Last week I combined training for a marathon walk I’m doing in October with a trip to browse fabrics at Walthamstow Market. It was a lovely 1 and a half hour walk from Islington, going through Stoke Newington and then across the Lee Valley and Walthamstow Marshes. The Lee River is so peaceful, like a slice of the countryside dropped right into London .
Lee River Valley
Fast forward two hours and I’m struggling under the weight of the 30 or so metres of fabric I managed to buy. Walthamstow Market is a little like Primark – so cheap you end up getting carried away and feeling guilt pangs shortly afterwards.
I first went to Walthamstow Market a few months ago, inspired by other sewing blogs like Tilly and the Buttons, Did You Make That? and Carly Makes Stuff. If like me you’re relatively new to sewing and scared of ruining beautiful expensive fabrics through your haplessness, then Walthamstow Market is the place for you. Fabrics range from 50p per metre upwards, with some shops not stocking anything that costs more than £5/m. Naturally this means quality isn’t, but there are good buys to be had. There are about 5 – 6 fabric shops in the market as well as a couple of stalls and a couple of shops and stalls selling trimmings – zips, ribbons, buttons etc.
All I wanted was 2m of fabric for a work dress...
So what did I buy? Blue cotton twill (£2/m), which has a good weight to it so would make a nice bright Colette Beignet skirt, a denim look synthetic jersey (£1/m) that I’ll probably use to make something from the Built By Wendy Sew U Home Stretch book, a mystery red fabric (£1) for a winter work dress with vintage-look Vogue Pattern V8615, a red stripy polyester (£1.50/m) for a gathered skirt and a broderie anglaise type fabric (£1.50/m) for a summer dress. Oh, and an old sheet from a charity shop which I thought was ‘vintage floral chic’ but my sister just thinks is daggy. I thought it could make a cute dress.
Vogue pattern V8615 with red fabric
Floral sheet from charity shop
If you’re after some cheap and cheerful fabric, then I’d definitely recommend a trip to Walthamstow Market. Just try and remember what you went there for in the first place.