How Close Is Your Nearest Fabric Store?

So, you might be wondering where the next Minoru Sew-Along post is. After sewing the lining, I’ve run out of thread! (It’s all that triple-topstitching, taking three times the normal amount of thread.) Cycling to work means it’s a lot harder to get around once I’m here. It would take hours out of the day to bike to the fabric store! Even driving to the store takes at least an hour or so, return trip. There’s no fabric store within walking distance, or even reasonable cycling distance from my house or office. I sure wish there was at least one fabric store close to home!

Which got me thinking – how close is your nearest fabric store?

(Fabricana Richmond – an hour round trip by car, even longer by transit, probably three hours by bike!)

I live in a big city, with little cities connected to each other by bridges and tunnels. There are two million people in the Vancouver area. And yet, I can’t get to a fabric store from my house by foot or my bike! (I could, but it’s about 40 km by bike. I’d be too tired to sew by the time I picked up thread!)

It doesn’t matter as much for fabric and project supplies, because I can plan for it. It’s less convenient when it comes to the little forgotten things, like thread. When I get thread to finish the jacket, it’s either a half-hour train ride from the office downtown, or a hour round-trip by car to Fabricana. (Which we all know is going to take way longer than that – who can walk into a fabric store and just buy what they came in for?)

(thread at Dressew – half hour train ride from the office, even longer train ride from home)

There are less fabric stores in town than when I was growing up. When I was a little girl, there was a small fabric store next to the grocery store! Fabric was more of an essential, in the same little complex as the drycleaner, the butcher, the barbershop, and the bakery. If you ran out of thread, it was a convenient five-minute walk to the nearest fabric store, plus you can pick up bread and milk at the same time!

And if that’s what it is like for me, living in a big city, I wonder what it’s like for you guys? Some of you have mentioned driving three hours to the nearest fabric store, or having to buy all of your fabric and supplies online. If sewing supplies are hard to locate, what do you do when you run out of thread? (Substitute a close-enough colour? Buy twice as much thread the first time around, to be sure you won’t run out?)

How close is your nearest fabric store? Ten minutes away, an hour away, three hours away? So far away that you order everything online? I’d love to hear what it’s like for others around the world!

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144 Responses to How Close Is Your Nearest Fabric Store?

  1. Fiona - Straight Talking Mama February 21, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    Fabric stores are sadly lacking in the UK, I have to plan ahead so much when I sew. I buy most of mine online. I’m not a great distance from London where there are plenty but it would require a whole day trip really and the temptation would be too much. I have one in a town about 8 miles from me but although their threads and buttons are good the fabric isn’t.

  2. Roisin February 21, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    I’m really very lucky where I live. There are three fabric shops in my small town, and in the city where I work there are two within walking distance of my office (and also Ikea, which isn’t good for haberdashery but does sell fabric) I work part of the time in London and bizarrely, I think I would be worse off for fabric shopping if if lived in London – obviously there are more places to buy fabric (and some wonderful places like Walthamstow Market, Goldhawk Road and of course Liberty and the theatrical costume shops in Soho) but access to them would be very dependent on what area you lived in – probably a bit like the situation you describe. I’ve only bought fabric online once – although I’m not averse to it!

  3. Phoebe February 21, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    I live in Knoxville, TN, and the only fabric store here is a Joann’s (UGH!), and even that is twelve miles from my house on completely unbikeable roads and I don’t have a car. So, I’ve been there once in 1 1/2 years. There is a quilt shop about a four mile bike ride away, so I have occasionally picked up thread there in a pinch, but it’s not nice thread, and they don’t have anything else like buttons, zippers, elastic, etc. This situation has seriously hindered some of my sewing ambitions, because although it’s tolerable to order fabric online, it’s really a pain to find one online shop that also has all the notions you need in the colors and styles that you need. This has stopped me from making the Minoru jacket, for instance, because I’d have to order the zippers and thread and elastic separate from the fabric, and all those shipping costs really add up. I visit my mom is Seattle a couple of times a year and try to stock up while I’m there. But yeah, generally it sucks big time.

