Sunday, 16 May 2010

UK quilters - where do you buy your fabric

Over in the UK fabric is more expensive than in the US and we have less choice but recently I got some advice from a bee member in one of my bees, Little Island Quilting, about some of the US online shops she uses.  Her advice is set out below.  Where do other UK quilters go?  Do you shop in the UK or from the US online shops?  Which US and UK shops do you use and how do you rate them?  Just to give you something pretty to look at while you're thinking about your answer, I love this Ghostly Ghastly fabric which contemporary cloth (listed below) have in their online shop:
And here is Little Island's advice:

I get my solids mainly from - up until recently they were offering 20% off their Kona solids and every so often they offer free international shipping (and you can order up to two batting rolls as well). I also ordered the Kona colour card from them as is a much better way of deciding which colours to order rather than relying on the accuracy of your computer screen. I also use: 
If I am after something really specific then I use which represents over 200 US quilt shops. Type in 'sale' and you get masses of pages!


  1. Hi Lynne, I tend to buy in this country, only because don't you have to keep the amount you spend under £18 inc p&P or else you are liable to pay duty ? May have to check that.. I use Saints and pinners and also Gone to Earth. For plain cotton I use a company called Abakhan fabrics who are very cheap..

  2. You have been a very very bad influence on me today - I have spent loads at seamstar and backstitch!! Bad, bad, bad xx

  3. I tend to buy FQs and charm packs/layer cakes every so often from my local shop (or things I want straight away). I also get my batting from my local shop.

    I have ordered from the US from and I also check out SewMamaSew and Hawthorne Threads regularly. I also look at Etsy (searching under supplies) especially if I am looking for a particular fabric range. I tend to find that I save 25% on regular priced fabric (US fabric that I find tends to be about $8 a yard) when I take customs charges and postage into account. If the package isn't stopped by customs and/or is on sale I can save between 33% and 50%. So when ordering a lot I can save quite a bit especially as one of my local shops has now got most of their fabrics at £12 a metre. The main reason I shop from the US though is the range available. Particularly because I am new to quilting and have fallen in love with a few fabric ranges that are a little old now so aren't readily available in the UK. So even if those work out the same price as here it can still be worth ordering from the US. (I have worked out that fabric would have to be about $9.25 a yard to be the same as fabric here at £10 a metre.

    I am interested in thinking about buying solids and batting online too but at the moment I buy this from my local shop as you can see the exact colour of the solid and they help me measure the batting.

  4. Hello Lynne, I get most of my stuff in the UK from Seamstar or Saints and Pinners though I have got some stuff from Fabric Rehab too. Buying in the UK is more expensive than in the states but you need to take into account shipping and potential customs charges. I have ordered from FabricWorm in the states and they mark the cost of their packages down so if customs pick it up you won't get charged which is good but postage is still high. Seamstar & Saints and Pinners are very good at ordering what the customer requires and I think that we should be encouraging people to buy UK where possible as this is the only way to get the design houses to supply to the UK at a better price. Lecture over!

  5. I love browsing the American shops online, but have never ordered from them. Still a bit apprehensive because of shipping costs and customs. I used to buy a lot of Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler fabrics at cottonpatch online and have used a few other UK online shops too. (quilterscloth, sunflower fabrics for cute fabric packs when they still had more modern fabrics). I am really craving certain designers' lines at the moment (Heather Ross, Patty Young, Denyse Schmidt, etc.) and can't really find them in the UK, maybe one fabric or two and I usually want the whole range of fabrics ideally in small bundles. I have recently started using more solids in my quilting too and am struggling to find a good comprehensive range in the UK. The linens I have found at Coast and Country are too rough for handquiltng. am now saving a whole load of money to put in a big order from Hawthorne Threads. Their website is the best I think, by far. great service to automatically suggest coordinating solids. genius.

  6. Obviously I agree with Justine!

    Seriously though (and yes i'm biased) there are hidden advantages of buying in the UK as opposed to the US:
    In the short term -
    If you don't like the fabric or there is a problem with the purchase, if you've bought it in the UK you can send it back easily and you can get a no quibble refund. Of course there is also the speed of delivery - no more waiting for lovely fabrics to arrive, you can buy today and sew tomorrow!

    In the longer term -
    As has already been mentioned, it is a case of 'support your local shops or they close down' - even though in this case the 'local' is all national UK fabric shops.

    On the point of getting the best fabrics supplied to the UK - there are certainly a growing number of UK fabric shops which is great. The more UK fabric shops, the greater the demand which means more distributors which in turn means better systems and ultimately better prices.

    Personally I can not wait to see the day when the UK has its own shops like Hawthorn Threads or Fabricworm where every fabric of every new collection is there for sale. It is possible, and maybe only a few years away - but it won't happen unless UK fabric shops are supported so they can grow :)

  7. Like a few other commentators I'm nervous about ordering from the US because of the customs implications.
    I mainly use which has a dynamic range and very quick delivery, usually the next day.
    I use cottonpatch sometimes for notions and things but it is a lot slower.
    I've used every now and then but there are more traditional fabrics.
    On flickr there was a discussion group that led to one of the members setting up selling some kona solids but I haven't used this yet.
    I finally recently discovered a real life quilt shop not too far from me that does online as well. Don't know what the are like that way, but it did have a good choice. Nothing like the US though.

  8. I really agree with Courtney. Also one of the great things about ordering from a UK shop (like mine!) is that you can get your fabric or pattern next day!


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