Special Fabric Shops
I love to shop! It’s really at hobby status for me. There are many categories of shops I like best such as clothing, art, gift, furniture, books and accessories. I’ve shopped some of the world’s famous shopping destinations such as Harrods in London, Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue in New York, Seattle’s Public Market (yes, I watched them throw fish), Sephora on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Strøget in Copenhagen, which is Europe’s longest shopping street, and the famed Ponte Vecchio, Bridge of Gold, in Florence to name a few.
But it’s the fabric shops that have always had a special place in my heart. They make me happy just being there near all that gorgeous fabric. Sometimes, I go to a local Calico Corners just to touch silks, satins, cottons and linens, to soak in magnificent colors magically woven together and to breath in the aroma of cloth – it is like therapy.
I make it a point to seek out the best fabric/quilting/thread shops when I travel. I've wanted to share the best shops with my readers for a while, then Covid-19 grounded my travels. But, I am going to share a few shops I went to late 2019 and this year. So here is some eye-candy for those who long to shop the best textile stores around.
Wausau, Wisconsin: Needle Workshop & Quilt Workshop
Recently, I sought to find Needle Workshop & Quilt Workshop. I first came across them in a booth at a quilt show’s marketplace. They had lots of fun fabric and a few bundles of hand-dyed ribbon. That ribbon is a rare find in a fabric shop. That ribbon stayed in my mind for months. So, on a 4+ hour journey to northern Wisconsin, I made a point of getting off the highway in Wausau to stop in this shop. I was delighted when I walked in!
In a beautifully restored historic setting with tin ceiling tiles, these two shops adjoin with a cut-out archway between them. I was greeted by the stores engaging owner. With well-trained staff, I could tell these were the kind of people who develop long-lasting relationships with their clients.
There was a wall of hand-dyed, variegated thread in two weights! There were old cabinets filled with embroidery floss two deep. Lots and lots of fun projects and kits and notions and spools of threads. And then there was the fabric - stacks and stacks and stacks of bolts by designers I don't often see. There was so much to see that I didn't notice the ribbon I went there for! Luckily I remembered to ask before I left.
This is my favorite purchase: all unique variegated threads and ribbons, i.e., size, weight, yet all hand-dyed with the same color lot. This is a very rare find!
Portland, Oregon: Josephine’s Dry Goods https://www.josephinesdrygoods.com
A luxurious fabric boutique that specializes in the highest quality textiles in wool, silk, cotton and linen. Plus, the notions are amazing and there are unique buttons, lace, ribbon and trims. I was mesmerized by a display of the some of the most beautiful fabric I’ve seen. Then I saw it – the Liberty of London label. First time I’ve actually held Liberty fabric in my hand! What a treat.
Tacoma, Washington: Shibori Dragon https://shiboridragon.com
While a great source for Asian fabrics and other fabric brands, it was the large room of all things Sashiko that was exciting to discover! This included Sashiko books, patterns, stencils, threads, kits, samplers, printed panels, fabrics, needles and notions. I spent an hour just in that room! Plus, the photo on the right of the fish, actually a salmon, is a batik that came die-cut with an iron-on adhesive back. How cool is that!
Sayner, Wisconsin: Plum Lake Quilts https://www.plumlakequilts.com
Charming, north woods vibe. About 90% of the product is wool. Definitely the largest selection of wool I’ve seen in one shop! Wool applique, bolts of wool, plus Valdani threads and patterns. They also have a long-arm if you need something quilted.
Previously Seattle, Washington: Okan Arts – Now exclusively online https://okanarts.com
Largest collection of vintage Japanese yukata fabric, including amazing indigo patterns, in the United States. I adore the owners!
Portland, Oregon: Cool Cottons https://www.coolcottons.biz
All 100% natural fabrics of the best designers. The setting gave off a vibe that made me think I was a character in a story-book. And then I found Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Snow White fairy tale fabric!