    • Amber February 21, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Hi there!

      I live in Nashville, and I’m pretty much in the same boat… just Joann’s here too. We do have a couple of really nice places that sell mostly upholstery stuff. I’m also very new to sewing so I dont like to spend very much on stuff that could very possibly be another “just for practice” project in the end haha

      Funny you mention Seattle though…. I am going there in 2 weeks! Please do tell if there are any fabric stores I should check out!

      • Amy K. February 21, 2012 at 11:34 am #

        Sounds like me! I don’t spend a lot on fabrics because I make so many practice garments that either don’t get finished or worn.

      • Jessie Kwak February 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

        Amber–

        We’re truly blessed with great fabric stores in Seattle! While you’re here you should definitely check out Nancy’s Sewing Basket on top of Queen Anne Hill, Stitches on Capitol Hill, and Pacific Fabrics & Crafts (they have a few locations around, as well as a great outlet store that’s about a 10 minute bike ride from my house). If you’re into outdoors sewing at all, Seattle Fabrics up on Aurora Ave is AMAZING.

        Enjoy your trip!

    • Ledys February 21, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      Hi! I live close to Chattanooga… We have JoAnn and Hancock but they are around half-an-hour to an hour away. With my two kids, that’s hard to do at a moment’s notice. HobbyLobby is a bit closer, but they don’t have a lot of fashionable fabrics. When I need thread, I generally go to Walmart. I hear you on the shipping costs. I am starting to buy most things online and it is hard to coordinate so that you get free shipping, which only Amazon and fabric.com ever offer.

      All this talk makes me want to start a fabric store! If only it were that easy :-)

      • Jessica February 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

        Aw the Tennessee crowd <3<3<3

        I'm lucky enough to live in a place that's sewing obsessed (Utah), and there are a handful of great independent apparel fabric stores and even more quilting fabric stores within an hour's drive of my house.

        Unfortunately (only unfortunate fabric-wise; in every other way this is great) I'm moving back to Chattanooga within a month and I'm already strategizing my fabric stock-up before I go back to the land of only-Joann's-and-Hancock's. I imagine I'll be doing a lot more shopping online or making periodic fabric trips to Atlanta (which is a two hour-drive)….or I could just be practical and finally get around to sewing through my fabric stash before purchasing more…

        • Ledys February 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

          Hi Jessica! Good luck with your move to Chattanooga! It’s a lovely place but I miss being closer to the stores. Do you have any places in Atlanta that you could recommend?
          Thank you!

          • Jessica February 22, 2012 at 9:33 am #

            Ledys-

            Thanks! I love Chattanooga with a deep and abiding love and I’m excited to be headed back :)

            For fabric stores in Atlanta- it’s been a while, but I remember Whipstitch Fabrics (http://whipstitchfabrics.com/) and Gail K Fabrics (http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/pvl/pv_072743.html) were two of my favorites. Browsing around the interwebz, there are also a handful of others that I’d love to check out, like Forsyth Fabrics (http://www.forsythfabrics.com/) and the Silk Trading Co. (http://www.silktrading.com/default.asp).

            Also, I don’t know which side of Chattanooga you’re on, but if you’re North-ish, it might be worth a trip to go up to the Short Sheet store in Crossville (http://shortsheet.com/Home.asp)- they have a huge variety of really great fabrics (though mainly home dec) and every second Saturday they have insane warehouse sales (everything in the warehouse side of the building is marked down to $5 or less/yd).

            • Ledys February 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

              Thank you for the links, Jessica! I’ll be sure to check these out next time I’m on the area. Good luck with your upcoming move!

