Ray(ly) Fabulous Ray Stitch

Every week a bus journey takes me past Ray Stitch. Every week I manage to resist hopping off to poke my nose inside the door. Yesterday, I crumbled.

There’s a good reason I’ve been avoiding this place. It’s just so darn fabulous. I’d been trying to convince myself I didn’t need a Ray Stitch in my life, what with Walthamstow market being on my door.

I was wrong.

The fabric is gorgeous and covers a nice price range, from £6 to £20 a metre. I’m a bit of an inverted snob about high end price ranges on fabric, but it’s clear that Ray Stitch’s supplies are absolute top notch quality so if you have the budget and inclination, this is definitely the place to visit. There was a fat quarter of Japanese cotton that I can’t stop thinking about – I’m going to have to go back.

There are also more gorgeous patterns than a person can dream of (without shipping costs):

So far, some would say, so predictable. But the devil really is in the detail at this shop. Their sewing supplies are SUPERB. I leapt on these extra fine pins:

Indeed, a lot of my spending at Ray Stitch was on items to support my sewing – tailors chalk, a thread snipper, pins – rather than the gratuitous but sometimes quickly neglected fabric purchases that I know we can all be guilty of. (Okay, okay, so I did indulge in half a metre of something delightful that I can’t share. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, people!)

Don’t get me started on the buttons at Ray Stitch:

Yeah. I crumbled and bought two cat buttons, despite the fact that I have no idea what I’ll use them on. A person can’t NOT buy cat buttons!

The shop is arranged around a looooonnnng table with a beautiful inlaid measuring stick. This piece of furniture acts as both cutting table and cafe counter. Bizarrely, this set up works – it really does. BUT, I think this is all credit to the wonderful owner, Rachel, and her staff. Ray Stitch was busy when I visited – chock full of shoppers and diners. Despite the several people who needed serving, Rachel remained totally unflappable and calm – even when I started boring her with the fact that I know Tilly who did this interview with her and, oh yes, I know Pincushion Treats who works there, too. A lesser soul would have made it fairly clear she didn’t have time to chat, but not Rachel. Readers, she indulged me.

If you’re intending to visit Ray Stitch, I should flag up that opposite it is one of the best fish shops in London. Indeed, this part of Essex Road is full of interesting independent shops (including another fabric shop) and is walkable from Upper Street.

I have one final thought about this shop: the idea to combine it with a cafe is really, really clever. It brings all sorts of unexpected customers through the front door – not just the likes of me. I saw children AND men in Ray Stitch. Radical!

I think I’m going to have to stop getting the 56 bus. It could end up costing me a lot of money…

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18 Responses to Ray(ly) Fabulous Ray Stitch

  1. Tamsin says:

    Sounds great – I could do with somewhere like that where I live.

  2. Shivani says:

    I was there yesterday too! I showed less restraint than you (too much lovely stuff!).

  3. Tilly says:

    Too right! How can any sane person NOT buy cat buttons? Aww little kitties on a cardigan! Owning a cardigan with cat buttons on it would probably be the final straw in turning one (you? me?) into a crazy stitchy lady who doesn’t ever leave the house. Which is fine.

    I popped in to Ray Stitch the other day. Unfortunately Rachel wasn’t in but had a nice chat to friendly cafe guy Sam. I resisted the urge to reveal that I knew his name from the interview (could smell of stalker, non?). They really do have such a lovely stock. It was all so nice I panicked and left without buying anything. I think next time I’d need someone like you there to hold my hand and help me pick out one or two things to buy so I don’t hyperventilate with excitement.

  4. mujerboricua says:

    I’m sorry I missed you. My hours are so random. I’ve been keeping an eye out for fellow sewists. I did get to meet the lovely Shivani from Pins & Needles. Hopefully you’ll stop by again for some more (wink) browsing :) and a Chelsea bun. Those are amazing.

  5. mujerboricua says:

    And…may I add that soon I’ll be working for strictly notions and fabric for I spend much of my earnings there!

  6. Felicity from Down Under says:

    what a wonderful place. Thanks for sharing the virtual thrill of it all.

  7. Amanda says:

    Such a cute store! I have so many sewing places to visit on my next trip to London (whenever that is).

  8. Kerry says:

    Ooh it looks so nice. I might have to visit next time I’m in London. I was there last weekend and visited Goldhawk road, on your recommendation. I have still to blog about it, but I’ve never been in so many fabric shops at once – it was amazing!

  9. Jane says:

    Ray Stitch is HIGH on my list of places to visit, your photos may have nudged it right up to the top though, everything looks so swoonsome. May have to combine it with an overlocker class at The Make Lounge which I’m gearing myself up for. x

  10. Debi says:

    Ok….cat buttons??? Why did you buy only two? lol. That place looks amazing! Ok. I need to come down and hang out with everyone in London again!

  11. Rachel says:

    I LOVE the cat buttons! I am going to make another scarflet just so I can use some!

  12. Michelle says:

    What a fantastic place! We have long joked about how we would both like to start up a coffee shop and fabric shop combined. Having a coffee shop is even better than having husband chairs!

  13. Great post! I’m a freelance writer and actually on my way to visit Ray Stitch and meet Rachel this afternoon! Can’t wait :) xx

  14. I lived in Islington for 8 years (just off Chapel Market) when the borough was ‘up and coming’ ..sooo wish we had shops like this then…always ended up in Jones Brothers Haberdashery… how times change.. lol :)

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