Oh joy! Antique trimmings at Sunbury Antiques market at Kempton racecourse. Nothing makes our little creative hearts beat faster than a pile of vintage fabrics and trimmings to rummage through, particularly if they are a) cheap and b) have a story behind them.
We've talked about the (almost secret) Sunbury Antiques market before, but this was my first visit. I was there with TWR reader and regular visitor Dinah, who had a ruthless, methodical system for shopping the stalls so we didn't miss anything and got to the best dealers first (we were there at 6.30am.....and astonishingly even at this early hour the car park was FULL). She was an excellent guide and offered the wise tip of only buying something if you really, really love it. This stops you spending all your money before you've even left the entrance area (easy to do, believe me).
We browsed for nearly four hours (there are around 700 hundred stalls) stopping only for a scrummy bacon and egg toastie and reviving cup of tea (might be advisable to avoid the 'instant' cappuccino coffee that Dinah's sister Zoe bravely sipped at). The assortment of stuff on offer is extrordinary, I reckon this is the place all furniture, bric-a-brac and vintage clothing comes to at least once in its life. It's like a giant recycling project and if that helps you feel better about buying stuff (another excuse for the list 'it's ok, I'm recycling') then so be it.
My favourite stall was Andrew Hirst's wonderful collection of vintage habedashery items, from dusty rolls of grosgrain ribbon and bolts of duchess satin in gloriously faded colours to boxes full of old buttons, it was a joy to shop. I ended up buying cards full of silver ribbon, thread and ric-rac that Andrew had acquired from a recently closed embroidery factory in France that used to trim military and ecclesiastical uniforms (hence all the blingy metallics). He told the story of how he had bought almost all the stock as there was little chance of ever seeing this quality of ribbon and thread again -there is real gold and silver in the trims. Being a total sucker for any story told in a good way, I obviously HAD to buy, in BULK. The silver cotton reels were one pound each, the ric rac and silver ribbon worked out about 50 pence a metre.
He had a lot of gold trim too, which would look particularly impressive at Christmas time wrapped around presents (if you could bear to part with it, I don't think I'm going to be able to). Andrew is also at Portobello Market in London at stall 159 for those who can't make it to Sunbury.
Sunbury is such an adventure we would really advise readers nearby to go, particularly if you like markets and junky antiques. There's so much on offer you can't fail to find something you want to buy. The next market is Tuesday 8th June, for future dates check the Sunbury Park website.