I love fabric shopping.
I am frequently rather jealous of people writing about places like the New York Fabric district, or the London Fabric district, or Dutch fabric markets in Germany, and have a lovely time vicariously enjoying their shopping.
So here is my trawl of the Sydney fabric district, and a few other related shops. I had a lovely time, and there will be several posts on this subject, now that I have some requests for show and tell :).
Last week I spent a lot of time on Google maps and the NSW transport link planning my travels, all by public transport, which made my shopping on Friday very efficient -maybe too efficient.
Stop 1. Greenfield Pty Ltd, Ann St, Surrey Hills.
I thought I had taken a photograph of the outside of this building, which has very few windows, and does not look at all like a shop of any sort, but it is no longer on my camera.
This was the first time I had been to this wholesaler. They open at 8.30 am on weekdays, and I was there on the dot. It took me just over an hour from the Northern Suburbs by train, including the walk from Central and a little map reading difficulty.
I was glad that I had studied the website at some length before my visit, I found the set up a little overwhelming. There are 2 floors open to the public, 1st floor notions and trims, second floor fabric. I started with the second floor. I knew that I wanted to look at some particular silks, laces and denim, as I had seen the fabric types and photographs of the colours on the website, and so was able to direct my attention to just these fabrics.
There are sample books on a counter at the front, and once you know what you want, you can ask an assistant take you in to the main fabric area which has thousands of rolls of fabric and interfacing, to see what colours and lengths are available at the time of your visit. The fabrics are mainly solid colours, none of the fabric types I purchased were available in prints.
The prices of the fabrics are very good, but priced in the sample books at the whole roll rate (usually 40m), ex GST, so you have to do some maths to compare to retail prices. There is a $3.60 + GST charge for cutting shorter lengths - but there are also part rolls, which allow you to purchase smaller lengths without the cutting fee depending on what is available on the day. I was rather surprized to learn that if you are ordering over the internet or by phone from interstate the prices are higher. For Queensland, for instance there is a surcharge of 3% - this does not include shipping.
After I had selected my fabrics, while I was waiting for them to be cut I went downstairs to look at trims and notions (at the suggestion of the sales assistant in the fabric section), selected these and paid for them, then went upstairs to collect my invoice for the cut fabric, back downstairs to pay the fabric invoice, back upstairs to collect the fabrics, back downstairs to shipping. I had brought post bags with me in order to send my booty back home, but the denim was rather bulky, and when I spoke to dispatch, all my shopping could be sent by courier to QLD for $13.20, and I was keen to use this service. Unfortunately this arrangement did not make me popular with the lady taking payments, apparently I should have paid for shipping at the same time as my fabric (How, if they would not send it downstairs until it was paid, and could not weigh it for shipping until it was send downstairs?), but I just let her complain to me and did not argue with her and it was all arranged to my satisfaction. I think she was having a bad day, as generally the staff were very helpful and pleasant.
I was at Greenfield's on Friday, and the package arrived at work on Monday.
From left to right, starting at the back. 6m x 100z indigo denim, bra chanelling and bra straps, lingerie lace in purple and cream/apricot, silk/cotton voile in cream, chocolate, peach, then sandwashed silk in dusky pink, beige and pink, 3m silk jersey in stone. There are some belt buckles and buttons from the notions section at the front.
I am most pleased with the denim and the silks. The prices were extremely good for the denim, voile and sandwashed silk, but I thought the laces and the silk jersey were quite similarly priced to similar fabrics I had seen available on the internet. (This did not stop me buying lace and silk jersey, the price was still good).
I found the staff in the fabric section very helpful, but on the notions floor, the staff were all very busy, and it was not easy to work out what was available in small purchase amounts without assistance. I had not researched notions as thoroughly as the fabric, and would have preferred to be better prepared. It is not a place for easy browsing.
I found it difficult to see the colours clearly in the fabric area, as it was very poorly lit, although it was an overcast day which may have made this situation worse than usual. Now that I have the fabric back at home, the pink sandwashed silk is quite a different colour to the dusky pink I thought I saw in the warehouse. I am sure I will find a good use for it.
I was extremely pleased with the quality, range and price of the fabrics, and I will be visiting Greenfield's again if I have a chance. I had finished here by about 10.30am (all that stair climbing was time consuming) Next stop in another post.