Fabric shopping in Birmingham

Last Saturday I went with some of the ladies I met at Sew Brizzle to go fabric shopping in Birmingham. I was sad to have missed the bigger meet up the previous week but in a way it was nice to go in a small group as it gave me the chance to chat with everyone (which I didn’t manage to do the time I went to a big London meet-up).

Here we are outside Guthrie and Ghani. Thanks to Sarah from Like Sew Amazing for the photo – she remembered to take pictures when I didn’t! A very kind man took this picture for us 🙂

From left to right: Karen, Amy, Me, Sarah, Ruth and Jen.

Our first stop was Fancy Silk Store. I felt a little overwhelmed when we first went in as it’s deceptively big – and has an upstairs – and I couldn’t take everything in! I did spot that they had reasonably priced denim and after we’d been around some other shops, we circled back and I bought some stretch and non-stretch denim for Ginger and Morgan wearable toiles.

This is the stretch one – it has a nice flecked weave and looks a little like linen, but is thicker. It was £6.99 per metre and I got 1.4m.

And this is the non-stretch. I did want something a bit lighter for my Morgans, but this will do for a practice. It is a little lighter than the stretch one. It was £7.99 per metre and I got 1.6m.

After this first shop we headed into the rag market, where there are loads of fabric stalls, inside and out. I had made the mistake of not taking out any cash as I thought if I did I wouldn’t buy anything! But I did have enough to get some black and some white cotton twill (I think it was twill and not drill, anyone know the difference?!).

I’m planning a 60s style colour blocked Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress. I bought 2 metres of the black and one of the white, and it came to £12 in total (so £4 per metre). I bought this fairly early on and for some reason it weighs loads, so I got pretty sick of carrying it around by the end of the day – I was glad I waited until the end to get the denim!

After the rag market, we all got on a bus and went to Moseley to visit Guthrie and Ghani. I was not-so-secretly hoping we would go there, and I’m so glad I was with people who knew how to get there! I just followed 🙂 I could easily have spent a small fortune in Guthrie and Ghani – you can tell everything is really good quality. And the shop is so pretty!

I decided to treat myself to a couple of patterns which I wanted – the Ebony Tee and Dress by Closet Case Patterns and the Guise Pants by Papercut Patterns.

They have a really great selection of remnants and I couldn’t help picking up a couple of them. I just loved the pattern on this Robert Kaufman cotton. It’s navy blue, though it looks kind of black in the photo. It seems to be called Storm Drown, and I can’t find it anywhere online so I guess it’s not available. This bolt end was 275cm x 90cm and was £15.50. I’m hoping there will be enough for a Colette Aster blouse.

I also couldn’t resist this gorgeous mustard loopback jersey. The photo doesn’t do the colour justice, nor how soft it is. It’s honestly one of the softest fabrics I’ve ever touched. It was £6.50 and there’s only 155cm x 40cm so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to make, but I had to have it.

The final thing I bought from Guthrie and Ghani was this coral crepe fabric. It has a lovely drape and a slightly mottled texture and I got 1.7m of it at £10.50 per metre. This is one of the more expensive fabrics I’ve bought, but the Anderson Blouse I’m planning to make will still only cost £17.85 which is pretty good for a blouse made of such nice fabric!

The last fabric shop we went to was Barry’s. I would have no idea how to find it on my own, but it’s definitely a hidden treasure!

This is another shop that is very, very full of fabrics and I think you could easily spend 4 hours in there and still not see everything!

I did manage to find one treasure, thanks to Jen (Gingerella). It’s this nice blueish-greyish cotton and I bought 2 metres – I can’t remember how much I paid, though. I think I’ll make a short-sleeved Melilot Shirt for when the weather finally gets warm!

So there we go, that’s my haul for a day’s shopping. Not too bad I think. Have you been fabric shopping in Birmingham? Did we miss anywhere good?

 

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Selfless Sewing: Denim Moss Skirt for my Sister

I finally made the final skirt my sister asked for for Christmas a couple of weeks ago, yay! (Though I’ve got another one yet to blog) I decided to model it myself for some photos before sending it in the post. It is, of course, the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt.

denim-moss-skirt-1I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with this make. I like a simple skirt that has a front, a back and a waistband, but it was nice to make something a bit more complicated. And it has pockets!

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This was my first time sewing a fly, and I have to say it wasn’t as scary or as difficult as I thought it would be! The instructions for this pattern were really clear and easy to follow for the fly front. The only thing I found, though, was that the fly shield on the inside (which covers the zip on the inside) seems to be on backwards as the zig-zagged/ overlocked edge is the edge that shows then the zip is undone and the folded side is hidden, but I feel like it should be the flipped over. I know Jen from Gingerella also found this problem – which made me more convinced it wasn’t my mistake! She talks about it in this video, in case you don’t understand what I’m talking about!

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One of the things I really like about this pattern is the yoke on the back. I decided to use jeans-type top-stitching to make the skirt look like a proper denim skirt, and to show up the design lines that wouldn’t otherwise be obvious, like the yoke.

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I made the skirt in a size 6, and as eagle-eyed readers may spot, it’s a long version but without the band that is on the pattern for the long version. Phoebe didn’t really like the way that looked, so I extended the length of the mini skirt version instead, but 6.25 inches, to make it hit just below the knee.

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I was actually quite sad to have to give this skirt away to be honest, but luckily there was enough left of the denim for me to cut out a version for myself! You can tell I like it, by how many photos I’ve taken! I particularly like it with this striped top which my old boss gave to me! You can’t beat breton-style tops and denim!

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For the topstitching I used gutterman topstitching thread, in that goldy colour which I associate with jeans. I lengthened the stitch length to 4 (instead of my standard 2.5) and used blue thread in the bobbin, as there isn’t much topstitching thread on each roll because it’s so thick. I did have to play around with the tension a bit, because of having 2 different thicknesses of thread.
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If you follow me on instagram, you’ll already have seen that I used a jeans button for the first time on this skirt – sorry for the blurry photo, though! I was a bit scared to put the button on, because you can’t really move them once they’re on! I made the button-hole first and then made sure it all sat flat and straight and then marked where the button should go. And it all worked out okay!

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Here are some closer shots showing the topstitching. There is supposed to be a bar tack at the bottom of the fly shape, which sort of worked, but not really. If anyone has any tips of how to do that, I’m all ears!

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I did double rows of stitching on the centre seams and on the yoke, because it seemed right. Because the waistband is quite narrow, though, I thought one row of stitching would look best. I ummed and ahhed about the hem, and whether to sew it in matching or topstitching thread, and I’m glad I went for topstitching thread as it looks right.

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I used some thinner fabric for the waistband facing and the pocket linings. I think this might be the first time I’ve used contrasting fabric in this way, and I love it! This fabric is actually from a dress which my friend gave me in a big pile of things before I left London. The little dark flowers might look black from afar, but they are actually navy blue, which nicely matches the shade of blue of the denim.

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The pattern is really well drafted, so there’s absolutely no way the pocket linings will poke out to the right side, but it’s nice to get a flash of the lining when you look inside the pockets!

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My sister very obligingly took a photo of herself wearing the skirt – unfortunately it’s kind of teeny! The skirt looks a little big on me, because it’s a size bigger than I will make for myself, but it looks pretty perfect on her! Phew!

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Once I make my own denim version of this, it might become my favourite skirt pattern! Made in a smarter fabric, without the topstitching, and with a normal button, I think it will look smart enough for work.

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