Walthamstow fabric shops

Walthamstow fabric shops

I’ve lived in Walthamstow for over 8 years now and guess I’ve become a bit blasé about the amount of fabric shops and stalls that can be found just on the street market. It was only when I found other people telling me they were visioning from quite far away just to buy fabric here that I realised that of course, not everyone has this many shops locally!








So I thought it was high time to do a little blogpost about them.

I myself always start at the bottom of the market, near St James street station. There’s many other delights on this stretch of the market and it’s by far the quietest part of the market so I often don’t make it to the top!

I usually just pop into Hussains Fabrics for cheap cottons and linens, they also sell blackout fabric, wadding and felt as well as fake fur and amazing Asian fabrics. When you see something you like, buy it. That goes for all the shops here. They often sell end of line fabric and you are unlikely to see it again next time you visit. Which is of course it’s downfall as I cannot use it for products that need to replicated over and over. But then again it is like shopping at a car boot sale as it’s exciting and mostly super cheap!

The green fronted Fabric Shop across the road from Hussains is probably the cheapest of all the shops. Everything is stacked against the walls in bolts and they truly have the most amazing array! Very little in the way of cottons but at £1 or £2 a meter you are bound to come home with something cool!

Make sure to visit Ribbons. It’s my go to shop for zips but of course they sell hundreds of beautiful ribbons!


Each shop on that stretch of the market will tempt you with more bolts of funky home decor, cheap silks and bright jerseys.

Cross over to the busy top part of the market to find more haberdashery shops and fabric stalls. Make sure you pop into the little fabric shop on a side street near Sainsburys. It sells cheap Liberty like prints and great poly cotton prints, perfect for cheap bunting. She often has denims and all kinds of amazing fabrics too.


After all fabric shopping that you should pop into the International Supermarket for the best veggies, Turkish breads, cakes, olives and cheeses.



And really, no visit to the market is complete without a super tasty flat bread from Yilderim bakery on St James street, very near the station. The breads are hand made on the premises and are just the best!


Elna Grasshopper & the quilt I made on it

Elna Grasshopper & the quilt I made on it

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My lovely dad brought over this stunning Elna Grasshopper. She’s an old girl, made as she was in September 1946! She is however in perfect condition and sew beautifully. Seeing as I had to try her out I made this lovely quilt entirely out of big equilateral triangles. I cheated and free motion quilted and bound it on my flashy Husqvarna but that was more because the Elna is just tiny so wouldn’t fit a quilt that size


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Teaching a pattern cutting class using the Colette Ginger pattern

Teaching a pattern cutting class using the Colette Ginger pattern

This weekend saw the second class in this two part course, teaching beginners to make a skirt from a commercial pattern.

I have been using Colette patterns for these classes for a while now but have recently changed to using the Ginger skirt pattern. I used to use the pedal pushers (Clover) pattern, which wasn’t actually that suitable for a beginner as there can be SO many fitting issues with trousers. This skirt however is really good for newbies as there aren’t even any darts.

I love the Colette wcp1016-version2-pink-large-f982fe1d67c598e670a7518495fd176eebsite and their patterns are just amazing. Here’s the link: https://www.colettepatterns.com/shop/ginger

The patterns come in a beautiful stitched booklet, with all the notes and guidance really nicely laid out. Go away flimsy explanations on tissue paper. Be done with you. We love this chunky creamy paper, clear diagrams and links for video tutorials on putting in invisible zips etc included in the pattern. Way forward! These new pattern companies clearly know what customers want. They clearly pride themselves on supplying a pattern that can be followedeasily. It should be that all pattern companies think like that but it seems to be up to the independent ones to really show them how it’s done, and I fully support them in that.

