I thought it would be useful to put together a list of fabric shops which I’ve visited and what I thought about them (this is something I almost always look for when travelling to a new town).
Shops in Brighton
21 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL
A shop selling ex designer fabrics, which everybody raves about. I’ve never warmed to it for some reason, but they have a good selection and the staff are helpful.
Brighton Sewing Centre
68 North Road, BN1 1YD (not to be confused with North Street)
A pretty shop with chatty staff, selling sewing machines alongside bright quilting cottons and lovely haberdashery. You’ll pay around £12/metre, but the cotton is lovely and soft.
New Fabric Fair
51 Gardner Street, BN1 1UN
If you’re claustrophobic, this could be a place to avoid. New Fabric Fair is a little shop packed to the brim with an incredible selection of fabrics, navigated via small walkways which just allow two people to pass. I’ve never spoken to the staff, but word is that they’re friendly and helpful. They probably don’t accept cards, so bring some cash along.
179-180 Western Road, BN1 2BA
Three floors of all kinds of fabric, haberdashery, and knitting stuff, with a café and a random children’s toy section thrown in. The staff are a bit hit and miss in terms of helpfulness – on some occasions they’ll really help you to find what you’re looking for and make recommendations, and at other times they’ll treat you like an idiot. I think they’re nicer to me when I go in there with my mum. The selection can be a bit old fashioned, but it’s nice quality, the remnants selection is quite broad, and they sometimes surprise me.
76 Western Road, BN1 2HA
This place is cheap by Brighton standards. They have a good range of stock spread over two floors, and the staff are friendly and knowledgable. It’s always absolutely packed, so going on a weekday is advisable.
25 Blatchington Road, BN3 3YL
Currently closed until further notice, the last time I went in they were trying to reduce the stock level (I have a terrible feeling they’ve closed down). This small family run shop is packed with interesting fabrics. The staff are friendly and helpful if you approach them first, otherwise they tend to leave you to it, which can seem a little intimidating in this tiny little shop if you don’t know what you’re doing! It’s probably worth ringing ahead, given the current closure situation, as this is quite far from the other fabric shops, although there are some good vintage and charity shops on this road, as well as George Street and Portland Road.
Shops in Chichester
The Eternal Maker
41 Terminus Road, PO19 8TX
A big warehouse on the outskirts of Chichester, this shop has a great selection of fabrics, haberdashery and kits. They also run an extensive selection of classes.
16 The Hornet, PO19 7JG
Gorgeous retro fabrics from the relaunched Clothkits. As well as fabric, they sell kits with the cutting layout printed directly onto the fabric – these include women’s and children’s clothes, as well as rag dolls and toys.
33/34 North Street, PO19 1LX
Smaller than the Brighton store, but I think they have roughly the same stock. No café here.
Shops in London
300 Oxford Street, W1A 1EX
Quite a big department within the John Lewis shop, mostly taken up with haberdashery. The fabric they do have is generally very nice, if a little pricey.
MacCulloch and Wallis
25-26 Dering Street, W1S 1AT
This is a shop which I’d heard a lot about, but which was very different from what I’d expected. There are three small floors, one with bits of fabric on hangers, one with haberdashery, and one with something else – patterns, I think. I forget.
Fan New Trimmings
14-18 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 8BD
A fascinating place to waste an hour. You’d struggle not to find something you wanted to embellish an item of clothing with in here.
Great Marlborough Street, W1B 5AH
You think liberty prints are gorgeous? Imagine those prints inside a gorgeous mock-tudor listed building. Yes, they’re expensive, but you can always just look!
Some other resources I’ve found useful:
DIY Couture: Guide to Fabric Shops in London
Focusing on three areas of London, this provides a really detailed look at all aspects of the shop from stock to customer service to price
All photos: Shoosmith Photography