In the absence of any new garment posts, I thought I’d share some pics of the little fabric-buying excursion I took to Shaukat a couple of weeks ago. I’m sure if you’re a Liberty fabric fan you’ve already seen their website: they offer current and past season Liberty prints at a significant discount to the prices you’d pay in Liberty itself.
Their range is pretty darn comprehensive, with some more unusual Liberty fabrics like twill and jersey sitting alongside a massive range of the classic Tana Lawns. My finger’s been hovering over the buy button on their site for ages, but last week I made a pilgrimage to the actual store to stroke some fabrics in person. (I was in that part of town seeing the V&A’s wedding dresses show, well worth a visit for sewing geek-outs too.)
Upstairs are the twills, poplins and craft cottons. There are also quite a lot of non-Liberty fabrics, including dress-weight prints and plain jerseys.
I was wondering where all the lawns were, until the older man on the till pointed me to the stairs at the back. The first thing you see is a wall full of long bolts of the classic florals. Not really my cuppa though, so I pressed on.
It was at this point I started having fabric-buying palpitations! Wall after wall covered in shelf after shelf of perfect prints. Shorter bolts near the back have past-season designs, and there are lots of pre-cut pieces of yardage.
To the front are the crepe de chines and silk cottons. Pettably soft and beautiful. On the left are jerseys, cords and stretch poplins.
Magical corridors and nooks stuffed full of the stuff dreams are made of. It was literally like being in a fabric cave!
Remnants, so tempting to dive in and rummage through.
So what came home with me?…
I’d really thought beforehand about what I wanted to buy (the wishlist feature on the Shaukat site was a useful tool to keep me focused on what to look out for) and especially since it’s Me-Made May I wanted some fabrics that I could use to make real everyday clothes, rather than fancy ditsy blouses or occasion dresses. So I bought the horse-print twill to make some trousers, likely my third pair of Burda 7017s. This is a fairly heavy twill with no stretch – they also do a cotton/elastane twill that’s a bit lighter, but not in this print. I just love that this print is kind of surreal but also really subtle – you can’t really see it from a distance. Secondly, a jersey which I can’t seem to find on the site now. I love the mustardy colour and subtle African wax-type print; this’ll make a great day dress. Plus two classic tana lawns: the Graham Coxon-designed ‘A Boy Dreams‘ from the 2011 Liberty Rocks collection, and ‘Shavings and Sharpenings‘, a sweet print of pencils and sharpenings. I love how it looks abstract from a distance and the colours are lovely.
The pricing was basically £17 a metre for everything, even though I had a mix of twill, jersey, and lawn. Seeing as lawns are £22 and jerseys £32 in Liberty itself that represents a significant saving! So I feel okay about spending over 100 quid, ahem. Not bad for four will-be new garments though, not to mention the pleasure I’ll get from sewing them.
So would I recommend a visit to Shaukat? Overall, HELL YES, but here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Do your research first: have a look through their site and try to be focused on what you want to look for, or you might just end up wandering round in a daze
- Nothing is really labelled with either fabric type or price, so you may have to buy ‘blind’ or risk asking for help – see below
- Don’t go expecting friendly, helpful service. The staff are hardly the most welcoming bunch I’ve come across, borderline a bit hostile and rude (especially to other lower staff members, in front of customers!). I didn’t really feel comfortable asking for help. Though there are ample people to cut for you so I wasn’t left hanging around.
- I think it’s especially a worth a visit if you’re interested in seeing how the vast array of prints look in person (the colours are not very accurate on the Shaukat site, fyi) or if you’re interested in any of the more speciality fabric types. If you just have a few specific lawns you’d like I would order online instead, but…
- …do bear in mind the prices on the website do not include VAT or P&P, so 2m of lawn at £14.25 actually costs £36.60 in total from the site. You’ll see the actual total after you enter your billing address.
Right, better get sewing…