I'm back from my travels, and I'm happy to say that I did not return empty-handed!
My company has an office in Abingdon, a small town seven or eight miles from Oxford in England. Most of my trip was spent there (and mostly in meetings) but I did schedule a few days for sight-seeing. And what lover of sewing goes sight-seeing without checking out whether there's fabric to see as well?
A quick Google turned up Mason's right in Abingdon -- I was surprised, as I figured that if there was a fabric store to be found, it would be in Oxford. Better yet, it was just around the corner from where I planned to catch the bus anyway. Mason's actually has three storefronts: apparel and quilting fabric is at 20 Bath Street, ribbons and trim and other crafting odds and ends are next door at 22 Bath Street, plus a nearby home decor fabric store.
The apparel fabric store is small, but jam-packed. Reviews I found stated that it was rather disorganized, but I found the fabrics to be more or less grouped by type. I didn't see a lot of really fancy stuff, and the prices seemed reasonable to me -- not bargain-basement cheap, but not out of sight like the fabric stores I dipped into in London a year and a half ago, either. I went into the haberdashery annex next door briefly too, but nothing caught my eye.
I told myself when I stopped in on Friday morning, that I would just browse and that was it: I have a ton of fabric at home and I didn't want to be lugging a heavy sack of material around Oxford with me all day. A nice practical resolution, and I kept to it with some regret. But when it became apparent that I would spend my second sight-seeing day in Oxford too, I figured I could manage to get back to Abingdon in time to hit Mason's before closing. (I had hoped to find a day tour to Stonehenge that I could join, but I guess they're not so popular in January! Plus, there were still a lot of things I wanted to do in Oxford.)
Two of the fabrics I had spotted the day before had vanished from the shelves, but I found others worthy of my love. Here's what came home with me: 9 meters, and 48 pounds ($75) total.
Sorry for the poor-quality photo: I didn't want wait until the weekend to take a photo in daylight. The top and bottom pieces are lawn, the dark green print on black is micro-corduroy, and the brownish gray pinstripe is a bottom-weight cotton that has little, widely-spaced flowers embroidered on it -- should be fun playing around with the stripe direction and flower placement on that one!
I really enjoyed my trip, whirlwind though it was. If you haven't visited Oxford, I highly recommend it! Hopefully I'll get another chance to go back someday, as there's definitely more to do and see. I could easily spend another whole day in the Pitt Rivers museum alone. It's good to be home, though, and I'm looking forward to sewing this weekend. I've had my next project planned for weeks now, which is very unlike me!