Saturday, 12 May 2012

Fabric Shopping in London

One of the most common questions I'm asked is where to go fabric shopping in London. I buy much of my fabric online, but I do so like a pootle around the shops too. Here are my suggestions of some places to go – not at all a comprehensive list of fabric shops in London, but the places I most often visit myself. Enjoy!



Berwick Street
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus / Tottenham Court Road / Piccadilly Circus
Map link
You’ll find a string of fabric shops along this bustling street in Soho, including The Cloth House (two shops, in fact), Silk Society, Misan Textiles (again, two of them), Biddle Sawyer Silks, Berwick Street Cloth Shop and Borovick. Prices can be jaw-droppingly high and the friendliness of staff varies, but if you are in town they’re worth a browse even if you don’t buy anything as the stock is really beautiful. Don’t miss Kleins on Noel Street just around the corner for an amazing selection of trimmings.



Liberty
Great Marlborough Street W1B 5AH
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus
Map link
The world famous fabric prints need no introduction, but Liberty also has a delightful selection of gorgeous notions, buttons and trims in its haberdashery department. It's also a beautiful building in itself, a shopping (or browsing) experience like no other. Again, extremely expensive, but worth a visit if you fancy a treat or are just happy to appreciate fine things from afar! Not far from Berwick Street so you can visit both in one trip.

MacCulloch and Wallis
25-26 Dering Street W1S 1AT
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus
Map link
To be honest I’m a little intimidated by this place and have only been in once, when I heard the shop assistant being extremely rude to a customer. But I thought I'd mention it as I know it does have its devotees, plus it's not far from Liberty if you're going there anyway. Three (small) floors of unusual fabrics, trimmings and supplies, established in 1902.

John Lewis
300 Oxford Street W1A 1EX
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus
Map link
The haberdashery section of this departments store isn’t the most inspiring place to visit, so I wouldn’t recommend it to international readers over here on holiday, but as a Londoner who works nearby I often pop in here to pick up thread, needles or the odd length of fabric which catches my eye.


Walthamstow
Nearest tube: Walthamstow Central
Map link
Right at the northern end of the Victoria tube line, so this one is for Londoners and hardcore fabric shopping tourists/pilgrims only! Walthamstow really is a wonderland for stitchers, with a plethora of shops and market stalls along the high street piled high with bargains and bursting with gems. Expect to pay £1 or £2 per metre for most things, unless it's supposedly "end-of-the-roll Hobbs wool" in which case prices may go up to a (very modest) £5.

[photo courtesy of Karen]

Goldhawk Road
Nearest tube: Goldhawk Road / Shepherds Bush
Map link
Again, a bit of a mission out of central London, this time towards the west, but if you are in London to buy fabric, Goldhawk Road is a great place to visit. There is a string of small fabric shops along the stretch of road between Goldhawk Road tube station and Shepherd's Bush Green. As part of the local council's redevelopment plans for the nearby market, these units are soon due to be torn down. As far as I understand the situation, the shops have been offered to be rehoused, but the fear is that they won't be able to afford the new rent rates (more here). Visit while you still can.


Brixton
Nearest tube: Brixton
Map link
And finally I couldn't not mention my home turf! I wouldn’t go out of your way to go fabric shopping in Brixton, but if you live nearby I would recommend Simply Fabrics, two shops on Atlantic Road, for a fairly good selection at super low prices. There's also Atlantic Silks on Electric Avenue, which doesn’t have the best selection of apparel fabrics but is a good place to get cheap zippers and other bits. There are also a couple of fabric stalls in Market Row where I’ve been known to find some gems, and if you’re after sewing tools or thread, there's Morleys department store opposite the tube station. If you’re visiting Brixton, do make time for lunch or coffee at one of the lovely eateries in pop-up-turned-permanent Brixton Village (my favourites are Franco Manca and Honest Burger).

I hope this was helpful. If you're a Londoner yourself, feel free to chip in with your own favourite fabric shopping destinations. Happy fabric shopping!

87 comments:

  1. Ahh this post makes me so jealous of you being in London! These are all the places where I spent most of my time when I lived there. There is something so magical & comforting about being amongst rolls of fabric.
    There are no really good fabric shops in Devon! I'll have to come up to London & visit all these again soon I think.

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    1. if you're in Devon try D&S Sewing machines next to Newton Abbot Train station. A Great selection of fabric and the most amazing customer service

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  2. fabulous - I was always so jealous reading blog posts about London meet-ups in far-away Australia (and my town has zero good fabric shops and none of my friends sew so it was even more painful). However I am winging my way over to London next April for a three to four week break. Can't wait!!

