Fabric Shopping Adventures!

Hello lovely Readers! I hope you’ve had a great week.

I’ve had two fantastic weekends in a row that I wanted to share. And both involved fabric shopping!

Last weekend I mentioned I was in London. The trip was centred around a lovely friend’s 30th birthday. I also got to see some of my family and go to the ballet. All excellent activities!

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On the Monday before I left for home I snuck in a little bit more fun in the shape of a Goldhawk Road trip with some famous sewing faces. I put a call out on twitter for London-based sewists who’d be free for shopping on a Monday and who replies? Only flipping Lizzie who was going to be visiting the UK and free to meet up!

Even better, Rachel, Fiona, Inna and Alana were also free for a shopping jaunt. It had been ages since we last caught up with each other.

We combed the shops for bargains and then had a lovely gossip over lunch in a funny little cafe (Rachel’s photo above). Monday was the day that Fiona’s first Mood post went live and also the day the Project Sewn results were announced! Talented ladies.

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Excellent London buys – Deer print Georgette, Geometric Cotton Sateen and Fabulous Swimming Ladies Polycotton.

This weekend was just as good. I got to catch up with Sabs, Kat, Marie, Helen, Roisin and Claire in Birmingham.

We enjoyed the Rag Market, the brilliant Barry’s and the Fancy Silk Store. Our lunch may have been more gossiping than eating but that’s just how I like it.

The fabric bargains, lovely company and good weather(!) all made it worth riding the megabus. I know I’m a broken record but it’s amazing considering we met randomly off the Internet, how I seriously value these ladies being in my life. They inspire me and they make me laugh so much.

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Brilliant Brum Purchases – Rose print Polyester, Hydrangea print Viscose. Not pictured are my bargain zip and bias binding purchases or my extremely dull lining choices.

I feel like I’ve been searching for the perfect floral since I started sewing. These two are pretty gorgeous but not perfect. They will do for now though!

Finally I still have one (ludicrously expensive) fabric purchase to show you but I’m saving that for another time…

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Adventures in silk

This weekend featured the unlikely but wonderful trio of Silk, Mexican food, and Trains. It also involved lots of lovely people. Win!
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Silk isn’t a fabric I ever thought I’d purposefully pick to sew. I have been given silk fabric as a present before and found the experience of trying to sew with it wholly terrifying.

So the idea of working with silk chiffon seemed even crazier!

I actually like chiffon… poly chiffon that is. I like its beautiful drape and transparency and the amazing prints you can get. I don’t even find it too difficult to sew with as I don’t think it snags or shifts about as easily as silk chiffon. Plus you can unpick stitches easier than in silk chiffon. And oh yes it’s cheaper than silk chiffon! Need I say more.

But when I clapped eyes of this beautiful print I had to whip up a replacement for my polka dot chiffon top.

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Nice and easy! Well compared to a jacket, it turns out silk chiffon is easy.

This is a very simple self-drafted, empire line, boat neck and elastic waisted top. It’s perfect for wearing with jeans and the elastic cinches you in right under your bust so you feel slim and a little busty.

In other silk related news; This weekend I bought some silk organza ready for my Jeanius course and  some awesome geometric print silk which I hope to squeeze a dress out of (I probably have no hope as I knew as soon as I left London that I hadn’t bought enough yardage).

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This weekend was rather a whistle-stop tour of the capital as I had to travel down for work Friday but then raced back home on Saturday in order to meet a friend visiting from Australia and eat massive quantities of Enchiladas. I did sneak in the fastest trip to Goldhawk Rd and quick lunch with a small collective of fabulous sewing ladies (Janene, Claire, Sally, Rehanon, and Alison; with a flying visit from Roisin). We went to Drink Shop Do so at the right time I could peg it to the station!

I also indulged in a bit of Sunday night sewing where I made a too small Sureau and had just enough left over fabric to cut out a Simplicity 2444 instead. Phew! More on that later though.

I hope your weekend was less manic than mine!

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She Sells Seashells by the Shepherd’s Bush Market

What a wonderful week! Did you have a good one too?

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I went to London on Friday in preparation for the blogger meet up. And managed to cram in plenty for a two-day trip.

Friday I popped into the Village Haberdashery and cooed over the coloured chambray, the independent sewing patterns on the colourful racks and also the cutie little baby bouncing away in the corner. I may have left with two little treats… the Belladone pattern by Deer and Doe and the Darling Ranges pattern by Megan Nielsen.

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Then I popped over to Berwick St. The shops there are a little more expensive but is chock full with beautiful high end fabrics. I couldn’t let myself buy any yardage when the fabric I was most attracted to was £55 a metre. So instead I bought two little lace letter As to appliqué onto my sewing.

