A trip to Birmingham

Rag market1

Birmingham may not seem like an obvious day out for a dressmaker but actually there is one very good reason for going and that’s the ‘Rag Markets’- world famous if the strap line on the side of the building is to be believed.

I have to confess that I’d never heard of it before various of the Instagram sewers that I follow mentioned it. Some of them live in Birmingham, or at least in the area, and I’d seen them singing its praises. I was intrigued but did nothing about it.

Now some of you know, and others are about to find out, that I’m married to a man who loves a train ride, as well as steam trains, model railways etc etc and he’d found that London Midland trains were doing some really cheap deals on their services and “did I fancy a day out in Birmingham?” Initially I wasn’t falling over myself to say yes but then I remembered the Rag Market so I hatched a little scheme…Yes darling, I’d love to! having first checked the market was on on the day we’d earmarked.

The main reason we were going to Birmingham at all is because of the cheap train fares so that meant more money left over to spend on fabric,whoop whoop! The down side of super-cheap fares is you have to catch slower trains at less convenient times but hey-ho.

We arrived at midday and found our way to the Bull Ring from New Street station which is right in the centre of the city (underground) The Bull Ring was notorious for it’s hideousness but it has been completely redeveloped over the last few years and is now an impressive shopping centre with a huge selection of shops including a very futuristic Selfridges store.

the Selfridges store

The Rag Market is down the hill from here, in a purpose-built building as well as outside stalls.

Outside the Birmingham Rag market

Well of course I was in heaven-fabric heaven. The market itself actually has a huge selection of stalls of all types but fabric stalls predominate. I plunged right in and at prices often of £1 or £2 per metre for many of the fabrics it was hard to resist.

Fabric stalls
a small selection of the fabric stalls…

Suffice to say I made a number of purchases….errr, 8 purchases to be precise, including 2 georgettes, a Liberty-print cotton twill, a chiffon, a couple of jerseys, a tartan and a herringbone twill!!IMG_3173

There are haberdashery stalls as well as furnishing fabrics in the Rag Market and all kinds of dress fabrics. I also found a stall in the outside area which sold Liberty Tana lawns but I resisted! I wasn’t sure we could carry any more…to be honest that was the only reason really for not buying anything else (other than a shopping trolley maybe!) our arms weren’t going to be strong enough.

We spent the rest of the day wandering and exploring, Birmingham is still undergoing  a lot of redevelopment and changes which will be impressive when it’s all complete but that still a little way off yet. The Jewellery Quarter would be worth a visit if you’re looking for diamonds too.

The pay-off for me was to have to visit a model shop which Mr Y ‘just happened to remember was there’ so we were even!

Before we headed home again we had supper in Bill’s-including my beverage of choice, Aperol Spritz-and then caught the rather slow train home. It was an excellent, if tiring, day out and I’d certainly consider doing it again although of course there are plenty of fabric-buying opportunities much nearer to home.

As usual, I’m not sponsored in any way but the links you might find useful are here.




By the way, I’ve already made a dress using the checked jersey, it’s a Wisewood by MIY collection and I’m pretty pleased with it! You can read my review of it at http://www.thefoldline.com

Wisewood dress by Wendy Ward


Happy sewing

Sue xx



4 thoughts on “A trip to Birmingham

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