Motherhood.Adventure.Slow Fashion.Sewing.Womanhood

Monday, 13 July 2015

Where to Buy Fabrics Locally...

I live in a little seaside town - Southend-On-Sea in Essex. When I first started to sew I had no clue where to buy fabrics from. Cue the online shopping experimenting outlined in my previous blog post. As I've mentioned; shopping online definitely has it's plus points (the large variety that's available, the usually cheaper prices, being able to search for a specific type of fabric), but it also has it's downsides (not being able to touch the fabric, sometimes not getting a true representation of the colour on your computer screen, unable to get a real grasp of the scale of a pattern in a small photo).

I decided to do a tour of places relatively local to me that sell fabric and here is a list of some of my favourites:

Kayes Textiles: Westcliff-On-Sea
Kayes Textiles used to be inside a dance shop a few doors up the road from their location now, and I stumbled upon it by chance when driving past and noticing some rolls of fabric in the window. Now they have their very own shop and I love to go in there for a look around. They have a really wide range of printed cottons, but they also stock a lot of other types of fabric as well. From jerseys to lace and popcorn minky. I made Logan a cot bumper out of fabric purchased from Kayes last year out of a lovely popcorn minky and a brushed cotton fabric.They sell other essentials too such as needles, threads and ribbons. They are always extremely helpful and I find their prices pretty competitive. Kayes now also run a few sewing classes which is a brilliant thing to offer. Tilly, from the amazing Bamboo Bettie, who was my college tutor last year, runs these sewing classes at Kayes, so you know they will be brilliant! Tilly says she loves to teach the children's sewing classes in particular as she loves the looks on the Mum's faces when they come to pick their child up and are completely amazed with what they have made in their sewing class.

You can find them here:
292 London Road

The Cheap Shop: Tiptree
Don't let the name put you off! This shop is an absolute Aladdin's cave of all things craft and sewing! Firstly, Tiptree is a very cute place to visit anyway, regardless of this amazing shop. It's so quaint, I love it. Plus there is the best fish and chip shop on the main road. The shop itself doesn't look much from the outside, and when you first enter, it seems pretty small, but the shop goes back further than the eye can see. The front of the shop is filled with the arts and crafts type things, and the back of the shop is filled top to toe with fabrics! They have everything you could ever need - patterns, threads, elastics, notions, rulers, cutting mats, trimmings, buttons, every type of fabric you could need, and lots of other goodies too. Normally stuff you don't even know you need until you see it and then just have to buy or you can't go on living without it. Even though this is a good 45 minutes to an hour away in the car from me, I've bought a lot from here over the years. I always make sure I have a clear list of exactly what I am looking for when I visit, as otherwise it is a bit easy to get carried away!

You can find the Cheap Shop here:
108 Church Road

The Sewing Box: Leigh-On-Sea
The Sewing Box is a compact shop but very handy to know about. It doesn't have the widest range of fabrics, mostly quilting cottons, but it does have a lot of other essentials like needles, ribbons and trimmings and elastics too. They also offer a variety of craft and sewing classes, that are all reasonably priced and great if you want to gain a new skill or build up some knowledge of an existing skill.

You can find The Sewing Box here:
547 Rayleigh Road

Belle Fabrics: Leigh-On-Sea
Belle Fabrics is a great fabric shop in a great location. Leigh-On-Sea is a beautiful place to visit, especially on a sunny day, and the addition of this shop just makes it even more appealing than it already is. Belle has a great range of fabrics, from cottons to cotton spandex blends, jerseys, lace and even curtain and upholstery fabrics. They also have a special Bridal Fabric section upstairs. They have a wide variety of trimmings and threads, and also stock a lot of patterns. The fabrics here can be a bit pricey I have found, but they are always great quality. They also have a few fabrics on sale every now and then and have managed to grab a few bargains from here. I bought the Anchor fabric for the first dress that I ever made form here (back when I couldn't read a pattern properly and thought I needed 6 metres of fabric for the dress instead of 2.5!) but I later found the same fabric on the Fabricland website for half the price. However, it's convenient and close, and always nice to go and have a mooch around and feel the pretty fabrics.

You can find Belle Fabrics here:
4-12 Elm Road

Other than actual brick and mortar shops, I also like to visit the local markets for fabric. There used to be a great stall run by a lady who used to do Southend Market and Pitsea Market, but unfortunately I haven't seen her for some time.

I also like to scour the charity shops and look for any treasures in there. I've bought a few vintage 60's and 70's duvet sets that have amazing patterns on, that I use for the fabric. This is a great way to upcycle and also great to get a great design that you can't get anywhere else. We even bought a vintage dress once and upcycled the top layering fabric. It was an amazing stretch velvet burnout fabric. We turned it into a few limited edition sets:

I'm always on the lookout for new places to get fabrics from, so if you have any tips of local places then please let me know! In the meantime, I hope this can act as a good starting point for those of you who are unsure of where to get your fabrics from.



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