London haberdashery shopping

Since we can’t really afford to take a proper holiday this year, what with the boat renovations and wedding to save for, I’ve opted to take a few days off here and there to just spend at home or around town. My first “holiday at home” day I took on Thursday, starting with a decadent breakfast at The Chop House (which I walk past every single day and drool over) and then moving on to pick up a bunch of haberdashery supplies at the stores around town that are normally best visited (or only open) during the work week.

I did really well, starting at McCulloch & Wallis around 10, and finishing up at Borovick around 1, with a quick jaunt around Uni Qlo‘s sales (navy chinos and a white cotton/cashmere jumper for less than a tenner total!) and a pit stop at the Japan Centre thrown in there, too. The shops were nearly empty and at some points, there were more staff than customers. It was a revelation that shopping can actually be fun if you go on a midweek morning, as it’s usually the 9th circle of hell in that area on the weekends…

Here’s most of my habby haul, starting in the upper left corner, when I stocked up on overlocker thread at Kleins and got 10 rolls for a fiver in various neutral blending colours. There’s also some miscellaneous rolls of Gutermann thread from MacCulolch & Wallis and a bottle of fray check in there (to keep those overlocker tails from running amok) which I picked up at John Lewis. Their haberdashery department grows more and more pathetic each time I go there, and it just makes me depressed to go in there these days when McCulloch & Wallis are 100 feet away and ten thousand shades of fabulous. I was delighted to see that McCulloch & Wallis are stocking Gutermann thread again, with Coats Duo shoved in a tiny corner, ha! I can only imagine the protests we customers put up after the Coats Duo cartel worked its way through town a few months ago..

I also picked up a few tailoring bits for my winter coat, starting with shoulder pads at MacCulloch & Wallis, who had a huge basket full of about ten different kinds, all priced at £2-5 per pair. Compare those to the bog standard foam ones you find at at John Lewis and elsewhere for the same price and it’s just no competition!

I also bought some sleevehead from Kleins which they sell by the metre, with four shades of white, black, and grey. I had thought at one point I’d need to import some or just improvise somehow, so this was a very happy discovery.

Kleins also had a huge range of elastic by the metre, including plushback (lingerie) elastic, swimwear stuff, and corded, but I restrained myself and just got some clear plastic elastic to use in knitwear shoulders. I also managed to rummage around and find some foldover elastic (FOE)! It was the only roll, in in teal only, but just finding any in UK shops is like golddust!

Continuing on through Soho, past all the uber-expensive silk shops (£50 a meter for silk charmeuse? gag!) and it was needle wonderland at Borovick Fabrics on Berwick Street, my personal favourite shop for fabric around there due to their super friendly staff and substantially less astronomical prices. The left and the right packs shown above were £2.85 each and Borovick had the widest range of machine needles I’d seen all day. The centre pack of needles were the only twin ones in stock at Kleins and were similarly priced (but no variety of standard vs ballpoint vs stretch).

This should hopefully leave me well stocked for the foreseeable future (bar an odd zipper here and there), leaving future holiday days left to sewing in my pajamas… Bliss!

As inspired by Lindsay T’s map of the NYC garment district, I’ve placed all these stores in their own map so you can plan your day out in London. I’ll be adding to it as I discover more shops (and get the approximate locations of my favourite Walthamstow market stalls!) and striving to improve it in at least some of the ways she has!

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