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Finally, I popped into the wonderfully stocked Shaukat with floor to ceiling Liberty fabrics. Even though the prices are a little more friendly I didn’t want to use up all my spending money for the weekend in one go. I treated myself to a metre of the Kussman fabric from the newest collection. It has tiny shetland ponies in fun pop colours!

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I had a really fantastic catch up with my friends that night, with dinner at Gastronomica in Plimico and a few drinks afterwards. Perhaps I stayed out a little later than planned but it was definitely worth it.

Saturday morning, the meetup at Goldhawk Road kicked off with a group of early birds having a coffee together before meeting the full group. There were 39 of us and Claire was doing a great job of getting everyone organised. Kat helped with name badges and there was a great mix of familiar and new faces to be seen!

I did better than last time than and made it into every single shop down Goldhawk Road, but I still didn’t make it into Shepherd’s Bush Market! I let myself buy a 3m bundle of Liberty lawn and some high quality striped bias-binding.

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We had a wonderful lunch and swap during the afternoon where I walked away with 2m of deliciously soft moss crepe that says Valentino on the selvedge (gasp could it be?) and this kick ass sewing pattern. Hello Georgeous!

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And for the meet up I wore a new dress! It’s another Simplicity 2444 in navy with white scallop shells and polka dots. It’s so fun and walks that perfect line of cute but not too cutsie!

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I added a collar in the hopes of being a Jessica Day lookalike but ahem, no it did not suit me in the slightest (and so despite being some of the neatest bias binding sewing I’ve ever done, I unpicked the collar).

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I did a full lining again and lowered the neckline a smidge. And I used an invisible zipper this time, making the effort to enclose it within my lining too so it looks almost as good inside out.

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I know I’ve been so late posting this that it’s almost the weekend again!!
To everyone who was at the meet up. Thanks for being lovely. I had a great time catching up with sewists I already knew and I got to meet lots of awesome new folk too!

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How was your weekend?

“So what did you do this weekend?”

“Oh I went shopping in London with 50 strangers off the Internet and we took over a Lebenese restaurant. What did you do?”

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I want to say that this weekend’s meetup in London was so tremendous that I’m finding it hard to describe. I tried to summarise proceedings in an email to my brother and pretty sure I didn’t convey how amazing it was (plus I know I missed bits out).

So forgive me if I opt out from trying to do it justice. If you were there, well you know. If you weren’t, our delightful host Rachel and many of the FIFTY other attendees will do a much better job than I.

Instead of a full round up I wanted to hone in some of my highlights of the day.

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A big highlight for me was how much more confident I felt at my second meet up than my first, especially given the scare factor of such a huge gathering. I think this was partly down to seeing lovely familiar faces. Rachel makes you feel like you’ve known her years. Marie is such a sweetheart, she always makes me laugh. Roisin is like a fantastic whirlwind and didn’t stay long but made a point to catch up with me. And it was lovely to chat with Catherine again (I had a feeling she’d pick my sparkly jersey from the swap).

Another highlight was meeting so many new people – people I’ve admired and read their blogs from afar and people that write wonderful blogs I’d not heard of before. Sitting with Camilla, Jo and Janene for lunch was great because they were all so chatty and funny. Finally meeting Sallie and confirming my suspicions of her Yorkshire roots was ace. And of course meeting LIZZY! Our international attendee. She really is so so friendly in real life. I felt a bit star struck to be honest; I didn’t get a photo of us together and I felt like I didn’t convey how grateful I was that she brought over for me!

The V&A is so spectacular I can’t believe I’ve never been before! I’m definitely going again.

Goldhawk Road was kind of a revelation. It was so neat to see all the fabric shops along one road where we could bounce in and out of them all hunting for bargains. Now some of you may have noticed my desperate desire to find horse print fabric. And since Goldhawk Road is famous for getting end rolls from commercial fashion companies I felt optimistic.

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I wasn’t disappointed. I also picked up some other delights. Not much mind you as I’d already spent all my money in Birmingham. My swap freebies included this amazing bird print rayon from Lizzy, and a printed silk plus a cute simplicity sundress pattern from a mystery source.

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Finally, I was amazed by the generosity of Minerva Fabrics and Abakhans. These two companies effectively sponsored our day out. I can’t even begin to convey the amount of fabric, notions and trims Abakhans supplied to the swap. And Minerva gave everyone goodie bags they’d thoughtfully put together – see the awesome felted wool knitted fabric I was given (above). I always thought the blogging community was surpisingly separate from the sewing supply companies but lately my eyes have been opened.

* Meet up photos by Digpal Singh

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