Fabric Friday Reviews: Fabric Godmother

Here we are again, its fabric friday and this week I’m excited to tell you all about a decadent purchase I made for my birthday from a shop I’ve wanted to try for ages but my wallet has not allowed…I am of course talking about the wonderful Fabric Godmother. With stunning, high-quality, fabrics and a great social media presence, Fabric Godmother has been on my to-buy-from list almost since I started sewing.

Fabric Godmother

Fabric Godmother is run by the lovely Josie, based in Hove, and it is truly the answer to all of my fairytale sewing dreams. Nothing makes me want to buy fabric more than watching Josie go through a new drop on their instagram account! The range of fabrics is fantastic with everything from sportswear technical through to floaty cottons and viscose. One of the things I found most impressive about Fabric Godmother alongside the range and quality of the fabrics is the number of different independent pattern brands they stock. I was blown away by the amount of different patterns they stock and they will definitely be my port of call next time I’m looking to buy a pattern online.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 9/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 9/10
  • Ease of Use – 7/10
  • Ease of Payment – 7/10

Overall Score: 7.6/10

Although my order didn’t have the personal touch I love, I was so impressed with the quality of the fabric and the speed of delivery. I can only say that I am sad I’ve not been able to sew with the fabric yet as I’m waiting for my overlocker to arrive still!

Does Luxury Have To Be Bought?

Happy Sunday everyone, this weekend Adam and I have deep cleaned the house. We made five different lists, one for each space, and we’ve worked HARD. Honestly yesterday we were cleaning solidly for well over 10 hours! We have rearranged furniture, repotted plants, tidied, cleaned, polished, sorted, decluttered and it feels great. Throughout the cleaning process I’ve been considering about how I feel about my possessions and my wardrobe in particular. What things I value and why I value them.

Now I’m sat with a cup of tea and honestly, I’ve got a bone to pick with fast fashion. In my first month of giving up ready-to-wear clothes I have made a conscious effort to consider when I buy clothes and the reasoning behind these purchases. Often I like a shopping trip to cheer myself up or to celebrate a promotion, to purchase a few new items for the next season or just to catch up with friends. Shopping trips like these are normally social occasions or they result in the little emotional purchases that make you feel better. These aren’t too hard to cut out because I can just go do something else with my friends or I can partake in the ultimate endorphin high which is of course fabric shopping . Really the only time I go out or online with the very specific goal of “shopping” is for occasion wear.

In the past, whenever I have had a formal event and don’t know what to wear I hotfooted it on to Missguided or Asos to select something gorgeous, slinky and that could be with me in under three days. Purchasing evening wear like this is of course partly for convenience but also because it has never felt like something I could or should make for myself. When you go to a black tie event you don’t want to feel homemade, when you think of black tie events you think of chic women in Chanel, the idea of a homemade dress in those surroundings is jarring. Or at least this is what the fashion industry has taught us to think. This is how we have been conditioned to feel and it makes me angry because the reality is very different.

On the one hand you have an admittedly expensive designer gown bought in a shop made in one of the standard women’s sizes. Its not shaped to your body, its not designed with you in mind, its designed for their ideal consumer, to reflect their image. On the other hand you have a homemade gown tailored by you for you. You choose the fabric, you choose the pattern, you choose the fit, as garment a home-made evening gown is quintessentially you. If you were to go to a high end event and told people you were wearing a handmade tailored gown they would be impressed, as soon as you mention that the tailor in questions is in fact you that feeling turns to mirth or grudging respect or even worse, requests to make them something similar.

Why should we be made to feel as we aren’t good enough in our me made wardrobes? After all every single piece of clothing is made by somebody, clothes don’t just appear. Honestly, I’m done with it. Of course other people’s opinions don’t really matter if they haven’t got anything nice to say then quite frankly they should shut it but its the fact that this isn’t an isolated one or two people this is an example of social conditioning that is prevalent in books, films, magazines and television, from Cinderella’s homemade dress being torn to shreds to the shopping montage in Pretty Woman. Expensive clothes don’t make a woman and if they do I don’t want to be the kind of woman they make. I will admit there is a joyous sense of giddy luxury in buying yourself something gloriously expensive and decadent but honestly I got the same feeling buying my first proper sewing machine! I get that same feeling when I spend a lot on a dinner for my partner and me, I get that feeling when I book a luxury hotel for a holiday and on those occasions I don’t also receive body-image issues and self-doubt alongside the purchase.

