Fabric Friday Reviews: The Makers Merchant

Happy Friday Everyone! It’s officially October now (somehow?!) and I have taken my first foray into stretch knits and cosy makes. My companion on this journey was a stunning light grey marl stretch knit from The Makers Merchant. My first purchase from them and I am thoroughly impressed! I would definitely like to revisit them for more fabric purchases in the future and I may explore their haberdashery for the hardware necessary for my Eden Coat.

The Makers Merchant

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://themakersmerchant.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery and Crafts
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre

Formerly Loubodu Fabrics, The Makers Merchant has expanded from just fabrics to a one stop shop for all of your sewing needs. There is a great fabric section, a fab haberdashery and a great pattern section as well. The team have clearly worked hard to create the kind of sewing shop we all wish was just down the road!

They have a wonderful range of fabrics and have a particularly good selection of jerseys, stretch and cosy knits. Fabric is sold by the half metre and while there is a fab selection, I’m not a big fan of their categorisation as you have to choose whether you want to look at plain or patterned fabrics before you can select a fabric type. I think its a case of personal preference in that it depends how you shop for fabric. Personally I don’t often know whether I want plain or patterned fabric until I get there, I prefer to see all the wool or all the kersey on offer and select from there. That being said their selection is very good, clearly curated but not too narrow. In terms of cost they are fairly affordable and do have a good range of prices to suit most pockets. There are cheaper suppliers out there but there are also more expensive ones, The Makers Merchant sit comfortably in the middle as a good allrounder. They do some excellent sales and I would definitely recommend them to beginners, especially if you are looking for your first stretch fabric project as their stretch fabric in particular is often cheaper than other suppliers and they have a good range. Delivery was very affordable at £2.50 for standard posting and was extremely speedy, although when it arrived there was no card or note from the supplier. Not necessary of course and doesn’t damage the experience but its always nice to get one in terms of purchase emotion and brand engagement.

It has to be said in terms of creative design I’m a big fan of the rebrand, I think its a better name and the logo is slick. The fabric photography is excellent and the aesthetic is pristine, the website looks gorgeous. However. There are some significant functionality issues. In terms of the parent site map, I don’t think there are sub pages for each section or if there are then the links in the menu are broken as when I tried to go to the haberdashery pages and look at fastenings I was unable to and it kept directing me back to the homepage, I was also unable to access the About page for the same reason. If there are no subpages that fine but then you shouldn’t be able to click on the subheading e.g. fastenings. Equally their FAQs are almost entirely focussed on the brand change and contain no practical consumer information about deliveries or refunds etc. In some ways I actually found their website worked a lot better on my phone however the payment window wouldn’t load properly so I did end up having to transfer to my laptop and pay in the desktop version.This may be a case of bedding in a new website and fixing but i think it should be addressed as its irritating especially when the actual products they sell are so good.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 8/10
  • Cost – 7/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 6/10
  • Ease of Payment – 5/10

Overall Score: 6.8/10

The Makers Merchant is a great shop that gives the online sewist a bit of everything and I can only imagine how nice the physical shop is! Their delivery is speedy and the service excellent. The only thing that bothers me about The Makers Merchant is some of the functionality of the website and the sitemap. The website has a few glitches and the payment interface sometimes struggles on a phone however it’s well worth persevering as the actual fabric and products they stock are of excellent quality and the range of affordable quality fabrics is superb.

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.