My London Fabric Trawl
Having worked in London for most of my career you would imagine I would know the best places to shop for fabrics. It occurred to me that most of my fabric stash is made up of sample fabrics bought from companies I had previously worked for and I have rarely shopped for fabrics. At Jaeger we regularly held fabric sales for members of staff where, for about £1 per metre, I could pick up many beautiful fabrics, I still have many pieces just waiting to be made into something special!
You may have noticed that so far my styles have been made in various shades of blue. This was an intentional decision to help coordinate and easily style the clothes but I am now feeling the need to add some fresh colours to the range and I decided a trip to London was needed. Before my trip I created a mood board of small images I had collected which had the feel I am trying to create, I then printed to a sheet of paper and laminated it. I carried this around with me, when I spotted a fabric, I could easily place my board onto it and know instantly if it was worth considering. This is a handy tip if you want to make sure your new fabrics are going to work for you, maybe make a board with photos of clothes you would like your new fabrics to coordinate with or swatches of fabrics you already have.
I put a shout out for fabric shopping recommendations on The Foldline Facebook Group, this is a great group to join if you would like to be part of a friendly and supportive sewing community. I had many helpful responses including one from someone who suggested a handy book called London Stitch and Knit by Leigh Metcalf. I am so glad I sent off for a copy, it was a really helpful guide broken down by areas.
I stayed in Chiswick which was very near to The Goldhawk Road, in fact I walked from the hotel! I had no idea there were so many fabric shops in this one area but if I am honest most of the fabrics were not to my taste. I did find some heavier weight cottons in a variety of colours which will be perfect for making a Katy pinafore dress or some Lauren dungarees and also a good range of soft linens in many colours. If you are into Liberty Prints you will find a large selection in one of the shops here.
The next day I caught the tube to Islington to visit Ray Stitch. I love this shop, it is spread over two floors with lots of sections including a vast haberdashery, many sewing patterns, a workshop area and of course lots of beautiful fabrics. I really love their bamboo "silks" they are a great alternative to real silk. The staff were also really friendly and helpful and I felt comfortable having a browse around.
I then hopped on the bus and headed for MacCulloch & Wallis in Soho. When I first started working, as a junior pattern cutter, I was often sent to their store in Derring St and I was concerned the new store in Poland Street may not be as good. It was actually even better! It still has the charm of the old haberdashery store but with far more space and character. I really like the way the fabric swatches are hung on rails to make browsing easy and I can't imagine there is anything sewing related they do not stock!
Next on my list was Fabrics Galore in Clapham. From the outside the shop is not very inspiring but I get the feeling most of their business is done online. I loved this shop and found many of the fabrics I had been looking for at reasonable prices. I bought some large ginghams, perfect for a Molly skirt or an Amy top and some beautiful double gauze to make another pair of Georgie trousers. I will definitely be back to this shop!
Do you have a favourite fabric shop or do you prefer to buy your fabrics online?