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  3. I will be living in London in a few months time and am crazy excited about having all those fabric shops a short tube ride away. I went to Goldhawk Road just last week to collect some unusual textiles for my final major project and was overwhelmed by the choice/price/friendly owners. It's a real shame they will have to move, but maybe it will take them closer to the centre.

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  4. Can I recommend a couple more budget options outside of Walthamstow?
    There's Bhopal fabrics on Brick Lane, which has to be seen to be believed... and I recently discovered Rolls & Rems on Lewisham High Street which was very good, they had a great selection of fabrics though they didn't have many zips.

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    1. Sounds good. I've never been to either as they're a bit out of the way for me but I'm sure lots of readers will really appreciate the tips - thank you!

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    2. I have stopped in at the Brick Lane fabric shops (including Bhopal) several times and unfortunately the fabrics are largely cheap and tacky. You might find a gem but you'll have to look hard.

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    3. I have been to rolls and rems too its really good with a wide selection for super reasonable prives, and quite a few trims / knitting things there too.

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  5. I'm not a Londoner but was there recently. Perhaps it's better known by those internationally (since they do great shipping o/s) but my Liberty pilgrimage was to Shaukat http://www.shaukat.co.uk/ on Old Brompton Road. They have more Liberty Fabric than the Liberty of London store (by a LOT, I went to both) and good prices. Also lots of other fabric in that vein that's not Liberty. It's super close to other tourist destinations (Hyde Park and Kensington High Street). I LOVED it there.

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    1. the Shaukat website looks very good!

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    2. Oh my god I love Shaukat. I had to stop myself spending so much on liberty fabric last time I visited!! So much cheaper than the Liberty official shop! You HAVE to go Tilly.

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    3. OMG! That place looks amazing!! Definitely have to go. I can't stop thinking about one particular Liberty print that I want to make into a summer blouse. Must get it from there! Perhaps a group pilgrimage is in order?

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    4. Pati from London14 May 2012 13:45

      This place definitely looks great!! x Pati

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    5. oooh heading to London next month for the first time & that is walking distance from our apartment! Awesome!

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    6. OH dear that Shaukat & Co. looks very good...

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  6. Great post, really helpful, thanks! I used to live just outside London, but am now in Yorkshire, for anyone 'oop north'.. I recommend 'The Shuttle' in Shipley, West Yorkshire and 'Fletcher's Fabrics' in York.
    In one of your above photos, there is a picture of (I think?) Eugenia of 'theworldofeugenia.blogspot.co.uk'..who you met up with for shopping last year...she has not posted since November last year, I'm a bit worried how she is ..to stop posting so suddenly..are you still in touch with her/know what has happened to her?

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    1. You're right, Fletchers is really good. Leeds market has lots of stalls with cheap fabric and Sam Taylors is good too. So is the Skep in New Pudsey.

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    2. I don't know about Eugenia unfortunately. More often than not bloggers go quiet if they suddenly have enough of blogging or something changes in their life so they don't have time, so I wouldn't worry. But that's sweet of you to be concerned - you could drop her an email or a comment?

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    3. Try fabworks in dewsbury as well. It's a fabulous place and since moving from yorkshire I've really missed it!

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  7. There's also Favrics Galore on Laender Hill, clapham

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    1. Ooh I've never been there, keep meaning to go. Another one for the list!

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    2. I also made a google map a couple of years ago (link below). Its public for everyone to use ( and I think to add to), and lists a number of sewing shops in London, please share it will the sewing community as I would love to see if grow & be of help to people.

      https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=209348070603497047715.00047f4675dd64ecc0792&msa=0

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    3. fantastic, going Friday and will def. bring this link.
      Many thanks!

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  8. I live in Luxembourg with very little access to modern, affordable fabric. Luckily I do get to the UK from time to time and recently managed to 'research' 4 fabric shops in Brighton, not bad considering I only had 2 hours :) I think all 4 appear on Fehr Trade's Brighton guide. However, I am fortunate enough to have a whole day to myself in Goldhawk Road very soon and just cannot wait, I am being very sensible and drawing up a list of what I 'need' - just incase I get caught in the headlights and go crazy.
    Fehr Trade mentions a few shops in her guide, but do you have any particular faves?

