Birmingham Rag Market, the sequel

Catherine, Marie and I had the most wonderful Saturday patrolling the fabric & notions stores at Birmingham Rag Market.  It was a pleasure to be in the company of likeminded sewing enthusiasts, particularly through Me Made May  – it somehow seemed appropriate.  I had first become aware of Catherine through a Me Made month as she has an extensive me made wardrobe of beautiful clothes, & her maxi skirts in garden photos always stood out.  When I discovered her blog, the Makings of an Urban Rustic, I became more aware of the scale of her creativity, crocheting & knitting as well as sewing.  And sewing for herself, wonderful 70s styles, plus dresses for her very lucky student daughter.  Marie, of a Sewing Odyssey, I have also been a keen follower of for a while now also, her circle skirts & vintage collars sticking most keenly in my memory, & such a delicious Mad Men dress in sky blue that she wore to Brum ….But to find that this lady has only been sewing a relatively short time stunned me, she’s clearly a natural & is swooping up knitted items too now.  It was so lovely to find out more about fellow sewing bloggers, to hear their voices, understand a bit more about them & hear them laugh!  It was a shame that Debbie of Minnado’s House, the originator of the suggested meet up, was caught up at home with poorly children.

Marie sitting with me in her blue Mad Men dress, Catherine, opposite, in her me made crocheted cardi, lovely long skirt & broderie blouse.

This is my second trip to the legendary Rag Market, first written up here & to tell you the truth I was wondering at my chances of finding it again without Debbie.  However, luckily Catherine had some idea of where to go, & taking a slightly different route this time it seemed even closer & avoided taking in so much of the thronging Bullring.

Check out Catherine‘s and Marie’s posts for their pictures & descriptions.  Here are a couple of pictures from the Badger Cam.

There are outside covered stalls where the fabric is a bit cheaper, then inside are plenty more at slightly higher prices (but not breaking the bank, believe me!) Of particular memory from last time was “the jersey” stall, where there are some fabulous quality jerseys & lycras at £very reasonable indeed.  This stall was hosted by the self proclaimed most charming stall holder there.  He had us flipping between blushes, giggles & feelings of being aghast.

Cafe Soya was our watering & feeding hole, somewhere we had been before.  Great Vietnamese food at good prices, particularly if you are a veggie.   I had veggie wonton soup.  We all took pics of our meals so elegant were they …

We had the most wonderful pattern/ notions/ knitting swap & just for a taster of my good fortune take a lookee here (also some dark green yarn which I forgot to gather for the shot)

Thank you for these fab & useful bits & bobs.  I am already hyperventilating every time I look at those patterns.  I’d love to have a posh long dress do & make the sleeveless version of the Style pattern.  And as for the Mad Men dresses …. my must makes are the slimline dress with tie neck as well as the A line dress with revere collar …here they are a bit closer.

So onto the buys ….. I already mentioned it was a shop of epic proportions on my behalf, not so much on the purse, but on the biceps.  The weight of fabric that I had to lug around!  I should have put it on the scales, but didn’t.

Some of it, the rest was on the washing line.

Approximate metreage though is 34m, with at least 16m of that destined for gifts & therefore 10  lengths for “the stash”, some of it with definite plans.

Some more.  Yes it is still in piles.  Where on earth can I put it all?!?!  I just want to make it all up – like now.

Please note that I am still feeling guilty, but less so seeing that half was bought for others (aaah!)   I don’t think anyone has the stomach or endurance to last through every single bit of fabric that I bought, so I will show highlights of the “my stash” purchases.

It’s an off-white stripe.  And it was something like a miraculous £1 per metre????That really was the deal of the day.  I’ll make the full skirted version, making the collar in contrast if I can find a good match.

My collection of polyester chiffons….couldn’t resist them.  Blouses, 30s style dresses….not sure yet, but the red looks awesome with the red trousers I am making.

Could not resist this peacock print.  It was in the more expensive Fancy Silk store (but still very reasonable), a proper shop to the side of the Market.  It comes in different colourways, but this was my fave & it’ll become a pleated skirt.  Simple.


And another Fancy Silk Store purchase, I could not resist this.  In the midst of a grey un-summery day, this print foretold balmy summer days to come.  Although I have never ventured on anything approaching “maxi”, this could be the one.  A skirt for covering up pale legs or protecting from a cooling summer evening.  I was a bit of a berk though & didn’t get enough cut the first time – all confudwedded with the pattern running across the width I didn’t initially buy enough to circumnavigate my child bearing hips!  I am thinking about how to manage seams as I type…I have a 1m piece plus a 0.5m piece….

