I have done several blog posts on fabric shopping in various cities, and have often thought of doing one in Perth and finally got the impetus when Alex from Sewrendipity asked for people to do posts on their home cities for a project called Fabric Shopping on Tour– thanks Alex!
[Later update: The brief was to focus on fashion fabrics, so quilting shops were not supposed to be covered, and nor were online shops]
I was going to begin this post with some general photos of Perth and a bit of an overview of why you should visit, but fortuitously, CNN published an article on the Best things to do in Perth, Australia:, so I thought it much better that you read that if you are interested, and even if you aren’t planning a trip, read the article because it does paint us in a pretty nice light. I should add here that Perth is the capital of Western Australia and is the fourth most populous city in Australia. It was founded in 1829, so is quite a young city, and came seventh in the Economist Intelligence Unit‘s August 2016 list of the world’s most liveable cities.
Perth is a relatively small city and we always feel as though there is not much choice here, but once I started I realised that we are fairly well serviced. I will state at the outset that if you are a visitor to Perth and wish to go fabric shopping you will need to hire a car, except if you decide to visit the first two shops outlined here. The alternative, of course, is to find a sewing friend who lives in Perth and see if they might take you shopping!
If you happen to be staying in Perth or Fremantle, there are two lovely shops on the bus route along Stirling Highway. First up is Knitwit (map reference), which is, as the name implies, a shop that only sells knit and stretch fabrics. Knitwit has a lovely history and many Perth people learnt to sew knits with Wendy Gager, the owner, from patterns designed by Vera Randall. The aim was to open 50 Knitwit stores across Australia by 1980 and this goal was achieved, but sadly, the Perth Knitwit is the last remaining store (there is a nice article here), stocking high quality stretch and knit fabrics mainly from Italy. The stretch denims and wool pontes are particularly sought after as are the Italian cotton knits.
Knitwit is a smallish shop but has a lot of stock, and I can generally find something to covet here. The remnant bin is a constant source of inspiration too and I suspect that not a small percentage of my stash is made up of their remnants! The shop also sells Janome sewing machines and overlockers, and Juki overlockers. They also have a servicing facility for any brand of machine. Knitwit sells fabric online to any location within Australia, and will send sample packs on request. I took a panoramic photograph which Wendy didn’t think I should use because it makes the shop look big, but I am including it because it shows the extent of her stock.
Continuing down Stirling Highway to Calico and Ivy (map reference), which sells both fabric and wool, plus lots of interesting bits and bobs.
I always think that this is a pretty shop, inside and out. They sell some beautiful fabric not found elsewhere in Perth, and the shop is beautifully laid out with the displays colour coordinated. Much of the fabric is for quilting but they have a large selection of Liberty as well as some stunning linens. At the back of the shop is an area where classes are conducted, and it’s a glorious, light space.
Calico and Ivy also sell quality yarns, so if you are a knitter too, then this is a one stop shop.
Hidden away in Shenton Park is Materialise. (map ref). Materialise is a small shop, but don’t let this fool you, it is full of lovely things to browse and make. Although Materialise is technically a quilting shop, I have included it here as it does sell fashion fabric and notions.
Sophie, the owner, conducts one-on-one classes, and you can go there to make a bespoke quilt with her. She also sells clothing patterns, magnificent bias binding and too many lovely things to enumerate. Most of her fabric is manufactured in Japan, although not always of Japanese design, and she also sells a range of Liberty lawns. I have bought some of her Japanese fabric and I frequently look at it, admiring the quality. Materialise is definitely worth a visit – such a delight!
If you are in Shenton Park, then you are close to Subiaco, home to Crossways Wool and Fabrics, which has been here as long as I can remember. I couldn’t get permission to take a photograph inside the store, so here is one of the shop front.
Crossways used to be around half fabric and half knitting yarn, but these days there is a tiny selection of fairly high quality fabrics, but the knitting wool selection is extensive. It is worth a visit if you are in the area, and they also provide an online service.
Perth is home to several Spotlight stores. Spotlight would be described as a big box store, and there are twelve stores in Western Australia, although only six are within the metropolitan area, being Cannington, Cockburn, Innaloo, Joondalup, Melville and Midland.
These photographs were taken at the Melville store but they all look as chaotic as this. I find it very hard to browse in Spotlight as I am so distracted by the mess.
