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24 Jun
2023
Top Sewing Spots In London

London is one of the most famous cities in the world, with a wealth of culture, art, and textile history. We took a trip to visit some of our favourite sewing spots – come with us as we stock up our stash in the greatest city on earth.

Slipstitch

Top Sewing Spots In London

Located near the grand Alexandra Palace in North London, Slipstitch has fast become a favourite of knitters and stitchers alike since owner Rosie Fletcher purchased it in 2019. We met up with Rosie to find out what it’s like to run your own textile emporium. “I love craft and it's brilliant to get to spend all day thinking about it!” says Rosie, who was brought up in a home filled with creativity and was taught to knit by an Icelandic boyfriend at university. “It all started back in 2018. I have a chronic illness and had been out of work for several years. I started working at the local craft shop for two afternoons a week, to help build up my stamina. The business went up for sale and I kept saying to myself, ‘If this was my shop…’ - and then I realised, I really did want it to be my shop! Slipstitch stocks a wide range of knitting and sewing supplies with a concentration on natural fibres such as cotton and linen, and also runs various workshops and drop-in ‘meet and make’ sessions twice per week. “Teaching was always part of the plan,” says Rosie. “We have an amazing space at the back that's full of light and a huge table that's lovely to sit around. It's all part of making Slipstitch a super welcoming place to visit. There's no snobbery – everyone was a beginner once and you only really learn by getting things wrong. I am not an inherently good knitter, I've just made thousands of mistakes and had to work out how and why.” Visit: 108 Alexandra Park Rd, London N10 2AE Call: 020 8883 9478 www.slipstitchldn.co.uk

Ray Stitch

Top Sewing Spots In London

Based on Essex Road in Islington, Ray Stitch has become one of the most popular textile stores in London, offering a broad range of natural fabrics, workshops, and more. We caught up with owner Rachel Hart to find out more about the history of the store. “I used to be an architectural model maker, so creating things is my bread and butter,” explains Rachel, who opened Ray Stitch in 2010. “I always loved sourcing the materials for a new project, but shopping for sewing items was never much fun. Everything on offer at the time seemed to be quite drab and uninspiring. There was a gap in the market for a modern, ‘curated’ sewing shop and as soon as I’d had the idea I was totally driven by it.” Like Slipstitch, Ray Stitch offers a variety of workshops in an effort to help others pursue their passions and learn new skills. “Our school and shop are symbiotic,” says Rachel. “Shop customers can see the classes going on and are curious to see what they’re up to. And of course, training up new makers is a great way to create home-grown customers! We try to offer a progression through the classes – some students get really hooked and just want to keep on going, and there’s always more to learn!” Visit: 66 Essex Rd, London N1 8LR Call: 020 7704 1060 www.raystitch.co.uk

Goldhawk Road

Top Sewing Spots In London

Located in Shepherd’s Bush, this unassuming street has become somewhat of a Mecca for textile fans – with around 15 different independent fabric stores all in one location, each carrying a huge variety of branded and off-brand fabrics, seconds, off-cuts, luxury finds, and more. Experts have told us that the best way to approach a trip to Goldhawk Road is to make a little visit to each shop in turn, before deciding what to buy and returning to make your purchases – with so much choice on offer it’s easy to get carried away and before you know it, you’ve blown your budget. Several of the shops also carry the same fabric lines, at very different price points – making it all the more worthwhile to check each one before you buy. It’s best to carry cash where possible as not all the stores accept card payments, and don’t be afraid to haggle – whilst you might not always be able to secure a discount, many of the shop owners are used to a little bartering and are willing to give polite customers a little leeway. Visit: Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W12

Liberty London

Top Sewing Spots In London

Of course, we can’t talk about London’s rich textile history without a quick stop at one of its most famous fabric landmarks – Liberty. The iconic brand was founded in 1875 by adventurer Arthur Lasenby Liberty, whose dream was to build an emporium laden with luxuries and fabrics from distant lands. He borrowed £2,000 from his future father-in-law and set-up shop in a building in Regent Street with just three staff members and a handful of goods. By 1922 the business had grown so much that a new building was needed to house the collection, and Arthur hired builders Messrs Higgs & Hill to create his vision of a grand ship docked in the street. Liberty’s new mock Tudor home was actually constructed using the timbers of two ancient 'three-decker' battle ships, the HMS Impregnable, and the HMS Hindustan, and was designed as a system of three large atriums surrounded by smaller rooms, to make it feel like a home. Sadly, Arthur passed away seven years before the building's completion and so never saw his dream realised, but today his statue stands proudly at the entrance to Liberty’s Flower Shop, to welcome you warmly into his world of wonder. Liberty’s fabric collection is renowned the world over, with over 50,000 historic prints in its archive, and an in-house studio where new artworks are painted and drawn by hand every day. From sumptuous silks in ornate Art Nouveau layouts to versatile Tana Lawn cottons in classic 1930s ditsy florals, Liberty’s luxury and designer fabrics are instantly recognisable and have been used to create garments, home furnishings, toys, and more. Visit: Regent Street, London, W1B 5AH Call: 020 3893 3062 www.liberty.co.uk

The Sewing Machine Museum

Top Sewing Spots In London

Whilst you might not be able to stock up your fabric stash or try out a workshop, a quick visit to London’s Sewing Machine Museum in Balham is a lovely addition to any textile trip. The collection is open for just three hours (2pm-5pm) on the first Saturday of every month and is home to over 600 sewing machines, allowing visitors to follow the evolution of machine stitching from 1850-1950. The museum’s star attractions include the very first Singer machine, a unique machine originally owned by Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, and a patent machine sent from America for the Great Exhibition. Admission to the stunning collection is free, but donations to the owner’s favoured charities are graciously accepted. Visit: 292-312 Balham High Road, London, SW17 7AA Call: 020 8767 4724

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