Last time we were in London, we passed by a little fabric store while we were on the bus called Shaukat Fabrics. It was near the end of our trip, and I had already completely blown through my fabric budget, so we didn't end up going there. I did however, google it, and read a great review on Katie's blog here. Katie's review is very thorough so I won't bother repeating everything she said, but the gist is that if you are looking for Liberty prints, this is the place to go. Liberty cottons are absolutely incredible; beautiful, super soft and a dream to sew with, so it was the first place we went this trip (well the first place we went for fabric anyway).
This shop is actually very convenient to get to, in fact, there is a bus stop right in front of it. We are staying at the Hilton Olympia again (I think we even got the exact same room we stayed in last spring), which is conveniently located on Kensington High Street. We tend to stay in Hiltons when we can, because: a) they are usually nice and clean, b) they have great buffet breakfasts, c) they are reasonably priced (most of the time), and d) if you stay enough and collect Hilton Honours points, you get things like free Wi-fi and Executive Lounge privileges. Anyway, probably not everyone's cup of tea, but we like it.
Another reason we love this hotel in particular, is that it is a short bus ride to most of our favourite places. In all of our travels to London we have discovered that the bus is a great way to travel. It's much cheaper than taxis, requires less walking than the tube, and you get to see the city when you ride it - plus the bus goes everywhere, and who doesn't what to come to London and ride a red double decker? We hopped on the C1 bus right outside the hotel and jumped off right in front of Shaukat on Old Brompton Road. It was about a 10 minute trip altogether.
The shop is clean and organized, but doesn't seem overly impressive when you first walk in, but then you go down the stairs to Liberty fabric heaven.
These pictures really don't do it justice, and I didn't really take enough of them. I was a little bit timid taking photos as there were always staff members around. I only ended up taking two, but there is a whole other room filled with suitings, and then another room with pre-cut liberty fabrics. You can do a bit of a virtual tour on the website if you want to see more. It was really huge and to be honest a touch overwhelming. It's mostly Liberty prints, but there are also other fabrics like shirtings, ginghams, quilting cottons and what not.
The staff were very friendly and helpful, and patient as it took me forever to decide what to buy. The tana lawns where pretty much all priced at about £17 per metre (including tax), which is still quite expensive, but if you were to go directly to Liberty they cost anywhere between £21-£34.50 (plus tax), so it's quite a savings. I don't think they had the newest prints, but they definitely had lots of the same ones still available at Liberty.
They also do tax free shopping, so if you ask, they give you a special receipt that you take to the airport and you can claim your VAT back. They also ship worldwide, so if you go onto their website you can get fabric delivered right to your door. There is also a remnants bin upstairs, where I scored the best deal - 2 metres of this gorgeous gabardine (at least I think that's what it is) for £10.
Here are the spoils:
The top picture has all the tana lawns plus one craft cotton (which I think is like a quilting cotton) and the bottom photo is of the green remnant John picked out for me. It feels beautiful but I'm not sure what it is, maybe a gabardine? It was £10 for 2 metres and it's super wide. Definitely the steal of the trip.
At this point, I think I should mention that I have the best husband ever. He is so patient with me when it comes to fabric shopping (and all things sewing really). He holds my bags, he takes me to pretty much any shop I want to go to, and he even helps to pick fabrics out - which he is very good at, I might add. He really understands that fabric shopping in Calgary pretty much sucks, so he doesn't mind coming with me to check out fabric shops when we travel. I am so lucky to have such a supportive spouse!
So I think I made out like a bandit! These fabrics are gorgeous and I can't wait to make things out of them!
Are there things you like to do when you travel that your spouse/significant other doesn't or vice versa? Do you go fabric shopping when you go away? How does your spouse/significant other feel about it?