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    1. Favourites in Brighton or Goldhawk Road? I can't remember the names of any of them, to be honest. On Goldhawk Road they're all so close together that it's easy to hop from one to the other really quickly. Have fun!

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  9. Rolls and Rems in Lewisham is great too :-)

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  10. Can I add the Craft Superstore on Balham High Road. http://www.craftysewer.com/
    The London Sewing Machine Museum is also next door.

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    1. Oh I keep meaning to go there - is it worth a trip?

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    2. Yes, I think so. They have a good range of fabrics. The haberdashery is good. You can browse & wander quite freely. They own the museum next door which is open the first Saturday of
      each month & is free. It's interesting to see all the machine throughout history.

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  11. I love your fabric stores posts, they make me want to curl up and die LOL Almost none of them here in Ireland. i miss London!

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    1. Aww... I don't actually go that often, I mainly get stuff online if it makes you feel any better!

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  12. I really want to give my hub and I a trip to London really soon. He doesn't know this but I want to come just for the fabric shopping on the street. Tee hee! Luckily, you're one of my must-reads so I'll always know where to go when we get there (hopefully, next year in the spring!)

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  13. I LOVE Rolls and Rems in Holloway Eighty percent of my stash is from their remnant bin. And I'm not talking half meter pieces of remnants. Oh no. I've bought six meters of jersey for just eight pounds. I love that place.

    My second favorite place has to be Fabrics Galore in Battersea. They have an amazing amount of fabrics at affordable prices.

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    1. As a fellow Sarf Londoner, I'd definitely second that Melizza! If I want 'proper' fabric with a particular project in mind (and lots of nice Liberty or Liberty-esque lawn), then Fabrics Galore, and cheap and/or interesting stuff to play with (where it's not the end of the world if I botch it, or 'wearable muslin' it), then Simply Fabrics in Brixton.

      As a PS - Kleins has seriously annoying (trade orientated?) opening hours: 10am to 5pm.

      ...But I really should properly investigate the interesting and highly random West African fabric shops at the end of my road on Rye Lane one of these days!

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  14. Can I recommend a recent discovery, a real aladdin's cave called Dalston Mill Fabrics, in Ridley Road, Dalston. They have a fantastic selection of fabrics, and haberdashery.

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    1. I second that! Dalston Mill is my downfall - I rarely leave empty handed. And Ridley Rd market has loads of cheap and cheerful fabric stalls, as well as the historic William Gee around the corner on Kingsland Rd. See more here: http://nicoleneedles.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/fabric-shopping-in-dalston.html

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    2. Good tip, thanks for the link!

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  15. I am going to have to brave the full extent of the Victoria line and go to Walthamstow market, is it open very week day? Would also like to add one more fabulous shop, Fabrics Galore - just brilliant.

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    1. I'm not sure, I tried googling it but couldn't find details. Ask Karen from http://didyoumakethat.wordpress.com/ ...

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    2. Try here for opening hours etc
      http://walthamstowmarket.com/visit/

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  16. Thanks for great info, cant wait next London trip, I will visit those places for sure :)

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  17. Definitely second Shaukat and Dalston Mill, although I do find some of the Dalston Mill fabrics a bit overpriced. In north/north-east London are Raystitch, which is great for quirky Japanese quilting cottons and organic fabrics, and Our Patterned Hand on Broadway Market, which has the most amazing selection of fashion-y prints you'll find anywhere in London. There's also Mermaid Fabrics on Mare Street which is a bit of a rummage but worth a visit. And of course there's Ultimate Craft in Stoke Newington which is a haberdashery wonderland and has a few decent fabrics. Probably not worth a special visit but a life-saver if you're based anywhere near Stokey.

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    1. Ooh I've never been to those ones on Broadway Market / Stokey way - thanks for sharing!

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  18. Fun!!! It's just as well I don't live there as it would be very difficult to resist!

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  19. Great post. I love Rolls and Rems in Edmonton, they have so much fabric. I have been buying fabric from them for 20 yrs. I just put up a pic of half my stash on my blog, it is ridiculous and I still cannot stop buying fabric. http://tracey-james.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/my-fabric-stash.html

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  20. Thanks for this post. There are some great ideas of places to visit - I might have to have a trip to London just to go round some of them!

