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Fabric Shopping in Scotland

cgillmac_ | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Hello. My sister and I will be in Edinburgh, Scotland in August. We anticipate fabric shopping and would like any suggestions in the city or area. Any ideas are appreciated!



  1. Ghillie_C | | #1

    Oh dear! There used to be some nice places in Edinburgh but I think they have all gone. All I can think of is various branches of King's which sell very cheap, trashy fabrics.

    I should prepare yourself for some very quick mail ordering while you are there from places like Lochcarron Weavers (tartans and a few tweeds) or Isle of Mull tweeds. I will look up the addresses if you are interested, so that you can come armed with swatches. They are both a long way from Edinburgh over bad roads.

    I hope someone else can do better. I would like some nice places to visit north of the border myself.

    Do remember that Edinburgh in August can be cold and rainy - though a colleague from Madrid came back with an extra suntan! Are you going to the Festival?

    1. cgillmac_ | | #2

      *Yes, my sister and I are going to the Festival. Well, sort of. My husband sings in the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, which is performing Faust along with the Orchestra at the opening concert. Since my husband will be consumed with rehearsals and performances (there will also be an acapella performance at St. Giles), I invited my sister to go with me. I was in Scotland in Sept. 1998 so I will be prepared for weather. I would love if you could find some addresses of fabric companies. When we were there in '98, I bought some McCallum tartan (my husband's family's tartan) at some shop in Old Town. I was hoping for some places that aren't so touristy. Off the beaten path is welcome, at least to consider the possibility. THanks for any help you can give!Christina

      1. Ghillie_C | | #3

        *Well, I should have guessed it, Lochcarron is on the web. See http://www.melrose.bordernet.co.uk/traders/lochcarron/ What is even better, they now have a considerable presence in Melrose, a nice, easy, interesting day out from Edinburgh. I had only visited a little weaving shed and shop on the shores of Lochcarron. As well as the usual tartans they had a large range of ancient tartans - strange but rather beautiful mixtures of very muted colours.Isle of Mull Weavers is at The Steading, Torosay Castle, Craignure, Isle of Mull, Argyllshire. Although Torosay is quite close to the ferry terminal I think a day trip here would hardly be practicable unless you are prepared for a lot of hard driving.Thanks to some very canny investments Scotland is at the forefront of the Internet revolution, so you might like to do some web surfing to find other places that interest you. In a quick search I could not find anywhere that was selling cloth yardage, only finished clothes, and I am afraid Scotland is very touristy all over these days. Pity, but they have to make a living somehow.Let us know if you make any real finds.

        1. Ghillie_C | | #4

          *Another idea! How about a visit to Reid and Taylor at Moffat? They make very high quality wools and cashmeres, very largely for export so you do not see their stuff in shops often.They have a mill shop. I have not visited it but I am told it is a 'real' mill shop selling off whatever they have spare. Their prices are not marked down very much - just from the ridiculously expensive to the plain expensive - but it would make a nice trip and I presume you are not crossing the Pond for polycotton.If you get as far as Moffat, you could consider going South of the Border to Carlisle and Linton Tweeds. Linton do knobbly 'Chanel' tweeds in rather bright colours. Not my style, but lots of people love them and say they are easy to work with.Have fun.

          1. Clare_Whittaker | | #5

            *Hi. I live in Edinburgh and so most of my day-to-day fabric shopping is done here. I use Kings Fabrics on Lothian Road, which I don't find particularly trashy - but I guess I don't have much of a budget! There's another branch, called Remnant Kings, in Newington. Down the road (opposite the Odeon cinema) is Edinburgh Fabrics, an Indian fabric shop which sells quite different material very cheaply.The fabric department of John Lewis department store in the St John's Centre is another reliable if uninspiring spot. I find it quite pricey for what it is.My current favourite shop is in Glasgow - Mandors. A good range for quality and price and far superior to what Edinburgh can offer. I can post details if you think you would be interested; but it would take you away from Edinburgh for the day!These are my regular haunts - there are other shops in other parts of town. My perception is that the number of fabric shops is rising here, largely run by the Indian community. Let me know if I can help further. What sort of stuff are you looking for? I'll have a think about any other places. Best wishes,Clare

