Fabric Shopping at Walthamstow Market

Friday, July 27, 2012

It has been a hot, hot week. The sun has been shining, the plants have been withering, the windows have been opened. These are rare things for London Town, so yesterday I popped out for a visit to the excellent Elizabeth who served coffee, scones and lemon curd cake in her beautiful garden. This is the ultimate mid-week treat; especially well-deserved after banishing a bunch of deadlines and starting on some new projects.

Elizabeth's garden is a magical place filled with all manner of planted goodness - a veritable feast for the eyes! You can't see it from this picture, but there are all sorts of wonderful goings on inside this garden. There's a greenhouse and a selection of lovely tables. There are ornaments carefully placed amidst the plants. There's a collection of beautiful poppies underneath that archway... I shall endeavour to take pictures the next time to share some of its loveliness with you all.

And it just so happens that the walk up to Elizabeth's House is also the walk up to Walthamstow Market.

I particularly love how bunting has made its way into the trees surrounding the market. Very festive indeed.

The nicest thing about Walthamstow Market is that it is a fabric paradise. If you want any kind of fabric for not-on-the-high-street prices then this is the place to be. I've visited fabric stores in and around London, and haberdasheries aplenty, but nothing quite compares to the market stalls here. Fabrics are an average of £2.00 a metre, although many bargains can be had if you're in the mood to rummage or hunt.

They don't have Makower and Moda, but they have plenty of good quality cottons for quilting. And, there is a stall selling Liberty Fabrics for £5.00 a metre. (If you bought it directly from Liberty, you'd pay around £21.00 a metre from their new ranges).

This is my charming purchase - two half-metre lengths of "Liberty Fabric". I'm not sure whether it's Liberty as the selvedges have been removed, but it has that distinctive Liberty look and it's a good, solid cotton that will do nicely for quilting purposes. The colouring is slightly yellow which I think will go nicely with a natural coloured linen. I like the way the branches loop around gracefully.

Possibly the nicest thing about Walthamstow Market are the haberdasheries. The market stall haberdasheries are there on a Thursday and a Saturday, selling all sorts of bits and pieces bound together with masking tape (like those bits above).

As you can see, I got really pretty embroidered ribbons for £1.50 for 3m (left) and £1 for 2m (right). The whole point of the trip was to buy velcro (tick!), plastic bobbins (tick!) and white lace for a quilt I'm working on (tick!).

I also got cotton (50p) and zips (20p each), as well as a selection of other things I Really Didn't Need (but they were on sale, I protest).

I have such buyer's remorse now. But, oh, the pretty things!

I have a project in mind for each of them. I know, I really do.

Isn't this one particularly lovely? It was £2.00 a metre from RIBBONS, a very pretty shop along the market street. It also has a lot of other useful goodies like self-covering buttons (4 for £1.00) and cottons, tapes and ribbons aplenty. It is slightly more expensive than the other shops around it but they always have excellent service and the shop staff know a lot about their products.

When I got home I realised that I had left the two priced bundles of ribbon behind at Benny Ds (a nameless haberdashery shop further up the road, right next to Benny Ds). I was distraught. I had carefully picked them up out of the pile of millions and had given them love and attention while choosing. I couldn't abandon them. So I popped up this morning and I'm delighted to say that I successfully reclaimed them! The girl behind the counter insisted that she had no idea who I was, so I was not impressed. The owner recognised me and gave me one of the bundles back, and I had to pay for the other one (£1.00). Huff. We'll stick to RIBBONS from now on, methinks.

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  1. Thank you for your post. I'm visiting London from abroad and am making the journey specifically thanks to your post.

  2. What a lovely comment! You won't be disappointed. Be sure to go to the market on a Thursday or a Saturday for the best Fabric goodness x

  3. thank you for the post! i'm a portuguese fabric obcessed girl and i'm now in london, so thank you very much!

  4. Hi Sara,

    It’s my pleasure! Walthamstow market has some amazing fabric finds if you’re prepared to dig! They also have great haberdashery stalls there on a Thursday or a Saturday.

    I’ve also discovered a lovely shop in Wanstead called “Stitch Fabrics” (formerly “Rosenberg And Sons”) – they’re at 10 Woodbine Place Wanstead E11 2RH. They have fabulous cottons there for only £6.00 a metre.

    Happy sewing!


  5. thank you so much for your post!!!
    Is the market still thursdays and saturdays at its best for the fabrics and haberdashery shopping? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Laurence, it's my pleasure! Yes, it's still Thursdays (best) and Saturdays. The haberdasheries and trimming shops are open most days, but the stalls are well worth the visit! If you don't see something you want, just ask, they usually have it in a box somewhere. Happy shopping! x

  6. hello Stacey, sorry I didn't see your response before today. Thank you for that! And another thing is that I wonder why the prices (average 2 pounds a meter) are so low. Do you know why? I would tend to think that the quality of the fabric is not really good - but I read the opposite. Or that there are many pesticids in there and other bad products to increase the harvest of cotton etc????
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Laurence, no problem! The fabric prices differ from stall to stall. I suppose it is really affordable because it's a market - some of the fabric is old stock, or overruns, or even just limited stock. The stall holders will tell you all about the fabric they stock if you have any questions!

  7. Hey there, does anyone know if it's around on a bank holiday Sunday? x

  8. No idea! You could call one of the local shops and ask? Good luck!

  9. Thank you Stacey! x


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