Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fabric Store Blues...

Well, only sort of. I actually scored some beautiful fabrics (pictures will be forthcoming, I promise) today at G Street Fabrics just outside of Washington, D.C.. But it has really changed from the last time I was there which, in all honesty, is about 10 years ago.

That being said, I found some amazing textured fabrics, one in pink herringbone, which I can't wait to use, some cotton jersey in apple green and pink, and the most wonderful nubby orange lightweight cotton that I'll use as an accent here and there. I was also on the lookout for a coordinate to a couple of Japanese fabrics I recently ordered. I'll sneak peek it for you as soon as I get the bolts, but they take a little time...

I spent 3 hours at the fabric store today. Unencumbered by my child and knowing that I had all afternoon there, I spent the first 30 minutes scoping the place out. Next thing was to hone in on some beautiful textured cottons. Finally, I wound up talking to an incredibly helpful employee of the store, Lucia. She was the buyer for at least 15 years, and largely responsible for the amazing selection and quality. And here's where the blues come in. She told me that many, many suppliers in Europe have closed. Beautiful European laces, batistes, piques, etc. are all gone. While the selection of fabrics for seamstresses is still the best outside of New York, I missed touching all those wonderful bolts that I remembered. Oh, I know it's easier and cheaper to buy ready-to-wear, but being the tactile person that I am, I really miss having great quality fabric stores in every town. Sigh...

Anyway, if you go to G Street, ask for Lucia, and be prepared to walk out with way more fabric than you intended to purchase! She talked me into buying a couple yards of a gorgeous silk chiffon print that I have absolutely no idea what to do with!! But I'm sure I'll think of something...

7 comments:

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

3 hours at a fabric store?!?! That sounds like heaven... I love the piping tutorial. So well explained and photographed! I'd love to link to it if you didn't mind!

littlegirlpearl said...

Sure, go ahead!

Melissa said...

Here's my question--how do you go about buying your yardage for selling on Etsy? I'm in the sort of "design phase"-- the extended one, where you stop to nurse and take naps and stuff-- but I'm not sure how to go about buying fabric to fill orders. Do you buy yards and yard, or enough to make a few sizes?

littlegirlpearl said...

Melissa, I'm still not the best at figuring out what is going to sell. Often the things I love aren't always what other people like.

For this spring and summer, I decided to put together a collection that could mix and match. That way I was able to buy in bulk and use each fabric in two or three different garments. It saves on waste and money.

So far it has worked, but no doubt I'll have a lot left of one or another fabric. I figure I can use them later with something else. When I go to the store, I generally only buy a few yards. If something is really expensive, I only plan on using it as an accent on something. A yoke, a ruffle, a bodice, etc.

It's not at all scientific, and it's something I'm trying to improve. But I never buy anything I don't like, even if I think it will sell. That way I'm not stuck with fabric I don't want to use. Hope that helps!

LFN Textiles said...

Reading your wistful comment about G Street fabrics, I have to concur. But I noted that you hadn't shopped there in 10 years. These days we all must support what we love actively or it will be gone before we blink! Wouldn't it be awful to have only Joann fabrics to choose from? But the big stores with the cheap prices, like Walmart, drive the wonderful small diversity from our lives.

On the other hand, lacy batiste is not an every day fabric so it is indeed a conundrum!

When I design my ribbon, I design it for specificity, not for the market, and never have tried to sell it to the big box stores -- that has limited sales for sure, but the ribbons are like no other and that makes me happy.

littlegirlpearl said...

Thanks for your comment LFNTextiles, and I completely agree about putting your money where your mouth is. To clarify, the reason I haven't been there in 10 years is because I don't live in Maryland. I live in New Hampshire, and try to support all of the local fabric stores when and where I can. Unfortunately the majority of them are quilting and home dec fabric stores. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just lament the loss of all those wonderful stores I remember from my childhood that catered to home seamstresses.

I will go to G Street every chance I get, which unfortunately isn't often enough. Unless I make a special trip (which I've been known to do!), I have to rely on layovers in my day job as a flight attendant to make it cost effective to shop there.

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