  4. Casey February 21, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    I got spoiled when I was living in Florida, because the nearest chain sewing store was within a 15 minute bike ride! You can bet I really enjoyed having it that close. ;) There was also an indie store further away that I rarely visited because it was well over an hour round trip. Now where I live, both due to the area and the distance, it’s a car ride for me. But, I do have three options (including a non-chain shop) within reasonable driving distance, which is nice. But, I find the selection is still severely limited on certain things among those three stores, so I still have to do a fair amount of ordering online. :/

  5. Annabelle February 21, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Hi Tasia – I am really lucky in that my nearest fabric store is about a 7 mintue drive. I can pick up most of what I need here, but they don’t carry patterns, interfacing, notions (aside from buttons) or any other sewing essentials. But they totally make up for it with the fact that they offer gorgeous, high quality fabrics for the most reasonable prices I have seen (really, if you ever need to be in Minnesota for any reason, you should stop by S.R. Harris). The next closest fabric shop that is full serivice is about an hour round trip for me as well. It’s a Joann’s and I go there for everything but fabric.

    I suppose I can also add that my nearest yarn shop is about a 10 minute drive. I am really lucky where I live right now, but I most likely won’t be living here forever – so I will miss it all when I move.

  6. Samina February 21, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    I live in Florida & have a Hobby Lobby about 15 minutes away (by car), but its fabric selection is underwhelming. I’ve got a sewing machine dealer who carries some fabric about 1/2 an hour away, but I don’t always find them all that welcoming, so I don’t go there often. JoAnn Fabric is a bit farther away than the indie, so I’m generally hosed if I need something quickly. My town is also spread out & there’s really no good mass transit. You’re driving if you want to go anywhere around here.

  7. Noile February 21, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    It’s two miles to the nearest chain store, where notions are plentiful and fabric selection and quality abysmal, but it’s nearly an hour’s drive to the closest of our wonderful “junk” fabric store, which is chock-full of heavily discounted (and inspirational) fabrics. The “junk” store has no basic stock, though — you’ll find something wonderful and cheap, but not necessarily what you’re looking for.

    It’s two-and-a-half hours to New York City, where anything I could possibly want is available. So far; the fabric district is disappearing rapidly.

    I live in an affluent suburb outside a large US city. As in so many places, we have fabric stores that cater to quilters, but not much else. The closest one of those is 40 minutes away, but they don’t sell any thing I would use for apparel sewing.

  8. Laura February 21, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    I’m in Oxford in the UK and am definitely well-off for shops that sell thread! There’s an art shop and a little department store in the centre of town that sell gutermann threads, as well as an independent haberdasher that sells fabric (quilting and dressmaking), threads and all the supplies you could need.

    There’s also a biggish and higgledy-piggledy fabric shop in the next town, which is about a 15 minute drive away. And I’m only 45 minutes from London on the train when I need a bigger choice.

    Definitely well-supplied with fabric!

    • Clare February 22, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      You mean Masons! I love that store. I wasn’t hugely into sewing when I lived in Oxford so only visited the store that was mostly for knitting, but was in Abingdon a year or so ago and had some great successes!

      In answer to the post, when I lived in London I was always spoiled and had great fabric stores withing walking distance – first I lived in Tooting in South London, which had a great selection of market stalls and a huge craft superstore just up the road. And a store about 20 minutes away by bus, which sold Liberty prints at knock down prices. Then I moved to North London and was a 20 minute walk from a small but fantastically well stocked store, with a great selection of remnants. Then I was in Hackney, close to several craft stores and markets. I always liked Brick Lane and Dalston for interesting prints and low prices.

      I now live in a smallish city in Germany, and have a few options – the local department store, a large-ish fabric store, and a higher end place that I’ve only browsed in. However, fabric is a lot more expensive here than in the UK, I’ve found, and so haven’t really made use of the fabric stores that much (there are fleamarkets here though, which can be good for picking up second hand fabrics – I managed to buy remnants for a dress, a skirt and a blouse for only ‚Ǩ2 a few months back!). For items like thread, it’s a really noticeable difference, because in London I could pick up unbranded thread from the market for next to nothing, while here it’s mostly branded thread which costs a lot more. But I’m lucky to have it there on the doorstep if I need it.

  9. Nicole February 21, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Currently I’m extremely lucky when it comes to fabric stores. I live in Yekaterinburg, Russia where people still sew quite a bit, and I have a luxe fabric store directly across the street from our apartment. There are also 3 other fabric stores within a 10-15 walk that are less expensive. I’m soon to move back to the DC area, but will be living within a 10-15 min walk of a Joanns, Gstreet Fabric, and Michael’s. Eventually I’m sure I won’t be as lucky, as we move around quite a bit.

