Lewisham is a funny town in South East London that has a pretty eclectic mix of shops and a proper Eastenders style market. ‘’Bunch ‘a bananas!’ is frequently and loudly shouted into your ear canal as you meander down the main street.
Over recent years it has been showing signs of the East London hipster style gentrification that has already infiltrated the likes of Hoxton and Brixton. A particularly good example of this is the Model Market www.streetfeast.com/where/model-market which takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the summer and provides a cool evening backdrop of trendy pop up street food places and bars.
One thing that is very unlikely to change in Lewisham however is, in my opinion, one of the best fabric shops one could hope to come across. Rolls & Rems www.rollsandrems.com is nestled in between a couple of discount shops in the market place and, from the outside, is nothing to write home about. Their website says that they have been trading since 1968 and it looks as though the shop facade hasn't been updated since then.
Once you step inside the shop, however, you find yourself surrounded by shelves and shelves of literally any fabric in any colour/pattern you could want, as well as ribbons, buttons, and equipment for any sewing discipline you could possibly imagine. For those who like to sew it is a treasure trove that can swallow you up for hours at a time. And what’s even more satisfying is the fact that it’s so reasonably priced.
Besides the extensive stock and modest prices at Rolls & Rems, one of the nicest things about it is the sheer number of people that are in there at any time of day, any day of the week. I always thought that, with the inexpensive clothes and soft furnishings available on the high street now, sewing at home was dying out. How wrong I was.
I love watching the clientele in Rolls & Rems as they pick out the fabric that will go on to be the basis of their sewing project, chat with the friendly and knowledgeable staff in the shop about which fabric would work best for the task at hand and, for the regulars, catch up on gossip. It’s a hive of activity that feels somewhat like a community of like minded crafty people.
How lucky am I to find such a place on my doorstep. I sincerely hope that this little gem of a shop survives the regeneration that is slowly spreading through Lewisham. Judging by the steady stream of loyal customers this shouldn’t be a problem.