As the summer draws to a close, and we send kids (and husbands) back to school, I can’t help but think about all the amazing things I have be able to do and see in these past few months. We traveled to several places this summer, including Chicago, Toronto, and New York City. And in each of these places, I did something I’ve never done before: gone fabric shopping.
What?? How I have I never done this before?? Fabric is my bread and butter. I have been to all these cities before, you would think that I had looked at their sewing shops while I was there! But I haven’t! In my defense, I was quite a bit younger when I visited NYC and Toronto last. But Chicago…. I’m completely guilty. Not only have I been several times, but it is only a few hours away from me.
Honestly, the thought of seeking out new fabric stores to shop at has hardly ever crossed my mind. This is because, as most of you know, the majority of the materials I use for my business are second hand. Which means that I don’t usually spend a lot of time shopping for fabric. I tend to order any specific supplies I need online through a wholesale website. Even when I did do more shopping for fabric (like when I had to get supplies for my design classes at ball state) I really only had Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, or Hancock’s (RIP) to shop at. But this summer I have more than made up for my lack of fabric stores. And I wanted to share some of my pictures and experiences with you!
My first trip was to Chicago, with the American Sewing Guild ladies from Indianapolis. We made a day trip out of it, and visited several different stores around town including Vogue Fabrics, Supreme Novelty Fabrics, Fishman’s Fabrics and Textile Discount Outlet.
First, here are some pictures of the first three:
Best for last:
Textile Discount Outlet is now my favorite fabric store. Ever. Just going into this store is an adventure in and of itself. The main floor starts out being relatively organized, and mostly priced. From there, you spread out into three floors, 13 rooms, and 75,000 sq ft filled with fabric. And I mean FILLED. Floor to ceiling, and then some. I could have spent the entire day in this one store. Partly because of the size, and partly because the further you go inside the building the more you have to dig. Eventually, you end up in a dusty dirty corner of a dingy warehouse basement, opening random boxes of even more random sewing goods. Which is SO MUCH FUN! From what the other ladies told me, Textile Discount Outlet get a lot of their random assortment of inventory as mill ends, or from factories and stores going out of business. Which means you never quite know what you will find, but the prices tend to be great! I ended up buying some leather and some hardware (for a travel bag pattern I’m working on. It is going to be awesome!!) and there wasn’t even a set price for the hardware. The clerk called over a manager, who just threw out a (super cheap) number. I was in heaven.
Eddie and I went to Toronto for an Alzheimer’s conference, since his PHD research is in that field. While he was at the conference, I had a chance to do some exploring! We happened to be at a hotel only about a mile away from a whole street full of fabric shopping. They even had these cute thimble and button statues!
I visited several places, including King Textiles, Leo’s Textiles, Trendy Fabric, Affordable Textiles, Leather & Sewing Supply Depot, WorldSew Inc.
King Textiles was a really fun store, with a super cute window display of big yard sticks and vintage machines. I fell in love with a few different fabrics here, but somehow refrained from buying anything.
Another favorite was the World Sewing Center which was the smallest, most crowded little shop I’ve ever seen. There were a few nooks and crannies that I could barely fit into, and I’m not a large person! I actually witnessed someone climbing on top of a huge pile of fabric rolls to pull something off a shelf.
NEW YORK CITY
After Toronto, we took a detour to visit one of my best friends in New York City! Despite a small snafu involving locking ourselves out of her apt in the pouring rain without our phones, we had a blast! We had one day to explore the city, and it was my absolute goal to go to Mood Fabrics. Eddie came with, and made fun of me for my complete mood change from hungry and tired pre-fabric shop and completely jazzed post-fabric shop.
He also informed me that he wanted an entire fabric made out of selvage, because he liked the fuzzy feel on the ends of the fabric rolls! I couldn't seem to explain to him that this wasn't really possible...
I loved the elevator operator, and the doggie mascot, and there was a huge selection of exotic leather, but (despite Eddie’s encouragement) didn’t find anything I HAD to have at Mood.
All in all, I restrained myself surprisingly well when it came down to buying materials this summer. But I suppose, for me, fabric shopping is really more about the inspiration than the need to purchase. I have so many ideas and plans after seeing so much fabric. I feel completely recharged and full of a million ideas! I can’t wait to show you guys some of them! Stay tuned!
creative business owner. designer. hoosier. crafter. runner. sewer. swing dancer. outdoor enthusiast. entrepreneur. wife. material hoarder.
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Madeline Stage firstname.lastname@example.org
If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.
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