Tag Archives: notions

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.