Walthamstow Fabric Adventure with the Sewing Bee

The Sewing Bee recently went on an adventure to Walthamstow Market to check out their famed array of fabric and haberdashery shops and stalls.
Emily C bought a bit more than intended but just couldn’t resist! Most of these were £1.80pm, some were £1pm and I splashed out on the £3.30pm tape measure fabric! 
Jem got some lovely fabric, from the cheapest to the most expensive, £1 – £3.30 a metre. The thread was 50 pence each and the self covered buttons were £1.35 for 3

Al got some fabric for £1 a metre, and buttons for the picnic blanket skirt.

Alex got some fabric for her picnic blanket skirt.

Louise M got lots of fabrics! Blue with small white polka dots & floral, both under £2/metre, The Fabric Shop on Vernon road; Black with large white polka dots, £6 for 4m, Hussein Fabrics; Green with navy polka dots & zebra fabric, £1.50/m each, Sai Fabrics; Umbrella & polka dot tana lawn cotton, £8/metre, Saheed’s Fabrics

Hannah got grey polycotton from Fabric Shop on Vernon Road (£2/metre), denim blue unidentified fabric from the shop with the green and black awning at the top of the market (£2/metre), and reddish-brown very heavy fabric from the one next to the Sue Ryder shop (£1.50/metre). Plus embroidery hoop £2.75 from a haberdashery shop, can’t remember which one!

We had a great day, finding fabrics and chatting with each other about what we could do with them! I think we all ended up buying more than we had intended but have got a great stash now!

Tips from the Sewing Bee – Part 1

From our first round table gathering of semi-savy stitchers, we came up with some hints, tips and essentials


Pinking Shears – these are expensive but you will only need one pair for life.

The Eraser Pen – when using a commercial pattern, you need to transfer markings on to your fabric. Many patterns suggest using tailors tacks which is time consuming, or tailors chalk, which is hard to draw straight with at first. Instead invest in the Erase and Mark Pen from Prym (available locally from most good haberdasheries and craft shops). If your not sure go in and talk to the shop assistants.

A Quick Unpick – also known as a seam ripper. Don’t attempt to machine sew without some way of undoing your mistakes.


How to add pockets guide recommended by a member

Sew Along

Our first sew along was the pajama pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee book. Visit the publishers website to get the pdf.  Here is a finished pair:
Number two sew along will be free the Picnic Blanket Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. 
The PJs above are made with fabric really high quality soft cotton, which cost around £8.50 per metre, but if your budget is smaller, talk to an assistant  about what you want to do and ask what they can recommend to you. Give your self plenty of time to lose yourself and enjoy the experience.
Let us know how you got on and email us any pictures of your creations shoreditchsewingbee@gmail.com

July Round Up and events comin up between now and the end of August


Knit and NatterTuesday 9th July, 6.30pm at Leon, Spitalfields
Calling all new and seasoned knitters and crocheters for a fun and chilled evening of yarn-based delights.

Campaigns Group – Tuesday 16th July, 7pm at Crimson Heart 
We will be discussing the Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops campaign from War On Want, in collaboration with the Craftivist Collective. To be added to the mailing list email Caroline at shoreditchsisterscampaigns@gmail.com

Book Club – Wednesday 17th July, RSVP for time and venue
This month’s book is Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which is about her early years in New York with fellow artist Robert Maplethorpe.  RSVP to Laura at shoreditchbookclub@gmail.com for details.

Radiant RidersSaturday 20th July, 11am, Trafalgar Square
Our rad bike gang, Radiant Riders, will be teaming up with Daughters of Eve and VSO to go on an anti-FGM ride.  See above for more details, check out the Facebook event or email Annisa at sswi.radiantriders@gmail.com


Sewing Bee – Thursday 25th July, 7pm at a ***secret venue***
We have a new members-only sewing club.  SSWI members please contact shoreditchsewingbee@gmail.com to find out the venue and to complete the questionnaire (if you have not already done so).
Shoreditch Sisters Beer Club
It’s been brewing for a while *groan* but our women’s beer club has officially opened for business!  Join the Facebook group to find out more info.  For those who aren’t on Facebook please email us for details. 
The Make EscapeTuesday 30th July, 7.30 – 11pm, Hackney Attic
Crafty SSWI members will be heading along the Make Escape’s July event, featuring cross stitching, fimo modelling and a chance to play retro games.  Anyone for Sonic and Donkey Kong?

Just Sew Stories

Sometimes the Shoreditch Sisters are just too busy to care for this blog properly and we are always very sorry for that. By way of recompense, here is the first in an occasional series on what our group get up to when not actively sistering.

One of lovely members was busy last night with the launch of her new book, “Just Sew Stories”. Long time Shoreditch Sister member Katie Allen is a crafter and writer for Mollie Makes magazine among other things (click the link above & learn more from her blog). A small group of Sisters converged on the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen and found a crowd busy drinking, decorating tote bags and listening to the live bands. We bumped into lots of the Unofficial London Craft Mafia, such as a few of  the Craftivist Collective and Barley Massey from Fabrications, both former speakers at SSWI meetings. All night there was an ever changing group of fans around Katie, admiring her home made bloomers (find the pattern in the book) and getting books signed, and surprisingly more men than I have ever seen at a crafty event before.

“Just Sew Stories” has 25 crafty gifts to sew with some really original ideas you won’t have seen in another craft book, such as his and hers hipster dolls who will sit on your mantle piece talking about bands no one has ever heard of. I also love the cushions with pet photos on them, ideal for friends with anti-pet landlords. Add this to your Christmas list or better still buy one for Christmas gift ideas for your friends. And don’t forget to look out for the special Shoreditch Sisters mention in the thank yous…

Craft and Sisterhood Forever!