Fabric down-under

I haven’t had much sewing time recently but have been rearranging my sewing space including boxes, bundles and bags of fabrics.  This has led me to think about sewing down under and comparing what I read on sewing blogs about fabric availability elsewhere.

Until recently I thought that the selection, range and quality of retail dress making fabrics in New Zealand was inferior to that in other countries.  The only reason really was that NZ is so far away from the rest of the world.  Now I’m not so sure.

Yes, we are pretty far away but there are great stores near me selling a very good range of imported and locally made fabrics.  Plus, we manufacture some gorgeous materials ourselves especially (in my opinion) wool – you know we have loads of sheep right?  I am lucky enough to have access to four good sized fabric retailers locally, or within an hour or so drive at most, plus one manufacturer, Levana, with an excellent factory shop.  All sell a reasonable range of fabrics ranging in quality some better than others.

Levana’s factory store makes all kinds of fabrics from synthetics through to wools, merino and cotton, blends and so forth.  They also sell to fabric retailers and the rag trade so I can get seriously discounted yardage and often in a wider range of colours than is available at the other stores.  The folk in the factory store are very helpful and happy for me to fuss about changing my mind, loading one of their many counters with various options before finally making up my mind.

Consequently, my kids live in soft merino tops during the colder months and I’m starting to sew them up for the rest of the family too, all at very little cost.  Don’t you love that…  Speaking of merino – my wool stash is diminishing rapidly.  Perhaps I’m due for another visit…..

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