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  21. Pati from London14 May 2012 13:44

    Thank you so much for this post Tilly. I am in West London so a trip to the Goldhawk road is imperative!!Shaukat looks AMAZING! I don't know names and don't know the shops but I believe that Southall is very good for fabric shopping also with loads of shops in their high street. For curtains, there is a big warehouse in Finchley called the curtain factory outlet (they also have a website) where you can find all sorts of designer fabrics at very good discounted prices. Will definitely try a lot of yours and your reader's suggestions as soon as I finish my Uni exams. Thanks a mill! Pati xx

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    1. Yes, Southall is great, lots of Indian shops with beautiful fabrics. Great to know about places all over...

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  22. Rachel Steer14 May 2012 15:29

    In case anyone is interested, you can actually sign a petition to help save the Goldhawk Road shops.
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savegoldhawkroadshops/

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  23. I'm so glad that I found your blog with this very timely post as I'm visiting London in less than two weeks! Thanks for the wonderful suggestions.

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    1. Brilliant! So glad it was useful. Enjoy your trip!

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  24. Walthamstow sounds fab - if I wasn't in the North of Scotland, it could even convince me to go to London. I can just see myself with a whole carload full of fabric.

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  25. Great post, I'm itching to go and buy some more fabric, but MUST use up some of my stash first! Can you share some of your favourite on line places at some point too? I find internet fabric shopping a bit of a minefield, thanks!

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    1. I'll try to share some of my favourite online places but in the meantime check out some of my sponsor links on the right - they've got some really lovely fabrics!

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  26. One of my favourites is Our Patterned Hand in Broadway Market E8 www.ourpatternedhand.co.uk. They have a lovely selection of fabrics including some quite unusual stuff.

    Raystitch in Islington is also good www.raystitch.co.uk

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  27. Hi Just dropped on to this very interesting site and wondered if any of you fabricaholics could point me in the direction of heavier weight coloured cotton twill/drill/canvas/denim type fabrics as I am struggling. Has anyone come across anything on their sprees?

    Many thanks for any info.

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    1. I found some denims at Rolls and Rems in Holloway.

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  28. Try the curtain factory outlet? nearest tube West Finchley

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  29. Thanks for the info. I did want to go Walthamstow but I wanted to find somewhere closer. But remembering my younger days and my Dad always going to there to buy fabric should have just struck me in the head like a ball unknowingly towards me. I was just looking for somewhere closer. But thank you :)

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  30. Great blog post! Just wanted to add to the list a shop I found recently called Tatters in Staines just outside of London.
    Tatters-haberdashery.co.uk
    Big selection of fabric, trims and accessories.

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  31. Hi, in the hope someone may be able to help on this wonderful blog .... I am looking for non fray chiffon. In the US you can purchase it on rolls 60 yards long and between 2 and 8 inches wide. This would be ideal, as less sewing for me! Does anyone know of a shop or shops in the London area as I've not been able to source an online supplier. I'm in south east London, but willing to travel for the right fabric and price :-) looking forward to making a trip to some of these shops - thanks for the blog! Does anyone know if the Goldhawk shops are still there?
    Thanks again.

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  32. Hi. Yes G Rd shops are here to stay, I believe.

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  33. Hi Guys, I have been reading all of the posts above and I have visited many of the shops in London! But Joel and sons has been overlooked - it is the best and most magical shop in London. Royal stamp of approval too! An amazing collection of fabrics - its on Church Street, off Edgware Road.

    There is also a market on Church Street on Saturday's and there is a stall there that sells silks and Liberty Cotton at a third of the price. I think it is the best market stall selling fabrics in London.

    There is also Jason Fabrics and Hadson Fabrics on Edgware Road too - all in close proximity.

    Jane.

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  34. Wow!! What an amazing post and comments!! So useful! I've bookmarked this, and the google maps with the sewing shops.

    It's somewhat late notic, but can anyone suggest a shop where I can buy high quality faux fur? I want to make a hand muff. Currently, I'm having so little success that I'm thinking I might have to just buy a cushion and cut it up!! Normally I'd buy online, but because its fur I want to feel it, you see.

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  35. You should also try the fabric & Sari shops along Ealing Road in Wembley which is closest to Alperton tube station (Piccadilly line) or Wembley Central (Bakerloo line) ; and/or Southall which has some fabulous lace fabrics. With Ealing Rd & Southall, you also have the benefit of damn good samosas, masala tea and loads of other knick knacks!!

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  36. What a great listing and blog! Any progress on getting a good list of EU-based online shops for unique apparel fabric? Most of the ones I know are only good for quilting fabrics!

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  37. Great to find out useful shops in London, but what websites are good to use for purchasing fabrics?

