sister. I’m thinking that the pink might make a great lining for a Flora dress I’m planning to make, so I might need to pick up some more of that. In the same shop, I also got some lovely silky grey fabric (again, to make something drapey), and 1 m of this printed grey silk. That was my most expensive fabric of the day, at £10/m, but I loved it so much I couldn’t resist. With just a metre of this, it’s destined to become a gorgeous top.



It was also in this shop that I bought fabric for a Zinnia skirt (which has been made, but needs some tweaking to the pleats, which won’t behave themselves), and that I also used to make the tie for my Grandad. It’s a Chinese brocade, which was £5/m. I wanted 2.5, but the owner refused to sell me less than the 4m that were left on the bolt. We compromised on me paying for 3.5m, and I’ve still got a little left after the skirt and tie.


Once we’d visited every shop on that side of the road, we stopped for a bite to eat before continuing onto the other side.


As last time I visited, I did very well in Classic Textiles. I got a selection of lining fabrics, which is one of the big things I was in need of. I think theses were £3.50/m, and they’re a much nicer fabric that the cheaper poly lining. I’m not sure exactly what the fabric is, but they’re lovely and silky.


I also got some cotton silk, which I am going to use to line bodices, and Claire, Daniela and I each got 1.5m of this pretty bird print cotton silk. It’s going to be interesting to see what we each come up with to make from it. I’m thinking a blouse of some sort, as it’s quite sheer, so would work well for a looser blouse worn with a vest top underneath, but I haven’t decided on a pattern yet. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!



Classic textiles was also where I got the cotton lawn for my Sew Dolly Clackett Anna dress. At £7/m, this was again one of my more expensive fabrics of the day, but I used less than 2m to make it, so still only £14 (plus a couple of pounds for the zip)  for the dress – not bad!


And just as the shop assistant was cutting my last piece of fabric for me, I saw this fabric on a bolt just outside the door. This just screamed Sew Dolly Clackett to me. Probably helped by the fact that it was standing next to the swimmers fabric that Roisin has made some famous. This was a polycotton, and only £1.50/m, so I got 3m of it. I’m planning on making Simplicity 2444 with it, but probably with a gather skirt instead of the pleats. I can really see this as a dress with a fitted bodice and full skirt, great for dancing in – much like the lady on the fabric – the one in the middle there, dancing on her own, all in white, with a belt on! As you may have guessed, I did not get this made in time for the Sew Dolly Clackett competition, but I am definitely still planning on making it up, I think it will make a wonderful dress.


In A one fabrics I got this owl print, to make Simplicity 2451, which was the winner of my Miss Bossy Patterns March challenge. Unfortunately, with a couple of sewalong deadlines, I didn’t manage to find time to get this made in March, but it will be made soon! I’m going to use the purple to pipe the seams.


I can’t remember which shops they came from, but I got a couple of jerseys for making Renfrews – the pink one at the top of the page, which is the one I made yesterday, and this purple and grey flower print one. They were each £3.50/m.


And last but not least, I got this cotton, for making up Tilly’s Mathilde blouse. I wanted something with a bit of drape for this blouse, so it doesn’t look too boxy, and this cotton isn’t too stiff. It’s also quite sheer, as you can see, which I think will help with the pattern.



I have probably bored you with all my fabric now, sorry! Although I bought a fair amount of fabric, pretty much all of it was bought with a pattern that I already have in mind, which was my aim. Three of them have already been made up, and hopefully the new job will allow me a bit more time to get some more of them sewn up in the next few weeks.

And it’s off to Goldhawk Road again tomorrow for Rachel’s NYLon meet up – I’m sure I’ll see some of you there! Again, I have a very specific list of things to buy, but it’s much shorter this time! One thing I would love to find is some suitable fabric for a Robson coat. After seeing Fiona’s (two!) and Claire’s lovely versions, I am desperate to get this sewn up. I am lacking a decent spring coat – I have thick winter coats, waterproof coats, or short jackets – and Robson will be perfect. I have the pattern, but have yet to find the right fabric.

I think Goldhawk Road is my new favourite fabric shopping location – the choice of shops is brilliant (I think there are about 15 on a short stretch of road), and the prices are great, but so is the quality. While Walthamstow market was super cheap, the quality just didn’t seem to be quite as good. However, I did go there early on in my sewing days, so it could just be that I didn’t really know what I was looking for. Ah, I’ll just have to go back! What I think Walthamstow wins on though, hands down, is notions. I got loads of nice trims when I went there, and zips! Ah, the zips! I got invisible zips there 4 for a £1 for shorter (skirt) zips, 3 for £1 for longer dress zips. Unfortunately I didn’t get enough though, and have had to resort since to buying them elsewhere for £2 each. I must go back at some point and seriously stock up on zips!

