Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Where I buy fabric January 18, 2010

Filed under: Sewing,Shopping — lauravw @ 4:21 pm

I’m sure I’m not the only person who struggles to find the right fabric for the right project. Where I live, there’s not much choice in terms of where you can buy fabric: there is John Lewis, which has a wonderful selection of upholstery fabric, an OK selection of craft fabric, and a rather dismal range of fabrics that you could turn into clothes but only for people you don’t like. There is also an indoor market, which has a couple of fabric stalls – mostly selling shiny, metallic numbers for saris; interesting to browse but not the most practical choices for me. And just a few steps from my house, there is a curtain shop that sells upholstery weight fabric by the metre, but about half of it is very dated (not vintage – just dated), and the shop often smells of cigarettes because the owner is a smoker. So it’s rare that I find anything I want in there.

…which leads me to the overwhelming range of fabric shops that are available online. A couple of years ago, British shoppers could make out like bandits when ordering fabric from the US: the dollar to pound exchange rate was in our favour, and it was easy to get a bargain, even taking into account the cost of international shipping. These days the exchange rate means the bargains are for the shoppers who live on the other side of the Atlantic.

Late last year Flossie Teacakes shared a most useful list of British fabric stores, which I’ve been referring back to often. Another list that I have bookmarked is Tree Fall’s post about how to buy fabrics and what the rules are for importing from the US to the UK.

I’ve bought from a few US websites now, and not had any problems. Here’s where I’ve shopped:

And in the UK, I’ve used Get Knitted a few times, to buy Amy Butler fabric and patterns – they are very helpful too (I seem to remember having to ring them to alter my order once and they were able to help). If you’re able to get to London, Melissa’s post about fabric shops looks very useful – as does her map.

There are a few other sites I’ve not used yet, but check on quite regularly to see what’s new:

I read the True Up blog, and find that really helpful – they do a weekly post about sales and discounts at fabric shops, and any kind of discount is useful when the dollar is so strong against the pound.

Happy shopping!


3 Responses to “Where I buy fabric”

  1. Ali Says:

    It’s hard, isn’t it. I was emailing with a friend from Australia who didn’t believe me when I said it was cheaper to buy a sheet from Ikea and chop it up than to try to find an equivalent heavy cotton in a pleasing print.

    But I am lucky to have the most fab, independent fabric shop in my town. It’s a total jumble to shop in, but has great things at reasonable prices. Sadly, they aren’t geared up for on-line ordering.

  2. Liz Says:

    There’s not much choice of fabric stores here, either. But I’ve been so motivated by your recent posts about making clothes I’ve just ordered patterns and fabric online. Now, I’m not too hopeful of producing anything wearable but I’ll give it a go!

  3. knatter76 Says:

    This is a great post for a newbie sewer like me!!! I have been planning a trip to Ikea to get some starter fabrics, sans children so I can focus/go mad!

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