Fabric Friday Reviews: Sewing At Number 51

Happy Friday everybody! You know what that means? It’s Fabric Friday! Although I am starting to run out of fabric shops so if anyone has any suggestions of places I should try please let me know in the comments. Today I have the absolutely joy and pleasure of talking about Sewing At Number 51. Last week I bought some absolutely stunning cotton poplin from them, picture above, and its beautiful. I have had a great idea of what to do with it but I’m nervous because its a significant pattern hack so I think that will be a project for next weekend. Definitely will vlog it though because I’m crazy nervous. Anyway, on to the review!

Sewing At Number 51

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.sewingatnumber51.com
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics and Haberdashery Equipment
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre

Sewing at Number 51 was started this year in 2020 and already is building a great name for itself as an independent fabric and haberdashery supplier. When I read that it was started this year I almost had to double take because while their range of fabrics is admittedly quite small, mainly just cottons, but it doesn’t feel like a *new* shop. It just feels like a smaller fabric shop which is fine. Not everyone has space to have thousands of types of fabrics on hand to send out and for a new operation the range of fabric designs is good and range of actual fabric types I’m sure will build over time. One thing I admire is the curation of the fabric collection. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into choosing what fabrics to stock. The beautiful poplin I bought, shown above, was such an instant win for me. I looked at it on their instagram story and went ‘yes please I want that now’ and they do stock fabrics that make me want to buy them and I have no idea what i will use them for. Equally in terms of haberdashery and sewing equipment they have stuck a toe in the water to see what people buy and I have no doubt will build on that. Honestly in this climate of despair it does me good to see a small business flourishing and I look forward to support Sewing At Number 51 through out the years ahead.

In terms of who their fabric is best suitable for I would say beginners straight away. No tricky stretch fabric to navigate so you pretty much have your choice of cottons to work with. I remember when I first started sewing and all you really think about is colours and patterns because you don’t necessarily understand the properties of fabrics themselves. Equally in terms of cost they are low range so very accessible to all markets and they stock fabric by the half metre. Delivery is quick and when your fabric arrives it comes in a lovely paper bag with a note inside from Abi. Check out my instagram fabric haul highlight if you would like to see exactly how it arrives. Honestly I’m such a sucker for a handwritten note I really feel like it makes the purchase, jut to know there is a real human on the other side makes the making journey feel so much more personal.

The website interface is clean looking however I would say that the inability to filter by fabric types/equipment is frustrating. However as it is a smaller store you are still able to look through all the available fabrics fairly easily and I’m sure as a broader range of stock is added this feature will update. A problem that many other sites have also applies to Sewing At Number 51 which is that the phone interface is so so much easier to use than the desktop. The mobile site is clear and easy to use, the menu is a usable size and the payment system simple, however the desktop interface has an incredibly small logo and a very small menu text. I wonder if focus has been placed on the phone interface to match new consumer habits. Which I completely understand because research shows that people are buying more and more from their phone. I love their blog section I think it reflects their brand identity really well and I look forward to seeing more posts there. Equally I think it would be nice to see some guest blogs as it would push up the profile of a fantastic new sewing retailer.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 5/10
  • Cost – 8/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 7/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.2/10

Sewing at Number 51 typify to me the ‘friendly fabric shop-next-door’ it’s sweet, it’s independent, the selection of fabrics although small is exceptionally well curated and when you buy from them you can’t help but smile. They have fantastic engagement on instagram and social media and you all know I love a brand that really engages with their makers and consumers. Would I shop from there again? Absolutely and I’m so excited to start using their fabric. I will keep you guys posted and look out for a vlog in the coming weeks on what I get up to with this stunning fabric.

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.