I’ve mentioned Walthamstow market numerous times in my blogging posts, so I thought I’d supply a guided tour to fabric shopping in E17. Even if you don’t live in London, I hope this makes for an interesting glimpse into the heady delights of the longest outdoor street market in Europe. If you want to know where to buy your fabric and notions for dirt cheap prices, follow me…
We’re going to start at the top of the High Street, by Hoe Street and work our way down towards where the High Street intersects with Buxton Road. (For a free downloadable map of Walthamstow fabric shopping, visit here.)
First off, I suggest you visit Walthamstow on a Saturday. That’s when the market is at its best. Ready? Let’s start with a shop tucked away behind a stall selling what looks like industrial kitchen ware:
Blink And You’d Miss It
It would be very easy to walk past this place on our right and not notice it. They have some unusual fabrics and I particularly like them for their border prints. I made the below from one of their border prints:
Carry on down the market and you will come across several notion stalls. If you want lace, ribbon, thread, needles, chalk, elastic, zips … well, anything! – it’s probably stocked on one of these stalls. If you’re a thread purist, don’t bother stopping. Their spools of thread are visibly fluffy.
My personal favourite notions shop in Walthamstow market is this one on your left as you wander down:
Moving on! Outside Sainsburys we will find my favourite stall:
After this, cross over Palmerston Road and on your left you’ll come across Saeed Fabrics:
By this point, you’re probably loaded down with fabric bought at £2 a metre and a bag spilling with lace trims. You’re ready for a snack, aren’t you? Walthamstow market supplies those, too!
While you rest, ponder on what makes Walthamstow such a great place for fabric shopping. Well, it ain’t because of people like me. The market caters for people – largely from African and Asian communities – who aren’t going to find their chosen outfits any time soon in high street chain stores. I’m talking saris and caftans. As if to prove my point, last time I wandered down to the market I came across a group of people getting ready for a Punjabi wedding. Guys, this was serious – they’d hired four coaches. The street was full of people in bright, bright colours – strangely at odds with the dusty grey of an urban street. I was so thrilled when one of the ladies shyly allowed me to photograph her:
This is just one of the reasons that makes Walthamstow great. It’s not perfect, but it is home.