One of my friends is 25 going on 75. She doesn't have a TV or the Internet and one of her hobbies is sewing. I'm not complaining, as I was the recipient of a wonderful cushion with a llama on.
Anyway, when she came to visit from her little town with no shops, Abakhan was one of the first places in Manchester she dragged me to. I had been past before but really had no idea how vast the shop would be. We spent a good hour choosing different fabrics for a patchwork quilt she was making and having little squares of each cut. To say that the staff had to rip 25cm squared of several different fabrics with a queue mounting behind us, they were very patient and professional.
Downstairs there is every type of wool you could imagine along with tools and accessories, beads and paints.
I found it amazing to watch brides selecting fabrics for their wedding dresses, school kids choosing silk to paint on for art projects, old women choosing wool to knit their grandkids jumpers and even trendy arty people choosing patterned fabrics and furs!
If you can't afford the outfit you want from Retro Rehab, Oxfam Originals or American Graffiti - you can always get your ass over to Abakhan Fabrics, buy a couple of yards and make your own!
Spread over two floors, it's a fabric paradise with dozens of crates filled with off-cuts, cheap rolls and unusual fabrics. As well as kitsch, quirky and colourful cottons, there's fake fur, nylon, denim and all kinds of material. Upstairs and in the room at the back of the shop, they also sell patterns, buttons, zips, rolls of cotton and everything you'd need to make your own cat-suit or hot pants!
Even better, almost everything they stock is cheap as chips.
If your an art student, into arts and crafts, fashion, sewing atc this is the place for you. Huge variety of fabrics and cut offs.
A word of warning: make sure you know what your looking for or have a vague idea otherwise you will spends hours sifting through what looks like a little bit of a jumble sale.
Prices are really decent and staff are really friendly and willing to help you choose/ measure any number of rolls/ cuts.
Again, I have little understanding of this type of place beyond what I have seen myself and been informed of by female friends. It is a big, colourful place filled with all sorts of fabrics and yarns, and of all shapes and sizes.
My mother told me recently that she once tried to teach us all to knit, and that my sisters were terrible, but I got the knack of it straight away. Maybe I should have kept that talent up-to-date, so I could weave fantastical clothing from the material on offer. Although, thinking about it, knitting does not lend itself to that many great items of clothing. Cardigans are not exactly in vogue for guys, and I can't think of much else I'd want to knit.
Anyway, I'm straying dangerously off topic, so I'll conclude by saying that if you are the sort of person who has proficiency with needle and thread and their ilk, then this should probably be your one-stop-shop for all the materials you'll need.
Yep. This place is basically amazing. Its so popular that even though I went in early on a Saturday morning when everything else on Oldham Street was dead, this place still has loads of customers leafing through the multitudes of fabrics on show and keeping the knowledgeable sales staff really busy.
The main floor is quite a mess, with the fabrics spilling out of the shelving and containers and onto the floor.
Downstairs a couple of steps at the back of the main shop takes you to the knitting area which is a much more orderly affair. There are yarns in every colour of the rainbow and lots of complicated knitting and sewing accessories that I will never understand.
Next time my mum comes to visit me, I'm taking her here. She would absolutely love it at Abakhan.
I'm a self-confessed knitting&crocheting addict, and the first time I visited Abakhan Fabrics was in 2002. I actually went all the way into Wales, to Abakhan Mill, and for some time I was almost heart-broken because I thought this was their only shop. Then I found it in Manchester in 2005 and has been visiting since.
It is a fantastic place for all things sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. Whenever I needed something, be it buttons, yarn, or fabric, I've always found it there. And yet I mostly go there for knitting yarn. Even now, as I'm writing this review, I take time off to do a few stitches with lovely, soft gray yarn.
Perhaps, its only drawback is in how the space is organised. On occasion it can be crowded; and all the fabric can be intermixed to the point that it's impossible to dig something out. And yes, it's not always the kind of fabric with which to make yourself a top quality dress or suit. But it is nonetheless a wonderful place. And they always have a good selection of Christmasy cloths. Every year I tell myself that I must buy some to decorate the table and to make present bags for friends and family. Maybe I'll do it this Christmas.
Fabric heaven!!! The best thing about Abakhan fabrics is the roll-upon-roll of fabrics that greet your eye when you walk in the door. Don't let the ever so slightly tired decor put you off- have a wander. There's several floors of fabric offering all you could ever want (and you find yourself wondering what you can think of to make with that nice spotty piece in the corner!!) They've also got beads, wools and things to push you towards your favourite hobby.