Saying that Colette patterns tend to cater for pear shaped ladies, and I’m not myself a pear – more of a tree trunk 🙂 – so not all the Colette patterns look equally fabulous on me but I did make myself a Ginger skirt yesterday. I’m not going to show you the waistband because although I did a great job on it I was lazy and used my student’s pattern pieces (so I could sew along with her and not waste time measuring) so although it fits, as in I fit in it, and I managed to dance the night away in it last night, it actually doesn’t sit beautifully at the waist. But hey, no one is ever going to see the top of my sP1030063kirt. And I do love the funky 70s fabric I made it from and the dinky little iPhone pocket that was pretty essential for me (wot, no pockets, where’s a girl gonna keep her mobi??)

Photo-wise I only shot a quick selfie before I ran out of the door, proper shots to follow once the skirt is out of the wash.  Anyway you get the idea. Nice skirt, funky waistband which I refuse to show you, fab fabric. Will definitely make again and again as it doesn’t even take much fabric and was quick to run up.

So if I have now whetted your appetite for dress making why not join me at the next dress making course? It starts on the 8th February. I only have two students in the class so you get almost one to one attention. The skirt pattern and all haberdashery is included in the class fee, you will just need to bring 2.5m of suitable fabric, we will talk about this in the first class. Booking is here:

Book Online


Craftsy, an amazing online learning and pattern and supplies platform

Craftsy, an amazing online learning and pattern and supplies platform

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes.

Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Craftsy Class
Before filming even begins, hours and hours are spent determining what content will be covered in each class, and how to best teach specific techniques to the camera. Instructors work with an instructional designer to create an in-depth outline of each lesson, and decide how to best prepare props or “step-outs” that show what your project should like at different steps. Instead of a scripted class, instructors follow their outlines on camera to create an authentic and engaging teaching experience.

Most Craftsy classes are filmed in one of five Craftsy studios in Denver, CO, assuring that every part of the production process goes off without a hitch. They fly in instructors from all over the world to spend several days filming, then spend several weeks turning hours of footage into a two to three hour class experience that has been watched, rewatched, and reviewed by industry experts. The final result is an HD-quality video that takes you in-depth into specific topics in any given craft category- from cooking and fine art to sewing and knitting.

hat IS the Craftsy experience?
Craftsy classes are designed to have all the benefits of an in-person class, with none of the drawbacks. Available online and on-demand, you always have world-class instructors at the tip of your fingers. You can retake the class as many times as you want, and the 30-second repeat feature allows you to watch the same section over and over again until you get every technique just right.

Watching a Craftsy class is like having a first-row seat with some of the best instructors in the world. Even better, classes have a 100% money-back guarantee.

Try online learning today with a free mini-class from Craftsy! Choose from 23 Free Craftsy Classes ranging from drawing and painting to sewing and quilting, from knitting to cake decorating and more.

Visit Craftsy today!

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Location:Cork Street,London,United Kingdom

Mammoth quilts!

Mammoth quilts!

I have been working on a quilt commission for the last 6 weeks or so- not solidly, but interspersed with Open University reading, other sewing, teaching and of course, looking after my boys and myself!

Anyway I have finished it now and it is winding its way to Taunton as we speak to then be given to one very special lady for her birthday.

Here it is:

This quilt was ordered from my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/handmadebycheeky), with the main wish of the buyer that it should be colourful. I think I managed that don’t you?

I have now started working on the indigo quilt again. It got sidelined as I got a bit disheartened about hand quilting it all. It was so gorgeous but so time consuming. I have now decided if I want to finish it this decade I have to compromise and machine quilt it. So I’m falling in love with this handsome quilt all over again!

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Location:Thorpe Crescent,Walthamstow,United Kingdom

Book review:Scrap house quilt

Book review:Scrap house quilt

I had been meaning to buy this book for ages, having somewhere seen a picture of the finished quilt. But I must say the formula put me off a bit. It is available either as a download or a CD rom. I like a paper book to be totally honest, if I am spending money. I have too many virtual books and I never look at them,  and a CD rom would only get lost in my huge pile of (real) craft books. So I never bought it. I did however try my hand at making a block for this quilt, which looked fab and it inspired me to try and have a go at making a whole quilt based around houses and trees. But frankly I never would have done as I have never made flying geese blocks or pinwheel blocks and to gather all the info from all my different books meant I would have had this on my to do lost until I retired. At least.

