Sunday 4 November 2012

Swag from the Rag (Market)

Hello my lovely readers, did you have a nice weekend? I am proudly reporting back from my Birmingham trip! 

If you read my shopping list last week, you would recall that I went to my first-ever real-life sewing blogger meet-up on Saturday! After combating a few "are you sure this is going to be safe?" "what if it is a scam", etc etc, I went to Birmingham New Street Station full of overwhelming excitement, on Saturday morning in the drizzling rain (what are the odds?). 

The wonderful day was arranged by the bubbly Leicester ladies Marie and Kat, and oh what a success! When I said when we walked out of Barry's Fabric Superstore (our last stop), this was the best day I have had in a while - and this is a great achievement as I have had some pretty good days lately ;-)

I was welcomed warmly by all the ladies (okay... I may have been one of the last people to arrive at our meeting point) and a super cute name badge! I was also given some delicious chocolatey treats, which, of course I would've taken a picture of had I not eaten them all rather quickly. 

Our first stop was the outdoor stalls of the Rag Market, as the sun had come out by that time, and we weren't going to bank on it staying out. What a great spot! We found lots of fabrics for between 50p and £6 a metre, and I made my first purchase pretty quickly. It was a beautifully soft grey wool for £5 a metre, and I bought 1.75 metres which should be enough for a smart work dress. Shortly after I snapped up 2 metres of a dark red/burgundy thick polyester (crepe?) at £2.5 per metre.

The indoor stalls weren't that much more costly either. In fact, I managed to get 1.5 metres of hot pink/fuschia polyester (another thick wintery fabric) at £2 per metre. So far so good - I managed to stay away from anything floral (I am naturally drawn to floral fabrics, so I think it took great strength to drag myself away from them) -  all the bits I bought were actually rather plain, which is what I needed.  

Just as I didn't think my day could possibly get any better, it was time for lunch at Cafe Soya. Here are finally some snaps of the ladies - only then I realised that I was far too busy fabric shopping to have taken any photos all morning. So there you are: 

Do you recognise some of them? On the left hand side, we have, from front to back:

Catherine from Catherine's Daze Blog
Helen from Sew Stylish
Kat from Krafty Kat 
Helen from Helen Made
Claire from Sew, Incidentally...

On the right hand side, from back to front (just to confuse you!), we have:

Suzy from Suzy Sewing
Rachel from House of Pinheiro
Steph from Little Miss Twitchy
Marie from A Stitching Odyssey
Amy from Almond Rock
Roisin from Dolly Clackett

I realise now that Mellie was not in this picture (where had you gone Mellie??) but she was also there:

Mellie from Mellie's Workroom

Can you believe that Rachel and Winnie used the same pattern to sew their dresses? 

And here's Charlotte, too busy knitting for posing:

Then we had the SWAP!!! I brought along 2 bits of fabric, both of which I successfully managed to give away, and 3 sewing patterns. A pretty moderate amount, right? But take a look at this... most of these actually belonged to 2 ladies (worry not, I shall not be naming and "shaming"!)

And this is what I ended up... all for free! 

Before I forget, from top left and clockwise, they were gratefully received from: Katie, Marie, Mellie, Claire, Claire, Suzy and Katie. 

I also got the lovely grey/blue floral chiffon from Kat, a pale wool/blend (the picture really does not do it justice) from Karen, and the floral blue polycotton from Helen (from SewStylish). Yep, that's where the florals came in!! I just could not resist them. 
After lunch, we kept calm (though I must admit, it took me a while to calm down from all that excitement) and carried on fabric shopping! We went to the Fancy Silk Store, where I finally found the perfect bridal satin for my mother-in-law's bolero (only at a reasonable £8 a metre). The funniest thing was, the shop owner was so surprised and taken by the size of our group, and how far some of us had travelled to visit his shop (amongst others), he gave us a free pen each! 

This is what the shop looks like inside - with floor to ceiling fabrics: 

AND THEN, we went to a warehouse type of place, called Barry's Fabric Superstore (no kidding!) which was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Here I found the Winnie the Pooh fabric, for one of the baby blankets, and some purple/lilac florals (oops!) which I bought to make either name badges or some sort of personal effect for my mother-in-law's upcoming hen do in January. 

Right, before I ramble on for any longer, here's another photo with part of my swag from yesterday. 

I just wanted to say once again that thank you so much for organising such a perfect day yesterday, Marie and Kat! It was so great to meet everyone (all 14 of you!) and I'm sure we'll see each other again soon - but until then, I shall be following your blogs (but not in a stalker-ish manner...)! 


  1. Alice, what a lovely account of the day! I too remember wondering if the first meet-up I was attending was a scam...hehe! I'm so glad to have met you and it made me and Kat really happy to know you all had such fun! I also promised to let you know where I got my brooch backs from...I can't remember the exact store, but they were a bargain from eBay. I've done a quick little search for you and there are loads to choose from -

    1. Thank you so much Marie! You guys did such a good job organising it - perhaps we should make it a regular thing ;-)

  2. So lovely to meet you Alice in your awesome dress no less. I look out for what you make with our shared grey flannel....!

    1. Really great meeting you too, Winnie! And thank you for your expert knowledge of the market! Yep, watch this space - I can't wait to make something out of that super soft fabric. X

  3. Alice, you are so sweet in person, a pleasure to meet.. i cannot wait to to see what you are making with your goodies

    1. Thank you Rachel - likewise, I look forward to seeing your creations too! X

  4. Hi Alice,

    I tried emailing you but I've had no response, you won your choice of buttons in the giveaway on my blog! Please email Ruth at to let her know your postal address so she can send them to you.

    Congrats and all the best
    Zoe xx

    1. Zoe, that's wonderful - thank you! I have just checked my email again and I never received anything from you - it must be playing up! Thank you so much and this is the first giveaway that I have won! XX

  5. Hi Alice! It was so lovely to meet you on Saturday - now you absolutely MUST engineer a reason to come back up to Leamington sometime! xxx

    1. Hi Roisin! Likewise - it was really great meeting you too. I shall be in touch when I go up next - can't wait to see all the "hidden" fabric shops(just because I haven't tracked them down). I am also really looking forward to seeing what you make with the lobster fabric ;-) XX

  6. Hey Alice,

    It was so great to meet you on Saturday - and find another new blog to read, yay! If you ever decide to come back up to Birmingham let me know. It'd be lovely to meet up again!

    1. Wow, I literally just left a comment on your round-up blog post but it looks like you beat me to it by 2 mins :-) X

  7. It was so nice to meet you at the weekend! Can't wait for the next meetup.

    1. You too, Catherine! It was so fun and I can't wait to go fabric shopping again with all the cool bloggers (although my purse is disagreeing...)


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