I’d better migrate inside now, before my laptop overheats (it’s started whirring quite loudly!), or I get sunburnt (oops, seemingly it’s too late for my stomach!), and get on with the more boring jobs I have to do today, such as sorting out car insurance. Ugh. But I’m looking forward to seeing lots of you tomorrow!


A homemade fabric pocket advent calendar

17 Nov

I always liked the idea of having an advent calendar that wasn’t a cardboard one, or a chocolate one (much as I like chocolate advent calendars), but one with pockets or drawers that you can fill yourself, and would perhaps become a family heirloom.

So last year I decided to make one of these advent calendars, and fill it for Marcus. I had a look around online for inspiration, and decided on a simple design with rows of pockets.


This was shortly after I’d received the batch of fabric I got from freecycle, and I managed to make the entire thing out of the freecycle fabric, other than a couple of pieces of felt that I bought to make some red and green pockets, and some Merry Christmas ribbon to go along the top and bottom. Included in my freecycle stash was a small strip of squares that spelled out Noel – absolutely perfect for the job!



I made this fairly early on in my sewing days, and probably didn’t do as good a job as I could have done. I essentially just cut out each of the squares, folded under the edges and stitched them down (except for the felt, which didn’t need it), making a bit more of a proper hem on the top edge, and then sewed each pocket onto my backing fabric. The Noel squares were a bit smaller than I made the rest of the pockets, and they also didn’t have enough leeway to turn in the top and the bottom edges. Instead, I sewed a strip of red ribbon along the edges on these squares.


I did also have plans to knit a couple of the squares, but I only managed to get halfway through one before I ran out of time, so had to give up on that idea!


Some of the pockets I made a bit more of an effort with, and embroidered (I use that term loosely!) some Christmassy designs onto. These are some of my favourite pockets, particularly the baubles one. I used some sparkly thread for some of them, which worked really well. I sewed over the designs two or three times, which made the colours stand out more, but I think also gives them a really nice ‘sketchy’ look.





The backing fabric was a loose weave fabric, sort of like a light hessian, and it was perfect for the job. I folded over the top edge to make a tube, which I then threaded some spare tent poles through, so that I could tie ribbon onto the ends, and hang it from an over door hook. I also hemmed the bottom edge, and left the sides unhemmed, and I sewed Merry Christmas ribbon along the top and bottom.



If I recall correctly, I cut it a bit fine time-wise and struggled to get it all finished before the 1st December, but just about managed it. I also only just got it finished before my previous sewing machine decided to die on me.


This year we are going to share the filling of the advent calendar, so I get to open some too – yay! When I suggested that we do half each this year, Marcus said that he had been planning on filling it for me, so we could take it in turns – how sweet is he?! :) But sharing makes it easier as well – I have to admit, it was hard work finding 24 things to fill it with that were small enough to fit in the pockets!

Although it only gets used once a year, it’s nice knowing that we will hopefully use this for years to come.

A pilgrimage to Walthamstow Market

9 Jun

Last weekend my sewing buddy Clare and I took our first trip to Walthamstow Market. Having read about it’s abundance of affordable fabrics on various other blogs, including Diary of a Chainstitcher, Tilly and the Buttons, Sew Stylish (thanks for the shopping trolley idea!) and Tea for Two (who gets a special mention because I’ve just realised that I bought two of the same fabrics as Jen) to name but a few (honestly, I think we read about it on about 15 different blogs in the process of getting ourselves excited), we decided that it was a trip that HAD to be made. We planned (once we actually found a weekend we were both free), I prepared myself by purchasing a shopping trolley (much to the boyfriend’s confusion – ‘Is that a granny trolley?’) and printing off Karen’s handy map.

After a lovely chat with an 89 year old former member of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace on the bus, and bumping into someone else from our sewing class on the tube, I met up with Clare and we started to explore the delights the market has to hold! We both had a list of things we were looking for, and a budget in mind. Both of those might have gone slightly out the window, although we did start sensibly – instead of buying things from the first stalls we came across, we decided to work our way down a bit first to see what else was available. We weren’t disappointed! There was so much choice available. I think that our fabric choosing task was made slightly easier by the fact that we’re still fairly new to sewing, and so don’t yet feel up to sewing with fabrics like chiffon or jersey, which ruled out a lot of what was available. I still managed to end up with a rather ludicrous 36m of fabric though…

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This teal fabric on the left (£1.65/m) was my first purchase – a fairly substantial suit-like material. I’m going to use that to make Simplicity 3673 as a work dress. I’m thinking the one on the right (£1.50/m) will make a nice cute dress.

