This weekend my parents, Hayden and I went up to Birmingham on a fabric hunting adventure. Our usual haunt is Goldhawk Road, but due to the planned redevelopment of the Shepherds Bush Market area, my mum and I are preparing to make alternative arrangements for when our stashes feel a bit low, or if we feel like treating ourselves. As usual when we go fabric slutting (see previous post) I had no real plan for what I hoped to find when I got there, yet I still came away with bags bulging with new treasure! I had heard several good things from my mum and other people online, but I was not prepared for just how much choice there was going to be!
The Rag Market is an indoor market just outside of the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham city centre, and is packed with pretty much everything you can thing of, ranging from the absurd (holographic booty shorts) to the entirely practical (dog food). There has been a market on the site in varying forms for almost 1000 years, and it is clear why it has survived and thrived for so long. There are hundreds of stalls selling a diverse range of product and is clearly well-utilised by both locals and city visitors. Birmingham is a vibrant multi-cultural metropolis so it is easy to see why. On a sunny Saturday I was really surprised by the buzz – my local market is small, dark and dingy, with just one fabric stall and one haberdashery stall. My town market is clearly lacking a lot in comparison!
I was very impressed by the range available for both haberdashery and fabric in the market, as well as how reasonable the prices were. I deliberately only took out £20 in cash to avoid overspending and I still managed to leave the market with change in my purse! Hayden and my dad were not so keen on being dragged from stall to stall, so thank you both for being patient with me and mum while we browsed, but even they agreed that it is a great place for shopping for fabric as well as fresh food – both of the other sections of the market indoor and outdoors were packed with a wide variety of fresh produce, some of which we had no idea how to use (what exactly do you do with an individual aloe vera leaf?!)
Directly opposite the market is The Fancy Silk Store, the only fabric shop we found in the area that was not in the market. They too have an impressive range of fabrics, although we felt their pricing was a little off for some things. There were several things we knew we could find in London fabric stores for less than half the price, but other things were very reasonable. However Birmingham stitchers are incredibly lucky to have such a great availability of fabric outlets in such a small space and I am very jealous. Despite the issue with pricing, their range is seriously good and with 3 floors stuffed with goodies I am sure you won’t leave empty handed – we didn’t!
For those who haven’t been to Birmingham for the markets yet, I seriously recommend making the effort to go because it really is worth it. I’m sure there are plenty more fabric shops dotted around the city that we didn’t make it to yesterday, so it’s well worth making a day of it. Mum and I are already planning on another trip in the near future.
I’ll shortly be writing a separate post about our purchases so come back soon to see our new treasures!