Friday, 24 March 2017

Shopping for fabric and trims

Image from

There are some great places to shop for fabric online, but many times we find ourselves contemplating expensive trips to London, or buying overpriced fabric, or even rummaging around local haberdashery shops that, while useful for the odd zip or elastic, are hopeless for finding quality fabric. With that in mind, I put together a few of my favourite places to shop for quality fabrics online. If there's any you use, I'd love to hear about them!

My mum is good at finding new fabric shops to try, since when she makes something, she always has a very exact idea of what she wants. For her Chanel-inspired jacket, she tracked down a tweed shop in the Outer Hebrides, and almost went there in person to buy fabric! She didn't go in the end, as she managed to find a phone number and had samples delivered to her. She likes visiting fabric shops in London, but usually buys online to stay thrifty. I think when she retires, she will go around the country in a camper van, finding fabric from all over. I will try and extract a list from her at some point of her favourite sites, but I know she uses Fabric Land and Abakhan as well as some of the sites I use below.

Mum's Chanel-inspired Jacket

Shopping Tips

While not always possible, I recommend requesting samples of fabrics before you buy metres worth. As you cannot see the fabric the way you would in a shop, you cannot be certain of it's colours, thickness, drape, etc. There are some great blogpots here and there that go into detail about what to look for, so check those out if you're not sure what to look for. Some shops will offer a swatch service, where you can either buy samples for a small amount of money (usually just covering postage) or they offer a money-back scheme next time you shop.

My Favourite Shops

Searching in the "cats" tag on Kawaii Fabric

Kawaii Fabric has some great printed fabrics from all around the world, with good value for money, and there are some great prints suitable for lolita clothing.

This excellent fabric shop in Cornwall is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. I'm always impressed by the quality, and find this site best for luxury solid fabrics, such as chiffon, organza, and wool. They also carry a range of Liberty prints and high end bridal fabrics.

MyFabrics has a good range of solid fabrics. When you subscribe to their newsletter you get a £5 off voucher, and the newsletter is actually quite good – they send details of special offers/discounts, and usually make things "trendy", for example they show fabrics matching the 2017 Pantone colour, and had a tongue-in-cheek lingerie making guide for Valentine's.

They have a great range of printed fabrics, trims and accessories, but the feature I like best is the ability to search fabrics by use – so you can be sure it will work for your blouse project, for example.

Plush Addict consistently wins awards for "best online retailer" and it's easy to see why. Their customer service is one of the friendliest I've encountered online, and they offer a great selection of fabrics, haberdashery, and even sewing machines. I found this site when searching for plush fabric, and was very impressed by the quality.

Minerva Crafts always makes me think of Professor McGonagall hunting down fabric, so of course I want to shop here! The site is monolithic, and has fabric, sewing, knitting, needlework, crafts,  quilting, home decor and bridal sections, meaning you can buy everything you ever needed for sewing here. If the selection above looks a little bland, it's only because if I start looking for their best offerings, I will be stuck there for at least a week. They even have some lace that isn't terrible!

Sites that require a shopping service

I'm reluctant to write about webshops that require a shopping service to order from, due to difficulty in ordering, and service/customs fees, but sometimes, the offerings are so nice that I have to point you towards them. If you are into Japanese fashion, chances are you'll be well versed in ordering from Japan/China already. I'm sorry I cannot help more with this, it will just take too long to explain when there are already guides out there!


If it looks complicated, that's because it is

I have used Rakuten in the past, as I was buying some clothes from Japan and wanted to see what fabrics were available that I could group together with the order. Some good shops are Mymama and
Nuno1000. If you want to order fabrics from Rakuten, I suggest you make a big pot of coffee or tea and goodle "how to order from rakuten", visit shopping service website, and install language and currency converters on Google Chrome. However, you may find some Rakuten shops that ship direct to you, without having to go through a shopping service.

Taobao Laces

Taobao Laces offers some stunning lace trims for making lolita dresses. Taobao is based in China and you need a shopping service to use it – I use They offer cheaper shipping options if your items are light and you're prepared to wait a while for them to arrive. I find ordering lace from Taobao cheaper than buying in the UK, even with fees – the laces are better quality, and cost between 40p-£1 per metre before shipping.

New Discoveries

Fabrics Galore and Higgs + Higgs are stalls that I loved at the Sewing Show at the NEC but haven't ordered from their websites yet. Both have some adorable printed jersey fabrics, which I'd like to try out once I get the confidence to work with knits! You can read more about these shops in my last post.

Fabrics Galore

Fabrics Galore – based in Lavender Hill, London, with beautiful fabrics for all types of dressmaking, including Liberty fabrics, lawn and viscose in bright and colour prints.

Higgs and Higgs

Higgs and Higgs stock cute and floral fabrics, and are a really charming, pretty shop.

Thanks for reading and I hope I've helped you find some new places to shop fabrics! This was inspired by Shalisa at Tea Cake Time Machine, who asked where I like to get fabrics from, and I realised I had enough in me for a post about it.

Where do you like to shop for fabrics? What sort of things do you look for – price, quality, colour, or all three?


  1. I used to use John Lewis occasionally, but mainly Fabric Land. However, their customer service, both online and in store, is pretty much non existent so I'd very much prefer to spend my money elsewhere... and now I can! Thank you so much for this post! A few of those shops I'd heard of already but you've given me a few new places to search through ^_^

    A lot of the prints I've seen look so perfect for otome style dresses! *_*

    I think the first thing I notice is price, especially for fabrics I want to use to make items for my shop. It's no good getting an amazing fabric that's £20 per metre because the final price I'd have to set for the finished product would be something that nobody would be willing to pay haha. There's definitely a balance you have to strike! When it comes to things you're making for yourself, you can be a little more indulgent if you're in love with the fabric, I feel!

    1. That makes a lot of sense to choose based on price if you're selling! When you make for yourself, it's nice to splurge sometimes to get the project exactly how you imagine it!

  2. There is a big Abakhan in the closest town to where I grew all the money from my job in half term went into buying lovely fabrics, and I still make a beeline when I want to have a look for more fabric to add to my stash! I have an order in the post now, I grabbed some sale Liberty lawn so that I could have a fancy lightweight lining for some dresses, but I prefer to go in as they have an ever changing selection.

    FabricLand's website has gotten a lot better in the last year - honestly, the old one was pretty horrific and you could only order by phoning up...

    1. Oh, that's lucky to have a shop like that near you! Liberty lawn is so stunning, I'm scared to use it until my skills get a little better, though.

      I heard that about FabricLand recently, and I've heard their customer service in their physical stores isn't great... so I'm hesitant to use them.