Are you still delivering in the current crisis and UK 'lockdown'?
Yes. It is business as usual. We are open and I am sending out orders as normal via Royal Mail and within exactly the same timescales.
Nothing has changed.
Even though the UK is now in 'lockdown', we are a registered limited company and therefore I am able to walk to the Royal Mail depot once per day.
Please feel free to order on this website in the normal way and I will post your order out as normal.
I don't have a PayPal account, how do I pay with a credit or debit card?
To pay with a credit or debit card click the 'Proceed with PayPal or Card' button on the basket screen.
You will then go to a page called 'Secure checkout'. Hit the PayPal button, the only button on the screen, marked 'Click the button below to continue to PayPal'.
Once you get to the next screen, the PayPal login screen, underneath that login box is a link that says 'Pay By Debit or Credit Card'.
Where do you source your fabric?
We are very picky about what fabric we will stock, the designs we sell and who we will buy from - and the same goes for our gifts, sewing patterns and accessories.
When I set up Simple Life Fabrics I knew that the only way to guarantee quality and have a hope of buying fabrics from responsible sources was to buy from smaller brands and from very high-quality wholesalers.
That's why we don't carry huge quantities of stock. It can take more than an hour to choose one single fabric and I always sleep on the choice overnight - my assessment and vetting of wholesalers and brands takes literally days of research.
That means our cotton and viscose jersey fabrics come mainly direct from high-quality European suppliers in Germany, Scandinavia and The Netherlands. We also use agents who import fabrics from other parts of Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. We stock these fabrics because they are the best in the world.
In addition, fabrics from Europe, Japan and Oceania often have unusual, appealing, vibrant and culturally diverse designs which we rarely see in the UK. We also source top-quality fabric from America and of course from the UK, as British manufacturers produce some of the very finest cottons and linens available anywhere in the world.
Why do you sell a lot of cotton jersey fabric?
Today’s cotton jersey fabrics are easy to sew and new industry initiatives such as the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 textile-production marque have pushed quality standards up across the board.
Oeko-Tex fabric is particularly good for children and babies as it has been tested and certified free from harmful substances.
European and American jersey fabrics are the gold standard; and these are the cotton jersey fabrics we sell – and use ourselves. Where we can source a fabric with an Oeko-Tex certificate or an organic GOTS pedigree we will always choose this fabric first.
For more information, read my blog post about Oeko-Tex certification here.
Why is viscose jersey fabric great, and why do you sell it?
High-quality viscose jersey is the unsung hero of the fabric world and I'm on a personal mission to convert fabric lovers to the joys and benefits of sewing with it! It's incredibly versatile and often comes in the most gorgeous rich, subtle patterns.
Viscose jersey is incredibly soft, colourful, beautiful, draping and hardwearing. But it lives in the shadow of cotton jersey so it's sometimes ignored by sewists, which is a shame. I’ve made everything from dresses, embroidered tops and even leggings and trousers out of this wonderful fabric. It’s so lovely and special to wear, it’s hard to beat.
Why don't you sell more kid's fabric?
The online world of jersey fabric is full of designers, manufacturers and fabulous sellers of children's fabrics sporting really lovely, amazing designs ranging from tractors to sloths, giraffes to penguins, rocket ships, baby animals and countless different types of unicorn!
I absolutely love children's fabric just as much as the next person, and, in time, I'd love to stock lots of children's fabric. But my wonderful daughter is over 30 years old and, though I've made at least 15 pairs of PJ pants covered in cute forest animals for her (and myself!), I'm so picky about what types and designs I'll sell that it's going to take me a little while to source the very best kids fabric from Europe.
Is sewing with jersey fabric and stretch viscose difficult?
In the UK, we’re regularly told that sewing with jersey and stretch fabrics is hard; that you need new techniques or equipment; that the results are unpredictable.
This is not true. And I do sometimes wonder quite why this myth is continually advanced.
Sewing with jersey fabrics is quick and easy. Even if your sewing machine has no stretch stitches (and the majority do), you can use a basic zigzag stitch. If it has stretch stitches then I use the basic stretch-zigzag stitch for doing necklines and cuffs, and a stretch straight stitch for everything else.
