Here’s a list of places I’ve visited in London where you can buy (mostly cheap) fabric. East London features a lot because it’s where I live (and is the best part!). I’ll update this page as new shops are discovered. I’ve not tried buying fabric online yet.
African Printed/Dutch Wax Fabric
I buy in bundles of 5/6 metres in a variety of colours and the choice is so good I spend ageeesss deciding what to buy. For 5 metres for £5 (bargain!) go to Dalston Shopping Centre in Hackney, east London. There’s also a variety of shops in Petticoat Lane market/Wentworth street (near Liverpool Street station). Prices are higher (typically starting from £12 for 6 metres) but you’ll have much greater choice.
Cloth House, Berwick Street, W1F 8SJ
There are 2 Cloth House stores on Berwick Street in Soho. No. 47 is smaller and sells cotton mainly – canvas, printed, linen, muslin. I don’t know if its because of the time of my visit (April 2015) but fabric colours are muted – beige, greys, blues, oranges across the whole shop. Plenty of buttons and trimmings. The decor gives the shop a boutique/Victorian feel. No.98 is larger and stocks a wider range of dressmaking fabrics. Prices are what you’d expect for the location.
Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus
John Lewis, Oxford Street, W1A 1EX
I do like John Lewis but it really is the last resort when it comes to buying dressmaking fabric because of price. I’ve found the same fabric here 5 times cheaper on a market stall. The soft furnishing fabrics are truly beautiful and not easily found elsewhere. A good place to go for advice on purchasing a sewing machine. Staff are knowledgeable and friendly.
Misan, 52 Berwick Street, W1F 8SL
On the famous Berwick Street in the West End behind Oxford Street are 3, yes 3 Misan stores. Misan Textiles (the nearest to Oxford Street at no.52) sells Liberty prints, wool, jersey and cotton prints. The basement stocks reduced fabric by colour *squeal*. Worth a visit for lovely fabrics on a budget. A short walk away is Misan Brothers and stocks tailoring fabrics. Misan Fabrics at no.4 sells silk, cashmere, lace, brocades and other lushious fabrics for that special outfit.
Nearest station: Oxford Street
MacCulloch & Wallis, 25 – 26 Poland Street, W1F 8QN
After 116 years up the road, M&W moved to new premises as of April 2015. I made a visit just after the move and found their wares spread over two floors (instead of 5 as of old). On the first is a mix of fabrics from jersey to silk and linen. On the lower ground floor is the haberdashery of all sorts – buckles, buttons, stretch lace, ribbons and small caves stocking millinery tools and fabrics. I’ll visit again when more boxes have been unpacked and the smell of fresh paint is less nauseating.
Nearest station: Oxford Street or Totteham Court Road
Bhopals, Brick Lane, E1 6RL
Lots of fabric within a very small narrow shop. Not for the claustrophic!
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street and Aldgate East
Dalston Fabric Mill, Ridley Road Market, Hackney E8 3NP
About two-thirds into the market is this Aladdin’s cave of fabric – plenty of choice of cotton, polyester and bright, sequined fabric from the floor to the (high) ceiling. There’s also a haberdashery at the back and old, unused dressmaking patterns on sale for £1 outside if you fancy a rummage.
Nearest train station: Dalson Kingsland
Mermaid Fabrics, Mare Street, Hackney E8 1HR
Recently re-opened (January 2014) after a re-fit this shop stocks a range of tartan, brocade, jersey and a small selection of cotton fabrics. An extensive range of soft furnishing fabrics are housed separately in the back of the shop. It also sells net curtains and very basic haberdashery items. Prior to my recent visit my memories of this shop was of a very cramp space. I really like the new layout and will visit again.
Nearest station: Hackney Central
Paul’s Fabrics – Watney Market, Shadwell E1 2PR
Paul’s was originally a market stall and over the years acquired shop premises as well. The fabric here is really cheap, mostly less than £5 per metre. You won’t find pure cotton here though – it’s mostly polyester, georgette and nylon prints and a small but very nice selection of soft furnishing fabrics. Quick service and helpful staff.