So what am I going to do? You’ve heard the rant, now here is my personal solution. There are two prongs. Firstly, I have reviewed my current evening wear wardrobe and got rid of anything that I don’t absolutely love myself in so if I need a dress super urgently I’ve definitely got something to hand. Secondly, I am aware that occasion wear is a weak area for me because I honestly adore it. So! Last week I bought 2-3m of second hand pale blue satin from a lovely instagram destash account. That fabric has now been stored carefully in my fabric box and I am currently marking appropriate patterns that I own and PDF one’s online that would work with this gorgeous structured mid-weight satin so that if I need a really stunning dress and want something new, I can satisfy those cravings at home and make myself something beautiful tailored and 100% me.

All clothing is made by somebody so my next evening garment might as well be made by me. I will learn a lot by making one and I won’t be contributing to a global system of oppression. Sounds like a win to me!

Fabric Friday Reviews: Sew Me Sunshine

Happy Friday everybody, you know what that means, its review day! This week we are talking about the wonderful fabric retailer Sew Me Sunshine. About a month ago, I bought two beautiful remnants from them and I finally got around to using both of them this week so I thought they should definitely feature next. 

Sew Me Sunshine

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://sewmesunshine.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery & Sewing Equipment
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 Metre

Normally I start by talking about the fabric range and quality but this week I am going to launch straight in to tell you how impressed I was by their delivery and packaging. They are the ONLY fabric retailer that I have used so far who has used completely sustainable and non-plastic packaging. My order came in a brown kraft paper bag and inside the order was wrapped in tissue paper. Free with my order I received a cute postcard and a project planning card which I thought was a lovely touch. The delivery was also very speedy considering the current circumstances!

Anyway on to the shop itself. The range of fabrics is excellent, its definitely on the pricier side but the fabrics are excellent quality and worth the money. When I was a complete beginner I wouldn’t have bought fabric there because I wouldn’t have made anything well enough to justify the expensive however as an intermediate sewist their choice of fabrics excites me. As we are in a pandemic and no one’s job is safe I am of course still cost conscious so I was just going to have a nose around the website and not buy anything, that is until I saw that they had a remnants tab. And oh my goodness, what remnants. Normally remnants areas have half a metre of this or a fat quarter of that, but they have a well stocked remnants section and I managed to get two amazing remnants, both about a metre for under £20 including delivery which considering the cost of most of their fabrics I was super impressed with. This week I used both of them for different styles of tops, the first to make my red batwing top and the second to make my new cream shell top (vlog coming out tomorrow!), and I can confirm that the fabrics are as good quality as they seem.

swipe to see both makes

One caveat is that both of my fabrics were types of viscose so I can’t attest to their other choices but I wouldn’t imagine they follow the same high standard. Their range of fabrics is good and they even have technical/outdoor fabrics which I thought was a nice touch. Not a massive selection but its nice to see them there. Fabric is bought by the half metre generally and delivery is a fixed cost of £3 and there is free delivery on orders over £60 a threshold which I personally feel is too high however i do admire their commitment to sustainability. Their website is bright and friendly and invites you in to buy more fabric from them. The web interface is excellent and payment was quick and easy which is all you can ask for really. I would say that I haven’t had the same engagement from them on social media that I’ve had from other brands, however they do have a business hashtag for makers #sewingsunshine where it is possible to win a gift voucher for £20.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 8/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery – 9/10
  • Ease of Use – 8/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Overall Sew Me Sunshine are high on my recommended list, the provide a quality service in line with modern approaches to sustainability and they stock an excellent range of fabrics. Their stock is quite costly so approach with caution if you are a beginner and you aren’t sure of your skill level but also definitely raid their sale and remnants section, its well worth it. Sew Me Sunshine are an impressive brand and i love the little personal touches in the delivery and the about section on the website, you really get the impression that Harriet is someone who understands her client base and truly cares about customers. Now I’m off to raid their remnants section before I go on holiday and I will see you guys next week when we will discuss Sew Sew Sew!

