Fabric Shopping in London: Goldhawk Road

IMG_7515 When I first starting reading sewing blogs, I kept hearing about this amazing place in London called Goldhawk Road. I wasn't sure if it was  a market, a store, or a street, but what I was sure about was that I wanted to go there. Great deals on apparel fabric? Yes please!

So the next time we were planning a trip to London (which was when we came last spring) I showed John where it was and asked to go there. He discovered that it was just a short bus ride from our hotel (for your reference, if you get to Shepard's Bush tube station which is on the Central Line - you can catch the 237 bus and it takes about 3-5 minutes to get to the first fabric shop on Goldhawk Road - about 2-3 bus stops) and so we went.

Our first visit there was extremely overwhelming. It took me a few shops to warm up, and even consider buying anything. (I know right! That does not sound like me at all - I love to shop!) It wasn't that things were overly expensive or anything like that, it was that each of the little shops was crammed with copious amounts of glorious apparel fabric, and I had never seen anything like it. Stacks and stacks of apparel cottons, rolls of suitings, bolts of waxed prints, shelves of silks, jerseys, chiffons, and crepes - amazing! A far cry from what I am used to in Calgary (two or three chain stores with mostly quilting cottons). Anyway, I wrote a blog post about it last time, but this time John helped me keep track of which fabric came from which shop. Unfortunately, I didn't do as good a job at keeping track of prices, but the most expensive fabric I bought was £12 per metre and the cheapest one was £3 per metre. I think the average came out to be about £5 per metre which is a really good deal in my book especially for the quality.

So here we go, get ready for lots of pictures. I hope you don't mind me sharing all the fabrics I bought with you. I just figure that, that is probably the most interesting part (exactly what you could buy if you were to visit here), but the side effect to that for me is now you will know how much of a fabric junkie I actually am, and exactly what is in my stash. LOL. Stashing isn't the same as hoarding is it?  Anyway, shall we walk down the road? Lets!


This shop had tons of African waxed prints. John is not really a fan, so I didn't get any myself, but there were some really gorgeous ones. I ended up with this bottom weight plaid which is really lovely. It will probably become a skirt.



This shop was fantastic, will a very friendly gentleman inside. I recognized some of the fabrics inside as ones I had bought last time. Some great deals on cottons in here. Here is what I came away with:



This store was one of my favourites, but it is a touch more expensive than some of the other ones (depending on what you buy). The two printed cottons I got were £10 per metre but they are absolutely gorgeous, and the two solid shirtings were only £3 per metre.



At this shop, I picked up this plaid fabric (in the photo below). I was convinced it was silk, but the shop proprietor assured me that it is 100% cotton! I swear to you it feels just like silk. It's amazing! I think it was about £4 per metre. My go to amount to buy for fabric is about 2m. Unless I know for sure what I am going to make out of it (or if it's really expensive then I only get 1m). I have found that because I am short, 2 metres is usually enough for a fit and flare dress, or a button down shirt or any shirt really, or for a skirt with some generous scraps leftover (depending on the length that is). I do my best to use up my scraps - they are great for underwear, contrast facings, pockets and my favourite way to use them is for contrasting yokes and inner collar stands on button down shirts (ahem..Archer..cough, cough).




This is a beautiful printed cotton that John fell in love with, and the striped fabric was in with the African waxed cottons, but it doesn't really feel like cotton. I asked the gentleman that rung me up, but he said he wasn't sure. He said it was probably a viscose cotton blend, so who knows how I'm going to wash it. LOL

This brought us up to the tube station and a Costa coffee shop where we decided to have a break. One of the fun parts about shopping on Goldhawk Road is that there are loads of fashion students shopping for school projects, so the people watching is brilliant. We got a seat by the window, had a latte and a coke and enjoyed watching the people go by.

After a rest, we were ready to concur the other side of the street, so off we went.


This was a really large shop where I bought quite a few fabrics last time. This time I didn't find quite as much, but we did walk away with this lovely cotton. Are you getting a feel for my colour palette yet? Well mine and John's colour palette really.



This shop was really busy, and yes those are flamingos! I think it's a rayon or some kind of poly blend but it has a really nice drape and I love the pink flamingos. I also really loved the colour of this plaid which will probably be my next Archer.


And this brings us to our final shop:


This is another place for bargains on Liberty fabrics. They have quite a few Tana Lawns and also a number of Liberty silks among many other fabrics. The staff here are all very nice and very helpful. The older lady that took my money was incredibly sweet and quite funny too. I walked away with this gem, yet another Liberty print. I didn't find any current Liberty prints here and the selection is nowhere near Shaukat, but still really good deals. I think this one was £12 per metre. Woo hoo!


So that was pretty much it for us on Goldhawk Road. Pretty awesome, huh? I think there might be a few more shops past where we stopped and crossed the road, but not many. There weren't a ton of notions in any of these shops, but I think there are a couple of haberdashery shops up the road a bit as well.

Hopefully this helps you a bit if you ever get a chance to visit London. This would definitely be one of the must do's on my list for fabric shopping in London. You can hit a bunch of shops all at once and get a lot of bang for your buck as they say.

Fabric Shopping in London: Shaukat Fabrics

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). IMG_7488

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?