Anniversary Reflections

On this day 14 years ago I picked up the keys to Fine Fabrics, I remember being like a rabbit in headlights, the whole prospect of owning the shop dawned on me that first day… what had I been thinking….My first customer has become an amazing friend and ally, fate definitely stepped in that day and helped shape the future of the shop though little did i realize it at the time.

Over the years I have met some truly wonderful people all whom have had a small effect on the shop, for instance whenever I do a fabric buy I always think of Mrs. D and Mrs. M they were sisters who frequented the shop on a regular basis, they would arrive immaculately dressed shoes, handbags and quite often gloves, all co-ordinating with their perfectly sewn outfits, they were French Belgian with immense needlework talents, they taught me about colours and fabrics, the importance of choosing the right fabric for the right project and how colour impacts on the skin tone, truly wonderful ladies. I am fortunate to have very talented customers, dearest Della who is the best tailoress in the world, I have learned so much from this incredible lady, she has so much knowledge of tailoring and is so happy to share that knowledge, she never minds me picking her brains on how to do things. Then there is wonderful Julie who has so much talent and is highly sort after in the theatrical costume industry she works in, again she is so generous with her time and expertise, thank you Julie for getting me through the lockdown. Then there are the suppliers that have enabled me to curate the fabric collection in the shop, a special thank you to Graham Smith Fabrics they are a delightful family business based in West Yorkshire, both father and son held my hand for the first few years teaching me so much about fabric compositions and dying processes.I may have to chase an order from time to time and I have been known to go and collect it, always a delight to deal with them. Lindsay, Carol, Sarah and Cheryl who all receive texts, emails and phone calls from me needing things urgently, you are all shinning stars, i really appreciate all the lengths you go to to get me samples, colour matches and fabric orders, you often go above and beyond

Finally, the biggest thanks go to all of you who over the years have supported the shop, come rain, shine, and snow many of you have battled your way to the shop..I thank you, For those of you who have faithfully ordered through the mail order service, I really wouldn’t be here without your patronage. An enormous heartfelt deep gratitude to the marvelous sewing group Ladies for your weekly devotion to class, making me smile and laugh with your wonderful one-liners, you are truly remarkable.. thank you

Tonight I will toast all of you with a glass of wine, here’s to the next year.

Keep sewing, stay safe and healthy

Sandra xx

All systems go……

Week commencing April 12th 2021 will be such an exciting wee,k not only will the doors of Fine Fabrics be opening on Tuesday 13th at 10am but also the Great British sewing Bee will be aired on our tellyboxes, like buses everything happening at once………but we are so ready for things to change, well I am. This last lockdown has been very difficult lots of issues with the shop building, once one thing went wrong a domino effect occurred. Thankfully with Spring arriving things are looking so much brighter.

I would appreciate you wearing your mask and sanitising your hands on entry to the shop, then you will be able to touch the fabrics to your hearts content. New summer fabrics have been ordered, some have already arrived and I have uploaded them onto the website, others are taking slightly longer than expected but I assure you they are worth the wait, I am keeping my fingers crossed that they may still get here in time for opening.

The fabric featured below is one of my recent purchases, such a vibrant ocean blue cotton lawn absolutely perfect for summer dresses, blouses, shirts, camisoles, beach cover ups (if only…..) this fabric just makes you smile.


The cotton pictured below would make a perfect shift dress, shirt or skirt it is crisper than the cotton lawn featured above.


The sewing classes with not recommence until after May 17th, as this is when adult education opens in line with the Government regulations. The classes will be smaller than we were able to do and will take place on a tuesday or wednesday so if you are interested in joining the daytime classes can you email me as soon as possible

A year ago our lives completely and utterly changed , we have learnt to value the smallest of things which we all took for granted, hugging a friend , being with family, even just being able to go outside . Along with all the awful and tragic events that have occurred there has been so much to celebrate and reflect upon. I do hope we all become nicer versions of ourselves and remember to thank all of those who have worked tirelessly for us , which has made it possible for us to enjoy this new freedom, by respecting the guidelines we can avoid having to go through another lockdown.

I hope to see you all very soon.


It’s a New Year

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on

Hope you all had a lovely, if what quiet, Christmas and New year. Now is the time to look forward and plan for brighter, warmer days when we can get together with family and friends, so lets us plan for those get togethers.

I have treated myself to a new planner and this is going to be the first dress that I will enter into it, I have had this striped linen (LN0012) Viscose in the shop for a while and I feel it would be perfect for this McCalls pattern (M7950) version C. During the November lockdown I was lucky enough to attend a zoom meeting with the Rowan team, even though I can not divulge their Spring collection just yet, I will say there are several items that would be a perfect partner to this dress.

