Tip #1 – figure out where the stores are before leaving the hotel room
I recently visited London on vacation. I kinda sorta did some research on fabric shopping which amounted to skimming a couple of blog posts. I found the area with a good cluster of stores and headed there. I decided on Berwick Street in Soho, so off I went.
Tip #2 – Don’t confuse East vs West when coming out of the Tube station
The nearest Tube station to these stores was Oxford Circle. Coming out of the station I was completely at a loss of which way was East. Oh no problem, look for the sun. Oh gee, it’s cloudy in London and I can’t see the sun at all. Like not even a glimmer if it was to my right or to my left. 15 minutes walking in the wrong direction later, I found Berwick St. I recently bought a mini compass from REI that can clip to my sleeve for future preventative care.
Tip #3 – Don’t get sticker shock when you’re in Soho
I found a few fabrics that I loved but they were over £55 per meter. Wow, that’s like $88+/meter. Apparently the problem with my lack of prior research (see tip #1) was that I had wondered into some of the priciest fabric shops in London. There were some reasonably priced fabrics but they were similar to fabrics I can get locally and not worth hauling all the way across the Atlantic.
Tip #4 – Pick up sewing magazines at the convenience store
I picked up issues of Burda, Ottobre and Mollie Makes at what I would describe as a convenience store. Drop into a few of these as their selection vary. These make great plane reading and don’t take up too much space. I tried looking in book stores but I didn’t see any magazines.
Tip #5 – Take pics because you won’t remember the shops
After a couple of shops it was all a big blur of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. If you have a fabric in mind that you want to come back and purchase later, make sure you snap a pic of the shop and note where it is. This is especially useful on Berwick St since there are a multiple Cloth House and Misan stores.
Tip #6 – Have fun fondling
Though I didn’t end up buying any fabric I enjoyed fondling fabrics. Bonus: Fondling is free. I hope you had a fun time reliving my clueless American fabric shopping excursion with me.
Happy clueless shopping,