Rag Market tips / Fabric Haul

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If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that last weekend I made another pilgrimage to the World Famous Rag Market. We don’t live locally but my mum and I try and go a couple of times a year for a nice day out or weekend away. This time we had a busy one day trip which included the rag market shopping and tickets to the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC.

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First up was the Rag Market, it was snowing quite heavily and our hands were freezing when taking them out of gloves to touch the fabrics. My mum’s face in this picture says it all!

Inside it was slightly warmer – warm enough to take a few pictures at least. Check out all those fabrics for £1/£2 per metre! Unfortunately, the famous ‘Liberty Man’ wasn’t there this time but that probably saved me some money and also meant I didn’t buy any fabrics which were produced specifically to sell to dressmakers. All the fabrics I bought were ‘overstock’ fabrics left over from manufacturing. Hot tip – a quick chat with the friendly stall owners will tell you what fabrics are overstock – they are all so knowledgeable!

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I picked up five pieces of fabric: 1.5m green/blue sparkly stretch denim, 2m teal jersey, 1m red jersey, 2m geometric crepe, 3m tie dye rayon and I spent a grand total of £13. I have plans for a few of these already…

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The red jersey I bought with this leaf fabric in mind. I got a small piece of this in a scrap bag but it is only big enough for the front of a top so I wanted something coordinating for the back. This is destined to become a Lou Box Top. Another tip – if you know you are going shopping somewhere like the rag market you never know what you might find! I always find it helpful to have cut a few swatches of things I need colour matching and keep the swatches in my purse – just in case I happen upon something unexpected that might match!

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This glittery denim has not come up well in photos at all but it is a gorgeous indigo on one side and emerald green on the other, I know it is destined to become another Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dress but which side do I use?!

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Finally, I don’t know what I am going to make with this gorgeous geometric crepe but I wanted to show these flaws. My final tip for rag market shopping is – inspect the fabric! Have a good look at what you are buying as often it is so cheap because of a flaw. Watch the fabric carefully as the stall holders measure it and speak up if there is a problem. Often the friendly guys will chuck a bit in for free or give you a big discount. In this case we paid £3 for 4.2m of crepe which my mum and I split between us and the flaw is only about 40cm long.

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Here is a close up to show it’s a flaw where the fabric has folded as it has passed through the printer. It isn’t a hole so could still be used for bias binding or facings.

Finally, when we got too cold in the market we headed to the nice warm NEC and had a lovely time walking round the Sewing for Pleasure show. Neither of us bought any more but we had a nice time talking to lovely people and touching all the fabric.

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Thanks Birmingham we’ll be back soon!

3 thoughts on “Rag Market tips / Fabric Haul

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