Friday, August 28, 2009

West Coast fabric love

My honey and I just returned from a week in Portland and the Bay Area! The occasion: my cousin's long-awaited wedding, in which I was a bridesmaid. The week before our trip, we moved to a cute little apartment on the "other side" of town. (When you live in a city that is less than 20 square miles in area, there is hardly an "other side" to speak of.) We are still getting settled, and my sewing room (which is also the living room, dining room, and library) is the last thing to fall into place. Of course.

I visited several fabric stores while out west. Let me tell you, I behaved myself, but you wouldn't know it from the yardage I brought home. Although I work in a quilt shop, it's still thrilling to fraternize with new fabric! So now, live through me:

1. First on the shop hop was Cool Cottons on SE Hawthorne. This shop is in a very cute old house, which has been converted to showcase bolts and bolts of fabric. It does so very well, and manages to be tidy but by no means sparse. The ladies who own the store have incredible taste, and stock the best in modern quilting-weight cottons. Many of the fabrics could be considered novelty prints, but there are plenty of basics (including a full line of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons) to round out the collection. This definitely a destination for seamsters of all kinds.
Gem from Cool Cottons: Anna Maria Horner oilcloth! (Impossible to photograph.)

2. Next I went to Bolt on NE Alberta. It's located next to a yarn shop, which is not at all on my radar but a nice pairing nonetheless. Bolt is a smaller store but makes great use of their space! I mean, fabric from floor-to-ceiling, or so it seemed. Most of what they stocked was also quilting cottons, but they also carried some lovely home dec and garment-appropriate fabrics. It was exciting to see some Marimekko fabric in the flesh! Bolt is a versatile shop, with appeal to quilters but an emphasis on garment sewing. Their samples were inspiring, and actually made dressmaking seem approachable to me! I was particularly interested in their pattern and notion selection, which seemed endless. A well-rounded shop indeed, and busy too!
Gem from Bolt: Colette patterns #1001: Macaron (I got brave)

Shown here with a fabric I am considering for one component of the dress...

3. Then on to The Pine Needle in Lake Oswego, just across the Willamette from Portland I think. This is more of a traditional quilt shop, with a little bit of all the standard genres: Civil War and feedsack reproductions, Asian as in Kona Bay not Kokka, batiks, and a handful of more reserved moderns. To be honest, Bolt was a tough act to follow. I did appreciate the large selection of quilting books and patterns, which were nicely displayed with each cover facing out.

4. Our one and only stop in SF was Britex. If you have the chance to visit, it's worth the experience! There are four floors and more to look at than any person can process at once. The third floor was my favorite, and was all notions. Ribbon, trim, and a sea of buttons, plus a sizeable selection of vintage trim. Much of the fabric was too expensive to buy without a purpose, especially with my remedial garment skills, and so I left empty handed. It's hard for me to shop for fabric when it's on rolls stacked to the ceiling, but it's incredible fun to get lost among the stacks!