Tucked down in the bottom corner of the globe sit two islands inventively named ‘North’ and ‘South’ which make up New Zealand. Don’t let the simple names fool you, New Zealand is a country rich in culture, creativity and immense beauty.
I am biased of course. For those of you who are new around here I currently live in Perth, Western Australia but originally come from Wellington.
Wellington is the creative capital (and the actual capital) of New Zealand and I love my city. That’s where I am right now, organising the final preparations for my wedding and enjoying spending time with my family and friends. While I enjoy living in Perth it isn’t home and in the near future (we’re talking a couple of years away) I hope to return to New Zealand. I have mixed emotions about the shift, I know it’s going to be quite stressful and emotional and I’ve made so many wonderful friends in Perth. But home is where the heart is and my heart never really left Wellington. An added bonus (if I do end up in Wellington) is that there is not yet a Burda Style Sewing Club set up there and I am more than happy to put my effort into starting another one of those and slip right back into Wellington’s cultural heartbeat.
Righty oh, enough ‘ifs’ and ‘whens’, on to some sewing: After a busy first week I took a half day off as a reward and did a little recon of some fabric stores. Perth does OK in terms of fabric shopping* (they do pretty well actually, but you know, ‘the grass is always greener’ and all that) and I’ve done the Melbourne CBD rounds so I thought I’d see how Wellington stacks up in a little trans-Tasman Battle of the Fabric Stores.
(*I’ll do a post on Perth shops when I get back on 2011)
You might be surprised at how limited my Wellington fabric shopping knowledge is but I’ve been away for 6 years and previously I experienced the streets of Wellington as a poor design student so for this trip home I am enjoying looking through very different eyes.
In my crappy little Toyota Echo/Yaris hire car first up I gunned it out of Lower Hutt:
Morelands Fabric Outlet/Fabric Barn Lower Hutt
I’ve never been to this shop ever, I don’t even know if it existed in my Wellington sewing days but it’s a nice sized shop with some interesting fabrics of reasonable quality although a bit lacking in the labelling department. Down the back I found discounted wools (some really nice weaves) and some cute printed flannelette, obviously winter stock they want to move on for Summer, but the entire store was also on sale with 50% off all fabrics and trims. Speaking of trims there was a nice little selection of them too. Don’t let my lack of purchase put you off, I am trying to keep a firm handle on my fabric shopping until I use up some of my stash in 2011. This shop is definitely worth a drive out to see with plenty of free 2 hour street parking (but please check the signs).
The Fabric Warehouse
Now I know this store has been around a while and I made a couple of purchases during my visit last year. If I return to Wellington this store will definitely be one of my regulars and a favourite along with Global Fabrics (see below). The parking is limited and getting back out onto the main road is a bit of a headache at the wrong time of day but their fabric selection is impressive, all well labelled and of excellent quality. When I was there last year they were having a secret 2 day only sale so I’ll have to work out how to get on that mailing list! I let my guard down and came away with a beautiful 100% printed silk, 2 meters will either make a nice dress or skirt and something else. There were plenty of other fabrics that I’d have happily splurged on (and may go back for) but I had one more stop in mind to finish off my afternoon.
When I got back from my Melbourne trip and started writing a blog post about their shops I visited the Fabric Stores website and was really excited to see they had links to their NZ stores which are known as Global Fabrics. So this was my first visit to this store and on first impressions as I parked outside it didn’t look very big but inside the store is actually a ‘u’ shape which hugs a coffee shop that you can access from the fabric store. Wellingtonians love their coffee. This shop is on par and perhaps even slightly better than their Melbourne counterpart. With two whole tables devoted to NZ Merino wools and a small selection of beautifully printed swimsuit lycra the staff are friendly and knowledgable and all the fabrics (of which there are plenty) are well labelled and beautifully laid out. I accidentally bought 1.5m of a really cute lycra which was labelled as Zimmerman and a stripped knit just because…and another visit is probably on the cards aswell ;)
There are a couple of other stores I didn’t get to but I’ll be sure to catch those next time I am out and about and needing a fabric hit, keep your eyes open for another post.
UPDATE: Check out part two of this post here.