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This beautiful Japanese-esque fabric (£2/m but he gave me the 5m he had left on the roll for £8) has a lovely silky texture to it. This was actually on the first stall we came to at the beginning of the day, but I didn’t buy it at the time. But by the end of the day, I still really liked it, so went back and picked it up then. The one on the right was my most expensive purchase of the day – a whole £2.20 a metre!

Everyone who’s ever been to Walthamstow market raves about ‘the man outside Sainsburys’, so we thought we’d head down and check him out before getting too carried away anywhere else. But when we got to Sainsburys, this is what we found!

IMG_0011No man outside Sainsburys today :(

A little way past here, we did come across our favourite shop of the day – I think we each bought about 7 different fabrics in this place, it was amazing! A lot of their printed fabrics were £1/m, and a whole lot more at £1.20/m. Some of my favourite purchases came from this shop:

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I was looking for a bit more of an interesting print fabric – I always tend to stick to very safe patterns when I’m buying clothes/fabric – spots, stripes, flowers etc, and I wanted something with a bit more character. Clare found this giraffe one for me (£1.20/m) and I absolutely love it! We both bought some of this red one (£1/m) – we’re not entirely sure what the red shapes are meant to be, but liked the fact that the fabric itself has a bit of pattern to it as well.

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This red one (£1.50/m) has the most gorgeous drapey-ness to it. It is hopefully going to make a lovely cowl neck dress. I loved the colours in the tartan wool mix (£2/m) but am not entirely sure what I’m going to make with it yet – either a smart-ish skirt or dress, but I want to avoid it looking too schoolgirl like. Maybe a shirt dress might work.

I also found this funky fruity number (£1/m). I have no idea what I am going to do with it yet, but I couldn’t resist it’s colourful summery-ness. It’s quite heavy, more like curtain-weight fabric, so maybe a summer beach bag or something. And I think this grey and turquoise one (£1.20/m) will materialise into another work dress.

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New Fabric Shop, Walthamstow

Here’s Clare outside our favourite shop of the day.

I also stocked up on a selection of zips in different lengths and colours – I was even organised enough to look at the back of a variety of pattern envelopes online before we came, so that I knew what length zips I was going to be most likely to need. To buy zips round here takes a special trip to Abingdon, which can only be done on a Saturday, so I thought I’d better get a few while I was here. Significantly cheaper than buying them elsewhere as well – all 10p – 30p. Zips

And of course there were some beautiful trimmings as well! As well as generally useful things like elastic in various widths.


A selection of my new trimmings.

I did go over my budget, but I actually spent less than last time I went to our local haberdashery, and got so much for my money. I just find it hard to decide between things. Here we are at the end of the day, with bulging bags!

IMG_0014I now have a beautiful selection of fabrics, hopefully something suitable for any pattern that I might want to make over the next 6 months…a year…5 years? I have a lot of fabric!

It also inspired me to sort out my fabric stash a bit, so I went through my freecycle goodies again and found that I had some lovely little flower print ones. When I first got them, I think I was thinking more along the lines of sewing for the home, rather than dressmaking, so they didn’t appeal so much, but now I love them! I then stacked up all my new purchases, with some of the old ones, in a nice neat (for now!) pile so that I can actually see (and get to) what I’ve got when I’m trying to choose fabric to use for a pattern.IMG_0035

I think that Walthamstow Market will definitely become one of my favourite fabric shopping haunts, although I’ll have to restrain myself from visiting too frequently! I already have a couple of sewist friends who have said they want to come next time we go, so I think it might be a bigger trip next time! My main piece of advice though is take a shopping trolley!

And because I couldn’t fit them all in above, but found them all valuable sources of information/excitement before our trip, here are some more great blog posts about Walthamstow market:

chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter


Sewing, quilting and pattern making

Red Hot Rosie

Sewing Vintage for Dummies (that'd be Me)

Laura After Midnight

Behind the seams at Midnight Costume Services!


ZEGNA ASTON handmade

Sarabwritings's Blog

Life's Musings...being unemployed, starting out as a freelancer, and planning a wedding


A topnotch WordPress.com site

Dresses & Me

I love to sew

Drama Queen Seams

Where handmade is back in style...

Awesome Åshild

Did You Do A "Something Every Day" Today?

Buzy Day

The adventure of NikkiM


Late comer to climbing and want to share that experience with others

What Would Nancy Drew Wear?

Adventures in sewing and other crafty endeavours.

I want to be a turtle

Adventures in sewing and other crafty endeavours.

Molly's Sewing and Garage Sale Adventures

Adventures in sewing and other crafty endeavours.

Tea For Two

Adventures in sewing and other crafty endeavours.

Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing

Adventures in sewing and other crafty endeavours.

Tilly and the Buttons

Adventures in sewing and other crafty endeavours.