One-of-a-kind Islington fabric emporium and fast-growing sewing school, Ray Stitch, expands into new premises. Islington success story Ray Stitch, fabric shop and fast-growing sewing school, has doubled its space with a move across the road from 99 to 66 Essex Road. Set up by local make-your-own enthusiast Rachel Hart, Ray Stitch first opened its doors in 2001. The shop was the former architectural model maker’s first venture into retail and quickly garnered a loyal customer base with its wide range of patterns and fabrics, as well as the ever-expanding curriculum of its sewing school.
Since then, Ray Stitch has grown into the must-visit fabric and sewing centre of North London. The growth of the sewing school, in particular, meant the shop needed to look for bigger premises at the end of last year. Luckily a double sized unit across the road became available at just the right time. The lease for the new shop was signed in November last year and work began on a major building project to turn the tired retail space into a vibrant hub for the expanding creative community. The former travel agents at 66 Essex Road was gutted – walls knocked through, windows opened up and a double-height space created in the basement below. The huge job was completed in just 10 weeks. The lower level sewing school now has lots of space and natural light – just what every sewing enthusiast and fabric lover needs.
The doubling of size has allowed the Ray Stitch team to create a more relaxed environment – the fabric range has increased and there is more space to peruse. The variety of haberdashery items such as trims, notions, zips, buttons, ribbons, clasps etc stocked has also expanded. There’s a whole rack of garments made up from patterns and fabrics stocked so customers can see and feel how these look. There’s also a new ‘reading’ room full of patterns, books and magazines and a stylish sofa where customers can sit, linger and get inspiration as they plan their next project. The wide range of class types in the sewing school appeals to all abilities, whether it’s the very first foray into sewing, a return to it after years away, or a polishing of skills in more advanced dressmaking and pattern cutting. Many people start right at the beginning, complete all the courses and when they’ve done everything, they keep coming along to the weekly freestyle sessions. Firm friendships are made around the sewing table! Rachel Hart, the owner of Ray Stitch said, “I can’t believe we’ve built and opened a beautiful new shop in such a short period of time! My team has been amazing. We’ve also had incredible support from the Islington community. We’re a local business, supporting a vibrant creative community. I’m delighted to be able to welcome existing and new sewing enthusiasts to our gorgeous, enlarged space.”
The new Ray Stitch will be holding an official press launch on Friday 7 April at 6pm. Please contact Rachel at:firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend, or for any more information about the shop.