  10. Amy February 21, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    GOOD fabric store? That would be Vogue in Illinois, so a 1.5 hour drive. There’s a Joann’s and Hancock 10 minutes from work, but I never buy fabric there, just notions.

  11. Corinna February 21, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    Oh I hate running out of thread!
    My nearest fabric store is 20 mins by car and google maps says that would be a 3 hour walk (one way). I have more luck in my university town, there is a fabric store in 5 min walking distance, but that one doesn’t have as big a selection…
    Can’t you buy your thread anywhere else? Here in Germany you can get thread and buttons (at least basic colours) in bigger supermarkets or drugstores…

  12. CGCouture February 21, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    I am fortunate in living in a Holderman community, so I can get thread, needles, and other notions to my heart’s content here nearby. Fabric though is another story. The Holderman ladies don’t have the same taste in fabric as I do, and they seem to LOVE polyester….I HATE polyester. The nearest fabric stores are about an hour away, but they’re kind of limited sometimes, so I do a fair amount of ordering online. It really depends on what I’m looking for.

  13. Lenora Jane February 21, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    I miss my old home in Montreal, where there was a fabric/notions shop two blocks off, the Goodwill a block further, and the fabric district twenty minutes away…here I’m a car ride away. It’s still not too bad, probably twenty minutes each way, but I miss the convenience of just nipping down the block (barely further than the corner grocery store!)

  14. Mary February 21, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    It’s about an hours drive round trip for me to a true fabric store. The small pharmacy in town used to have fabric and still has a limited supply of thread and notions, but nothing to write home about. I do have an extensive thread collection between my regular sewing and embroidery, so typically I will have something in the stash that is a close match. I purchased a 50 spool set of Robison-Anton from Shoppers Rule about a year ago at a killer price and it is a dream to sew with. I stock up on basic colors like black and white whenever I’m down to a couple spools. Sadly in this economy I can’t justify the fuel cost for a trip to town to pick up a spool of thread.

  15. Lauren February 21, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    There are only two fabric stores (assuming garment fabric, not upholstery fabric) in my area, and both are fairly close – although on opposite sides of the city. The nice one is maybe 10 miles from my house… less than 5 from my office. It’s definitely bikeable but I’ve never bothered because I generally go during my lunch break at work. The other store is a chain store, and it’s about 15 miles from my house… I rarely go to that one unless it’s an ~emergency (like a Sunday or an evening, when the good store is closed!).

    For your thread question, I pretty much always buy the giant spools of black & white thread when I’m at the store & I have a few extra dollars to spend, regardless of whether or not I actually need them. It definitely comes in handy! I also started buying 2 (or even 3!) spools of whatever color I’m using, just to ensure I won’t run out. Although, I guess if I did run out, it wouldn’t be a huge deal – like I said, my stores are pretty convenient to where I work & live!

  16. sarah February 21, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    I’m fairly lucky to have a fabric shop 10 mins walking distance from where I live, but it only sells a selection of fabrics which are mostly suited for fancy dress. The thread and notions side is pretty good though.

    The nearest after that is in Cardiff, in the u.k. It’s about an hours drive from where I live but it’s like a fabric mecca, there a shops dotted all over the city, but I also do my fair share of shopping online as i find it easier to keep an eye on how much I’m spending.

  17. Elaine Ball February 21, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    In Gloucester, UK we have several haberdashers to choose from locally including Hobby Craft and Dunelm Mills. The fabric shops are less frequent, the few we do have do not stock a great range and are not modern, if they are then they are hugely overpriced. I drive at least half hour away (one way) to get to the nearest fabric stores, but mostly buy online.

  18. natalie February 21, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Hi I bet i can beat everybody.
    If I want to visit a fabric shop that sells more than FQ’s I have a 2.5hr ferry journey and then a 1.5hr car journey for a remnant shop. If I want to go to a proper shop its another 4 hrs in the car or I can fly for an hour.

    thank goodness for the internet!