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    1. www.joelandsonfabrics.com - they only launched their website in the past year and have an incredible amount of fabrics, trimmings and accessories. They ship worldwide, too!

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  38. Also try Wimbledon Sewing Maching Co in Balham High Road, London SW17 (nearest tube Tooting Bec on Northern Line). Free parking for customers. They have a very good selection of fabrics. Also sewing machines, notions, knitting wools and craft items.

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    1. I would also recommend the Wimbledon Sewing Machine Co in Tooting - excellent place. Apparently there might also be a museum of sewing machines there? Lots of fabric, helpful staff, lots of other crafty items too.
      http://www.craftysewer.com/

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  39. McCulloch and Wallis seems to be as famous for the rudeness of its staff as it is for the wondrousness of its products. I usually don't give a damn about the former, being a thick-skinned sort. I'd say don't let their entirely deserved reputation for sometimes less-than-friendly service put you off.

    I did rather enjoy my last visit when, for a change, a mad customer was so rude to the staff, he reduced the entire shop to silence.

    As for website fabrics - dragonfly. Always dragonfly.

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  40. I found the staff at McCulloch and Wallis extremely helpful when I was there buying a mound of stuff for Christmas present making, so I'm very surprised to read so many negative comments about them. I have noticed that quite a few aren't British, so it may just be a matter of differences in national characteristics. Why not make it a talking point - who knows, it may help!

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  41. Thank you for your honest and genuinely helpful post, I hadn't really been satisfied with the stuff I had been finding, but this post has given me a couple of new ideas.

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  42. hiya!
    anyone know where to buy bamboo hemp cloth online by the metre? i´m starting to make nappies and pads myself and need a cloth supplier!

    in love of sewing,
    darita xxx

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  43. I'm off to London in a not too distant future. I've never looked for fabrics before, so I'm thrilled to have found this blog and your recommandations. I'm really looking forward to visit - and I'll probably end up spending a few years holidaysavings on fabrid :-)

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  44. If you're after Liberty prints and other quality European fabrics at a reasonable price, try Desai in West Hampstead (338, Cricklewood Lane, London , NW2 2QH). I've found so many past season Liberty prints there at discounted prices.

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  45. I went to Desai yesterday after seeing it here and the man behind the counter was so lovely. I told him I was new to sewing and he explained loads about different fabrics similar to Liberty. He also helped me match up a fabric I wanted to sew with & find a dress trim. For the first time in a fabric shop I didn't feel intimidated and overwhelmed.

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  46. Having previously bought material from Dunelm and Ikea (what was I thinking?), whilst wondering when I will get the chance to go to John Lewis, I then discover Walthamstow Market and now I am in fabric heaven. And what's more exciting is that it's only a stones throw away from where I live, how it slipped me by I do not know.

    Reading through some of the above comments it has reminded me of Rolls & Rems on Lewisham High Street that I went to years ago and indeed it was fab, so I shall be revisiting soon.

    LOVE your blog Tilly, I have just discovered you too. I have recently started sewing again and I'm a bit addicted at the moment. I have also just started blogging because I have set myself a challenge to make all my daughters clothes for a year and I post the collection on my blog needleandted.wordpress.com

    I heard it is bad etiquette to mention your blog on someone else's blog is this true? If so I apologise, but would love to know what others feel about it before I go around offending people.

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    1. I think lots of people mention their own blogs when they are commenting. As long as it's relevant, I don't think it's inappropriate at all.

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  47. We'll be going to visit out daughter soon, who lives in Enfield (EN1) -- any good fabric shopping out in that area?

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  48. What a fabulous blog, I am a quilter in the South West and never really considered London for buying fabric. I am visiting Mid march and now have a list of shop names to visit. Thanks everyone

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  49. Hi Tilly,

    Would you have an idea of where to find some heavy duty denim in London?

    Thanks,

    Ken

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  50. Hi Tilly,

    I need to make a red wonderwoman cape...do you know where would be the best place to go for this? It's shiny, metallic kind of fabric...

    Walthamstow or Brixton are both good for me as I'm on the Victoria line.
    Also...any advice on making capes?!

    Thanks!
    Jade

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  51. Hi ! I am looking for good quality olive green lace for making maid of honour dress, (so maybe no polyestere or plastic fabric but good ones:) do you know the best place for buying it in London or online? Grazie mille! Maia

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  52. The cloth house on Berwick Street has a great selection of those.

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