l have always loved working with my hands be it maintaining our garden, in the kitchen cooking or simply in my studio working on new products, my hands are always at work.
In the kitchen my ingredients are my tools, in the garden it's my spade and fork but in my studio it's my fabric. A tool that is of equal importance as my hands.
In my never ending search for fabric I have discovered many great and not so great places and have enjoyed every moment of it.
Having had a past in fashion I paid attention to the garment as a whole and did not take the right time to appreciate the actual fabric. A mistake I have come to regret, but we live and learn.
The fun (or stress) of fabric shopping is in the "hunt". If only fabric shops were laid out in categorised alphabetical order!! I cannot tell you how many times I have walked out of a fabric shop with nothing or only half a meter of fabric after 45 minutes of searching.
When I am buying fabric I do not go out to find the most expensive and exclusive fabric, I go out to find the most beautiful and robust fabric. From experience I have come to learn that all fabrics are not made equal!
I fell in love with these 2 beautiful nautical fabrics. I loved them both though the dark fabric was a breeze to tease, the lighter fabric was a denim mix and incredibly difficult to work with. They made great bows nonetheless. I picked the fabric up from Simply fabrics on Atlantic road in Brixton. Simply Fabrics is made up of 2 separate shops stocking all manner of fabrics. Owned by Leo and run by a lovely fully qualified no nonsense seamstress who knows much and more about fabrics than most chefs know about cooking and is happy to give advice on sewing as well.Visit them in-store or online at www.simplyfabrics.londonMy fabric searches usually start with an online scour but some times I get a rare tip off. Fabrics galore is a super find! I was pointed in the direction of this store by my sister in law and it was worth the visit.
This is a great store located on Lavender hill in Battersea. Staffed by Michelle who always gives me a heads up when there's new stock on the way and Michael who also makes the cutest handmade teddies from gorgeous fabrics and materials. This store is a fabric and haberdashers dream, pop in for a visit in store or online at www.fabricsgalore.co.uk
All the stores I mentioned are all excellent in their own right but when I am looking for that one fabric that IS hard to find and just a little bit extra special I head to one location...CHICHESTER, home to the Eternal Maker, a fabric and haberdashers mecca!
Located in an old industrial complex The Eternal Maker is made up of Sarah and Anna, a mother and daughter pair who along with their team specialise in stocking truly glorious japanese fabrics including limited runs like this fox print heavy weave fabric from Kobayashi. Though this fabric had a heavy weave it was easy to work with and made fantastic bows that were quickly snapped up, unfortunately the fabric being limited is not available anymore. What makes the Eternal maker so special is not just the fact that they run so many courses or that they have exclusive fabrics and haberdashery materials, not even that they can source products that are not even in their collection, no what makes them so special is the pool of knowledge they possess and the willingness to freely share this knowledge with pleasure. If ever you are in Chichester drop by, if not visit them online at www.eternalmaker.com.
I have saved the best for last, I have had to package this part into two because I love both these places...
LIBERTY, though the building is truly iconic and the fashion is at the forefront of trend, it is the fabric that this store is known for. From Betsy J to Emillias flowers and others too numerous to mention we LOVE LOVE LOVE them all. I have worked with many fabrics but the Liberty Tanna lawn is in a class of its own, it is delicate and super soft but is extremely tough. This is a fabric which is hard to match. Visit them in store or online at www.liberty.co.uk
When was the last time you called a business and had the phone picked up by the owner who helped you with every aspect of your query from start to finish? This is the level of service you get from Alice Caroline.
Owned by Alice Garret, Alice Caroline specialises in all things Liberty from patchwork, to quilts to books and courses they do it all and do it well. They are a business unlike no other. They are more than happy to go the extra mile and take custom orders should you not be able to find what you were after. I love buying my Liberty fabrics from them because they are open friendly and extremely knowledgeable. We use 19 Liberty fabrics on our Bows and Alice bands, Alice Caroline provided us with all the names of each fabric (Liberty could not and THEY make the fabric!!) Alice caroline sets the bar for excellence pretty high.Visit them online at www.alicecaroline.co.uk