  19. Jodi February 21, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Less than a mile away. It’s a small Joann’s, but it is enough to get my fabric fix and buy thread when I run out. :)

  20. Kristi @ PeetSwea February 21, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    I have two JoAnn stores within 20 minutes of my house, but I am still working on finding other non-chain stores in my area.

    I would love to have a store be a short walk away, although I fear that would be more expensive than it would be convenient!

  21. CarmencitaB February 21, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    It’s one of my pet peeves around here everything is 40kms away. So I try to group, make lists and stock up on essentials like thread and interfacing. But still, I run out of things…nothing to be done about this right?

  22. Jill February 21, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    There are about 3 Joanns within about 15 minutes of my home in Pittsburgh, PA. There are also two locally owned shops that are very close to me. One within walking distance. The two locally owned shops with a fairly limited selection of absolutely sumptuous fabric which is usually out of my budget. I thought I had it tough, but it sounds like I’m pretty lucky!

  23. Suzie February 21, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    Hmmm….well I have a fabric shop literally around the corner from my office (erm…I was just in there this lunch break!), but to be honest, they don’t carry very much. There is another, better fabric shop about an hours drive away…but even that’s not great. So I do end up trying to source things online…which is always hit and miss!

  24. Juliette February 21, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    I live in a small university town in central Germany. We have two tiny fabric stores here (one is really for knitting) and a corner in the local department store. I hate to say it, but I don’t give the little shops a long life as turnover is pretty high in our town (shop rent is insane and the fabric is not cheap). The corner in the dept store is really tiny, 4x the price of things at a US fabric chain store, and has a miniscule selection. It’s mostly for window treatments and knitting.

    Most Germans seem to buy their fabric online. One of the little local shops (it’s the size of 2 lemonade stands) also has her inventory listed in an online shop, so she might actually stay open. However, her storefront is really only open 2 afternoons a week.

    We have a 19% sales tax here, so I think that’s a huge deterrent. My general impression is that women who sew often here tend to be in the ‘upper middle class’ income bracket -or have some kind of in (like I always load up on fabric when visit family the US!). Sometimes it really makes me sad that more people here can’t afford to try sewing!

  25. Katie February 21, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    There’s a small fabric store in Maidenhead town centre, about 20 minutes walk from my house. They are pretty good for thread and notions (unless you want serger thread or specialist interfacing). Patterns (big 4 only) are full price, with Vogue and McCalls being order only, taking 10 days or more to arrive. This means I have the stupid situation of it being cheaper for me to wait for a sale and then to buy them online from the US. Even with the postage charge I save money.

    There’s a yarn store less than 5 minutes walk from my house, but it is so badly organised that I very rarely go there. They keep too much stock, so you have to climb over stuff to get to the shelves or the counter, and they also put in totally irrelevant products – last time I ventured in, I had to move a stack of puppies and kittens calendars from the needle display. When I commented on this to the shop owner, she told me that the calendars were put there to make sure that everyone noticed them…… who goes into a yarn store to buy a nausiatingly cute calendar? I’ve never been back.

    • Sarah February 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

      @ Katie, check out Sewdirect.com. Big 3 patterns heavily discounted If you take membership. At ¬£7.50 per quarter and 2 free patterns when you join (I picked top price vogue’s!) and 10 magazines per year, it almost pays fr itself before you buy any more at terns! I started in Sept. s far so god, and the pattern I ordered came within a few days – half price and free postage!

  26. Kathleen February 21, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Mine is 110meters from where I work. It doesn’t even take me a minute to walk from the front door of the office to the shop. It’s both a good thing and a bad thing. :D

  27. Ellen February 21, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    I hoard thread when it goes on sale so I can substitute in a pinch. It’s a 45 minute drive from my rural NH town to my sewing joints : one is a dreamy seaside shop, one is a discount store owned by a fabric addict, and one is a large chain store.

    Tasia, many folks speak of their dreams and ideals, but for whatever reason do not follow them. You have my admiration and respect for leading the life you have dreamed with grace, a smile, and inspiration. It must be challenging sometimes.

