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Arts & crafts

Sewing fabric

(26 Posts)
overthehill Fri 09-Oct-15 15:16:02

In the old days I could go to local high street and pick up some material to make clothes for my children and myself.

Today this has all but gone. There is lots of cloth on-line but the names mystify me, I want bit of stretch but not stretchy and not too thin to make a tunic type top.

Any ideas anyone?

loopylou Fri 09-Oct-15 15:52:14

It's nearly impossible to buy material on the high street, I only know of one fabric shop in Bath, a couple in towns and a market stall near where I work, all with limited stock.

I think you need to look for some Lycra, elastane or jersey content but buying it 'blind' is a real obviously won't be able to return it if it's unsuitable.

Good luck!

tanith Fri 09-Oct-15 16:00:48

Dunelm Mill do a large range of materials for all sorts of projects if you have one near.

Take a look ...

Nelliemoser Fri 09-Oct-15 16:16:29

Up in the north west there is a company called Abakhan fabrics who sell fabric by weight, they do seem to do an online business.
They have a shop near to where I live that is very useful it's a bit like an aladdins cave but always worth a browse. I think they do a lot of end of rolls.

Indinana Fri 09-Oct-15 16:25:34

I do really empathise - it's something that really frustrates me too. You might want to google 'cotton interlock knit fabric'. I think it's the sort of soft knit fabric used for t-shirts and babies clothes. Have a look at this link and see if this is the kind of thing you're after.

Nonny Fri 09-Oct-15 17:10:14

I used to do a lot of sewing when I was younger but since we moved here 33 years ago I haven't done very much as there has never been much choice and this has dwindled over the years. In recent years a Hobby craft has opened but the selection is limited.

NotTooOld Fri 09-Oct-15 18:04:53

When I lived in Kent years ago there was a 'fent' shop in Rochester High Street that I used to use a lot. I discovered that fents are ends of rolls - I expect you already knew that! I could make my little son three pairs of short trousers for something like 6d - that may be a slight exaggeration. Is the Fent Shop still there does anyone know?

janerowena Fri 09-Oct-15 18:42:13

It wasn't the last time I was there, Nottoo, I think I would have noticed as I used to make lots of my own and DC's clothes. That would be about 2000, and I started going there regularly in about 1994.

I went back for a friend's birthday about ten years ago, she had a small party in a restaurant that hadn't been there five years previously, and not even the lovely kitchen shop that I used to buy all my cooking stuff from was still there.

rosequartz Fri 09-Oct-15 19:51:07

DD's MIL used to own a fabric and haberdashery shop but when the larger chains moved in selling dress and curtain fabrics, she decided it was time to give up. Coupled with that, clothes were so much cheaper to buy in the shops as they were made overseas.
I think a shop down the road from us still sells some dress fabrics as well as soft furnishing fabrics - however, they were selling Simplicity patterns off for half price so I wonder for how much longer.

I don't do much sewing at all these days.

overthehill Sat 10-Oct-15 09:26:49

Rosequartz I think you have knocked the nail on the head. Fabric by the yard/mtr is so expensive you buy clothes cheaper.

I went to John Lewis in Westfield yesterday and what a miserable and small selection they had of overpriced cloth.

Indinana Sat 10-Oct-15 10:03:56

I used to make all my DD's clothes when she was little, the fabric and patterns were so cheap. But it wasn't just the cost - I really enjoyed dressing her in things that I'd made, knowing I wouldn't see another little girl wearing the same dress [smug emoticon]. And that's why I make things for my GD, even though they're more expensive than buying, idiot that I am grin.
Mind you, making things like dribble bibs and baby hair bands is much cheaper than buying! I've made a few hair bands which worked out at under 40p each, which is a sight less than the £3 I saw them advertised online for shock

janerowena Sat 10-Oct-15 19:12:36

I have been lucky, I have always lived in areas where there is still a decent market, and there is a fabric stall sending discontinued fabrics. Fabric Warehouses are also cheap. there are quite a few companies around operating on the same principle, but usually only in the big cities and towns.

Yes, John Lewis is a major disappointment nowadays.

NotTooOld Sat 10-Oct-15 19:29:19

janerowena - shame about the Fent Shop but I do remember that kitchen shop. I used to work in the Guildhall, opposite the Bull hotel. I think it was called the Bull. All very Dickensian. Nice town, though, or it was in those days - late 60s, early 70s.

