look like this -
and not just because Dad and Mum are in it.
Dad, Mum, the girls and I went fabric shopping yesterday. This first stop was Rochford Supply Inc, which is a marine upholstery store. It's not exactly the place to go if you're leaning towards home dec, apparel fabric or quilting cotton. I always feel right at home in it because it's stocked with all my favorite fabrics - robust nylon packcloth, cordura, polyester canvas in various deniers (the measure of weave), webbing, buckles of all kinds, vinyl, foam and other related padding materials and neoprene. Yes, neoprene, in any color you want, albeit thinnish. Also grosgrain binding (not ribbon) and vinyl and other bindings, some of which are cut on the bias to navigate curves. In large rolls. Isn't that wonderful? Did you know you could buy bias tape in materials other than the cotton/satin/fleece single-fold/double-fold sort you find in packets in sewing shops?
Amazingly, I didn't buy anything here (haven't depleted my stash yet), but Dad happily stocked up on the fabric he needed to sew his bowcases when he gets back to Singapore. Lovely.
Then we drove to SR Harris, the fabric warehouse where all the fabric is always 50% off.
For you quilting folks , I took a photo of one of its many cotton aisles. Designer stuff and non-designer stuff.
I didn't linger in the cotton section though. I moseyed over to the knits.
You pick the bolts you want, drag them into your cart, head to the cutting tables, measure and cut your own fabric, label the yardage and price (that's the before-the-50%-taken-off-at-the-register price),
and return the bolts to where you found them. Good stuff. I bought those two pink (yes, I probably was mad) knits, along with these print knits, which I thought were sooooo pretty.
That little diversion aside, I was actually there for fleece for the girls' coats.
This was polartec windpro somethingy fleece, which retails at $20 a yard. We paid $10 a yard, which works out to $10 per coat for the girls.
I photographed it (left) together with the same amount of the thickest fleece I could find at Joann (right), which I'd bought last year to sew the same coats. I lost the motivation quite soon after, largely because the fabric wasn't inspiring me. I'm glad I waited because this polartec fleece is delicious. Each layer of polartec is - I kid you not - a quarter inch thick and smooooooooooth like suede.
The girls picked their own fabrics for doll dresses and mermaid tails and school clothes.
Love those little mermaids. Kate wants to me to make her a mermaid tail with all those mermaids on them. I love how literal a three-year-old's mind is.
Here are Grandma and the girls keeping themselves busy at the button barrels.
See those transparent storage tubs in the background? Full of zippers/notions/ribbons/trims. All sorts of zippers - by the yard, in bulk, separating, non-separating, metal coil, plastic coil, whatever. There's also leather- whole hides hung to the ceiling, scraps by the pound and everything in between. Very exciting store, to say the least. I love coming here, but I only indulge myself once every two or three years, since - ahem - I don't really need any more fabric, and I have too many children with me to make this a sane, let alone regular, experience.
So a good day shopping. Not sure who was more pleased- Dad or me, with our respective finds. While we were fabric-hunting yesterday, it occurred to me that one of the many reasons I feel at home in Minnesota is that I now know exactly where to go to find the different kinds of fabric and supplies I need for my various hobbies. I've never been able to do the online shopping thing because I'm such a tactile person. Even with three small kids, I'd much rather drive us all out as one frightening entity to track down obscure fabric and hardware sources all over the city. I love talking to the business owners and learning about the language of the industry, or about the different materials and (extremely useful) alternatives and viable substitutes. I've been to the traditional batik factories in Malaysia and I'd love to visit the equivalent fabric and haberdashery industries here in the US someday. Wouldn't it be incredible if we could peep into the silk factories of China and sit with the weavers in Java or Uzbekistan and learn to make ikat?
Well, that's my fabric fantasty. What's yours?