I have spent many days in jumper and jeans, like many other people I guess, so I want to make some pretty tops for the Spring in Viscose and linens, the ones I have inserted below arrived just before Christmas and i thought McCalls pattern 7976 would be an ideal choice.

Finally as I can’t quite give up the relaxed at home look, but I wanted something with a little more sparkle, I just could not resist these two rayon knits

Top of the list is a pattern from Cosy Little World, monceau cardy or maybe a simple Linden top by Grainline studio.

Wishing you all a very Happy 2021, stay safe and sew


Sandra x

Lockdown part two

Photo by cottonbro on

Well here we are again, I thought it might happen but it still came as a blow. Like a lot of small independent businesses I felt that I was starting to recover from the last one , all be it very slowly and nothing will replace the income we have all lost. I had got use to the new normal of masks, sanitizer, distancing and cleaning every opportunity to make the environment safe and secure, I thank my lucky stars that all the people I know are safe and well. But this second wave I struggled, I admit to feeling sorry for myself, closing the doors for a second time really hit me hard. The roads still seem busy, many shops are still open, it seems that if you have anything remotely identified as food you can stay open.

During the first lockdown the weather was brighter and warmer but this time it’s damp and miserable, I slobbed around for the first couple of days in a very oversized sweatshirt and baggy trousers, I looked in the mirror and no wonder I felt sorry for myself, I looked a mess. So I decided to revamp my lounge wear, i am not a trackie bottom sort of person so looked for patterns that would make me feel more comfy and relaxed, but at the same time had a more stylish appearance.

One of the patterns i searched out was the Nina lee Carnaby dress, followed by the Sew over it Heather dress, I had already got the jersey in mind, for the Carnaby I am using the quilted jersey in Navy and turquoise ( BJ0017), I think I will bind the neck and lengthen the sleeves and hem. For the heather dress I am going to use a plain navy ponte (BJ0047), I have made this dress before so I know i have to widen the sleeves and deepen the armhole, I will make it a loose fit as I am also baking at the moment…probably be fine if i didn’t keep tasting the results!

I am in the process of finishing off a couple of Christmas projects, I have been making up the Advent calendar kits, they are a really quick make, you can quilt by hand or by machine if you wish. I prefer by hand in the evening, to try and stop me from snacking. I can not decide which i like best the traditional red and white or the more contemporary pastel version, both are available on the website as panels or as a kit.

I hope you all stay well and if possible enjoy this second Lockdown, which hopefully will enable us to have family with us at Christmas time.

Happy Sewing and Knitting

Sandra x

A Sale and new opening times

Starting Tuesday 1st September 2020, ending Wednesday 30th September.

Yes its Sale time, all fabrics and knitting wools, the sale doesn’t include haberdashery or linings, so if you have had your eye on something for a while then now is the time to get it.

The hours of the shop are changing in September, there are sewing classes all day Monday and Tuesday morning, so the shop will be closed at that time, the shop will open at 12.30 on a tuesday until 4pm, then the rest of the week the hours will be 10 am until 4pm wednesday through to Saturday, except for these dates 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th the shop will be closed, i do apologise if this is inconvenient you can always shop on line and arrange collection or I can drop off if you are in the Harrogate area.

Gillian Hargreaves has a couple of classes this month, “Sewing with knits” on Saturday September 5th and the “Fit to flatter dress” Saturday 19th September. On Saturday November 7th she has a “Start at the beginning” class, so if during lockdown you thought you might like to learn to sew then get yourself booked in quickly, contact Gillian at If you can sew but you need to refresh your skills on Wednesday 11th November Gillian has a “Sewing essentials” class, this is a brilliant day packed with all different techniques, methods, tips and tricks.

This is an unapologetic plea if you wish for bricks and mortar shops to survive then please support where you can, the internet is amazing and fabulous but you can not ask its advice, feel the fabric, ask how to sew a particular type of fabric, what needles to use, which thread, how to do a certain technique, how to read a pattern,check the colour against your skin tone, feel the softness of the knitting wool, meet like minded people and chat about your hobby or passion, attend classes and learn a new skill.I appreciate that there are a lot of new businesses on the internet selling fabric and knitting wools at cheaper prices, they do not have the overheads of a bricks and mortar shop and many of them would not exist if they hadn’t had little local shops to call upon for advice and attend classes when they first started there sewing or knitting journey. Please help us to survive these very difficult times.

I hope you enjoy the Sale, keep well and happy sewing