    Pedal, pedal, pedal. We’re all behind you!

  28. Mikhaela February 21, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I’m almost embarrassed to answer this… I work a few blocks from the Garment District in NYC. And even when I’m at home in Brooklyn on the weekends, there are three fabric stores in walking distance.

  29. Cathy February 21, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    We live in small town Ontario and I mean small. I can not even buy thread here. There is a tiny Mennonite fabric store near me, but the fabric is dated and well it is owned by Mennonites. Then off to Walkerton, there is a store there and when she buys in something new and exciting…. it is gone in no time. So off to Owen Sound where there is a Fabric Land, new last year. The last time I was there it did not have much I am sure there stock is better now. Oh yes outside of Owen Sound there is a place that sells fabric for quilts. The answer to your question is … yes we do have some near us, but they do not sell much of what I want…. Oh if forgot I could drive a couple of hours and go to Kitchener/Guelph where there are store, it is just a long drive. Sure wish we had something closer.

  30. Bella February 21, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Same for me…7 miles on the highway one way or another…not walkable or bikeable at all. They are big trips as I try to avoid driving as much as I can, so I tend to buy a LOT at one go & stock up. I’m also trying to replace my stash of notions which I left behind on our last int’l move, so if anything is on sale, I’ll buy a few extra items, because I know I will eventually use it.

  31. Shawn February 21, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    I live in the midwest and the fabric shops are pretty limited. It’s about a 35 mile drive to the nearest town where I can buy notions and quilting cottons. If I want apparel fabric I need to order on-line or head to the city (which is a 4 hour drive round-trip). When I do make it to the city I’ll stock up if something catches my eye. Thankfully I have a good stash stocked up, so I can shop my stash when the sewing bug bites.

  32. Emma February 21, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    I live in Vancouver too, but I live around Granville and Broadway — super easy for me to get downtown (about 15 minutes by bus), and there’s Gala Fabrics about a 5 minute walk from my apartment. I can’t buy fabric there because it’s all fancy fabric with a hefty pricetag, but I have certainly gone there for emergency thread. I did that two weeks ago, actually. My issue with fabric is that Dressew has such awful hours that I pretty much can only buy fabric on Saturdays (unless I magically have a day off during the week). So I definitely still have to plan my purchases.

  33. Nikol February 21, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    I am lucky in that I own a fabric store… but still no way to carry everything in which case the closest one for little things is about 10 min from my house. However, like you said who can just buy what they came for? I’m always stocking up so that I have plenty of EVERYTHING on hand.

  34. Marloes February 21, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Where I used to live there was no fabric store near me, I had to get fabric at the market or take the car which took somewhere between 15-30 minutes to get there. Now where I live I can choose from two fabric stores both about 10 minutes by car from my home. I still usually take everything with me, buttons, thread, zippers. I hate it when I run out and when making a coat I always buy two spools tread, just to prevent me from running out, I hated it when it was a Sunday afternoon and I had no tread anymore to keep on going and all stores closed!

  35. Latrice February 21, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    I used to live in Philadelphia. There was a fabric store in walking distance from work (used to go on lunch break, power walking) and there was also an area call Fabric Row.
    Now I live in San Diego, there is a decent amount of fabric stores and some actually have good fashion fabric options and I can generally find the supplies and notions I need. However, sometimes I need to go up to LA to find the right fabric for my needs.

  36. Rachel W. February 21, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I’m very, very lucky to live about a mile away from the local suburban Joann. It’s a nice walk and convenient location, but I try to only go there for zipper- and thread-related emergencies. Anyone else always try to keep a ’40% off one item’ coupon in their purse at all times, too? Those prices! :P

    There’s a 24-hour Walmart on the other side of town that carries notions, but I only end up there during dire, dark, late-night emergencies (especially because I much prefer Gutermann to Coats and Clark!). I instead try to time my thread purchases for when thread at Joann is 50% off *and* when I have a ’20% off your entire purchase’ coupon. Perfect time to stock up.

    When I lived in rural NY and PA, the closest fabric store was no less than 40 minutes away. My hometown had two fabric shops when I was growing up: now, zero! I got very good at online fabric shopping. Oh, my poor rural fabric desert!