So when I was offered the chance to review one of Vivebooks I jumped at it. They have just released a gorgeous looking modern smocking book, in fact there are two, and I think they hoped I would review that but I was way too drawn to the Scrap house quilt book to not go for that.

It was a right faff (for me, being impatient as I am) to download this ebook. I didn’t read the instructions, of course not, I just pressed the button and when it appeared not to do anything I pressed it again. And again until I had used up all my downloads. I emailed the editor who urged me to wait. The ebook has videos embedded in it and it is a big file. It just takes time. I grumbled and left the computer to it. I don’t like waiting! Anyway eventually it did download, but then I found I could not watch the videos. I tried everything, downloaded Adobe reader again, restarted the computer, still nothing. Poor Vivienne from Vivebooks got another, well more than one, email from me. She was trying to have a holiday too, bad me. Eventually we figured my macbook was automatically opening it as a straight up PDF in its own reader, which wouldn’t display the links. I have never before had to open anything in the actual reader application before, but once I did it worked fine. If I had read the download instructions I am sure it would have been easier although I doubt I would have worked out to open the actual app. Luckily Vivienne was very helpful. She explained that having videos embedded in the ebook is really pushing the boundaries and of course Apple are not great at co-operating with third party software hence my macbooks refusal to read the file properly.

Anyway. Long winded I know but I hope that means when you buy some books from their website (https://www.vivebooks.com/shop/scrap-house-quilt/) you will not have the same issues.

I am super glad I persevered though as the book is amazing and so much more than just any old quilting book. It teaches you lots of different techniques and having someone show you in a video how to make up a flying geese block is invaluable. A lot of people learn by being shown rather than reading it in words so this would really help all those people. Katharine, the writer/ teacher is amazing, I love the blocks and the freedom she gives you to just experiment and have a go, exactly the way I like teaching people. The only thing I did not like was the fabrics used but that is just me, and I am making mine in fun, bright, modern prints. I like that you don’t set out with a plan, you just add blocks as you go, I love working like that.

All in all a giant thumbs up to this book, this format and this wonderful little publisher for bringing this innovative format to the world. Check em out, they don’t just have books about sewing but all kinds of (mostly) crafty books.


Some pictures of what I have been up to this summer

Some pictures of what I have been up to this summer

The adorable Theo

Fab charity shop find…

Great photoshoot

Hanging out with Superman

Made a quilt from vintage sheets and a gorgeous embroidered table cloth.

Helped Max make stuff

Went to Minnie’s pirate birthday party

What a scorchio day!

Minnie and Max. Made Minnie’s dress with redound skill or shirring

Made with Moxie Prefontayne shorts.

Was given a beautiful Singer 201

Went to Womad

Hung out with Max

Watched the Gorillas rehearse

Ate cake with Francesca

Hung out with Batman

…and Louise and Vicky at the Soul Picnic

Finished my Sexy Librarian Blouse as per Craftsy class

Jasper remaining calm despite Theo chewing his ears off

Saw Jake and Dinos Chapman at the Tate. Fab subversive protest against McDonalds!

Went to Liberty’s! And drooled

Made this quilt for Sarah

Made crazy silver coullotes for myself!

Went to the Pathology museum

Love St Paul’s!!

Started my gypsy quilt finally

Ran a craft session at creative biscuit cafe

Camped with Leo and the kids

Bought some VERY exciting patterns

And welcomed my kids back

And still I had more things on my list!!

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Vogue 2902 dress

Vogue 2902 dress

I spent some time this week making some clothes for me. Really enjoying myself! First I made this vintage inspired Vogue dress. I would not normally wear something this girlie and dressy but I have some weddings to go to soon… However I could not resist blinging it up with some neon ribbon and I think I am going to wear it with some low pink converse after spending hours and hours debating sandals and strappy shoes. I don’t do heels or even “shoes” really. Did consider DMs too..!

