Saturday, June 8, 2013

Where to Find Fabric in London: Shopping for the best deals in town

Shopping for fabric in London can be a fun adventure. I like to buy fabric where I find the best selection and prices. This usually means that I need to look outside of the center of town, and wander around other neighborhoods where there are some great surprises to be found.

My first stop? Goldhawk Road. If you're like me, seeking an offbeat location and love fabric shopping, you’ll find the textile shops in Shephard’s Bush Market and along Goldhawk Road fun to go through. Although there are few large scale ‘main’ shops on Goldhawk Road, all of the shops seem to have unique merchandise and personalities. Top on the selection are costume fabrics: satins, tulle, sequins and all the rest. Clearly, today’s London crafter is sewing up party costumes by the dozens.

There are still many shops that do carry interesting fashion fabrics. I found a wide variety of textiles for both retro and current fashion trends. In one shop I even saw some passable copies of Liberty prints on good cottons. This district reminds me of the fabric stores in L.A.'s garment district, but on a very small scale, so keep an open mind and enjoy the hunt.

Once I have shopped Goldhawk, I like to take a long walk up the Shephard’s Bush open air market. There are vendors with trims, beads, buttons along with colorful saris and other random fabrics and sewing supplies. Some of the trims here are so unique that I've never seen anything like them before.

The other stalls on this 'road' offer imported merchandise for the recent middle eastern population.  It's wonderful to smell and see their exotic food stalls too. When I walk north through the market from Goldhawk Road, there is the Shepherd's Bush Market metro station at the other end.  Then it's time to hop on a train, to be on my way loaded with trims and other goodies.

To get there: Goldhawk Road and Shepherd's Bush Market stations
take the Hammersmith and City line (pink) to stations.
Exit: at Goldhawk the shops are on the right (east side) of this line.
at Shepherd's Bush the stalls run along the east side of the metro line.

Shephard's Bush Flea Market
Hours: Mon to Wed, Fri & Sat 9.30am-5pm; Thu 9.30am-1.30pm

It's difficult not to be enchanted by the fabrics at Liberty of London, but the steep prices may mean that you can't buy as much of the gorgeous fabric as you would like to. If that is the case, I found the selection at Shaukat and Company to be amazing. In fact, it was overwhelming to look at. While they don't offer a heavy discount, it is less expensive than shopping at Liberty. Shaukat is an easy walk from the Gloucester Road metro station through a sweet neighborhood. Shaukat offers pre-cut lengths and on the bolt yardage for the most selection. Their website gives a good idea of their selection and prices.

Shaukat and Company:
170-172 Old Brompton Road London SW5 0BA
Telephone: 0207 373 6927 / 373 8956
Facsimile: 0207 373 5516

To get there: Gloucester Road station
take the Picadilly line (navy), Circle line (orange), or District line (green)
Exit: walk south to Old Brompton Road, turn right and walk to the shop.

I hope you have a fun time shopping for fabric in London--Let me know if you have other shops to add to this list!