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It feels like every week I am getting closer and closer to finally giving dressmaking a go. I’ve wanted to make my own clothes for a long time but I’ve been trying to learn some basic sewing skills first.

I’ve modified a couple of outfits, I’ve made quite a few small sewing projects and my stockpile of equipment has grown and grown. My lovely husband bought me my own sewing machine at Christmas, and last month I bought a dressmaking book for beginners: Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes.

I tackled the first project in the book to make a cute head scarf. The second project is to make pyjama bottoms. It will be my first attempt at making clothes from scratch, and my first go at using a pattern. Scary stuff!

But the one thing I still need to start my dressmaking journey in earnest is fabric…and that is where I came undone. My friend and sewing teacher Mary has passed onto me a very generous pile of fabric fragments that have been perfect for the projects I have done so far, but I haven’t needed to buy metres of fabric until now.

I spent a couple of hours scouring fabric retailers online and my heart slowly sank. Fabric was way more expensive than I anticipated. It looked like it would cost me over £20 to buy enough fabric to make my pyjama bottoms. Over £20 for pyjama bottoms! I don’t tend to spend over £20 for a full set, let alone for an-assemble-yourself-deal.

So it was back to the wise council of Mary to ask her where she gets her fabric. She pointed me in the direction of Immanuel Fabrics in Burnley promising it was an Aladdin’s cave and something about a £1 per metre room. This sounded more like it!

Well Mary as always was spot on!

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Immanuel Fabrics is a disused church converted into a fabric warehouse. There are two wide halls and from floor to ceiling are pretty much packed with rolls of fabric. There was a lot to take in!

There is upholstery fabric along with carts of poly/cotton blends, shelves full of lace and sheer coverings, and lots of other fabric that I don’t even know how to describe!

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Prices in first hall varied but the vast majority were £2 per metre. The entire stock in the sizeable back hall was £1 per metre. I imagine the stock is end of line stuff so once it has gone it’s gone but with so much choice it would be difficult not to find what you were looking for.

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I mooched around for a bit, keeping a beady eye on what the other customers did; I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for fabric shopping. It appeared that there were three men who would pull out your choice of rolls and bring them to the counter for you and there you would choose how much you wanted.

I waited until there was a lull at the counter before asking for help, and then the very obliging staff helped me pick out my selection and said it was OK to take some photos of the shop. I will show you my fabric choices at a later date, but I will say for now I got 9 metres worth of fabric for a sweet £12.

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Now I know where to buy my fabric from that is one more obstacle overcome in my dressmaking journey. Now all I have left to do is to actually sit down and make the pyjama bottoms!

….oops! Turns out I also need to get some dress makers chalk or pencils to mark the fabric. OK one more obstacle to go, then I really will get started!

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