Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Useful Post No.1 or Where do I go shopping?!

One of the things I often get asked (other than how did I get into this sewing game) is where do I go to buy fabric and other sewing things.  Well, with my New Year's blogging resolution to try and be helpful and spread my sewing knowledge a little, I thought I would do some useful posts about just that, and today it's all about...


Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush

Photo Credit Chris Underwood
This is a fabric lovers Mecca! About 15 shops and the market, all right next to Goldhawk Road tube station on the Hammersmith and City line, Zone 2. You can buy pretty much anything here, beautiful silks, Liberty cottons, leather, luminous lycra and sequined fabrics galore and all at really good prices. The brilliant shopkeepers are all extremely helpful and welcome a bit of haggling, this was my go to location for costuming fabric needs and I've sent many happy hours trawling the shops for just the right fabric.

Berwick Street, Soho

A more upmarket version of Goldhawk Road! If you want quality, then this is the place.  Several fabric shops are spread along and around Berwick street in Soho, including several specialists in silk. One of my favorites is Borovick fabrics, a fantastic shop that also does an excellent mail order service including a free sampling service.  The shops here are definitely more expensive than Goldhawk road, but if you are looking for an amazing, couture level fabric, for a very special project this is the place to go.

WBL Fabric

Always known to me as Whaleys, (from my RADA days darling!) this is an amazing source for plain, mostly white, black or natural fabrics in a vast number of qualities and fibres for dying, printing or just when you need a plain fabric. I once ordered 60m of plain cotton sheeting that I then made into a full chorus of ancient Greek togas! I can't think of many other places you can do that as such reasonable prices. You can buy a complete sample range, which is very useful if you need to order lots, or you can order specific individual samples.

If Silk is your thing, then go to James Hare.  Specialists in both fashion and interior silk fabrics their range is stunning and the colour variety is mouth watering! If you want mail order you do need to open a trade account which means you have to be vetted by the company, however the range is also now available to order through selected John Lewis branches and some other fabric shops that you can find via their website search facility, so although a little hard to get hold of it is worth the effort! I have a copy of their full range of fashion fabric samples (which are also available to view in the John Lewis Stores) and I often just flip through them as I find the colours and textures so inspiring. Although silk will always be more expensive in my opinion it is worth every penny because it is just soooooo beautiful and I often recommend it to brides and not just in ivory...

Platinum Bridal Fabrics aka Weisters

I found this online fabric site by chance when searching for a lace motif to put on a friends dance dress.  I was quickly hooked! A really wide range of fabrics specifically aimed at the bridal market, including loads of nets and veiling and they have a really fab range of brocades for groom's waistcoats.  The colours are all available across the different fabric types, which makes life so much easier when you have a design which has for example, satin and chiffon as you can get both with a couple of clicks-hurray!  They have a range of coloured and ivory silks as well, that are well priced.  You don't have to have a trade account and can order online, but if you do sign up for a trade account you get even better prices.  My favorite part of their range has to be the gorgeous lace fabrics and motifs that they are continually expanding and are very competitively priced.


This does exactly what it says on tin! Cheapfabrics.co.uk is a really useful place if you ever need to make panto costumes, you can buy all sorts of sparkly, shiny and above all cheap fabrics here that you would not use anywhere else! Or something that only needs to survive a few shows and that will then never be used again... They also do a good range of cottons and polycottons, both plain and patterned and basic fabrics like calico, that you use a lot in costume work or for toiles. All in all, a very useful site.

So these are my favorite places that I go back to again and again for fabric. I'll carry on trying to be useful and do posts about places I shop for haberdashery (all the pretty things like ribbons and beads I get to play with!) and also for hat making things and maybe a blog about some of the stranger places I've ended up searching for costume necessities...

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