Fabric Shopping in Dublin and Battersea

As I mentioned earlier this week, we visited Dublin on a flying visit last week as James was speaking at a conference, and I decided to tag along to visit some of his family over there. I first visited Dublin back in 2000 when I was a student and did the very American thing of visiting for St Patrick's Day (hint: it's absolutely rammed with Americans and Aussies!). We went back again in 2008 to see some family and also buy an engagement ring, and then I had to fly over a bunch for work around 2011-2013 but those trips were mostly in-and-out on the same day, dealing with a difficult client. But it's been long enough now that I'm mostly over the pain of those awful work trips, and since I had a spare day to wander around the city centre, I thought I'd revisit a few of the fabric shops I reviewed back in 2008. While I've got mixed feelings that the Woolen Mills is no longer a source for haberdashery (mixed because I'm sad it's closed down, but happy because it's now a sister restaurant to our favourite restaurant in Dublin, The Winding Stair), I'm pleased to report that Hickeys on Henry Street is still going strong!

As I mentioned earlier this week, we visited Dublin on a flying visit last week as James was speaking at a conference, and I decided to tag along to visit some of his family over there. I first visited Dublin back in 2000 when I was a student and did the very American thing of visiting for St Patrick’s Day (hint: it’s absolutely rammed with Americans and Aussies!). We went back again in 2008 to see some family and also buy an engagement ring, and then I had to fly over a bunch for work around 2011-2013 but those trips were mostly in-and-out on the same day, dealing with a difficult client. But it’s been long enough now that I’m mostly over the pain of those awful work trips, and since I had a spare day to wander around the city centre, I thought I’d revisit a few of the fabric shops I reviewed back in 2008.

While I’ve got mixed feelings that the Woolen Mills is no longer a source for haberdashery (mixed because I’m sad it’s closed down, but happy because it’s now a sister restaurant to our favourite restaurant in Dublin, The Winding Stair), I’m pleased to report that Hickeys on Henry Street is still going strong!

hickeys fabrics henry street

Unlike last time, I headed straight downstairs to the fashion fabric and haberdashery floor, bought some Gutermann threads and zips that were on my list, then indulged in some amazing sparkly metal toothed zips even they were €5 each (ouch). Hickeys isn’t one of those stores that’s absolutely bursting with fabric, and to be honest, the prices are definitely on the steep side, too, but what they do stock is high quality. My previous visit’s purchases turned into this silver linen Burda dress and this silk blouse, for instance.

They had some quilted jerseys in a few different colours, so I bought a remnant of red to allow me to use up the last of some navy quilted jersey in my stash (leftover from a pair of Hudson trousers I made James last winter but was too ill to blog about!). But I fell hard for some geometric wool/poly coatings, which they had in blue and pink/purple colourways.

geometric wool - blue colourway

geometric wool - price tag

The only reason I didn’t buy them on sight was the €30/m price tag, and I knew I’d need at least 2 meters to make even the most basic jacket or coat, and that was definitely more than I wanted to pay, especially considering that I’ve got several me-made winter coats, a winter jacket I adore, and a warm cape I had literally just finished sewing. Plus, I have a small amount of space for my stash (and I like it that way), and coating takes up a lot of room. The arguments of “but you’d pay so much more for a coat of that quality” don’t really hold water though since I think the last time I bought a coat was around 2002?

So I left the shop, but since I was still in the city centre for a few more hours, I turned to the internet to help convince me not to go back and buy it.

You guys are jerks! 😂 I think I had more Instagram and Facebook comments than any other post, and nearly all telling me to buy it (if you were one of the few voices of reason, I thank you!)!

geometric wool - mirror selfie

So I went back and bought 2.5m – my thinking was that I’d need a bit extra to match the obvious stripe/plaid in the design, and well, when you’re paying €30 a meter, what’s another €15?? Apparently Lisa at Paprika Patterns owns the blue colourway, having bought it at the Sweet Mercerie a while back (for significantly cheaper!) but I couldn’t find it on the site so I assume it’s sold out.

