I thought I’d take 10 minutes out today to share a few of my favourite online fabric and haberdashery businesses. Having taken up sewing as the word went into lockdown, online fabric shopping is all I’ve known. There also isn’t a great variety of bricks and mortar dressmaking shops in Northern Ireland so shopping online really is my first port of call. These are the shops that I will always go back to time and time again, not only for their stock but also because I believe in spending my money with good people. The lovely thing about independent sewing businesses is that you have the opportunity to get to know the people behind the brand. The businesses here are people who not only curate beautiful fabrics; they are also people with integrity, passion and a desire to inspire others to enjoy their craft.
These are in no particular order. They are all wonderful.
- The Rag Shop
Owned by the lovely Steph, The Rag Shop is one of my go to shops for fabrics; but it also has a lovely selection of patterns and haberdashery. Steph once told me that she stocks the fabrics she loves; well, our tastes must be very similar because I’ve yet to see a fabric I didn’t like. Steph has a history of working with fabrics as a garment cutter which must inform her collection choices.
Shopping with The Rag Shop is more than an incredible choice of products; the postage and packaging is super speedy and well presented. They also have a physical store located in Warrington; it’s probably lucky for my bank balance that I don’t live nearby.
The Rag Shop also has a wonderful blog on the site, bringing inspiration and ideas from makers in the community. Having blogged with The Rag Shop recently – you can catch my blog post here – I can attest to the professionalism; the entire process was seamless. Sharlene (@sosewdressmaking) is responsible for the social media side of things which means you’re guaranteed inspiration and ideas by following them.
2. Felicity Fabrics
Owned by mother and daughter team, Caroline and Fliss, this is a beautifully cutrated online business. What I love about Felicity Fabric – even more than the gorgeous fabrics – is that both these ladies are incredibly talented sewists who are so passionate about their craft.
Like The Rag Shop, Felicity Fabrics offer a wonderful platform for bloggers and have a team of bloggers who create makes from their fabrics and showcase them on the blog; I also love to see what Caroline and Fliss have been making, too.
In other news, the ladies have just launched their own women’s clothing line – Felicity Fabrics Clothing – which you should go check out.
Another thing I love about Felicity Fabrics is that they pay attention to the little details; their packaging is gorgeous; branded box, personalised notes, little swatches of the fabric you’ve bought with composition and care details that you can have handy for reference. Luxury really is in the little details.
3. Jenny Stitches
When I say my shopping habits are also investing in people, Jenny is a perfect example of this. I love supporting businesses like this! Again, Jenny is passionate about sewing and I love catching her stories and YouTube where she talks about her own sewing plans and garment making. The fact that she appreciates Outlander and whiskey also goes in her favour.
Jenny has recently expanded her physical shop from Barrow Market Hall to her own bricks and mortar store and I’ve been watching in amazement as she and her family got the shop ready for opening. You can now find her at 82 Dalton Road, Barrow-in-Furness. I know what my first stop will be when I get to the Lake District again.
In terms of stock, Jenny has a wide range of fabrics, patterns and haberdashery but it is her eye for a beautiful floral print that always keeps me coming back for more!
Jenny also offers a super speedy A0 printing service too, which come with a storage envelope (always a bonus).
4. Sew Me Sunshine
While I love Harriet’s shop as a whole, Sew Me Sunshine is my go-to for ex-designer and deadstock fabrics. Sew Me Sunshine stock fabrics from well known high street stores – I’ve got a few Zara fabrics in the past – and designer brands such as Dolce & Gabana, Cavalli, and Louis Vuitton. There is a beautiful D&G deadstock in my stash at the moment. They also stock fabrics that are leftover from textile mills. Again, you can tell Harriet comes from a background of garment sewing as her passion is so visible! Her paper pattern collection is also really good.
The social media accounts are always brilliant and they’ve recently started a YouTube account which is great for getting an idea of the fabrics in real life as Harriet does fabric spotlights; there’s always plenty of fabric – pattern inspiration on offer, too.
In terms of P&P – it really is one of the things you notice when shopping online, isn’t it? – Sew Me Sunshine create gorgeous branded packaging which is also entirely recyclable. There’s just something so happy about the yellow branding, and with personalised touches like stickers carrying a message from the member of staff who packaged your parcel and cute postcards you can put on your memo board it really feels special. Delivery is also incredibly timely.
