Posts Tagged ‘london textile shops’

Buying fabrics in London

Following my vintage fashions post I thought it might be fun to investigate the possibilities for buying fabrics in London, whether that’s for making your own clothes and accessories, or for jazzing up some of your vintage items.

Paisley goes mod! fantastic fabrics from Liberty

Paisley goes mod! fantastic fabrics from Liberty

Let’s start with the markets, which I think are the greatest fun. Lots of people swear by Deptford Market [map] in south-east London which has loads of quite cheap fabrics and is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There are also second hand clothes stalls, though you’ll have to look hard if you want to find any vintage beauties. If you go on Saturday you can look round the flea market too. You’ll find quite a few ethnic fabrics here, so if you like colour and vivid designs this is a good place to come.

Out East, Walthamstow Market [map] I think doesn’t have quite the same range of fabrics though in other respects it’s a great market – diverse, cheap, and the longest market in London straggling all the way along the High Street.

And I must admit I’ve bought some nice things at Roman Road Market [map] in the East End, including some really good upholstery fabric at about £2 a metre which I’m sure I saw in shops at nearly £20. The offcuts there are sometimes great, but this is a smaller market and there’s not so much choice.

If you’re looking for shops rather than markets, Soho has a lot to offer, and it’s central, too, so no treks to the outer reaches of London to get your cloth. Berwick Street [map] has a lot to offer. This is also the centre of the London theatre and film businesses, so you’ll find some outrageous fabrics for theatrics use; if you want black PVC or leopard print, this is where to find it.

Goldhawk Road [map], out west, is also full of fabric shops. Some of the stuff is surprisingly high quality – real silks and nice printed cottons, and some great wool fabrics. Classic Textiles has loads of silk, while if it’s suiting you’re after, A to Z Fabrics is probably the place.

Some friendly sewers have also recommended Rolls and Rems in Lewisham High Street [map] for super cheap fabrics. I’m sorry to sound like an archetypal North London snob, but that is just too far for me to go for one shop. However, I’ve been told there’s a branch outlet near Tottenham as well so I shall have to try to find it!

I have to say though that although London has so many great places to shop, I’ve got two real favourite places to shop for fabrics. One is a real luxury - Liberty’s [map]which still serves up its own William Morris inspired Arts and Crafts style textiles, including paisley silks, as well as a diverse collection of other fabrics.  I love it to bits – it can be really expensive (except in the sale of course!).

The other place I adore is Southall. Loads and loads of brilliant sari shops selling Asian textiles. Bright colours, some in artificial silk and some in real silk – including the rougher raw silks I particularly love, and some fine decorated fabrics with metallic threads picking out the designs.  And some real bargains turn up from time to time, too. Besides, you can get some great food here if you spend the entire day on a fabric hunt – including those sticky Indian sweeties I love.

Enjoy your rootling around the fabric shops. And remember, most of them are really stacked with fabric – you have to look behind the first few rolls and right down to the bottom of the stacks to find the best bits!

(By the way, if you’re interested in clothes and textiles, DO NOT miss a trip to the V&A – this museum has the most amazing textile collection, from medieval tapestries to 1960s chic.)

Photo from Happyscrappy on flickr

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