If you're lucky, you might even hear the strains of a bit of Colombian salsa music whilst you're there....
This place is a complete goldmine for fabrics of all kinds, with a small yet extensive haberdashery upstairs. Most fabric is sold by the kilo so you can get some mega bargains. I love this place I have to be dragged from it on many occaisons.
If its selection you're after, then you've found the right shop! There is so much selection in here it would be amazing if you left without what you were looking for. I once went in looking for some leopard print fluffy thick stuff to make a beanbag from and found it.
I just have a couple of problems with Abakhan... 1 - appearance, 2 - staff. Its a bit like a material junk shop which you have to root around in (partly because of the large selection) and most of the fabrics downstairs are priced per weight, so if you're no good at weight guessing you are unaware of how much you have spent.
Also, today on my visit the staff were bordering on rude. I waited for quite a while carrying my roll of material to be cut without being acknowledged by the only member of staff cutting material it seemed. When it had been cut I went to the till to pay and whilst the lady was serving me she decided to having a shouting conversation across the shop to another member of staff. I hate it when people do that. Anyway, rant over.
Overall a decent shop but you need to allow yourself plenty of time to shop here, Oh and take your coat off before you go in because its boiling inside!
This fabric store rivals those of the famous garmet district in LA for price. I really thought I wouldn't be able to find a store in the centre of Manchester that is reasonably priced with a mountain of even cheaper off-cuts. There's every type of fabric you can imagine if you root through these two floors: organza, fur, voile, cotton, nylon, denim, shantung and a great haberdashery section including buttons, zips, trimmings, threads, feathers, knitting materials, patterns and ribbons. Very helpful staff just let you get on with it but are there to offer their suggestions.
Down at the end of Oldham Street, near the weird £3 vintage shop and the discount shoe place, next door to the pub that always seems to have karaoke on, where the streetlights have thinned out and you think "have I gone too far? All I can see is a weird looking guitar shop", you will find Abahkan Fabrics.
Now, I'm not a seamstress, I'm a (rubbish but enthusiastic) knitter, so I'm this is mainly a review of the knitting side of Abahkan. Considering how many scarves I've knitted from Abahkan's yarns (hey, that rhymes...) it does pain me a bit to say that in terms of knitting yarn, there really isn't much choice. I find that Abahkan focuses on weird yarns; the ones with bobbles or weird tassly bits, and 'baby' yarns; fluffy pastels that aren't exactly wearable for the over-5 set. You know, the ones your mad nan would use to knit mad jumpers for mufti day, triggering years of "hey, remember that jumper Becca had that had BOGEYS on it" "they weren't bogies...they were lime-green pompoms" "and that makes it better, somehow?" "I suppose not, continue with your mockery." Fifteen years, and it still stings. Anyway, Abahkan's yarns (there's that rhyme again) verge too often on the ugly and unusable, wasting valuable space that could house stuff people want to buy.
Having said all that, there are a few real gems. Recently I've knitted three scarves with King Cole Mirage DK, which is self-striping (good for lazy cows like me) and 50% wool, and bargainously comes in at around £3 for 100g, well enough to do a nice long scarf. Also excellent is the King Cole Magnum Chunky, another wool-mix (25%) that creates a pleasingly chunky effect without being heavy. It comes in at around £3 a ball, but you'll need about 4 balls to make a decent scarf. If you're looking for a simple double-knit yarn, then that's great, they have your bog-standard DK for £1.29/100g ball in about 20 shades, including some pretty offensive neons for those still clinging to nu-rave. But if you're looking for something a little bit more special, an aran or cashmere, say, you'd be much better off going to Sew-In in Didsbury.
The needle section is great, they have every gauge of needle for knitting and crochet, and they offer most knitting gauges in bamboo as well as metal. There also seems to be a large selection of stuff for proper knitters; cabling needles, circular needles, row counters. Stuff that terrifies me, as I still can't do proper shapes and my first thought on hearing the word 'cable' is "ooooh, America's Next Top Model!"
The rest of this shop is a mystery to me. They have a lot of fabrics, some of which are truly beautiful. It is a dream of mine, that one day I will learn to sew, and make a lovely dress from one of their proper wool-mix tweedy fabrics. They also have a fantastic array of cushion pads for dirt-cheap prices, and my next project is a huuuuge floor cushion. Exciting, I know.
