Fabric Shopping in London: Raystitch

Okay this is my final post about fabric shopping in London I promise (well at least for this trip anyway). I had heard about Raystich a few times through various blogs (here, here, and here to mention a few), and also when Janet told me in the comments that I needed to go there. I am so glad that I did because it's basically one of the coolest shops I have ever been to. I love everything about it. Even John commented on how cool it was. (Also, they have a fantastic website, and they seem to ship worldwide.) IMG_7710

Raystitch is located in Islington, kind of near the Camden area, I think. We took the tube there (the Northern line to Angel station), and then the bus about three stops. You could probably walk from the tube station, but it was pouring rain so we took the bus.

This shop has pretty much anything and everything you could wish for in a sewing shop. I have this totally unrealistic dream of opening my own fabric store/haberdashery and Raystitch is pretty much exactly how I would want it to be. It is absolutely stunning!






Totally gorgeous right? Then you go downstairs where they have a nice class area, with a little kitchen and really nice bathrooms. There is even have a back garden!! I could totally live in this shop LOL.





This charming little shop is filled to the brim with exquisite fabrics (tons of amazing apparel fabrics), patterns, books, zippers, buttons, knitting needles, crochet hooks, fabric dyes, tons of notions and pretty much anything you could ever need to sew, knit, crochet, or quilt a stunning project. There is fabric everywhere, but everything is super organized and beautifully displayed, so it doesn't seem overwhelming and it's easy to pick things out. I really loved that they had actual garment samples of patterns they sell. There were also lots of quilting notions and some gorgeous quilting fabrics. The staff was extremely sweet and very helpful too. I could have spent pretty much the whole day there. If I lived nearby, you'd probably find me hanging out everyday and taking all the classes they offer. I so, so, so wish there was something like this in Calgary. I can only imagine the community you could build around it.

By the time we got to Raystitch, I had pretty much blown through my fabric budget, but I wanted to pick up some patterns. Specifically a couple of By Hand London patterns, and some Merchant Mills patterns to save on the shipping. I ended up coming out with a bit more than planned, but I am super happy with my picks. John also picked me out two fabrics that I couldn't leave without too.


I'm not entirely convinced that I'm going to actually make the Holly Jumpsuit, but I've seen a number of cute dress hacks and I love the wide leg pant, so it was an impulse buy.



I also may have picked up a couple more unplanned things:


I have been lusting after this coat pattern since seeing in on Sunni's blog (and then she made her Mom and sister coats too!), but I noticed that it is rated Advanced so I'm a little nervous about it now. But how cool does it look?


So, there you go, now have enough fabric and patterns to keep me going for months on end. Who am I kidding, you can never have too much fabric, am I right?

Anyway, if you ever go to London, I would definitely recommend a visit to this shop. I absolutely loved it! Totally worth checking out!

Fabric Shopping in London: Walthamstow Market

Are you sick of hearing about fabric shopping yet? Good, me neither LOL. I have been to Walthamstow Market before and I blogged about it here. It's a really great place to go for bargain shopping. Sometimes that means super cheap deals on cheap fabric, but there are also some good deals to be had on some quality fabrics too. It's a bit of a ride to get there, but both times I've been, it's been worth it. For us, we headed to Shepherd's Bush tube station, and took the Central Line to Bank station, where we changed for the Victoria Line that took us all the way to Walthamstow Central station. I think it probably took us around 40 minutes or so. From there, it's a short walk to the High Street, where the market is. I was under the impression the market was only on Saturdays, but I discovered this visit that the market is open everyday except Monday. You can find pretty much anything you could imagine at this market, but there is a lot of junk too. It's actually Europe's longest outdoor street market, so it's something to see, and great for people watching too. IMG_7676






There are fabric shops along this street and as you walk further and further, you'll find the higher quality shops like Hussain Fabrics and Saeed Fabrics. Unfortunately, by the time we got down there I had my hands full so I didn't take any pictures of those two shops. Hussain Fabrics has some fabrics, but Saeed is the one with the nicest fabrics on this street, but it can be a bit pricey in comparison too. They were having a bit of a sale so I got some good deals on cottons, and a couple of wools.

If you read Karen's blog over at Did You Make That?, you have probably heard mention of the man in front of Sainsburys. He runs probably the best stall at the market in my opinion. Great deals to be had and some really great fabrics. I would got all the way there just to buy from him.


I did discover however, that he is not there everyday and he is not always in front of Sainsburys. He told me (well actually one of his son's told me) that he is only in front of Sainsburys on Saturday, and then on Tuesday and Thursday he is in front of Lloyd's Bank which is about halfway down the street to Sainsburys. Monday the market is closed, and they just aren't there on Wednesday and Friday. (You might be asking yourself, what is this Sainsburys. Well it's a grocery store on the high street - I would say if you start at the train station Sainsburys is about halfway through the entire market.)


