Islington is one of those London neighbourhoods clinging onto it’s individuality for dear life. Once full of small independent, specialist, local shops, the rising house prices and shop rents have seen these slowly disappear over the years to make room for the big corporate retailers to move in. The re-generation of Upper Street has turned it into what we now call ‘Croydon town centre’ and the once fantastic antiques market on Camden Passage has sadly almost disappeared.

But there are still a few great independent shops, particularly around the Cross Street area and cheaper rents on nearby Essex Road, mean this is fast becoming a popular location for new shops.

Ray-stitch opened earlier this month at no 99 Essex Road and is a one stop sewing shop, offering a great selection of fabrics, trims, sewing accessories and patterns. There is also a delicious cake and sandwich bar and stylish deckchairs to sit outside when the weather is nice.

The selection of fabrics is better than any I have seen anywhere else, a great cross section of modern, retro and vintage inspired prints in a wide variety of good quality bases, and very reasonably priced.

If you are handy with a sewing machine or thinking of learning, It is well worth a visit , or you can buy online. They are also planning to run sewing classes in the future.

Oh and did I mention there’s cake !

99 Essex Road London N1 2SJ