Nearest train station: Shadwell DLR and Overground
Along the longest open market in Europe you’ll find shops selling fabric and notions and stalls here and there. One stall in particular is the famous TMOS (The Man Outside Sainsbury’s) – I’ve been to this market twice and missed him both times . Fabric here is cheap – particularly jersey and viscose. Saeed’s is one really nice shop with a bit of everything. Note – market is closed on Sundays.
Nearest station: Walthamstow Central
Woolcrest Textiles Ltd, 6 Well Street, Hackney E9 7PX
This was a hot tip from a fellow student in my pattern-making class. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but inside there is lots and lots of choice – brocade, wool, tweed, silk, canvas and lace. Great for Autumn/Winter clothing, not so good for cotton lawn or poplin. It’s like a small warehouse but there’s no heating so dress appropriately if you visit in the Winter months so all that lovely fabric gets your full attention. Only open Monday – Friday.
Nearest train station: London Fields or Hackney Central
Whitechapel Market, Whitechapel Road, E1 1BY
There is only one fabric stall here and I’m afraid I don’t know the name of the guy that runs it but the fabric is really cheap and so good for toiles. Viscose, polyester and poly-cotton blends, £1- 4 per metre. No market stalls on Sundays.
Nearest station: Whitechapel
Z. Butt Textiles, Brick Lane, E1 6RF
A lovely family run fabric shop to have in east London. A reasonable haberdashery and usual variety of fabrics – suiting, cotton, jersey, demin etc.
Nearest station: Aldgate East
Village Haberdashery, West Hampstead, NW6 1NB
This shop is quite small and densely packed with a colourful selection of fabrics, trimmings and wool. There was so much for my eyes to take in on arrival. I expected the shop to be somewhat larger but it could be that the core business is online as I think the website is lovely. Staff were friendly and helpful. As the shop is out of my way, I’m unlikely to visit again but may make my first ever online fabric purchase with them. Visited Jan 2016.
Nearest station: West Hampstead
Ikea, Croydon, CR0 4UZ
I don’t know how long cotton dressmaking and canvas fabric has been on sale at Ikea but I was surprised and impressed by the range on offer. Between £5-7 per metre (visit made Febuary 2014). Help yourself to a roll off the shelf, cut what you need and it’s then weighed for pricing by the sales assistant.
Nearest station: Amphere Way (via tramlink)
Fabrics Galore, Lavender Hill, SW11 5RH
The website doesn’t do justice to the really lovely variety of cotton fabric sold at this shop. It is a joy to visit and sells Alexander Henry and Liberty prints at £12 per metre! Haberdashery is small but has the essentials. It’s not a large shop but it is well stocked.
Nearest station: Clapham Junction and Clapham Common
Rolls and Rems, Lewisham, SE13 6AT
A good range of fabrics and haberdashery. Plenty of cotton prints here. Also sells dressmaking patterns. It’s always busy when I visit. Friendly and efficient service. Discovered their second floor of fabrics (curtain, more jerseys and cottons) in January 2016!
Nearest station: Lewisham Rail and DLR
Simply Fabrics, Brixton, SW9 8PU
A dressmaking fabric shop with a bit of everything – cotton, lace, satin, silk and Liberty prints for £12 per metre! There is a Simply Fabrics haberdashery shop less than a minute away. Friendly service.
Nearest station: Brixton
Wimbledon Sewing Centre, Tooting, SW17 7AA
A good all round shop – fabric, cushions, wadding, knitting wool, buttons and zips etc. Also sells Brother sewing and embroidery machines. Friendly and helpful staff. A hobby shop, you can also find tools for jewellery making and cake decorating.
Nearest station: Tooting Bec
Shaukat, South Kensington, SW5 0BA
Don’t buy Liberty fabric at Liberty – Regent Street, buy it here and pay less! You can buy this gorgeous stuff by the metre or choose from the many remanent pieces. Then take a short walk over to the V&A Museum. Fabric and free entry to view beautiful art, textiles and design? That’s what I call a blissful way to spend an afternoon.
Nearest station: South Kensington
Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 8QP
There are at least 6 good fabric shops next door and opposite each other in on this road. From jersey knit to cotton, silk, wool and polyester – it’s all here! The prices are great too. Most shops don’t have a haberdashery so head to the market stall area for those zips, threads and buttons.
Nearest station: Goldhawk Road