This week I wrote a guest post for the lovely ladies at Tatty Devine! It’s all about getting started with sewing, and you can read it here. (While you’re there, you should also see this awesome post about the clothes Tatty staff have made).
Watching the Great British Sewing Bee has started me thinking. Specifically, about what the most challenging part of dressmaking is.
My conclusion? I think it’s matching the right pattern to the right fabric. Everything else is a skill you can learn, but this is more like a dark art.
I still struggle with it, but it’s even harder when you’re just starting out and have no idea how to tell good fabric from bad, and where to buy it.
So I’ve been having a think about where I usually buy fabric and haberdashery, and this is what I came up with. I’d love to know where you get yours!
Where I buy Haberdashery
My first port of call for zips, thread, and elastic is always Ultimate Craft. It’s 5 minutes from my house and next to a newsagent that sells Burda magazines, what’s not to like?
Their haberdashery selection is immense, but I steer clear of the fabric after some bad experiences, although the jersey ribbing is okay (I still haven’t found out what the hell American D-Kripp is).
If Ultimate Craft don’t have it, or I can’t get there in time, I order online from Jaycotts. They have everything and the delivery is super-fast.
Where I Buy Fabric
I am terrible shopper. I’m a cheapskate and bad at making buying decisions (seriously never go shopping with me, it’s horrible). This applies to fabric too. So I mainly stock up when I spy a bargain on the horizon, like the Peter Jensen Sample sale or the semi-mythical Tottenham knit warehouse.
Otherwise, I would head to Dalston Mill Fabrics. Again, the ‘near my house’ factor is key, but they do have a big selection of fabrics, and a haberdashery cave at the back which has LOADS of buttons. Seriously, this is an A+++ button destination.
The people who run the shop are a little eccentric, and lots of the bolts are stored up on high shelves – they literally pull the fabric down on top of you with a massive stick. So it’s an interesting shopping experience. You don’t get that online.
It’s a vintage clothes shop that just happens to sell lots of textiles. This photo is misleading – these shelves are normally full to bursting with amazing fabric. Not just little scraps either, I’ve bought 3 metres there before in one piece. And it’s cheap – about £5-£20 for each length. There’s also an old cabinet chock-full of vintage ribbons, lace and trims. It’s tiny though, so don’t all head there at once.
Online fabric shopping destinations
You may think I’m crazy for saying this, but Fabricland has become one of my favourite online fabric websites. Yes, it’s a hell-hole of animated gifs, but it’s updated all the time, and they have SO MUCH STUFF.
I’ve regularly found the exact same fabric cheaper here than in other online and off-line shops. You just need patience and a strong stomach. Ordering is done over the phone but they’re very helpful.
Goldhawk Road is objectively the best place to buy fabric in London, but I find it overwhelming. There’s too much choice! I hardly bought anything at the recent sewing meet-up for this reason. It’s also really far from Hackney, so I only make it out there about once a year.
Fabrics Galore I believe this is where a lot of the Great British Sewing Bee fabric came from. It’s a lovely shop, but again a huge pain to get to from Hackney so it’s a once a year sort of thing.
Have I missed anywhere out? Where do you buy fabric?