Thursday, June 03, 2004

Fabric, fabric, and more fabric

My mom and I hit the fabric stores. Big time. I took Tuesday off from work and we had a full day of fabric shopping. First stop was Britex. I'd never been to Britex because SF is about an hour's drive and I hate parking in the city. There is a train that runs up the peninsula and stops a few blocks away, but that would limit the amount of fabric I could drag home, now wouldn't it? I'd heard Britex is expensive and it is. I'd also heard that the store personnel were rude, but that couldn't have been farther from the truth. They were all very helpful and friendly. I was blown away by the rainbow of wools on the first floor. I have more wool in my stash than one needs living in northern California, so I only admired it. The second floor held a more wallet-friendly selection of cottons and rayons. I had brought swatches of the Mesa travel fabric hoping to find invisible zippers for both and perhaps a fabric that would match the intense green color in one of the pieces. Mom found a rayon in a small check that matched the color pretty well. I took a mental note and we proceeded to the third floor where they have the remnants and knits. Since mom and I are both bargain shoppers, we naturally checked out the remnants where we found a 2 1/2 yard piece of the exact fabric we saw on the second floor. I mentioned to the clerk that we'd seen it downstairs for $9.00/yd and the woman said that this meant the $20 price of the remnant was wrong. She re-marked it to $12! After browsing the knits on that floor I know see what a good deal EOS has on buttermilk and onionskin. I did end up buying two prints though, one at $15/yd and another at $16. Next stop was the fourth floor where the notions are. Britex has a large selection of zippers and fortunately a nice selection of invisible ones. They had the perfect green for my skirt and a so-so match for my other fabric. Their button collection is huge and I found some orange antique glass buttons that will look great on some orange sweater knit I am expecting from EOS (see my previous post). On our way down to the first floor we stopped again at the cottons and rayons where we confirmed that the remnant was indeed the same fabric. However, I decided instead to buy a yard of a larger checked fabric in the same color and mom bought the remnant plus a yard of the large checked to go with it. Total fabric purchased at Britex: 4.5 yards.

Next stop was Satin Moon. This store is also reputed to be expensive and it is. They have gorgeous fabrics though. I was tempted by many but settled on a pink, white and gray striped cotton/lycra shirt fabric from Austria. It was marked down 1/2 price to $9/yard. Mom bought a remnant of a print upholstery fabric for a purse. But the biggest treat in that store was spotting Sandra Betzina shopping for fabric there. She purchased a lovely Burgundy colored embroidered organza for 1/2 price - normally $90/yard. Total fabric purchased at Satin Moon: 1.5 yards

Since we still had time on the meter we walked down the street to browse and maybe have something to eat but right before our eyes was Fabrix. I hadn't even looked up directions to this store but there it was, so we decided to go in. One word: BARGAIN! Oh my goodness - rolls and rolls of fabrics, most at $1.99/yard and $3.69/yard. Any fabric-buying control I was hoping to have went out the window. I found some great buttermilk knits for only $1.99/yard and a few other fabrics. Mom even got some for $1/yard. I easily could have spent all afternoon there and gone nuts but the meter was running and there were still more fabric stores to see. My selections: black knit, caramel knit, rust print buttermilk knit, bright blue twill, striped cotton/lycra shirting to match blue twill, black and gray striped sweater knit. Total fabric purchased at Fabrix: 12 yards. EEK!

After the bargain fabric shopping we needed lunch so we ate at a Vietnamese restaurant just a few doors down. Then it was back in the car and off to Poppy Fabric in Oakland. After the bargains at Fabrix, Poppy seemed too expensive. But again they had lovely fabric and it was a joy to see them, touch them, and dream. I didn't make it out without buying something though. I bought some striped denim for either jeans or a skirt, a fall colored sweater knit, and an orange stretch linen. I also picked up a cute sewing-themed journal to record my sewing thoughts, plans, etc. Total fabric purchased at Poppy: 6.25

Our day was almost done but we still had time to squeeze in Stone Mountain and Daughter, the only store I'd been to before. We made a beeline for the upstairs where the bargains were. Nothing spectacular but I still managed to find fabric that I don't need!!! I picked up a rust and gold colored print poly chiffon and a light blue rayon suiting from the sale fabrics and a rust linen to match the poly chiffon and a pink and white striped cotton/lycra shirt fabric from the regular priced stuff. Total fabric purchased at SM&D: 8 yards.

Good golly miss molly, my total for the day: 32.25 yards. I needed this fabric like a hole in the head, but gosh it was fun. And I have some really nice fabrics too. I liked all the stores but I think I'm glad none are easy for me to get to on a regular basis. I also realize what great bargains I get by shopping on-line. I recognized a few of the fabrics as exact duplicates of what I've seen at some of my on-line sources and many fabrics, such as the buttermilk knits were of the same caliber. But the online prices were up to 50% cheaper - except of course at Fabrix. What a place that was!

Now I have to sew...and sew and sew and sew.

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