  37. Anne February 21, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Wow, I didn’t realize how lucky I am! There’s a Joann’s about a 5 minute drive from my home (totally bikeable, if I had a bike). I know of 3 other Joann’s stores in San Diego, plus there are several other fabric stores scattered around, including 2 that are fairly near my work. Now, if only I had the time and money to visit them more often…

  38. Abby February 21, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I have two JoAnn stores within 15 minutes of my house, but a real fabric store where I can get real fashion fabric that’s not polyester or quilting cotton? There isn’t one. The closest one is in Chicago, which is over 4 hours by car.

  39. petitejosette February 21, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I am fairly lucky that I live relatively close to most fabric store around, the closest being Gala Fabrics, only 4 blocks away! Super convenient when I run out of thread. Dressew is a 20m bus ride, and Fabricana in Richmond, a 20 min drive…

  40. Sassy T February 21, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Not too bad. There is one in the main town centre a 15 min train ride or one hour bus ride. I also have one about 30 mins away on foot where I generally buy my linings. They don’t sell haberdashery though.

  41. Debi February 21, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    I’m really lucky! In Edinburgh I live about a 10 minute walk from two delicious fabric stores and my work is another 10 minute walk from another! I’m totally spoiled! Not to mention there is a charity shop across the street that is famous for their fabric and sewing supplies!

  42. nothy lane February 21, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    I have a fabric store about 5 minutes from my house. There is a fabric district about 1/2 hr from my house. So I am very lucky. I never understand the people who have to buy online – they miss out on the fun of finding a cool and unexpected fabric that they weren’t looking for.

  43. Marie-Noëlle February 21, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    I live less than 10 kms from Rouen France, though this is a fairly big town there’s only 2 fabric stores. One is incredibly overpriced the other is much cheaper but not very good quality. I am still reluctant to buying fabric online. I some time go to Paris but still, it is not that easy to find good quality interfacing that I buy online in the United States.

  44. Catholic Bibliophagist February 21, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    I have three shops that sell thread and quilting cottons in my local area, but no place that sells garment fabric except Jo-Ann’s (a mega chain) which is okay for notions, but the quality of their fabric is not that great. So I’ve been experimenting with mail order. But it’s tough not being able to feel the fabric before buying it.

    –C.B.

  45. Donna February 21, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Joann’s is the only place to buy fabric around here–other than quilting stores–and the nearest one is about a 20 minute drive on the highway. We used to have a small Joann’s that was about a mile away from me, it didn’t have the best fabric selection but was still great for quick trips when patterns were on sale or I needed thread. It closed about a year ago to allow some other shops in the strip to expand and I still miss it.

    • Catholic Bibliophagist February 21, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      That’s right, I forgot. JoAnn’s is great for buying patterns. I’m so spoiled now because I know that I can wait until a particular brand of pattern goes on sale and then buy them for $1.00 or $1.50 each.

      CB

  46. Kris February 21, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I live in a small town on the edge of the metro border for Portland. There are a lot of quilting fabric stores within a 20 minute drive of my house and even more if you extend that out to 30 minutes. The closest fabric/supplies store is a 3 minute drive up the street if you count the fabric and crafts part of Walmart.
    There are a couple of Joann Fabrics within 20 minutes of my house as well.

    I suppose you could say in my case I don’t worry so much about getting thread or zippers, etc because the stores are in reasonable distance.

    Quality fabric is another story though. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour during light traffic to get to the large fabric stores that apparently Portland is famous for. This post is really interesting to me because I can’t imagine why people would spend so much money to come out here on tours just to go to these stores but if you really don’t have anything close-by, it might seem worth it.

