Where do you find fabrics to fall in love with?
October 22, 2018 6:12 AM   Subscribe

For once, I'd like to actually fall in love with a fabric and then come up with something to make with it, rather than getting an idea for a garment and never actually finding anything I want to make it with.

My requirements are pretty simple:

-Feels nice (even if it’s not a natural fibre) -not gummy, plasticky, or too shiny

-Colours, patterns, and prints that you might actually see in current designer and high street fashion (I’m currently looking for something to make into a soft, drapey shirt dress, and every challis print at my local fabric shop are ugly abstracts in boring, dusty shades, or dark boring florals, or little bird or feather prints, or ‘Aztec’ patterns -it’s like I time travelled to River Island in 2009)

Other than that, I have a pretty broad sense of style – I might like something sharp and geometric today, and something a bit more romantic tomorrow. The only thing I’d definitely never be into is cutesy/trendy motifs like pineapples/flamingos/llamas/foxes.

Price isn’t really a huge concern, but I’d probably top out at £15/$20 per metre unless it was something really really special. I don’t mind where it’s located either as long as they ship to the UK. If you know of an actual shop in the UK (anywhere, I travel a lot for work) that would be cool, too.

I’ve had a little luck at local vintage fairs and charity shops, but that’s very hit-and-miss, so tell me where you reliably find really gorgeous fabrics.
posted by cilantro to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sorry, these suggestions are not UK based, but these are some of my favorites:
LA Finch Fabrics (US)
Cali Fabrics (US)
Blackbird Fabrics (Canada)
posted by slipthought at 7:06 AM on October 22, 2018

Best answer: If I was in the UK, I would spend so much at Guthrie & Ghani. Karen of Did You Make That gets a lot of really lovely fabric at the Walthamstow Market, she has a guide here.

If you're looking specifically for designer fashion fabrics, Mood (in NY) has a good online store where you can search by designer and ships internationally, but you could also look for local places that sell deadstock - the leftovers from bolts used by fashion designers. I found this one UK supplier that says they carry designer deadstock but I expect there are many more.
posted by phlox at 7:12 AM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I knew someone here would mention Mood, it is unparalleled for its variety of fabrics. Also wanted to mention that they will send you a swatch for only $1 US, and your fabric purchase points eventually turn into free swatches.
posted by Melismata at 7:29 AM on October 22, 2018

Best answer: I bought some yardage from DashingTweeds last time i was in London. I'm still toiling the perfect garments for it, but it's amazing.
posted by crush at 8:04 AM on October 22, 2018

Best answer: Oh I meant to link to the Lumatwills. But really, everything they have in the shop is wonderful.
posted by crush at 8:05 AM on October 22, 2018

Best answer: Top Fabric of Soho also has really unique fabrics with the caveat that I've never had the chance to go in person.
posted by crush at 8:26 AM on October 22, 2018

Best answer: I only know of fabric stores in London, but I have a few recs!

Liberty London is known for their small floral prints in cotton lawn, but they actually do all sorts of prints and all kinds of fabrics. The flagship store is in London on Regent Street, but the actual best place to go is Shaukat Fabric in Kensington-- they have a huge selection of Liberty as well as other fabrics, and it's much less expensive than the Liberty store (almost like an outlet-style pricing).
Misan Textiles has a discount basement, their parent store Misan Fabric has nice things but is luxury pricing.

For US stores that ship to the U.K., besides Mood there is Britex Fabrics, based out of San Francisco, and my favorite independent store, Harts Fabric, which is in Santa Cruz, CA.

Britex has every kind of fabric under the sun and has tons of online sales, usually in the 20% off range, and often sells remnants at a discount as well. If you are looking for high street styles, they carry a lot of designer fabric, so you can get literally the actual fabric they designers are using.

Harts has the most beautiful selection of high-quality knits/jerseys/other stretch. They have a lot of bamboo fabric, which I love for sewing because it has drape without being too clingy, and wears really well. They have other fabrics, too, but their knits are the best! They have a TON of cotton shirting and Japanese gauze--Japanese gauze would be my recco for a drapey shirtdress!
posted by assenav at 9:29 AM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You could try myfabrics.co.uk they have so much stuff in such varieties I've never managed to go all the way through their website. They give you enough information to make a pretty fair online judgement of the quality and weight of what you're buying, their delivery is dependable and their costs are reasonable though not particularly cheap. I think they're based in Germany. It's well worth looking through their sale and offcut stuff. If I have a criticism it is that their advanced website filtering is unwieldy if not bewildering.
posted by glasseyes at 9:58 AM on October 22, 2018

Response by poster: Yes, yes, yes, and yes! This is exactly what I was after. Now I'm out of money. Thanks everyone! Best answers one and all because I honestly found things I loved on each and every website you linked, and I can't wait to visit some of these places in person, too.
posted by cilantro at 10:33 AM on October 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

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