IMG_7682It was difficult to get really good photos as there were people everywhere. This was probably the busiest fabric stall.

Anyway, I got a wide range of fabrics: some super nice wools, some cottons, some wool blends, some cotton lace, and some silk, and then I got some viscose and some poly blends. I don't mind buying some cheapies because they are great for muslins and wearable muslins, and some of them are really pretty. Here's a look at what I will be hauling home:


These photos don't really do justice to these fabrics, but I'm sure you'll get to see them again when I sew them up. Anyway, I hope this was helpful to you, and I hope you get to visit this market too!

Fabric Shopping in London: Goldhawk Road

IMG_7515 When I first starting reading sewing blogs, I kept hearing about this amazing place in London called Goldhawk Road. I wasn't sure if it was  a market, a store, or a street, but what I was sure about was that I wanted to go there. Great deals on apparel fabric? Yes please!

So the next time we were planning a trip to London (which was when we came last spring) I showed John where it was and asked to go there. He discovered that it was just a short bus ride from our hotel (for your reference, if you get to Shepard's Bush tube station which is on the Central Line - you can catch the 237 bus and it takes about 3-5 minutes to get to the first fabric shop on Goldhawk Road - about 2-3 bus stops) and so we went.

Our first visit there was extremely overwhelming. It took me a few shops to warm up, and even consider buying anything. (I know right! That does not sound like me at all - I love to shop!) It wasn't that things were overly expensive or anything like that, it was that each of the little shops was crammed with copious amounts of glorious apparel fabric, and I had never seen anything like it. Stacks and stacks of apparel cottons, rolls of suitings, bolts of waxed prints, shelves of silks, jerseys, chiffons, and crepes - amazing! A far cry from what I am used to in Calgary (two or three chain stores with mostly quilting cottons). Anyway, I wrote a blog post about it last time, but this time John helped me keep track of which fabric came from which shop. Unfortunately, I didn't do as good a job at keeping track of prices, but the most expensive fabric I bought was £12 per metre and the cheapest one was £3 per metre. I think the average came out to be about £5 per metre which is a really good deal in my book especially for the quality.

So here we go, get ready for lots of pictures. I hope you don't mind me sharing all the fabrics I bought with you. I just figure that, that is probably the most interesting part (exactly what you could buy if you were to visit here), but the side effect to that for me is now you will know how much of a fabric junkie I actually am, and exactly what is in my stash. LOL. Stashing isn't the same as hoarding is it?  Anyway, shall we walk down the road? Lets!


This shop had tons of African waxed prints. John is not really a fan, so I didn't get any myself, but there were some really gorgeous ones. I ended up with this bottom weight plaid which is really lovely. It will probably become a skirt.



This shop was fantastic, will a very friendly gentleman inside. I recognized some of the fabrics inside as ones I had bought last time. Some great deals on cottons in here. Here is what I came away with:



This store was one of my favourites, but it is a touch more expensive than some of the other ones (depending on what you buy). The two printed cottons I got were £10 per metre but they are absolutely gorgeous, and the two solid shirtings were only £3 per metre.



At this shop, I picked up this plaid fabric (in the photo below). I was convinced it was silk, but the shop proprietor assured me that it is 100% cotton! I swear to you it feels just like silk. It's amazing! I think it was about £4 per metre. My go to amount to buy for fabric is about 2m. Unless I know for sure what I am going to make out of it (or if it's really expensive then I only get 1m). I have found that because I am short, 2 metres is usually enough for a fit and flare dress, or a button down shirt or any shirt really, or for a skirt with some generous scraps leftover (depending on the length that is). I do my best to use up my scraps - they are great for underwear, contrast facings, pockets and my favourite way to use them is for contrasting yokes and inner collar stands on button down shirts (ahem..Archer..cough, cough).




This is a beautiful printed cotton that John fell in love with, and the striped fabric was in with the African waxed cottons, but it doesn't really feel like cotton. I asked the gentleman that rung me up, but he said he wasn't sure. He said it was probably a viscose cotton blend, so who knows how I'm going to wash it. LOL

This brought us up to the tube station and a Costa coffee shop where we decided to have a break. One of the fun parts about shopping on Goldhawk Road is that there are loads of fashion students shopping for school projects, so the people watching is brilliant. We got a seat by the window, had a latte and a coke and enjoyed watching the people go by.

After a rest, we were ready to concur the other side of the street, so off we went.


This was a really large shop where I bought quite a few fabrics last time. This time I didn't find quite as much, but we did walk away with this lovely cotton. Are you getting a feel for my colour palette yet? Well mine and John's colour palette really.



This shop was really busy, and yes those are flamingos! I think it's a rayon or some kind of poly blend but it has a really nice drape and I love the pink flamingos. I also really loved the colour of this plaid which will probably be my next Archer.