Does Fabric Warehouse do much in the way of dress material? I used to go to one in Northampton but it was mainly curtaining that they sold.

rosequartz Sat 10-Oct-15 19:55:07

I went to Dunelm today, there was lots of curtain fabric, but I didn't look for dress fabrics. I think they do sell it though, should have had a look.

janerowena Sat 10-Oct-15 20:06:00

Yes, Fabric Warehouse do have clothes fabrics, not as much as the furnishings sometimes but they do have some amazing evening dress fabrics as well as ginghams etc. and printed cottons. Lots of fleece, fur fabric, and stretchy jersey as I recall. I don't have one near here so have to go all the way to a small branch in Norwich, so tend to wait until I am visiting DD and go to the one near her - mainly for cushion/curtain fabrics.

TriciaF Sun 11-Oct-15 10:30:45

I've had the same problem buying fabric for dressmaking.
I've bought quite a bit online from different places, but often it's not exactly the colour, texture or weight I imagined it to be.
There's much more choice from USA, and much cheaper, but the postage is horrific - I bought two lots of 2m of needlecord. The cloth cost about £5 each piece, but the shipping was £30!
There doesn't seem to be the variety that there used to be, even John Lewis doesn't have the range that they had in the past - I had a look last time I was over.

TriciaF Sun 11-Oct-15 10:34:13

And to add - you would think that in France, the centre of haute couture, you would be able to find lovely fabrics. There's a shop in our county town which has quite a good range, but very very expensive.

Indinana Sun 11-Oct-15 10:48:26

Yes, I mourn the JL shops of old - I bought the fabric for my bridesmaids' dresses in JL and the department was huge, bolts and bolts of every kind of fabric imaginable. Mind you it was the Oxford Street branch, but the regional branches were good in the old days too. Our nearest one, Exeter, has no fabric at all, just a sort of craft/haberdashery area, all pre-packed stuff. Totally pointless.
We used to have a Fabric Warehouse about 3 miles away but it closed down - such a shame because it was really good, lots of dressmaking fabric for children, lots of fur fabric and fleece. I really miss that shop sad

Gracesgran Sun 11-Oct-15 11:22:41

I rarely buy off line but online you can get used to which is the better quality fabric and know the designer/manufacturing names. I find belonging to a sewing forum useful as people will let everyone know when there is an offer on, etc.

I do buy fat quarters for making Christmas decorations. That way I get a greater variety in the cheapest way.

However, hand-made items will never be cheaper than ones manufactured in China and the like where labour is cheap - or has been. Because of this the only dressmaking I do is what would be more expensive items and then I choose very good fabric and possibly more complex designs.

I don't think any craft as a hobby is really very money saving anymore but it is still wonderful to do (smile).

Nelliemoser Sun 11-Oct-15 11:30:12

I find with any fabric I would need to "feel it" before I buy.
This is easy with the big shop I referred to earlier fairly nearby .

rosequartz Sun 11-Oct-15 17:08:34

Ooh, yes, I am a 'fabric feeler'
(that looks a bit rude when it is typed out - only a bolt of fabric in a shop, not when someone is wearing it!)

You're right, Gracesgran, same with knitted items as well, especially with the time taken to make them.
'Made with love' smile

Gracesgran Mon 12-Oct-15 12:33:17

One of the reasons I didn't take to card making rosequartz is because they get thrown in the bin - all that work!

rosequartz Mon 12-Oct-15 12:47:30

I tried making cards at a couple of craft evenings; mine were very wonky and not fit to send to anyone, but I still have them (can't throw them in the bin!).

rubysong Mon 12-Oct-15 13:39:24

If I'm looking for fabric I go to Trago Mills (in the south west) or Boyes (if I'm in East Yorkshire). Good selections and reasonable prices. I used to buy a lot from Croft Mills when you could get it for 50p a metre or so. That was good for panto costumes etc. They have an online shop now, but their leaflets used to be very amusing years ago.

mollie Sat 17-Oct-15 16:01:03

I've had the same problem but managed to buy some lovely fabric last year online from a shop in Cornwall (I'd been to the shop on holiday so was happy to buy online) but I can't find a darned link!!

However, here are some other suggestions

(might need to copy and paste if this doesn't go to plan, sorry confused