Fabric Friday Reviews: Pound Fabrics

Happy Friday everybody and you know what Friday means, it’s review day! Today we are talking about Pound Fabrics, a retailer absolutely renowned in their for their low prices and high fabric quality. I stumbled upon Pound Fabrics by accident on instagram and decided to explore their website, where I bought the beautiful red cotton shown above.

Pound Fabrics

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://poundfabrics.co.uk/
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking & Home Fabrics and Patterns
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1metre (N.B. minimum 3m order)

Initially I was unsure about Pound Fabrics as their prices are very low and I absolutely hate anywhere that makes me have a minimum order, that is a personal bias of mine, but its worth knowing as a consumer that Pound Fabrics will require a 3 metre minimum order for the vast majority of their fabrics. I’m always honest in these reviews and initially this put me off however then I looked into their about section to understand why. The original purpose of Pound Fabrics was to provide a cheap dressmaking fabric outlet, an online pound fabric shop, as they recognised that sewing and dressmaking has the power to be an exceptionally expensive hobby. Originally they sold all their fabric as £1 per metre with a 3 metre minimum so you could get 3 metres for less than one metre at most other shops. They have now widened their selection to include some higher priced ranges but the £1 section is still there and thriving.

They also have a bundles section where you can buy mystery 15 metre fabric bundles in lots of different types of fabrics, e.g. stretch bundle, viscose bundle etc. This is something I really want to try in the future, I would do it now but I’m in a self-imposed fabric embargo period as I’ve bought too much fabric and I need to get through it first! It may end up being something I do as a birthday present to myself in the Winter.

The website is simple and the branding may not be very elegant but it gets the job done and the interface is very user friendly. I have to say a word about the mobile shopping interface which is quite frankly fantastic. There are no fussy membership requests, you can choose your fabric and buy it within minutes. I do always try and test mobile and desktop interfaces and I would argue that their payment system is better on the phone but actually viewing fabric is a lot easier on a computer. The delivery from Pound Fabrics was extremely slow however as I’ve said on other reviews, don’t pay too much attention to that as we are very much still in the grip of a coronavirus pandemic and therefore post is obviously goig to be slower and they do warn you of that on the website clearly.

One thing that is genuinely really impressive is their range of fabrics, you can get almost any type of fabric at a mostly reasonable cost. My one quibble would be that the red cotton I bought wasn’t fantastic quality and the photograph of the fabric gave a false impression of the size of the pattern however as I only bought one type of fabric from them I can’t pass judgement over all of their stock. This was my experience and I will definitely try them again in future but maybe for different fabric types such as stretch and jersey. From my own experience, I would advise to shop with caution when it comes to photography of the fabrics to make sure you are getting what you ordered.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 10/10
  • Cost – 9/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 6/10
  • Ease of Use – 7/10
  • Ease of Payment – 7/10

Overall Score: 7.8 / 10

The thing is that I believe in the Pound Fabrics dream, I do. I want to believe in the low cost/high quality idea but the evience so far to me is that the quality doesn’t quite match that ratio. Don’t get me wrong its still good fabric and it is very affordable so it is fulfilling the mission statement but I would rather pay slightly more for better quality cotton. After all, one of the joys of making your own clothes is revelling in the luxury of choosing the perfect fabric for the perfect pattern and making it fit you. However I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and I will buy from them in future because I want to explore their range of fabrics for quality and cost. So the fat lady has not yet truly sung in this review, I will review again in the future and I will buy some wools, jerseys and winter fabrics and do another quality test.

Thanks for joining me for another Friday review! Next week we will be talking about beautiful viscose from Sew Sew Sew and gorgeous personalised delivery.

Fabric Friday Reviews: Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn

Welcome to this week’s online fabric shop review and it had to be Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn. If I’m honest I’d never heard of Rainbow Fabrics until a fellow maker posted about the sale in their Instagram story. Her selection of fabrics piqued my interest so I went to have a nose about the website. 20 minutes later and I had bought nearly 12 metres of fabric and had zero regrets. I love Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn, I won’t make any bones about it, what I will still try to do is maintain an air of detachment to give you a balanced review. So, on to the specs!

Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.rainbowfabrics.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics and Haberdashery
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1 metre

Rainbow Fabrics have a bricks and mortar shop in Kilburn as well as an excellent online outlet. The choice of fabrics is superb, not only do they carry a wide range of fabrics but they also carry designer deadstock and their sale is second to none. I bought a beautiful selection of fabrics from here in the sale as a tester order and I was incredibly really impressed by the fabric quality. They sell their fabrics by the metre which I prefer because I find it easier to work out the cost of my projects.

The delivery is a standard fee of £3-£4 depending on speed with free shipping over £40. The delivery was quite slow for both of my orders however I can’t say if that is standard due to the current Covid-19 situation so I will have to do an order when things have got back to normal to compare. The cost of fabric and the range more than make up for the speed. The payment interface is easy and there are no fussy steps to create an account, just straight into buying fabric. Honestly the only downside to Rainbow Fabrics is that the website is super clunky on a computer. So much so that I have actually placed all my orders so far on my phone/tablet because the mobile version works much more smoothly. That being said they have a great instagram presence and a really friendly team.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 9/10
  • Cost – 9/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 6/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 8/10

Rainbow fabrics is by far the most affordable fabric shop I use and I would throughly recommend it to beginners who don’t have much to spend on fabric or who are concerned about spending alot on a project they may mess up the first time. It may not sound great but it seriously is something to consider as a beginner. You will have to unpick things, you will mess up and that is fine, its all part of the process but it definitely feels worse if you’ve spent upwards of £50 on fabric. I used the rainbow fabrics sale to buy fabrics I’d never used before like chiffon that was £1 per metre or viscose crepe that was around £3 a metre. These are fabrics I’ve always wanted to sew couldn’t afford to mess up with and Rainbow gives you the options. Yes there are some stunning expensive fabrics on there but there are also some great quality and beautiful looking cheaper fabrics that make it the perfect one-stop shop for beginner dressmakers.

Fabric Friday Reviews: Fabrics Galore

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to a new, and hopefully useful, series for the blog. I know what it’s like when you start sewing from home, you’re desperate to get going but you have no idea where to get your fabric from. If you are very lucky you may live somewhere with a haberdashery or proper fabric shop that you can visit in person but the reality is that the vast majority of us need to use online retailers. The good news is that the supply has increased to match demand and now there are hundreds of fantastic fabric shops and pattern companies of all shapes and sizes online waiting for you to visit them and buy the fabric of your dreams. This is excellent news for experienced sewists and those who know what they are looking for, however, for beginners this can make it even more daunting.

Thats where this series comes in. I’ve been making myself a list for the past few weeks of fabric shops I use and ones I want to try. I’m trying to diversify the fabrics I buy and where I buy them from and I’m inviting you to come on this journey with me. I will be waiting all shops on the same criteria and trying to provide fair and balanced reviews to give you a maker’s perspective.

Fabrics Galore

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.fabricsgalore.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dress Making & Home Furnishing Fabrics
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre

First up we have a long time favourite of mine, Fabrics Galore. Their bricks and mortar shop is in Lavender Hill in South London but they have a very good website with a fairly wide choice of fabrics. A particular strength of Fabrics Galore is that they have a wide range of fabric types even if there aren’t that many in some categories. I have found them particularly good for high-quality cotton with a good range of brushed cottons. I made some awesome pyjamas from their brushed cotton last year, I’m going to make some more for Christmas this year so I’ll make sure to do a blog post on it. They don’t sell notions or zips or buttons, they are only for fabric but I have found their fabric selection does compensate for this.

The delivery costs are fairly standard, £3.50 per order, and delivery times outside of Covid are fairly quick. There is no minimum fabric order which is good. Fabric is bought by the half metre. I find the prices a little high but not bad compared to some other retailers, there are a few affordable options as well as some more expensive options, the average price is £7 per half metre. The website interface is clear and easy to use with a standard payment system.

Their only weakness? Sometimes the photo colouring isn’t entirely accurate and I’ve definitely had a few fabrics arrive looking a bit different to the photo but not enough to matter drastically except on one occasion. The only way I would improve their site is that I would like a small description of the fabric including colourways.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 7/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 7/10
  • Ease of Payment – 7/10

Overall Score: 7/10

Fabrics Galore are a good solid choice. They will provide the majority of what you need as a beginner sewist in a timely manner with a consistently high quality of fabric.