          2. cgillmac_ | | #6

            *Thank you, Ghillie and Clare, for your suggestions. I really am not on a quest for anything specific; my sister and I both think it's great fun to find a fabric while travelling and buy enough to make something to remember the trip by. That said, wools come to mind most immediately.Clare, I wouldn't mind getting away from Edinburgh for a day, especially since the Festival will be going on. I visited Glasgow briefly while on a trip in 1998 and wouldn't mind going back. Any details about Mandors would be appreciated. Can you give me any examples of fabrics you remember seeing at Edinburgh Fabrics? Ghillie, how far is Moffat from Edinburgh? I presume it must be close to the border since you reference Carlisle and Linton Tweeds. How far south are they from Edinburgh? My sense of distance between the city and the border is not good as I've not made that trip. Thank you both!

          3. Ghillie_C | | #7

            *I imagine you want a little 'shopping adventure' and are looking for the unusual. You will certainly be able to get 'ordinary' fabrics easier and considerably cheaper nearer to home. (Recently I have done my fabric hunting in New York!).Sadly the Scottish woollen industry is not what it was and many producers have folded. It appears people do not want the trouble of looking after quality fabrics.I have attached a small and very rough map of the area. It was adapted from a map used for quite a different purpose so please excuse the raggedness. The black lines indicate some of the main roads. As you can see there is not a direct main road from Edinburgh to Moffat, but given a decent map you could find a very picturesque route on minor roads. This is upland country, the driving would be slow but very beautiful if the weather is good and extremely tedious in the rain!I have added Innerleithen where there is something called the Scottish Textile Museum which might interest you too.This is the first time I have tried an attachment. Let's hope it works. Ghillie

          4. cgillmac_ | | #8

            *Thank you for the map, Gillie. I will cross reference this with one I have for driving, to help get us there. I'll have to email you after the trip, to tell you what we found. I have also shopped for fabric in New York. There are so many great places! Thank you again.

          5. Ghillie_C | | #9

            *b CORRECTIONReid and Taylor are at LANGHOLM not Moffat, same general area but much closer to Carlisle.Deep apologies for the mistake. It came from believing my husband rather than looking it up!I found their brochure at the weekend. The shop is open during 'weaving hours' 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thro' Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. CLOSED AT THE WEEKENDS.

          6. Clare_Whittaker | | #10

            *Hello again, a belated reply to your questions...You can find info about Mandors (in Glasgow) at their website: http://www.mandors.co.uk I was last there in December and they had a selection of tweeds and woollen fabrics from the Hebrides that I hadn't seen in other Scottish (central belt) city centre fabric shops. But I would check to see whether they stock those in August. I have never been to Langholms but have heard and read great things about them. It's always good to hear other people's tips. Last time I was in Edinburgh Fabrics I was seeking a colour match for a rusty-orange - and they had crepe in two perfectly harmonised shades. I would say the shop is great for brightly coloured fabric (often synthetics) and for Indian haberdashery - those little mirrors for example. The stock seems to change frequently, so if you're nearby I would pop in. They aren't great at labelling the fabric content on the rolls, but the staff are always very helpful.Hope this helps, and that you find the wool of your dreams! I'll be visiting Chicago for the first time in April, and then I hope I'll see the corncopia I imagine to be an American fabric shop...Best wishes,Clare

          7. kathleen_gill-slee | | #11

            *Hello! I'm the sister going along for the ride. Not looking for anything in particular, just something cool I can't get in the States.Clare, what sort of Indian fabric does Edinburgh Fabrics have? Sounds interesting...

          8. jan_tippit | | #12

            *If it's tartan you want Edinburgh has some very tourist mill shops on Princes St and up on the Royal Mile ( the old town - around the castle)StAndrews used to have a good mill shop. That would be a nice side trip for you,it's not very far from Edinburgh

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