Caught the sewing bug? Stock up on materials for your new hobby at these excellent online haberdasheries.

Few of us would have predicted back in January that 2020 would become the year the nation took up sewing. But, like online yoga classes and the mastery of a sourdough starter, sewing has had a jolly good lockdown.

In June, The Telegraph reported a 127 per cent rise in sales of sewing machines. That is a staggering figure but, if you think about it, our newfound fondness for a needle and thread makes total sense. Sewing is practical and economical. It passes the time. It encourages mindfulness and can thus be an excellent reliever of stress.

Meanwhile, the word ‘haberdasher’ conjures up a romantic world in which Beatrix Potter mice scrabble around sewing silk waistcoats. It appears as far back even as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. So you’d be forgiven for thinking that haberdashery – all those small articles you need for sewing – has no place in our digital landscape.

You would, however, be wrong. Online haberdasheries are flourishing online, as these brilliant websites prove.

Cotton Clara




This site – the brainchild of a super creative mother of two, who runs it from her home – specialises in stylish and beautifully made kit for crafting with. Its Cross Stitch Kits are the perfect way to begin a lifetime of passionate sewing; the Colourful Tape Measures are very pleasing; but we love their Colourful Embroidery Scissors, which come in ice-cream shades of tiffany green, lilac, peach and mustard yellow, best of all.

Merchant And Mills




Founders Carolyn Denham and Roderick Field began Merchant & Mills in 2010 with the intention of bringing style and purpose to the world of sewing. Their aim is ‘to respect the roots of sewing, from trade to home dressmaking, as we enable and inspire more people to find the satisfaction of simply making’. The result is exquisitely packaged patterns, fabrics and tools. They now have a shop in Rye, East Sussex, a stunning website and a series of gorgeous tutorial videos. You can lose yourself for hours in the Buttons and Trims section of the stunning site. And everybody needs a box of the Dressmaking Pins in their life. Explore the whole site here.

William Gee




In 1906 William Goldstein – an Eastern European immigrant – changed his name to Gee and opened a haberdashery in London’s East End. His family has been involved in the business ever since. Today, their website – which stocks over 9,000 items – is the solution to all of your sewing quandaries. We defy you not to find what you are looking for. William Gee’s loyal customers, who hail from film companies, theatre groups, fashion colleges and local design studios, wouldn’t go anywhere else for their trimmings. Out of everything in this emporium, we fell hardest for Hancock’s Cloth Marking Pencils.

Like Sew Amazing




Sarah had been sewing for 30 years before she decided to open her own fabric shop online and in Bristol. Her enthusiasm for craft shines all over the website. In addition to an excellent fabric and haberdashery offering, the site has a great blog and videos about all of her ‘makes’. We particularly like the witty ‘perfectly imperfect’ woven garment labels, designed for you to sew into the clothes you make.

Frumble




This website is truly a ray of sunshine; bright colours and a fresh attitude run amok throughout. The effervescent couple that set it up simply wants to stock great-quality, affordable items that they would use themselves. If anyone can make sewing fun, these guys can. Fancy some neon, gingham or striped bias binding? How about some fluorescent pink elastic? The Orange Polka Dot Buttons would melt the stoniest heart.

Ray Stitch




This one-stop sewing shop in Islington was ‘born out of the desire to find not only good quality fabrics but also the necessary tools and accessories all in one place’. It sure does that. Its beautiful array of coloured organic cotton threads is a total pleasure to peruse. And as for the ribbons and trims… Owner Rachel Hart told the Evening Standard that Ray Stitch’s sales were excellent during lockdown. ‘We’ve been selling so much darning wool and lots of haberdashery items,’ she said.


Liberty




With fabric at the heart of the store’s heritage, it should come as no surprise that the haberdashery department at Liberty is excellent. Brimming with supplies for seasoned sewers and lockdown’s newcomers, it offers everything from patterns and yarn to Liberty-print sewing boxes. We particularly like the pretty bundles of assorted fabric squares.

By Becky Ladenburg
September 2020

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.

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