Monday, 25 October 2010

The quest for millinery supplies in London

I'm just back from a week-long course in London for work and whilst there managed to slip off to as many of the haberdashery departments, ribbon shops and millinery stores I could squeeze into evenings and weekends. My idea of heaven! Here's what I came across....

MacCulloch and Wallis, 25-26 Dering Street [Oxford Circus Tube]
This place doesn't look like its changed much in 50 years. Its a real mis-match of 4 floors of fabrics, trimmings, appliques, ribbons, buttons, bindings, and so on. You definitely have to hunt or ask if they have it. I picked up some crin, sinamay fascinator bases, arrowheads, single feathers, feather trimmings and buttons. Unfortunately they didn't stock sinamay rolls or veiling when I visited. Worth a visit; set aside some time for a browse.

Atelier Millinery, First Floor, Kingly Court (off Carnaby Street) [Oxford Circus Tube]
If I was ever to own a millinery shop, this would be my ideal one. I literally had a smile on my face when I came across it. Small and perfectly formed, located in an open, quirky three-storey building off Carnaby street, Atelier Millinery is a friendly and inspiring place to visit. I came across some beautiful antique veiling, vintage ribbons and unusual appliques. Definitely worth a visit for the trimmings for that extra-special piece and for inspiration for your next design. The shop offers classes also (there was a 1-to-1 ongoing whilst I was there). Friendly and helpful staff. Check out the vintage and beading stores in Kingly Court also.

VV Rouleaux, 261 Pavilion Road, Sloane Square [Sloane Square Tube] and 102 Marylebone Lane [Bond Street Tube]
The creme de la creme of the ribbon and trimming shops, VV Rouleaux is certainly not cheap but what it does offer is a huge range of high-quality ribbons and trimming, coupled with some quirky and interesting appliques for your projects. I picked up some gorgeous velvet ribbon that I'll make into bows, some fabric butterflies and birds and strings of beads. I've definitely picked up some ideas from looking in the window displays alone, including an idea for how to complete a birds nest hat I had been hoping to make for some time... You'll likely come across some interesting characters browsing here also.

John Lewis, Several branches around London. I visited 300 Oxford Street [Oxford Circus Tube] and Peter Jones, Sloane Square [Sloane Square Tube]
The Oxford Street branch of this famous department store was far superior in terms of supplies to Peter Jones which was quite disappointing. I was quite surprised that I managed to pick up a few bits and pieces in the Oxford Street branch. I had wandered in here for a different purpose and left with some beautiful cream and black lace, some braiding to line the inside of the headpieces and some beaded appliques. The lace was on sale which was an added bonus. Helpful staff and a nice buzz about the place on a Saturday morning.

Overall a successful trip - now to the making! Photos of the creations to follow once I get my camera working!

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