Rachel Hart from Ray Stitch

Rachel Hart spent 15 happy years working in London as an architectural model maker. Well mostly happy, after she had her 3 lovely girls it was difficult going back into a macho workshop environment with car magazines for company on her tea break and  radio 1 blaring in the background. Eventually the noise and dust became too much and Rachel decided it was time for a change.

She’s always been a “sewer/ maker type”, turning jumble sale gear into fashionable wear, an outlet she used to express herself and acquire lovely new things. Much like baking Britain is having something of a sewing revival but these days its not so easy to find butterfly prints, unusual buttons, velvet ribbon and good quality tools to make your dream outfit all in one place. Frustrated by the lack of inspiring shops selling the kind of things she wanted to buy Rachel decided there was only one thing for it, to start a high street haberdashery all of her own.

She set up Ray Stitch online in 2008 from the timber home she built with her architect husband in Hackney and since 2011, with signature printed deck chairs outside it’s been a prominent fixture on Essex Road. 

This high street haven of haberdashery happiness sells organic cotton fabrics, liberty prints, stylish patterns and modern crafting books alongside gluten free lemon and polenta cake . Rachel hopes whatever you purchase might inspire you to mix, adapt and customise with what you already own. 

On the first floor you will find wool and knitting needles, pretty silk ribbon, fluorescent pom pom trim and thread in every colour under the sun. 

In the early days you could also get a coffee with a delicious slice of lemon and polenta cake made by Sam, Rachel's former right hand man. Over time Rachel realised she needed every centimeter of space for all things haberdashery and so Sam now works with at Jonathan Norris who specialise in excellent quality West Country and Scottish fish and shellfish. Check out his blog Sam Cooks Food.


Downstairs in Ray Stitch is where Rachel really gets creative. You can book yourself into various sewing classes and creative workshops led by the likes of  theatre designer and couturier Alice Prier, of Madam Tra La La. There are  5 - 8 classes every week, something happening nearly every day 

Even if you don't know the right end of a knitting needle from another, Ray Stitch is worth a visit because the explosion of colour texture and pattern lends it self to creative possibility and inspiration.

P.S. We've started with ISLINGTON

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