Also deserving of honourable mention is the awesome selection of buttons and ribbons in the haberdashery bit upstairs, where you will also find weird stuff like iron-on pigs and diamante stripes, in case you fancy giving a bit of a Steps touch to your black bootcut trousers.
In short, Abahkan is a treasure trove. Everything's thrillingly cheap, and for those who have any talent whatsoever with a sewing machine, you could end up with a one-off piece of couture for next to nothing and a couple hours graft. Everyone knows that crafting is back, and with everywhere from Fred Aldous to Rags to Bitches offering classes it's time to jump on the bandwagon and start wearing something you made. Or, like me, you could take up knitting, and just sit on your bum and churn out scarf after scarf, palming them off on unsuspecting loved ones until they hide your knitting needles. Either way, a trip to Abahkan is always fun, if a little disappointing sometimes, and it's really satisfying to be able to sit back and say "I...have created!"
If you're on any art related course in the area then you need to visit this place. If you're into crafts, sewing, dress making, visual merchandising then you already know how good it is for off cuts and off the roll fabric. Upstairs is a great place to find wedding themed fabrics of you're having your gown made bespoke. It can be a bit of a jumble sale chaos and is extremely dusty - you feel the air getting thinner as you walk in, but the range of crafting accessories, finds and material's really good and baring in mind Manchester's history, one of the few haberdasheries in the area.
I love Abakhans, I'm a bit of an obsessive when it comes to material :-?.... and to me this heaven! Downstairs is where the offcuts are, fur, printed cotton, nylon, denim, curtain fabric, down some stairs leads you to the quilting, knitting and craft section, upstairs is where the rolls of material, buttons, ribbons and wedding section are. You can order dressmaking patterns upstairs and they can usually get them to you in 2 weeks, the best selection of haberdashery in town! I always see fashion students delving into the offcuts, and I always join in! If you have a project, this is the place you need to go! They have a fabric warehouse somewhere in Wales and if you order off them you can get it delivered to your home, or the shop. It's good to be Materialistic :-)
There was an item I couldn't pick up recently in Fred Aldous (one of those barrel/toggle fasteners you find of the end of your 'kags') but was assured that I would be able to find one in a nearby material shop called Abakhan. So, off I ventured into unknown territory further down Oldham Street no man's land in a way, hemmed in between the bars and record stores of lower Oldham Street and not quite Ancoats and it's countless regeneration programs. But what a surprise. On entering this fantastic material store, a whole new life opened up to me. On what was a particularly damp, quiet Monday, on a lonely end of town, it was a welcoming site to see this place heaving like a large bee's nest but instead of honey manipulation, cloth manipulation or 'cloth-pulation'.
People of all ages, creed and colour were set about finding the right lengths and textures for various projects: there was a couple in there who had designed and were to make their own wedding costumes (thereby saving themselves a bob or two no doubt); a dozen fashion student girls (ahem) purchasing materials for uni projects; countless other folk and me and my toggle search. It's set over a few floors (in another huge Victorian warehouse) and they also stock arts and crafts items in the lower floor (not as extensive as somewhere like Fred Aldous mind). Scores of shop assistants with flowing tape measures round their necks expertly measuring bits I never knew existed.
Should be a first stop off point if you ever need matieral for reasons you don't have to go intobut it's worth have a mooch anyway to pop your head back in time a couple of decades before everything was pre packaged and PR'd up to the fabric hilt.
Oh and I did manage to get hold of my toggles (something I couldn't even manage online).
Best haberdashery I think I've been to, there is a huge assortment of fabrics and offcuts (for any use from shirts to fluffy cushion covers) in the main part which also houses a wonderful 'jumble' relaxed atmosphere; you're free to rummage and ask the helpful staff questions. Towards the back is, it seems, a slightly more upmarket extension of the shop with a more arts-and-crafts feel to it with kitsch patterned fabric and fabric paints, sequins, beads, stamps
Wander up the stairs, stopping to marvel at the net curtains you never thought could be so appealing, and you'll find more fabric, buttons, curtain ties, sewing paraphernalia.
Look out for the plastic 'pick'n'mix' bags at the door which include helpful items such as spools of cotton in beautiful colours, zips, ribbons, decorations for crafts and more. All come at very reasonable prices.
Good shop for bargain materials and off cuts etc. My fella got some green felt for his 'poker table' and it only cost a tenner! He was chuffed
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