Hello all! I have decided to pull together just a little series that may be of completely no interest to you…until you decide that you’re going to plan a trip to my hometown, Bath, & want to check out some of the sewing attractions. So it’ll be either no interest to you, or something that you return to when it is relevant!
You see I have been asked by readers of my blog about where to go for fabric fixes …. & more… so decided to write a couple of pieces about my personal recommendations. Bath is a lovely place to visit (& that’s not just me, being a resident saying so, it’s the millions of visitors coming each year that lead me to make that statement! ) Yes I am biased. I have lived here for nearly 30 years now & even though I have moved out to become a rural outlier, the centre of Bath is still just 20 minutes (non rush hour) away for me. I love the city, its Roman history & Victorian regeneration of that, the Georgian architecture, the parks, the river, Thermae Spa & the wide choice of shopping – all the usual shops you find in any town, but with an Anthropologie, and the lovely independent shops – check out Margarets Buildings, Broad Street and Walcot Street. The museums are also really interesting & some are award winning . But check out visitBath for ideas about what to do if you are coming to Bath & planning your trip.
So to kick this mini series off, I am going to give some thumbs up to my fave fabric shop in Bath – Mark Pickles’ Sewing Studio. It’s on Charles Street, slightly off the main drag but close enough to Queens Square, host to our summer Boules competition, French food festival and also a generally nice place to relax for a picnic in town.
On a dry day you will see rolls of polycotton standing in bins (see above) outside serving as flags to signal what goes on here. It was raining when I visited, but look for this shopfront so that you can spot it nice & easily from the road.
Now, originally, this shop used to be called Husqvarna Studio, (hence the website address) but whilst the names changed, nothing fundamental is any different – still the same friendly owners, shop stocked to the brim with sewing goodies.
Mark Pickles himself
Mark sells sewing machines, overlockers, swish fancy embroidery enabled machines as well.
This is where I go to have my machines serviced and where I‘ve bought my overlocker and my coverstitch machine.
Here’s Mark at work on someone’s precious machine
However, I would be very surprised if on a visit to Bath to see the sights, you were planning to leave with a sewing machine in your case! Fear not, there is so much more to come to the Sewing Studio for!
The shop is arranged on two floors, and the ground floor is split between sewing machines, haberdashery & the most popular seasonal fabric / some craft fabric then upstairs has the workshop space for lessons, even more fabrics and the pattern books.
Every time I come to the Sewing Studio, Mark delights in showing me the new additions to the stock & the shop always seems to be on the point of bursting – but not unbearingly so. You can see everything, perform that essential fabric touching test between your thumb & forefingers (very important & undertaken almost subconsciously by every fabric shopper, am I right?) This is not a megastore – it is a family run business homed in two floors of a Georgian terrace. But the space is optimised to get a really wide range of fabric & the gizmos & doings for all types of fabric crafting.
Whether it is patchwork, bag making, cushion & duvet making you’re into, or being an avid dressmaker , he’s got something to offer. Last time I visited he showed me Teflon coated canvas, great for bagmaking. He also stocks tailoring resources (eg canvas – note to self) & other things (maybe less standard) for the fashion students at the nearby college. In winter he’s proud to show off his wools & coatings – the lovliest of selections, & now we are looking at Spring summer sewing, he’s some lovely linens & chambrays.
Just a few of the fabrics on the ground floor
I would say that he picks quality fabrics that would be on a par with John Lewis prices & quality. Stock is frequently refreshed & his sales are always worthwhile – usually he has blanket discounts to make way for the new stock he knows is on the way & he has to fit in!
I love shopping for fabric on the internet and there are some great online shops, but somehow, we all love a bricks & mortar fabric shopping experience don’t we? Nothing quite like being able to handle the fabric there & then when you know what you want to make. Or to fall for something you see in the flesh.
This is most definitely my first choice for fabric shopping in Bath- if you have something particular in mind, you can usually get it here. And then some. Temptation all around! And always a friendly welcome.
I have not been paid to write this review or make this recommendation. All views are genuine & my own.