I LOVE fabric! Who doesn’t? Surely there isn’t a person out there who doesn’t get all overcome with excitement at seeing all the latest fabrics? The bright colours, the gorgeous prints, the sensual textures….. No? Must just be me then!
I use a lot of different fabrics but my favourite is 100% cotton in bright colours. It works well for the things I make. Handles easily, cuts like a dream, doesn’t fray, sews well and washes up great. What is not to like?
Since I began my adventures in sewing I have made my fabric purchases in various places. I actually started out with good old John Lewis. The first thing I made was a skirt from an Amy Butler pattern and I got the Amy Butler fabric in JL’s. It is a good store but the choice is limited and it is pricey.
From that beginning, I have long since progressed. I have visited various places and used a lot of online companies including the Bay. I have purchased good fabrics at great prices and not such good fabric at over inflated prices. You live and you learn. To a large degree fabric is one of those things where you get what you pay for.
That having been said, there are places that sell good quality fabrics at very reasonable cost. My very favourite place that does just that is the Fabric Guild in Leicester. Before I tell you more, I have to tell you that I have just one complaint about it……. It is in Leicester and I am out in the Lincolnshire Fens! My other half would probably see that as a plus point. If it was on my doorstep I would be in there every week. Luckily for me, our youngest daughter lives in Leicester so I am able to visit every few months.
So let’s tell you more. The Fabric Guild, as already mentioned, is in Leicester. It is a family run business and the staff are all very friendly and helpful. It is run along the lines of an American style warehouse club and therefore not open to the general public, you have to be a member which costs a one off fee of £5. (More about that later.) They do not exhibit at trade shows.
The Fabric Guild has the largest selection of quilting fabrics and sewing craft supplies this side of the Atlantic. Compare that to the average stores which all tend to have the same ranges. The Fabric Guild often has the latest ranges direct from the USA. Price wise their prices for the latest fabric ‘releases’ are about the same as you would pay in an American shop but they also have a huge range of clearance fabrics at £3/yd. or less. The stock changes very regularly so there is always something new and different.
Because the Fabric Guild is not a shop you cannot simply ‘pop in’ whenever you want. They are open to members on Fridays 10.00am to 3.30pm and Sundays 8.30am – 1.00pm. Groups of 5 or more can visit on Thursday’s 10.00am to 2.30pm by prior appointment.
I mentioned previously that you must be a member. You are probably thinking at this point, “Ok so how much is that going to cost me” Lifetime membership of the Fabric Guild is only £5 and for this you will receive 6 invitations and 6 newsletters a year. Your invitation is flexible and alternative dates are easily arranged. Membership also entitles you to a special bonus voucher (worth approx. £1.25) for every £25 you spend – these vouchers can then be swapped directly for things like scissors and cutting equipment.
The great people at the Fabric Guild even provide free coffee and biscuits and you can take your own lunch too. Believe me you will need sustenance to keep those energy levels up! There is a nice seating area down the back where you can deposit your OH with his magazine. Mine waits patiently and when I have too much to carry, I drop it off with him until it is time to go and pay. NB. if you get as carried away as me you will need someone to help you carry your bags. OH is as good as any and if you are really lucky he may even pay!
This is probably a good time to mention that if you are unable to visit Leicester then the Fabric Guild do also sell online. (Shop links at end of blog). In addition to gorgeous fabrics they also stock, wadding, sewing notions, books, threads, beads, buttons, card and scrap-booking craft and decorative knitting wool. Delivery is free when you spend over £200.
So time to show you some of the lovely stuff that is in stock right now.
This is just a very small sample. What do you think? If you love fabric as much as me then you need to schedule a visit to Leicester and the Fabric Guild. I can’t recommend them highly enough.