The most wonderful thing about stretch viscose and jersey fabrics is that THEY DO NOT FRAY – so it’s cut and leave; no hemming or finishing the seams off required, unless you want to of course (I don't!).
In my view, sewing with jersey and stretch viscose is absolutely no more difficult than sewing with cotton. If there is one slight difference it's that you shouldn't yank it through when you're sewing - but do you do that with non-stretch fabrics? Probably not!
In addition, just because a sewing pattern says to use a non-stretch fabric, it doesn’t stop you from adapting it slightly and trying it in any type of stretch viscose or jersey fabric you fancy. You'll be surprised! I make lounge pants in French Terry from a pattern that is adamantly non-stretch cotton fabric only.
Once you know this, sewing with jersey and stretch viscose becomes simple, and unlocks a whole new world of fabrics to enjoy.
For more tips read my blog post on why sewing with stretch fabrics is not hard, here.
What about craft and quilting fabrics?
Over the last few decades, a vast industry has grown up around craft and quilting fabrics; one which can sometimes overwhelm you, and sometimes I wonder if we're in danger of forgetting how beautiful and wonderful these fabrics, and their hugely talented designers, really are.
We take things a bit slower. To us, every fabric choice is a big one and we handpick a careful selection of craft fabrics; unusual designs, very top-quality cottons, and anything I've loved using in my own projects. We plan on expanding our range of craft fabrics including canvas fabric over the coming few months but we will never stop looking for the unusual, useful and beautiful fabrics.
Why don't you sell fabric in less than half a metre - or do custom orders?
At Simple Life Fabrics we try very hard to keep prices as low as possible, therefore we can only sell fabric in increments of a half metre. In an ideal world of course we would love to be large enough, with enough resources, to offer custom lengths. But except for shops specialising in patchwork fabrics, most online stores do not sell fabric in any length below half a metre - in fact many only sell by the full metre.
This is because margins on fabrics are tight for online stores, and for smaller stores it doesn't make business sense to cut into bolts or rolls to sell less than half a metre, especially when you factor in the time to prepare and post. That's why when a store does offer smaller lengths such as single fat quarters or small increments, generally that fabric length comes with a cost premium to the customer - i.e. to buy a full metre or half metre of the same fabric at that price would be more expensive than you could find elsewhere.
We do however sell a small range of fat quarter bundles, which gives you the opportunity to have smaller pieces of our lovely fabrics and add to your fabric stash!
How can you offer free UK delivery? No one else does this as standard by Royal Mail 1st Class
We are ambitious and want to grow rapidly so we sell on Ebay and Etsy alongside this website. But we have to pay big fees on there so it means we must keep our prices higher - which is very annoying.
After we'd been up and running for a few months and had enough data we could crunch the numbers, and it became apparent that it would make sense to mirror these outlets and offer free delivery on our own website. Plus it gives us the opportunity to offer lower prices than we can on these other sites - yes, the fees are that big!
But this change is also driven by something bigger.
I'm particular passionate about making lovely, high-quality fabric accessible to all because I've always believed that fabric plays a big role in how we feel about ourselves, our lives and our environment.
A single half metre of gorgeous fabric can lift us up and make us feel more positive about our lives and the future, especially when our lives can sometimes be complex and difficult.
Therefore I want to ensure that no matter how small your budget you can afford to buy something beautiful, unusual and useful - and be proud to live a simpler life!
Who are you?
Simple Life Fabrics is a trading name of a small UK registered company called The Simple Life Group Ltd founded in 2019 and run by two seasoned, and married (to each other!), creatives, Sarah and John.
We're a new UK online fabric store inspired by the simple life, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the authentic pleasures of arts and crafts for all.
We sell a carefully curated range of attractive, unusual craft and dressmaking fabrics; many rarely, if ever, seen online in the UK.
From quality modern stretch viscose and jersey fabrics, French Terry and knitted fabrics, to cottons, canvas and quilting fabrics, along with sewing and home accessories and gifts, we celebrate the art of creating a simple life.