Most cities in the UK are not as great for fabric buying as Birmingham. We still have a very extensive market area, selling fresh fruit &veg, fish [apparently fresher than you can buy on the coast], meat, spices and snacks. There are knick-knacks, toys, hardware, toiletries…and fabric. Lots and lots and lots of fabric. And haberdashery, and trim.
Next to the markets is a 4-storey emporium called the Fancy Silk Store, which sells all types of fabric, not just silk. Round the block is Barry’s Warehouse, another source of textile delight. I regularly organise sewing meet-ups in Brum and have made loads of friends this way, even gaining a bridesmaid!
Birmingham is a very multi-cultural city, and it shows in the range of fabric and trim that’s available, often at ridiculously low prices. My current favourite is African wax-print cotton. This is usually sold in lengths of approximately 5-6 yards, at about £15-£20. Dirt cheap. Fancier types reach a staggering £25. [Outrageous!]
I like to make my steampunk outfits fairly historically correct, but with maybe anachronistic fabric choices. Examples here are
black/red embossed print, made up into TV Eton jacket and ten gore skirt
black and red pin-tucked chintz-finish cotton, TV ten gore skirt and Truly Victorian 1894 shirtwaist
Shocking pink key-print cotton and black sateen riding skirt. Detachable front panel with HUGE pink buttons from eBay. Reconstructing History.
Red/green dashiki print cotton jacket, sateen bloomers, Laughing Moon cycling outfit.
All except the pink key-print was from the market, that was from eBay.