Welcome back! Its been a hot minute eh? It’s been an absolutely crazy year with lots of change and upheaval and this blog series hasn’t been possible to maintain on a weekly basis.
Thinking about it, I’ve only actually reviewed one shop since we moved back in March because life has just been too busy. It takes time to settle into a new home even if you physically unpack quickly, mentally it takes time to settle. Then I had exams for my masters degree, then a period of incredible work stress at my previous job, then I got a new job which is my absolute dream job (yay!) and then just as I was starting to feel settled our landlords announced they will be selling our flat (boo!). I should say it has not been sold yet and we will of course be able to finish our tenancy but it felt like a shattering blow to that lovely feeling of settled domesticity we were just starting to achieve.
So with one thing and another my sewing motivation and output dropped, my fabric stash started to build, the UFO pile has gained sentience, and basically I now don’t have the space to store any more fabric. Although, its worth noting that I almost definitely will buy more fabric because I want to make some more cosy loungewear and I’m sure I’ll have to make presents for some people.
ANYWAY. One of the upshots of my sewing malaise has been that I have tried quite a few new fabric shops over the last six months and I finally have lots of wonderful shops to tell you about! In particular today we are talking about Stitch & Ink Fabrics. A new fabric shop and fabric subscription service run by the lovely Alisha, a fellow Scot living down in the south of England!
Before I go on to my usual more detailed discussion of the shop, I absolutely have to mention how fantastic the Stitch & Ink Instagram is. If you don’t follow them you absolutely should, beautiful fabrics, photo quality is amazing and Alisha really engages with the sewing community.
Stitch & Ink
- Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
- Web Link: https://www.stitchandink.co.uk
- Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery, Subscription Service & Gifts
- Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre
Stitch & Ink Fabrics is a new independent fabric shop offering dressmaking fabrics, notions, sewing gifts and a fabric subscription service. For a new business it is already well known in the community and its been a pleasure to see them grow so far. My first purchase with them took place in the August bank holiday sale where I bought some beautiful Art Gallery black cotton poplin, a couple of metres of white polka dot georgette, as well as some pale green floral viscose which will go on to become the lining of my Closet Core Jasika Blazer.
The range of fabrics is fairly good for a new shop with the standard cottons, viscoses and jerseys as well as some beautiful chiffon and georgette options and they have really focussed on engaging with popular statement fabrics. Having watched a number of fabric businesses start, finish and grow over the last year it always seems to me to be a wise strategy when first starting to engage with those popular fabrics and become ‘the shop that sells THAT fabric’ before then branching out, so that you really make a splash on entering the fabric market. In particular Stitch and Ink are stocking some fabulous bright coloured tartans at the moment, the red and pink one of which I am definitely lusting after for a fun fit n flare style dress for Burns Night/my birthday in January!
While their fabrics are not the most affordable on the market, they are a fair price for high quality organic cottons and well known fabric designers. Costs range from chiffon at £1.50 per half metre up to up to organic cottons for £7.25 per half metre so although its a small fabric range at the moment there is something for most price points. In terms of delivery, I paid a standard delivery fee of £3.50 and the dispatch and delivery were actually blisteringly fast especially considering it was a bank holiday! My order arrived in a cardboard box with branded sticker (you all know I much prefer a box to a plastic post bag) with my order beautifully wrapped inside and a small branded card. The presentation was excellent and made opening my fabric parcel feel special.
One of my ultimate bugbears with fabric shops and something that will make me stop shopping somewhere on principle is poor website design and functionality. I am delighted to say in this case that Stitch and Ink’s website is fantastic. I love the branding, I love the filtering, the homepage is solid and all the sub menus actually work and make sense. I’ve browsed on my phone and my laptop and have found the cross device functionality to be excellent and I love the filtering on each fabric page for price and order. Its a simple thing but its the little things that improve user experience. I think where Alisha has really excelled her is that she has a website that is simple and functional. You would never know this is a new business. It’s slick, its professional and it’s user friendly. I only have two tiny recommendations or updates I would suggest. Firstly I would add a little more about each fabric in the description to give you a better sense of what it could be used for. Whether that is specific pattern examples or event just a note saying ‘would work well for structured trousers’ or ‘ideal for blouses’. That might just be me, but its a little touch that can be extremely helpful when you can’t physically feel the fabric yourself. My only other minuscule note would be that when I went to pay the mailing list option was pre-clicked which it shouldn’t be as GDPR regulations mean it should be an opt-in not an opt-out. I know its a little thing and I’m not nit-picking I promise, its just a bugbear of mine and I do pull everyone up on it.
The other large facet of Stitch and Ink is the subscription service which, from a recent instagram Q&A, it appears was in fact always meant to be a subscription box service first and foremost. However of course you can’t really run a subscription service unless you already have fabric so the fabric shop side of things came first. Now you all know I’m not much a subscription box person as I like to choose my own fabrics and patterns however if I was going to buy into one sewing scheme it would probably be Stitch and Ink. The respect for size inclusivity in pattern selection as well as the literal monetary value of the fabric and patterns is wonderful to see. The subscription boxes range from £30 – £50 per month. The Classic Box offers 2.5m fabric, matching thread, four fat quarters, and a sewing gift. The Ultimate Box offers 3.5m fabric, an indie pattern, five fat quarters, matching thread, and a sewing gift. If you are somebody who likes a subscription box style service then I encourage you to check them out.
So on to my rating system which is of course very scientific
- Range of Fabrics – 5/10
- Cost – 6/10
- Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 9/10
- Ease of Use – 8/10
- Ease of Payment – 8/10
Overall Average Score: 7.2 / 10
Overall Stitch and Ink is one of those fabric shops that I am excited about. I am really enjoying watching the business grow, I like to see somebody passionate about what they do and I look forward to shopping with them plenty in the future.