The Walthamstow haul, and a spreadsheet to fix me

Extolled by local resident Karen and lauded by countless other stitchers the length and breadth of London and beyond, Walthamstow really is a gem when it comes to finding cheap quality fabric. I traipsed across from Ally Pally on New Year’s Eve (feels like a long time ago now) with a £50 budget and a mad gleam in my eye. I blew the budget, but only just, and came home with a heap of fabric and a plan to add some sense to my increasing stash.

Here’s what I got:

5 metres of silvery-grey corduroy, to be used with my Minoru jacket and for Nette’s Autumn Love dress (gorgeous free pattern! Download now!) It’s darker than the picture suggests, trust me!

5 metres of this gorgeous grey polka dot polyester and 3 metres of this grape silk charmeuse. Polka dot to be used for Simplicity 7845 and for the bottom half and cuffs of my Hazel dress, grape to be used for the upper part and lining of the Hazel dress. Don’t the colours go beautifully together?

2 metres each of these floral concoctions. To be used for two Violet blouses.

Almost 5 metres of this rather cute vintage style polyester (I think it’s polyester anyway). It was the end of the bolt.

Plus 5 metres of calico after Karen’s tip off about asking in Saeed’s for curtain lining. Cheers Karen.

That’s 28 metres of fabric for £50!

So I mentioned a spreadsheet at the top. Not my idea, readers, but the brainwave of Mela of Pincushion Treats who shared hers on her blog. It’s such a simple but effective idea: detailing pics of what you have in your stash plus measurements so you always know what’s there and whether you have enough for a new project. Genius! Perhaps not ideal if you have a HUGE stash that you couldn’t bear to detail and measure. But great for those of us starting out who want to get a handle on it early. Thanks for the tip Mela! Here’s my spreadsheet – hope you can access it.

What about you? Any tips for managing your stash and keeping track of how much fabric you have? Have you made any New Year purchases yet or are you working your way through your existing stockpile?

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31 thoughts on “The Walthamstow haul, and a spreadsheet to fix me

  1. Fabulous! I’m glad the spreadsheet idea helped in organizing your stash. You will be surprised at how often you look at it!

    I was at Walhamstow today and I totally forgot about Karen’s calico tip. Darn it! No wonder I couldn’t find anything close anywhere. Bugger. Oh well. Just means another visit is in the works.

    Where did you get the silk charmeuse? I’d love some.

    • Hey Mela – got it in in one of the shops – think it was actually Saeed’s fabrics too 🙂 It was spelled shamoos in the shop though. I’m hoping it’s the same thing 😉

  2. Wow, what a haul! Lovely fabrics too! I’ve already blown this month’s budget at the Liberty sale, sewdirect.com and also treated myself to some japanese fabric on etsy. Oops. I used to have a fabric and pattern stash page on my blog – I think I might update it in an attempt to prevent myself from buying any more!

  3. You are a lifesaver! My New Years Resolution to be started this weekend was to organise my fabric and patterns onto a digital format for easy access. I’ve been scratching my head all week looking at what format to create this in. Your link to the Google docs spreadsheet is just perfect – I’m afraid I am going to completely copy yours – I hope you take it as the sincere form of flattery it is!

  4. Ooooh you’ve got a good stash. I especially love that black floral satin.

    I need to find a way to corral my stash into one looking-place. I tried the method of cutting out swatches and putting them in a binder… yeah, that lasted about 5 swatches lol. I just had an epiphany, though – maybe I’ll just upload them to Pinterest? Hmmmm!

  5. What a haul indeed! I really can’t wait to see your finished Hazel dress…very exciting! My fabric stash is seriously out of control and I have to do something to about it soon!

  6. My stash is also out of control – I keep the good stuff in clear boxes so I can see it, that’s as organised as it gets. Great haul, my favourite’s the bottom one too.

  7. I measured and entered my stash into a spreadsheet when I was stuck in a sewing rut. I hated having to pull the fabric out to measure it to see if i had enough for a particular pattern.

  8. You know what, I’m really going to start sulking soon. Whenever I see what other people have bought at Walthamstow I get really jealous – why do I never spot these fabulous fabrics? I love, love, love the grey polka dot. Which stall or shop, please tell me, purleasseee! I also love the grey cord and the grape fabric. Why do I ever bother shopping anywhere else? I think I need to move away from Walthamstow, so that I can then visit Walthamstow and score some great fabric buys. I take it too much for granted! (Eithe that, or I stoically ignore it so that I don’t end up with a fabric mountain.)

    • Karen it was in Saeed’s! Over on the right hand side about halfway down. Ask them if you don’t see it, seriously. I imagine you must get fabric blind though – i would if I lived there.It’s such a treat to go once in a while. x

  9. yum, i am really looking forward to your Colette Violets, especially in this wonderful silk you have there! And what lovely fabrics you got! I especially *LOVE* the Polka Dot and grape silk combination… so so beautiful! What’s on your sewing table next? =)

    thanks for sharing the spreadsheet idea, that‘s what I needed. Last week i went through my stash and found treasures I’ve completely forgotten. I also found out that I own way too much fabric that doesn’t even suit me… well, learning every day, right!? So my start this year is working my way through the stockpile of real treasures to make room for new ones 🙂

    • Ooh what’s on my sewing table… at the moment it’s the muslin for the Minoru jacket… but I’m hoping to trace, cut and complete a violet tomorrow… wish me luck!

  10. Ooh lovely new fabric! Very excited to see your Hazel dress – those fabrics will look lovely together. I was thinking of making it in red and navy blue, but I haven’t yet found a navy blue dark enough to not look too garish against the red. Can’t wait to see yours!

  11. I’m with Karen – I live 2 minutes from Walthamstow market and never seem to see things as nice as this!

    Let me know when you’re planning another trip here – I need you to guide me!

    • That sounds like a plan Alison! I might have to let my bank balance recover though – I’ve been buying an awful lot of sewing bits and patterns as well as fabric. Gulp!

  12. Oooo I’m such an excel nerd, why hadn’t I thought of uploading fabric photos to it??! LOVE IT! I think I will have to copy.
    And the grey polka dot and grape fabrics are gorgeous…dying to see the finished dress!

  13. Great haul – love the creamy corduroy – and you’re such a bargain hunter! I wish I were organised enough to have a spreadsheet, but then it might also encourage me to buy more fabric…

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