Reviews: resources, books, museums

Friday Review: Bryan Gaskin Fabrics in Palmerston North

John Cleese famously dubbed Palmerston North the ‘suicide capitol of NZ’ and advised that a visit to the city would inspired anyone to be able to do the deed.

If you are a fabric and textile enthusiast there are only two reasons that a visit to Palmy would only inspire you to end your existence.  You might do it if you were completely overcome with fabric fabulosity and couldn’t stand the wonderfulness anymore.  Or perhaps you might need to permanently alter your social standing if you spent so much money on fabric that you decide it would be easier to kill yourself than to face your significant other when they see the bills.

One of the main reasons for all the fabric fabulousness in Palmy is Bryan Gaskin Fabrics, 402 Main Street, Palmerston North (just off The Square)

The Good:

BGF’s stocks…well…everything.  They focus on bridal and evening fabrics, so the selection of laces, beaded fabric, and silks of every variety is spectacular.

A rainbow of fabulousness

Being bridal specialists, they have a lot of white, but their stock comes in every other colour too.

And a whole selection of pale

Of course, I’m notorious for loving white and pales, so I drooled over the whole selection.

Bridal laces. Yum!

They also stock some extremely specialist and hard to find fabrics, like feathered fabrics…

Indian feathered fabric on silk. If only I had a spare $400 a metre to spend...

And pleated and ruffled fabrics…

Wouldn't a skirt of those pleats be amazing?

And the most amazing rhinestones and pearled motifs…

This is over a foot and a half across. What would you do with it?

And gold and other lace trims…

Real metallic lace!

And more lace…

Lots and lots of lace

Yep.  Pretty much everything you would ever need to make endless fancy, fancy, delicious dresses.

Mmmm...fancy, fancy dresses!

Of course, as much as we want to, we can’t live in pretty princess dresses forever.  Sometimes you need fabric for things that are just a bit more casual, and BGF’s have that as well.

There is the really practical:

Lovely cottons and linens and wool

And the somewhat practical, and utterly adorable:

Cherries are a retro cliche, but they are so cute!

Beyond fabric, they carry a selection of basic notions and buttons and bits:


And a less basic selection of all the the sparkly bits that brides love to deck themselves out in:

Tiara's and necklaces and other bride-y things

The Bad:

They are all the way up in Palmy!  And the prices are not exactly low (well, neither is the merchandise)  and I didn’t get the impression that that they have a lot of sales.

Boo. I'm going to have to save a lot of pennies to afford this drool-worthy embroidered silk

The Ugly:


Well, maybe not precicely  ugly, but certainly only suitable for very specific purposes.



  1. Amy B. says

    How stunning would that huge rhinestone number be on a pale gray art deco inspired gown? I’m picturing it wrapping around the hip with lovely rhinestone straps to match? too much?

    I’m seriously jealous. There is no where anywhere closer than an eight hour drive away from me to shop for gorgeous fabrics like that. sigh. I guess it saves me some money. 😉

    • That was my though, but you’d have to be extremely slender to get away with it, not to mention that (based on recent discussions!) I am scared of things that sit right at that point in the body.

      Great to see you btw!

  2. Wow…… Just… WOW….I can’t even fathom….sigh….Most jealous, Amber is.

  3. I remember years ago in London I had a Kiwi…uhm… we’ll call him a friend… He caped himself in the NZ flag one Waitangi Day, we got drunk and rode the Tube to a bar that would be celebrating the national holiday. As we drank, I started aping his accent for the fun of it and sounded pretty convincing. So he coached me on where I was from so I could tell people: “Palmerston North, Taranaki District.” We accosted many innocent travelers on the Tube about Waitangi Day and no one at the bar questioned my creds. So mention of Palmerston North kind of makes me smile.

    • Ummm…Palmy isn’t in the ‘Naki, so everyone was probably having a good chuckle at your expense! Still, I’m impressed – five years and I still couldn’t convince a legally deaf, falling down drunk in a thumping nightclub that I was the least bit Kiwi!

      • Oh, and only in London would they celebrate Waitangi Day. Here in NZ they just have some ceremonies, a lot of people yell at each other and grumble at each other, generally someone throws something at the Prime Minister, once a guy showed his bum to the Queen, and the rest of the country engages in deep, introspective navel gazing about national identity and the Kiwi psyche and biculturalism. Sometimes the national psyche has a lot in common with an overwrought, self absorbed, teenage girl. I call it ‘Bella’.

        • Heh, everyone was chuckling anyway. 🙂 I’m so sad to know that all Kiwis don’t drunkenly take to the streets on Waitangi Day wearing flag capes.

          • Unless you count sporting events, Kiwi’s are sadly bereft of any fun, celebratory national holiday. Waitangi Day is for squidgy guilt/historical rationalisation, and Anzac Day is all very solemn and sad. Not a lot of flagged cape wearing.

  4. Lynlee says

    I have been shopping here for YEARS. (I fainted on the floor during a sale while pregnant with my 24 year old daughter) I got some fabulous olive and green hadloomed silk jaquard/brocade there about 5 years ago for my “Bestest” feasting dress. I paid $75 for half a metre. It is spectacular and I still have a few square mm left. EVERY thread counts at that price. He is totally worth a drewl if you get a few minutes. He is very friendly and might well help long distance if he can. I have shopped over ALL of NZ and it is by far the best selection of gorgeous, followed by Sherezade in Wellington and The Silk Shop in Oamaru – all white wedding stuff though, and not much real silk last time I was there)

    • Lovely to hear from a happy customer! Have you visited Global fabrics in Wellington and Auckland? Not as many embroidered silks, but they do have some lovely, lovely stuff.

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