Spotlight has good sales and bargains are to be found. During this visit I bought some fantastic lycra for some swimsuits and I paid $10 a metre instead of $25 a metre.
Spotlight also offer an online service and I’ve found fabric online that I’ve been unable to buy in a store.
It’s useful to note here that we use the metric measuring system so plan in advance as no-one will understand if you ask for yards!
Textile Traders could be described as a little box store! They only sell fabric and attendant accoutrements. They have stores in Willeton, Balcatta, Joondalup, Rivervale, Kelmscott, Morley, Midland, and Osborne Park, and also sell online.
Textile Traders has a smaller selection of fabrics than Spotlight but they are much more organised and orderly. They have good sales and nice fabric can sometimes be found on their clearance tables. I have found nice designer fabric in Textile Traders and during this visit I scored a gorgeous remnant.
[Later update: since this post went live, Textile Traders have announced that they are closing all their stores and focusing on online sales. Currently the only stores in operation are Rivervale, Morley, Midland, and Edgewater. This is a fairly devastating move for the sewists of Perth.]
Next up is Potter Textiles Outlet Store. (map ref) Potters are located in North Perth and there is a nice coffee shop at the end of the street for a post fabric shopping libation. Potters, as they are known, is actually a wholesaler but they have a small retail shop with fabric samples which can be felt and fondled and then bought from the warehouse at the back of the shop.
I always think that Potters is best known for their remnants and I have bought some amazing pieces of fabrics from those brown suitcases, and they take up much space in my stash! I have also heavily availed myself of their silks and linens.
The shop is full of beautiful silks and laces, but also has a very nice selection of regular garment fabrics and linings. You can buy the latest European fabrics and service both your day and evening wear needs here and they have a lovely selection of trims too. It is beautifully laid out and has a large range of fabrics.
One shop I haven’t visited in too long is Lincraft and there is only one Lincraft store left in Perth, (map ref), which is a shame, although there are a total of 70 stores in Australia. and Perth sewers can order online.
It is a tidy and well laid out store, but serving staff were a bit thin on the ground when I visited. However, the ladies at the checkout were really obliging and helpful.
Lincraft have a really nice selection of fabric not found elsewhere in Perth, as well as yarn, and lots of notions
This is one of those stores that freaks me out a little bit – it is by far the biggest of Perth’s fabric stores and I get completely overwhelmed, so can only go there when I’m on a mission to buy something. They do have an online presence but it’s pretty useless.
I’m sure that most people would say that this store is a must visit, but I probably only go twice a year, however these photos attempt to show some of the extent of it.
If you need trims, elastics, or fancy notions of any description, there is a good chance that you’ll find it here. Below is my friend Suzanne on the hunt for something interesting.
As I was stopped at some traffic lights I snapped this photo of Stitcher’s Corner in Victoria Park, although this shop is well outside my brief. It is on the corner of Mint Street (map ref) and is wonderful for anyone who loves cross stitch and other forms of needlework. Definitely worth a visit if that is your thing.
Another update since this post went live: A fantastic new store called Woven Stories Textiles, which specialises in Indian textiles. There are blockprints from Rajasthan and Gujarat, Ikats from Telangana, and Khadi from West Bengal among other things. Fabrics are suitable for garment making, quilts and home decoration. There are also Kantha quilts to die for, and some beautiful shibori dyed merino wraps. The owner is a delight and the store is small, but really worth a visit. You can find out about it here.
Have I missed any? I’m sure someone will let me know if I have. I haven’t provided a list of all the quilting shops, but there are a few of these as well. As I said at the beginning, Perth has enough fashion fabric stores to keep us interested, and I hope that they survive and thrive. All that remains is for all you readers to come for a visit!
[Later updates: Some of my lovely followers have made contributions to the post, so here they are:
Mish says: South lands fabrics in Willetton. More for quilters but have moved to bigger premises (across the road). They have a huge selection and also sell sewing machines and have a quilting service.
Teresa says: A couple more to add are – Carols of Midland- which is mainly quilting and they also stock Liberty. Also Handcrafters House in Midland which is also mainly quilting and they stock designer fabric as well- Tilda, Robert Kauffman etc. There is also Lush fabrics- online but you can do local pick up.
Sharon Bee says: There is also a quilting shop in Willagee near Bilby Yarns, both worth visiting