Sewing Masterclass 1: Shopping

So, I’m sat at my desk. And I’m thinking, ‘Could I cycle to Rolls & Rems in my lunch hour?’ Rolls & Rems is a fabric shop in Holloway. I have the Simplicity 2591 pattern burning a hole in my pocket and I won’t be able to get to Walthamstow market until Friday earliest. That’s two whole days without any sewing-related activity.

Can I get to Rolls & Rems in my lunch hour? It will be pushing it. I have an hour. It’s a 15-minute bike ride each way (assuming I don’t get lost). So allowing ten minutes for locking up bikes etc, I have a clear 20 minute window to choose fabric and buy. Is this possible?

Welcome to my first ever sewing masterclass: Shopping.

12.55pm I leap on my bike, noticing that I have forgotten to change out of my ballet shoes into trainers. Sod it!

12.56pm Nearly knock my boss and a client over as I illegally cycle on a pavement to avoid cobble stones. ‘Women drivers,’ the client mutters as my boss laughs nervously. There goes my pay rise this year!

1.10pm Pull up outside Rolls & Rems, flapping a hand to let the driver of the red double decker bus behind me know that I am stopping. Again, I suspect this contravenes any highway code. What is the signal for, ‘I’m about to stop, please don’t kill me’? A slitting action across the throat,  from one ear to the next? Who cares. I’m ready to shop!

The glamorous face of London fabric retail

Don’t mock. Apparently, this shop sucks up end of the line Designers Guild fabrics. I’ve yet to spot one, but I’ve been assured this by someone who knows.

1.15pm A first circuit of the shop convinces me that there’s nothing here to catch my eye.

1.20pm Buy three metres of stretch cotton sateen:

Hurry up! I’m on my lunch hour.

1.30pm Back on the bike and negotiating London’s one way system in the searing heat.

1.45pm Arrive at the office having cycled, purchased and returned within 50 minutes. Which means I just have time to buy a sandwich before hurrying back to my desk.

And that, my friends, is how to shop for fabric.

What did I wear for this excursion? On a hot summer’s day? Are you kidding? The V8380 dress, with one crucial addition. It’s subtle, so you might miss it. For the more eagle-eyed amongst you, can you see what hair accessory I added to today’s outfit:

Helmet Head. Better to be safe than sorry.

I’m glad to report that the cycle home after work was more sedate, and took me past the River Lea:

Not a swatch of fabric in sight

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8 Responses to Sewing Masterclass 1: Shopping

  1. Tilly says:

    Hahaha good work! Would you recommend that shop in general? If one had more time to browse and rummage, say?

  2. good god well done you, that is impressive!!
    plus you look far better in your helmet than i do…

  3. Good question, Tilly. Hmmmm. If you live in the vicinity I would say, ‘Pop along with low expectations and who knows – you could have a nice surprise.’ If it would involve a trek across town, I don’t think I’d recommend the effort. It really is a very straightforward haberdashers, with no other fabric shops nearby. So fine for an impulse visit like mine today, but otherwise…

  4. Sara says:

    Great adventure! You did great!!!

  5. Roobeedoo says:

    That’s the way to do it! But I am too much of a prevaricator. I would have left the shop empty-handed and got back to my desk before I remembered seeing the sateen out of the corner of my eye. Then I would have gone back the next day and not have been able to find it. or worse, picked it up and realised it was a knitted polyester.

  6. Karin says:

    That’s dedication! It’s been HOT this week. You do look surprisingly cute in a bike helmet 🙂

  7. melissa says:

    hahah, this reminds me of the time I ran home from Goldhawk Road with the silk folded up tiny into my CamelBak (without the bladder). Due to a series of wrong turns, it ended up being a 15km jog! :O

    And funny that there’s a R&R up north – I’m only familiar with the Lewisham R&R and I hadn’t realised it was a chain…

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