And this brings us to our final shop:


This is another place for bargains on Liberty fabrics. They have quite a few Tana Lawns and also a number of Liberty silks among many other fabrics. The staff here are all very nice and very helpful. The older lady that took my money was incredibly sweet and quite funny too. I walked away with this gem, yet another Liberty print. I didn't find any current Liberty prints here and the selection is nowhere near Shaukat, but still really good deals. I think this one was £12 per metre. Woo hoo!


So that was pretty much it for us on Goldhawk Road. Pretty awesome, huh? I think there might be a few more shops past where we stopped and crossed the road, but not many. There weren't a ton of notions in any of these shops, but I think there are a couple of haberdashery shops up the road a bit as well.

Hopefully this helps you a bit if you ever get a chance to visit London. This would definitely be one of the must do's on my list for fabric shopping in London. You can hit a bunch of shops all at once and get a lot of bang for your buck as they say.

Fabric Shopping in London: Shaukat Fabrics

Last time we were in London, we passed by a little fabric store while we were on the bus called Shaukat Fabrics. It was near the end of our trip, and I had already completely blown through my fabric budget, so we didn't end up going there. I did however, google it, and read a great review on Katie's blog here. Katie's review is very thorough so I won't bother repeating everything she said, but the gist is that if you are looking for Liberty prints, this is the place to go. Liberty cottons are absolutely incredible; beautiful, super soft and a dream to sew with, so it was the first place we went this trip (well the first place we went for fabric anyway). IMG_7488

This shop is actually very convenient to get to, in fact, there is a bus stop right in front of it. We are staying at the Hilton Olympia again (I think we even got the exact same room we stayed in last spring), which is conveniently located on Kensington High Street. We tend to stay in Hiltons when we can, because: a) they are usually nice and clean, b) they have great buffet breakfasts, c) they are reasonably priced (most of the time), and d) if you stay enough and collect Hilton Honours points, you get things like free Wi-fi and Executive Lounge privileges. Anyway, probably not everyone's cup of tea, but we like it.

Another reason we love this hotel in particular, is that it is a short bus ride to most of our favourite places. In all of our travels to London we have discovered that the bus is a great way to travel. It's much cheaper than taxis, requires less walking than the tube, and you get to see the city when you ride it - plus the bus goes everywhere, and who doesn't what to come to London and ride a red double decker?  We hopped on the C1 bus right outside the hotel and jumped off right in front of Shaukat on Old Brompton Road. It was about a 10 minute trip altogether.


The shop is clean and organized, but doesn't seem overly impressive when you first walk in, but then you go down the stairs to Liberty fabric heaven.


These pictures really don't do it justice, and I didn't really take enough of them. I was a little bit timid taking photos as there were always staff members around. I only ended up taking two, but there is a whole other room filled with suitings, and then another room with pre-cut liberty fabrics. You can do a bit of a virtual tour on the website if you want to see more. It was really huge and to be honest a touch overwhelming. It's mostly Liberty prints, but there are also other fabrics like shirtings, ginghams, quilting cottons and what not.


The staff were very friendly and helpful, and patient as it took me forever to decide what to buy.  The tana lawns where pretty much all priced at about £17 per metre (including tax), which is still quite expensive, but if you were to go directly to Liberty they cost anywhere between £21-£34.50 (plus tax), so it's quite a savings. I don't think they had the newest prints, but they definitely had lots of the same ones still available at Liberty.

They also do tax free shopping, so if you ask, they give you a special receipt that you take to the airport and you can claim your VAT back. They also ship worldwide, so if you go onto their website you can get fabric delivered right to your door. There is also a remnants bin upstairs, where I scored the best deal - 2 metres of this gorgeous gabardine (at least I think that's what it is) for £10.

Here are the spoils:



The top picture has all the tana lawns plus one craft cotton (which I think is like a quilting cotton) and the bottom photo is of the green remnant John picked out for me. It feels beautiful but I'm not sure what it is, maybe a gabardine? It was £10 for 2 metres and it's super wide. Definitely the steal of the trip.

At this point, I think I should mention that I have the best husband ever. He is so patient with me when it comes to fabric shopping (and all things sewing really). He holds my bags, he takes me to pretty much any shop I want to go to, and he even helps to pick fabrics out - which he is very good at, I might add. He really understands that fabric shopping in Calgary pretty much sucks, so he doesn't mind coming with me to check out fabric shops when we travel. I am so lucky to have such a supportive spouse!

So I think I made out like a bandit! These fabrics are gorgeous and I can't wait to make things out of them!

Are there things you like to do when you travel that your spouse/significant other doesn't or vice versa? Do you go fabric shopping when you go away? How does your spouse/significant other feel about it?