Mar 042011

The usual response to needing a zip or sewing machine needles is “I’ll just pop to John Lewis”.  My advice is don’t.  You can do so much better in terms of quality products and selection elsewhere.

The lovely, old shop front of MacCulloch and Wallis

MacCulloch and Wallis is on Dering Street, right opposite the Oxford Street branch of John Lewis.  It is a wonderful, old fashioned shop which generally has everything you require, somewhere.  Fabric samples are displayed on the ground floor alongside millinery hoods and straws.  You simply take the sample to the counter and the roll is found for you.  Upstairs is haberdashery and equipment, including corset boning, rows of bindings, feather trims, London’s best selection of zips and machine needles by the hundred.  On the top floor you will find patterns, ribbons, braids, millinery trim and sewing machines.  The only downside is prices are generally not displayed (and are ex-VAT) and service can be painfully slow.

Kleins, 5, Noel Street, Soho

Kleins is another traditional store, selling only haberdashery and trimmings.  They only open weekdays until 5, and you have to buzz to enter.  Where this shop excels is when it comes to frogging, motifs and clasps.  Selection can be a bit thin when it comes to basic haby and equipment.

VV Rouleaux, Marylebone Lane

VV Rouleaux is the mecca of all trimmings stores.  Situated on Marylebone Lane and Sloane Square, they have all manner of gorgeous ribbons, beautiful braids, exquisite flowers and wonderful feathered pieces.  At a price.

As well as these specialist’s, don’t forget Liberty of London which has a good range of threads and yarns for sewing, embroidery and knitting as well as pretty embellishments.  The Cloth House, 47, Berwick Street has all manner of beautiful vintage ribbons, braids, buttons and oddments.  And in the furnishing world, there is always Alexander Furnishings on Wigmore Street.  MacCulloch and Wallis has a good range of shoulder pads for tailoring.

And if all else fails go to John Lewis/ Peter Jones.  It’s safe and they may have something that will do, but you’re unlikely to be inspired.