Since I started sewing around three years ago, I’ve discovered a number of sewing resources in Norwich (the nearest city to me). I’ve listed them here in case it’s useful for people wondering where to look in the Norwich / Norfolk area. I can’t promise and don’t hold this out to be an exhaustive list – if there are any I’ve missed please let me know and I’ll add them.
Anglian Fashion Fabrics
29 Magdalen Street, Norwich, NR3 1LE
This is a treasure trove of fabrics with a really knoweldgeable and helpful staff. The stock changes constantly and they have new deliveries every day. If you see something you like, buy it then because it’ll probably be gone next week. There’s around 5,000 fabrics to choose from and patterns by Vouge, Burda, McCalls and Kwiksew are stocked.
Anglian Furnishing Fabrics
40 Magdalen Street, Norwich, NR3 1JE
Specialists in curtain and upholstery fabrics they also stock everything you need to make curtains, including lining, interlining, buckram, heading tapes, tracks, rods…
33 Magdalen Street, Norwich, NR3 1LQ
This is a learning hub for textile crafts including sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving and felting to name but a few
19 Magdalen Street, Norwich, NR3 1LE
Knowledgeable staff able to sell you sewing machines and overlockers as well as service your machines. Also stocks a good range of accessories and some knitting bits.
The Fabric Warehouse
8 Swan Lane, Norwich, NR2 1HZ
Part of a small nationwide chain of stores that mostly focus on home dec fabrics with a limited range of dress making fabrics.
All Saints Green, Norwich, NR1 3LX
Formerly known as Bonds (and still referred to as such by a lot of locals) the haberdashery department is currently in the basement. There is a range of dressmaking fabrics and quilting cottons as well as a good range of buttons, zips, pins etc. They also sell sewing machines and their staff are friendly and helpful. They stock patterns from the big 4 and Burda. In the same area there is also the craft and knitting supplies.
There are a few stalls in Norwich Market, the two I use the most is the haberdashery stall burried in the middle of the market and the fabric stall which is two rows in from the guild hall side of the market. There are also stalls selling upholster foam and bean bag filler if you need it.
Unit 7, Riverside Retail Park, Albion Way, Norwich
This is a big box craft store (a bit like JoAnn’s I guess) which stocks materials for every type of craft under the sun. As such it’s sewing section is limited with no patterns but some good basic notions. The fabric carried is quilting cotton although they also stock batting for quilts.
Here on in, you’re going to need a car to reach these retailers:
Unit 1&2 Sprowston Retail Park, Salhouse Road, NR7 9AZ
This is a homewares store that also stocks curtain and upholstery fabrics you can buy by the metre. They’ve just started stocking a limited range (less than a dozen at the moment) of cotton quilting fabrics. There’s a basic haberdashery area and they stock Gutterman as well as Coats & Clarke sewing threads as well as Dylon dyes.
Sew Creative Quilts
Wroxham Barns, Tunstead Road, Hoveton, Norfolk, NR12 8QU
This is outside of Norwich and twoards the east of the County. It’s a specialist quilt shop so has a great selection of rulers and printed fabrics although doesn’t stock things like Alexander Henry or Michael Miller. Also carries a good range of embroidery equipment. The staff are really friendly and knoweldgeable.
Taverham Nursery adn Shopping Centre, Fir Covet Road, Taverham, NR8 6HT
This is a craft store where around half the floor space is dedicated to patchwork. There’s a good range of printed fabrics here but little in the way of dressmaking fabrics. Some embroidery supplies can be had here as well as a lot of paper and general craft items.
I appreciate that for a starter you may not be any where near Norwich and that secondly you probably lead busy lives! Shopping online is massively convenient for me as I work, have a three year old whirlwind of a son, help my self employed husband with running his business as well as attempt (and often fail) to keep our house in some sort of order. These are the online retailers who I use and return to, as well as some others that come highly recommended by other bloggers:
Patterns, haberdashery, sewing machines, overlockers… Great service and good prices. I bulk buy my sewing machine needles from them as they have the best prices.
Absolute gold mine for zips. It’s where I buy most of mine as the prices are good and the service is excellent. They also stock some great sewing tools - I always have to edit my online shopping basket down!
If you love a good cotton print, this is the place! Mostly quilting cottons, but of the high end variety.
Again, fabulous prints and some cute bias bindings. Again, quilting cottons but of a quality that is suitable for clothes.
Maculloch and Wallis
If you’re after something a bit specialised then this is a good place to start. Whilst it’s not cheap the quality is apparently high. I’d love to visit the bricks and mortar store one day…
Really great priced good quality fabric. The website though is awful, unless you like bright yellow with lots of gifs! The staff on the phone are helpful (you can’t order online) and I have occassionally requested swatches but at around £3 a metre I’m more often happy to take the risk. I’ve yet to have an unuseable fabric from them and there are bricks and mortar stores you can visit in person.
The one caution I would have about buying fabric from eBay is that you are 100% reliant on the seller’s description, it is very much buyer beware. If you fall in love with a print you find on eBay, see if the seller has a direct site or you can find it from another store as often it may work out cheaper as they’re not having to factor in PayPal or eBay fees.
Another great site with a massive range of cotton prints. The pages can be a little cramped with a lot of designs shown to you in one go, but the prices are good and the service excellent.
This retailer has everything you need if you want to make your own re-useable nappies. If that’s not your thing their range of cotton prints is fabulous! They quite often have some of the more difficult to track down Michael Miller or Alexander Henry prints. Their turnover is high though so if you want it, buy it when you see it!
If you’re a bit of a bargain hunter or need something cheap to make a test garment (muslin / toile), charity shops are hard to beat. I’m not going to list all the ones in Norwich as there are a lot but rather the things I check out first when I visit one:
Bed sheets (new or used) are great for toiles and lining bodices. If it’s not in its packaging it goes through as hot a wash as my machine will do with a good dose of a hygenic stain remover. Some retro printed ones may be good enough to wear.
Curtains are a great source for prints. I always go for washable ones and treat them the same was as I do sheets and they yield a lot of fabric.
Sometimes you may strike gold and actually find dressmaking fabric. The Oxfam shop on Magdalen Street is the most reliable place for this locally.
The other thing to look at is clothes that you can either alter or harvest fabric from. Kilts and gathered skirts can have yards of fabric in them! There are some great refashinoning blogs out there but my two favourites are Miss P and So Zo.
If pre-loved weirds you out, next time you’re shopping at the supermarket, check out the homewares section. The sheets and duvets often have some lovely prints and the price for the amount of fabric you get isn’t bad! This By Hand London Elisalex dress made by Me and My Polar Bear started out as a duvet cover!
Hope this helps if you’re looking for resources in Norwich, or some ideas of where to shop on line. Are there any retailers I’ve missed that you think I should add?