Luckily, I was able to fit it into my carry-on for the flight home, and then a few days later I had a lovely lunchtime meetup round the corner from our moorings with Rachel and Claire. Claire even brought me lovely gifts, in the form of fabric (I swear this girl knows my fabric taste better than I do!) and homemade gingerbread biscuits with “Sew For It” stamped into them. How clever is that??

Claire's gifted fabric & biscuits

But then after lunch, Rachel insisted we pop over to Fabrics Galore, which has been my local fabric store since we moved 11 months ago, but I’d been resisting going to because I knew I’d be tempted into buying lovely fabrics!

Yeah, I was right to resist temptation!! We met the owner, Paul, who turns out is good friends with Gill at Ditto Fabrics, and we had such a good chat as we shopped. Amazing fabrics spotted but not bought include: silver lurex denim (with the lurex woven in instead of painted on), cotton jersey featuring blue crabs in bow ties, a ton of luscious Yorkshire-milled wools, and the dark grey colourway of the same Liberty print I made my DKNY shirt from this summer!

But the real gem in the shop right now caught my eye like a heat-seeking missle:

supplexes at Fabrics Galore

That’s right – two amazing space-dyed supplexes, and at reasonable prices, too!! I bought some of the blue/lime colourway since it matches some lime/citron supplex in my stash, but the red/black/lime colourway is equally lush!

Red supplex at Fabrics Galore

Blue supplex at Fabrics Galore

Both are medium weight (I’d personally make leggings or tops from it), a nice matte “cotton feel” surface, and really great stretch and recovery 9that’ll be the 12% spandex then!!). I suspected they were activewear when I saw them, but a quick fondle confirmed it, then the “Sports” printed on the bolt removed all doubt! They’re not listed in their online shop, so get thee to Clapham Junction, Londoners!! (Or you might be able to ring up and have them ship to you! Tell Paul I sent you!)

Paul and I at Fabrics Galore

I’m not doing very well at keeping my stash small this week – perhaps I should just stay at home and sew for a while!!

Me, Rachel, Paul and Claire at Fabrics Galore

9 Comments

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  1. 1
    Louise

    After the Woolen Mills closed down, some of the staff opened WM Trimmings which is about 10 minutes away on Capel street. Similar stock but about a third of the size of the old shop.

    Its fun to read about my local fabric shops from the visitor’s perspective, I think there’s been an improvement in recent years in variety of fabrics available and a new place even opened this year (the fabric counter, on the north side of town near Smithfield).

    That said, I do still make a pilgrimage to the London fabric shops when im visiting. Even when the exchange rate has been poor, there are bargains to be had.

  2. 3
    tg33

    I was just coming on to post about WM Trimmings too! They don’t really have a website, it’s been under construction for a few years now, but they have quite a lot crammed into a small space. As far as I can tell, Louise, they seem to have a similar range to the old shop, but it’s hard to see it all?

    Hickeys hasn’t got a massive range of fabrics, but they do seem to have some good fabrics I wasn’t expecting.

    For cheap fabrics, the third floor in Michael Guineys has some nice stuff, and a lot of cheap stuff!

  3. 4
    wakeymakes

    Thanks for the heads up on the supplex. I bought 2 m over the phone and yes I did mention you although Paul was in the back. It’s lush. Looking forward to sewing it. Love the red wool you bought too K xXx

  4. 7
    sewandsnip

    You just had too buy the wool fabric as its beautiful & everyone knew you would have regretted it if you didn’t!!
    That’s for the info about Fabrics Galore. My husband works in London now so I’m up regularly and always looking for new places to shop. Their fabrics look great

  5. 9
    Lauriana

    Nice fabric!
    I recognize the problem of telling your internet sewing friends about the fabric you shouldn’t buy… last summer, I blogged about a wax print I had seen and loved but shouldn’t buy because you always have to buy 4 meters of that stuff at once and it’s very eye-catching so you won’t want to make several garments from it at the same time. Of course it is in my stash now…

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