Fabulous Fabric Alert!

This washed silk is £5 a metre from the Man Outside Sainsburys on Walthamstow market. I’m not kidding, it’s absolutely gorgeous to work with – so get yourselves down there, peeps, before it all disappears!

I’m sewing a test make. I promised a friend I’d duplicate a well-loved dress that she already owns. It’s very rare for me to take on makes for other people – you have to catch me in just the right mood! Fortunately, this dress is uber-simple. A bat wing dress, no darts, back and front matching. So it was no biggie to trace. Cinched in with a wide belt, I know how much my friend can rock this dress!

I’d told Julia that the test make would be in a solid red as that’s what she wants for the final dress. But then, um, I spotted these butterflies, felt the weight of the silk – and I employed my right to change my mind. In fact, a solid colour for this dress is making me slightly nervous. What do you think, readers? I suspect our fabric choice will be really important if we’re going with a solid colour. Something that doesn’t crease too much during wearing, is just the right shade of red… Let me know if you have suggestions!

I’d love to crack on with this make, but I’m away for the weekend, so it will have to wait. Sob! Making things for other people always sends me jittery and nervous. I want my friend to like this dress. I hope she is into butterflies!

Oh. And you just know I bought an extra metre of this silk for myself, don’t you?

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37 Responses to Fabulous Fabric Alert!

  1. Loving these butterflies. Having serious fabric envy from the other side of the world (Australia)!

  2. Tamsin W-P says:

    Beautiful fabric – I don’t think there is anything wrong in getting some for yourself!!!

  3. Only an extra metre? How very restrained. It’s beautiful. Like Blogless Anna, I’m very envious (and wonder if there’s anywhere at all that’s relatively local where I could source such stuff).

  4. Anna says:

    I love the man outside sainsburys! Always has good fabric and really helpful (I never know what fabric is the type my pattern tells me to use). I’m going on Saturday so I’ll keep an eye out for this.

  5. Vicki Kate says:

    Oh Wow! That is gorgeous and I think will work really well with the design! I’m sooo jealous right now! If I was a Londoner I’d be down to the market in my lunch break like a shot!! It’d be just gorgeous as a Pendrell… I’ll just have to join Blogless Anna and Felicity in envy!

  6. £5 a metre for silk?!!!!! Really is silk?! Amaaazing find. I’m coming back to Walthamstow soon then!! Although the £8.50 travel card would slightly diminish the bargainous nature of the silk… 😉
    I just bought some coral polyester delight at a roll-end shop for a similar tunic/dress to be belted. But I’d much prefer silk…. 😉

  7. Kerry says:

    Good luck! I agree it adds an extra level of stress to make things for others. Sometimes I think that because I can sew/knit people give me too much credit as I do make plenty of mistakes, but then you always examine your own work so much more critically than anyone else. That dress looks like a straightforward shape to duplicate at least.

  8. Marie says:

    This is so beautiful and so cheap!!! You’re a terrible person for tempting me Karen (you know I have stash issues), but luckily I can’t exactly get to your market on a whim ;o)

  9. Roobeedoo says:

    Hmmm… I wonder whether my daughter has College this afternoon or a free period? And how would she feel about a quick bus trip to Walthamstow?!
    Fab fab fab.

  10. The dress and fabric looks gorgeous

  11. merche says:

    Hello! This is my first comment here! that fabric is gorgeous and for that price! I wish I could get there!
    I know how it feels to sew for others, even if they are really nice people.

  12. Sam says:

    Oh my goodness that silk is stunning. I love butterflies anyway, but these are particularly gorgeous.

    I’m down in London in 2 weekends time, although not planning on being anywhere near Walthamstow. I’m now tempted to take a detour and see if he still has any then, or anything else gorgeous.

  13. ellecsews says:

    I wonder how much I would have to spend to fly to London, take a taxi to Walthamstow, find the man in front of Sainsbury’s. It likely wouldn’t be worth it, just to buy fabric. It is lovely, and I am not normally a “print” person.

    I completely agree with you about the stress of sewing for someone else. It makes me anxious like nothing else in the world. But, even I get sucked in/manipulated sometimes. As a matter of fact, the last thing I made……..

  14. Colleen says:

    When I tell my husband i really want to go to London next year, I think he might be surprised to know that fabric stalls are my motivating factor….

  15. wow – fabric envy! that is really gorgeous. she is a lucky friend and of course she will love it!

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Total fabric envy! Very lucky friend of yours.

  17. Joyful says:

    It’s gorgeous! I bought 3 metres from Man Outside Sainsburys a few weeks ago – am going to make a dress! The little side street shop is also excellent – I bought some cheesy Liberty Christmas fabric and made the Butterick vintage apron. Am going back tomorrow for more!

  18. Love this fabric – do you do mail order for those of us in the outer reaches?

  19. Rose in SV/LO says:

    Oh, I know where I’m going on Saturday…. 🙂

  20. Nikki says:

    I’ll sob back! Serious fabric envy here from NZ. Looks like I’ll have to put up with our Wellington bloggers meet-up today! 🙂

  21. rachel says:

    I love that fabric – you UK bloggers are very lucky with the fabric available to you. So wish we had a Man Outside Sainsburys!

  22. velosewer says:

    Great buy. It’s a great print.
    Now to wait…

  23. Ruth says:

    Beautiful fabric – well spotted! I like the simple lined of the dress too. It will be luxurious

  24. Mrs M says:

    Love the fabric! I wish we had markets like that near us.

  25. Heather Mayfield says:

    Please, please, please let there still be some by next Saturday when I am on my bi-annualpilgrimage to Walthamstow market!

  26. huggiebaby says:

    Wow, amazing value!! for the dress for a block colour, silk twill would probably be a good choice. It has a bit more weight to it than normal silk but keeps the same drape and lustrous quality. I have a Toast dress (cheap on eBay!) that is in silk twill and whilst it is more fitted than this style is fairly loose as well and it works really well. I am however, obsessed with silk! That and yarn..mmmm yaaaaarn.

  27. Victoria says:

    Lovely dress! How sweet of you to go outside of the norm and make a dress for a friend. I’m sure it will be loved and well appreciated. Enjoy using the silk piece you bought for yourself.

  28. Vixie says:

    I saw that the other day too – if only I had the skillz to be able to work with silk!

  29. symondezyn says:

    a test dress in silk… for someone else… you are so generous!!! ^___^ I’m glad you bought extra for yourself; it would be a shame if you didn’t – the fabric is so pretty 🙂

  30. frk.bustad says:

    I just need to ask; I’ve been to London many, many times the last10 years, but I’ve always gone to Goldhawk Rd to buy fabrics. Would you recommend trying out Walthamstow?

    • It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you don’t mind pot luck and cheap as chips, you can try Walthamstow on a Saturday. If you want a wealth of choice, from cheap through to (affordable) high end, I would still hit Goldhawk Road.

      • frk.bustad says:

        Thanks! I might save it for a later time then, and just go for the usual… I’m only going for a weekend anyway, together with non-sewing friends, so it’s probably good not having to go for pot luck!

  31. Julia says:

    I’m FAMOUS!

  32. Julia says:

    And I just tried it on. And it’s AMAZING. XXX

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