05 Aug Sew creative
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. I was there to learn alongside half a dozen other ladies. We spent the day with our sewing machines with Barley guiding us and advising. The class aims to pass on tips and tricks for easy sewing and we concentrated on how to adjust and repurpose clothes. Barley gave us ideas for what we could do with leftover fabrics and precious secondhand finds. And her sewing tips included: 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. Sewing is a hobby for my leisure time, I’d like to gain more confidence and be more creative with my wardrobe.
I perhaps wouldn’t have shared this trip to the high street at Broadway market with you had it not been for the shop’s 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 of jazz music.
When we stopped for lunch I learned more about the shop. It has been Barley’s life’s work to develop the building from a rundown retail space to the vibrant place it is now. Her creative and youthful style is evident in the renovation: gentleman’s neckties make a long stripy curtain beneath the workbench; 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, and sometimes it’s better to rifle through the leftovers and buy second hand. In this way you can develop an individual home and you can be assured that 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.
Images are my own.