5. Fabric Godmother
Fabric Godmother has to have one of the largest and most diverse collections I’ve seen from the indie fabric businesses. Again, Josie is a prolific garment maker (there’s a theme here, isn’t there?) so it’s no surprise the shop is so well stocked in everything; from fabric to haberdashery to patterns to sewing related gifts. As a Seamwork member, I always have a discount so it’s easy to get carried away.
One of the biggest strengths of these small businesses is that you see the people behind the brand. Josie is prolific on social media, showing off her makes and making you realised you need everything she wears (she really is the best advertisement for her stock).
Fabric Godmother also offers A0 printing, and has a gorgeous subscription box, the ‘Dream Wardrobe’ which comes in 2 size options – UK 6-18 and UK 16-30. Each month, for £59, you will receive a sewing pattern, a gorgeous fabric to make the pattern, matching thread, tips and guides and a selection of sewing related gifts.
6. Plan It, Make It
Rachael’s passion for sewing is very evident and you can often find her on her blog showing off her latest makes; it’s definitely worth checking out if you are looking for some inspiration.
Her stock is very carefully curated so that you can plan your entire make in one go; in fact, Rachael creates kits that contain everything you need to make a project; the pattern, fabric and notions. The stock has a real sense of purpose and continuity, too, which I love and PIMI takes into account sustainability as well. They source mostly natural fabrics, many of which are Oeko-Tex Standard 100. I particularly love the See You at Six French Terry fabrics.
7. Hey Sew Sister
I have only started shopping with Hey, Sew Sister recently and while they are a relatively new company they really know what they are doing. Run by Georgie and Ollie, Georgie of course being a well known face in the sewing community (you can follow her at @heysewgeorgie). You’ll often see Georgie wearing her own collection of fabrics so you know that, again, this is a business who sells what they love. As believers in slow fashion, Hey Sew Sister offer good quality fabrics for making garments that will last a lifetime!
Even in their packaging, sustainability is a concern; they only use paper postal packaging which is recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.
It is also a friendly, personable business; you’ll all have seen the 70s sewing challenge @heysewgeorgie and @blossomsandwich are hosting at the minute (#sewseventies), they showcase their customers’ makes and are always up for a chat in their messages.
Another amazing aspect of this small business is that the stock is always fresh; nothing stays on the site very long, which is a testament to their buying superpower.
8. Simply Fabrics Brixton
This is another of the shops that stocks incredible ranges of ex-designer and deadstock fabrics. It’s no surprise that this shop is popular with fashion designers, costumiers and film/TV production companies.
Given the quality of the fabrics on offer here, the prices are unbelievably competitive; many of the fabrics are sourced from famous design houses and studios; I’ve snapped up a couple of Kate Spade fabrics here.
Another element that makes them one to watch is that they work with other small businesses to design and produce some of their own prints and lace fabrics, which are then made locally.
This is a real gem of a shop and I, for one, will be visiting the bricks and mortar store as soon as I start flying to London again. They also have a separate shop for haberdashery. I can only imagine.
9. Deadstock Fabrics
Probably the newest on this list, Deadstock Fabrics is one to watch out for.
Bridie is a designer and maker; her business is called Born to Thread. She knows first hand how much waste there is within the fashion industry. to reduce her own waste, she set up Deadstock Fabrics where she sells overstock fabric, offcuts, vintage patterns, lace and trims, and tools she doesn’t use any more.
What’s more, she is very active on social media, hosting lives and filming sewing tutorials as an opportunity to engage with fellow creatives.
Her mission of sustainability spills over into her packaging, too, which is all recyclable. Every little helps!
10. Selvedge and Bolts
If you’re looking for something extra special, go to Dibs. Her penchant for bold and colourful fabrics is not for the fashion-faint-of-heart. If it is luxury you want, this is where you will be sure to get it; at reasonable prices, too.
The majority of this stock is deadstock from the major fashion designers, mostly Italian, and includes the likes of Gucci, Kenzo, Escada and Gian Battista Vali. It really needs to be seen to be believed.
The only downside is that you need to be quick off the mark to secure fabric you have your eye on as a lot of it disappears as soon as it hits the website.
And there you have it; ten incredible stores to spend your fabric budget on. While I have given you ten, I should say this list is not exhaustive but my ability to sit and type at a computer has limits. I swear, I never knew earth pennies could be spent so fast until I took up sewing.
Do you have a favourite sewing / fabric store? Let me know in the comments.