Anyway sewing. This was SO easy to put together. I graded the pattern to slightly spread out in the waist (I don’t have a natural waist LOL) and yet it still looks fitted. No other adjustments needed at all, no FBA, nothing. I ended stitching the band to the dress with fluro pink stitching after realising hand stitching it was gonna take forever. And it looks very cute like that. I made it out of some nasty material from the market (£1/ meter!!!) and it just works so well. Very pleased. Will make it again in some nice cotton, maybe my new bambi fabric from Dekker in Holland…

I also finished and wore my foxy Librarian Blouse from the great Craftsy class I did. I love it. I learned some great stuff in the class too, and the teacher is amazing. I left off the sleeves in the end as they made me look like a rugby player (too may pleats in the sleeve, not the fault of the pattern but the way I set it in and I couldn’t be bothered to redo it. Lazy me. Sorry for the rubbish iPhone pics, this week I am not bothering to do anything properly apart from sew and sleep!

Only two days before the troops come home. I had grand plans of also sewing a coat and a pair of shorts. I did almost finish the fabbest pair of culottes, more when they are done. They are silver denim with pink and red accents. Yay. I found this great lady on Craftsy selling really cheap patterns in your own size. This was a kids pattern but it spoke to me and she happily sent me it in my own size. She has literally hundreds of patterns in her shop. The instructions you get with it are basic but I found with some experience I could follow them easily. She is at http://www.lekala.co and also sells on Craftsy.

Here is a pic of all the patterns I thought I might make this week. I also haven’t yet painted my stairs, put my clean washing away, gone to the gym but I am off to the Tate shortly to see Caulfield and Hume whom I both adore and off to the pathology museum tomorrow so I am getting my culture in, and then drinkies Friday and dancing Saturday so I have had a full week of fun, sewing and being totally alone and selfish!

Oh and some cat pics too… he really helped (not) my sewing!

Sew Cafe

Sew Cafe

I have decided to start running drop in stitching sessions again. Once a month there will be a day where you can come and use the machines (sewing and overlocker), get some advice, get some me-time to sew, finish a project or just come and hang out and crochet! Tea, cake and me provided. £15 for the day or £5 for an hour. I am on hand for advice and teaching but of course there will be other people here so you will not get full time one to one teaching. Perfect for those of you who have not finished your garments or quilt in the classes you have done with me.

The next date is 15th September and booking is through here: http://bookwhen.com/cheekyhandmades

Sewing World magazine review

Sewing World magazine review

I had not read the Sewing World magazine before about a year ago so I cannot say how it has changed from what it was like before, but I know I like it now! And that isn’t just because they like featuring my work, honestly (although do keep an eye out for August’s issue which has my first published pattern in it, for a summery quilt!). I just like what they do, where they come from and how they present it.

So many magazine are mostly eye candy, gorgeous to behold but I read them cover to cover in ten minutes and then they just linger in a pile, too expensive and pretty to throw away but too insubstantial to read again. Sewing World is not aimed at the same market at all. Although the magazine is pretty with a clean layout and nice colourful photographs, it has more depth. There are lots of interesting features that you will want to refer back to. For example there are proper book reviews (unlike some mags where it is just an uncritical “yay you have published a book, we love it” pointless list of new books. There are in depth techniques features (this month, how to sew with chiffon, how to use your overlocker, how to grade a pattern to your own size), bits of news, a huge number of funky patterns and how-to’s and this month an interesting piece on men that sew.

The magazine’s editor is Julie Briggs who seems knowledgeable, friendly, professional and very lovely and she obviously has a keen eye for what us seamstresses want from a monthly magazine. Fiona Pullen who runs the Sewing Directory writes a regular feature, and Fiona too knows what us seamstresses like and she has whole heartedly endorsed the (new) magazine. And for what it’s worth I, and even the kitten Theo, totally endorse it too!