Broadway Market teams with parents and pushchairs seeking a free spot on the pavement to drink a cappuccino. Number seven has a somewhat dour grey painted frontage but the large window is colourfully displayed with fabrics and graffiti style art. Shop owner Barley Massey told me their busiest day is Sunday and having recently decided to brush up my sewing skills I was there to learn. I and half a dozen other ladies spent the day collecting tips and trying out the machines.
I perhaps wouldn’t have shared this with you had it not been for the thrilling basement conversion, it’s the sort of thing that rocks my boat and I thought you might be interested to see how the clever use of recycled materials can liven up an interior. The eclectic modern look makes visitors feel relaxed and while we were sewing downstairs Barley’s partner upstairs in the shop kept up the tempo with his choice playlist of jazz music.
Barley shared tips and tricks for making clothes from leftover fabrics and precious secondhand finds. Tips like, use safety pins instead of pins when making adjustments as they stay in and don’t stab you. Simple logic but I’d never thought of it. When we stopped for lunch she told me about the shop, how it has been a life’s work to develop the building from a rundown retail space to the vibrant place it is now. She has worked hard and employed her own creative and youthful style in the renovation. For instance, gentleman’s neckties make a long stripy curtain beneath the workbench and reclaimed tiles form a bright backdrop. It reminded me that we shouldn’t always look for new, it is too easy to succumb to manufacturers’ advertising overtures. Sometimes it is better to rifle through the leftovers and buy second hand because it allows your creativity to shine through, and you can be assured your place, and indeed your clothes, will be unique.
I recommend Barley’s classes – she has years of experience in textile recycling having worked in wardrobe for film and TV and the classes cater for all levels of ability.
Fabrications is at 7 Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH. Take a look at the website.