So that’s it.  Next post planned is the continuation of the trouser adventure, aka pants time.  In the meantime we are “in summer”, what’s more with a visitation from my youngest who I haven’t seen since he went back to Uni 5 months ago!  There will be not much time for sewing, but we are stoking up the pizza oven, organising the BBQ …it’ll be an outdoor weekend with some knitting perhaps.

Enjoy it all everyone!

29 thoughts on “Birmingham Rag Market, the sequel

  1. Magpie Mimi

    I’m so annoyed I couldn’t make it! I want that peacock fabric! Fancy going up again so you can show me the shop??? hehe! Lovely purchases and patterns, can’t wait to see what you make with all that lovely chiffon.

  2. Marie

    What a fabulous post and you said the sweetest things about my, which really touched me! Thank you for an amazing day Winnie, I really hope we meet up again! I can believe that you left with 34m of fabric because your bags were so darned heavy…but wow!!! That’s a lot of fabric! I cannot wait to see what you make!!!

  3. Joy

    Sounds like a wonderful trip! The patterns look very exciting – and, of course, so does the fabric! One time I bought 32 yards at once – but my family helped me carry it the small distance to the car!

  4. Christine Laennec

    That looks like so much fun! Thanks for the virtual excursion. Also, your Me-Made outfits and photos have been hugely enjoyable. I think I didn’t have time to actually say so in a comment. Your blog always makes me feel sunny and positive! Enjoy all that sewing.

  5. Dibs

    Well the extra yardage is for a good cause, so no need to feel guilty. I must visit this rag market. I am also going through a chiffon phase right now, and went crazy when I went to Walthamstow market earlier this month. That vintage mccalls pattern looks positvely yummy.

  6. Terri

    The border print is so pretty! I would be tempted to make a gathered skirt, putting the 1m at the front and the .5m at the back, making a centre back seam for symmetry. Once the skirt is gathered, the ‘side’ seams will be towards the back, and you could maybe match them to princess seams on the back bodice.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks for your thoughts Terri, I am also thinking about how best to position the seams & obviously loading things to the back hide things from view! I was also thinking of button front, but it all gets complicated by having 1/3 & 2/3 proportioned fabric…..

  7. snippa

    What an enviable haul of fabric. I wish Birmingham was nearer to me!
    I love that peacock feather print. I’ve been admiring it (or something very similar) on

  8. aliza patell ratnayaka

    thanks for sharing pictures of the fabric trip! fabric shopping is my favorite thing to do. My local fabric ‘haunt’ is the Lewisham high street which has some fabulous finds. I go armed with a wheelie trolley, otherwise my shoulder aches for a week after! Cant wait to see the finished peacock print dress.

  9. Kirsty

    Wow what a haul, I love the border and peacock fabrics, they are just beautiful. I can’t wait to see you make up that retro butterick, I have that pattern but not the cahoonas to try and make it up. :-)) xx

  10. Catherine

    I love the idea of a “Badger Cam”!!
    As Marie says so sweet… and it was obvious all along that you had the most meterage.
    Thank you again…You just don’t know how much fun I had.xx

  11. Catherine

    I love the idea of ” Badger Cam”
    As Marie says so sweet…but it was obvious all along who had the most metreage!
    Thank you again but I had just had the most fun day possible!

  12. Ginger

    What great fabric! I love the variety you chose– stripes, polka dots, florals, peacock! And that retro Butterick dress will be so, so cute on you!

  13. Pinqueen

    I wish I could have come with you! I really want to go to The rag market after a visit to Birmingham earlier this year, sadly on business so no shopping allowed! Having seen your lovely purchases I think I will take my Hoppa (trolley) with me, there’s so much to choose! Really looking forward to seeing your creations and l o v e the boarder print fabric.

  14. Debbie

    Ah, I am still sulking that I couldn’t come! Looks so much fun. I love the peacock fabric. I am going to have to go to Silks. x

  15. Clare S

    Thank you for the Birmingham tips! I keep hearing that it’s great for fabric and it’s apparently quite easy to get to on the train from Nottingham, but I’ve not been as (a) I don’t want to go alone and (b) I’m not sure where exactly I’m aiming for as I don’t know Birmingham at all. So, thanks for helping me out with some ideas of specific places to aim for – Cafe Soya looks yummy, too!

    The fabrics you got look drool-worthy – can’t wait to see what you do with them, and I’m curious to see your make of the Retro Butterick pattern as I just bought that, too!

  16. Tracy

    Fab stuff, I love the rag Market -prices are amazing, and things like zips, buttons, trims etc etc yumyumyum and so cheap! But if you go again, ignore the Fancy Silk store, too expensive…go to Barry’s Fabrics, which is five minutes away and a real treasure trove. Would love to join you if you go again!!


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