Where to buy fabric?
This is my stash – somebody stop me!
I am based in West Yorkshire so most of my favourite suppliers are up in the north of England! But, as the textile capital of the UK, Yorkshire has the most amazing selection of factory shops, designer seconds, manufacturers, Asian importers and other hidden gems. I defy you to find anywhere in the UK with a better range of amazing, unusual and CHEAP suppliers. However, I am starting to buy more online as well. It can be a bit tricky buying fabric via your screen but many companies offer a sample service now. It can also be great for all kind of supplies such as bag-making accessories, threads and needles. Here are my favourites:
www.fabworks.co.uk Fabworks Mill Shop has recently started to supply online. (See the effusive description of the UK shop below). There is only a fraction online of what is available in the shop but there are still very comprehensive ranges of linens, wools, cottons, scuba and more at really good prices. They will ship all over the world and also speak Spanish and French should you need to discuss a special order.
www.bag-clasps.co.uk Wow – this is an amazing site. It may look basic but it has the most fantastic range of accessories for bag-making I have ever seen. Everything you could ever need from magnetic clips, handles and leather straps to purse frames, buckles and bag locks.
www.storage4crafts.com are great for organising your sewing space. Have a look at my blog to see the great thread holder I bought from the Knitting & Stitching show this year. Everything from boxes and button tubes to bobbin and ribbon holders.
Eme Cloth & Yarn Based in Ilkley and owned by the friendly Emma Garry, this is a great little shop packed full of beautiful fabrics. They include designer remnants, crepes, wools, jerseys and a wide range of gorgeous cottons by Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry (to name just a few.) Emma also runs sewing classes and sells her own range of simple patterns perfect for beginners in the shop.
Fabworks One of my favourite places in the world to lose a few hours. Fantastic old mill full of fabrics based in Dewsbury. Lots of rolls of designer seconds, including Liberty and a beautiful range of Avoca Anthology fabrics. Everything from silks to leather, buckles to brocade. Wide range of furnishing fabrics as well as dress fabrics. Excellent prices. You will never be able to bring yourself to buy anything from Liberty London again once you see the comparative prices. But beware, there are rarely repeat orders of anything – once it’s gone it’s gone!
Top Stitch Top Stitch, found in an out of the way industrial estate in Brighouse, is a good haberdashery supplier – loads of buttons, zips, threads, curtain supplies, knitting and all stuff crafty. A small range of fabrics too. Sewing lessons available here as well as sewing machines for sale and repairs.
The Shuttle Based in Shipley, north of Bradford, a great shop despite tricky parking. A good range of dress fabrics and blue cross sale section at the back with good deals. Again, I think they use discount suppliers which means once its gone its gone but guarantees you low prices.
Bombay Stores A huge mecca of wonderful fabrics and haberdashery based in Bradford. Unusual fabrics – very ornate, appliqued and embroidered stuff as well as all the basics. The most amazing range of braids, beading and accessories, a lot of it with an Asian / Indian bias. Lots of good theatrical fabrics as well as a specialist wedding fabric section. They ship busloads of arty crafty people here for day trips – need I say more. I wouldn’t say its as cheap as some of my other favorites but wins on range and originality.
The Fent Shop The Fent Shop in Skipton has always had a reputation for being a sewers paradise. Bursting to the seams with its vast range of designer fents and rolls of fabrics for curtaining, upholstery and dress making and an ever increasing range of craft cottons and fat quarters, haberdashery, trimmings and lots more.
Whaleys are a Bradford fabric manufacturer with a factory shop. It’s just a little door on the main road with strange and short opening hours. However, it does a lot of undyed / raw fabrics including silks, linens, cotton, jute, wools (over 450 different fabrics). Fabrics are available by the metre or full roll and I seem to remember there is a minimum spend (around £20 I think).
Boyes in Brighouse doesn’t have a great range of fabrics – it is mainly fancy dress type stuff and not that cheap either BUT they have an extensive range of equipment for patchworkers – amazing looking rulers and templates, not to mention needles, buttons & poppers, storage solutions. They even have felting equipment in now.
Cannon Mills Market in Bradford is certainly not the on the glamorous side of fabric shopping. In fact is pretty grotty, BUT on the plus side, it is the cheapest place you will ever come across. There are LOADS of stalls that do £1 per metre fabrics. It has a strong Asian bias with the types of fabrics but there is plenty of other stuff there if you are willing to look for it.