  47. Mariadenmark February 21, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    I live in the countryside. My nearest fabric store is 14 km away in the nearest town. The biggest fabric store in the country is 30 km (so that’s a 30 minute drive) from here (about halfway to Copenhagen), and I usually go there to meet up with my friend who lives in Copenhagen. There’s a cafe inside the store, so you can browse fabric, park the cart for a while and go have a coffee or something to eat before continue the shopping.
    I’m pretty happy with my options:-)

  48. Mariló February 21, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    I live in a town and there are two or three little shops where I can buy very very very basic things thread, zippers, some buttons and not much variety and also more expensive than the city. I can hardly find fabric in my town, which only can be used to make muslins or simple things. To the city there are 30 km, and although the shops are bigger and they offer wide range on fabrics and notions, I would like they were as bigger as in Madrid where you can get lost into fabrics, notions, trims and many many things.

  49. AnnieV February 21, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    I live in a small town in Quebec, Canada, around 130K people live here. We have only two fabrics stores as I know. The first one is at around 20 minutes driving, they sell mostly home decor fabrics and the prices are extremely high. The second one is at 30 minutes driving is great for cotton, but it has a poor choice. So I have to shop most of my fabric online. I buy thread and some notions at a Singer store at the mall or in the second fabric store I mentioned.

    I seriously think to open my own fashion fabric store, my husband told me to do this because he is tired to hear me complaining about the lack of great fabrics around here!

  50. Caroline February 21, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Oh man, so many of these people have to go so far, and by car! I used to be lucky enough to have a big, cheap fabric shop within 1 mile of my apartment. It shut down. Now I make this loop by bicycle whenever I need supplies that takes me on a 15 mile loop around the icky nethers of Portland, Oregon. I try to wait until my shopping list is long, and bring big panniers, because I don’t own a car. I’ll usually be the only people in those shops with a helmet on – ha!

    I don’t order very much at all from the Internet – just ribbon. I’ve found that I can’t trust that fabric is going to look and feel how I expect it to, and was disappointed too many times.

    So I make my ~monthly bicycle trek to Fabric Depot (woo – lucky me) and Joann’s (mostly just for interfacing, ribbon, and thread – because of those great 50% off coupons)! Sometimes when I want fancier fabrics I’ll take the 18 mile round trip bicycle tour out to Mill End fabrics in Milwaukee. It’s a great trip along the Willamette River, lots of exercise, and I come home with great stuff!

  51. maddie February 21, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Luckily I live in a big city, Philadelphia, and there is a “fabric’s row” that has beautiful vintage and new fabric. But when I went to a fashion school in Savannah, Georgia, there was no fabric store in town. Can you believe that? Someone could make a fortune by opening a fabric store near the college (SCAD). The seniors would fly to New York City to buy fabric for their senior collection. Crazy, right?

    • Latrice February 29, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      I miss fabric row. Have you been to Jo Mar’s in S. Philly, they used to have fabric upstairs.

  52. Tammy February 21, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    I have so many US & Canadian sewing blogs on my reader and have read so much about Joanns & Michaels, that I expected every street to have a fabic store on the corner ha ha.

    I am also in the UK, in the London suburbs. I have Fabricland for cheap fabrics & notions, John Lewis department store for designer fabrics and branded notions both in my local “town centre. So I can pick bits up without having to make a special journey. However, neither sell Guttermans only Coats, which my very old Bernina hates. so buying thread is a pain as I have to go to a quilting store or there is a sewing machine repair shop and neither are on any route that I would usually go, so I would have to make a special journey just to buy thread (bit like you really)

    We also have little choice in the UK and fabric is far more expensive than in the US & Canada.

  53. Deanna February 21, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I live in Pasadena, CA. My closest Joann’s which was only 2 miles or so away closed down last year. But living in a big city within the larger county of Los Angeles, there are 3 other Joann’s within a 15 minute drive in any direction. Plus, I have the downtown fabric district just 20 minutes away where there are city blocks full of discount fabric (some of them designer discards) and really cheap notions. I hardly go downtown though because I have to pay for parking. Reading what some of you have to go though makes me feel less annoyed that I have only a $3 parking inconvenience.

    I’ve actually met some people who make a small income by buying fabric downtown and reselling it on etsy for a small mark up. I selfishly only go there to buy for myself.

    There are a few mom and pop fabric stores around town too but usually they mostly sell quilting fabrics and tend to me be a little more expensive than Joann’s or downtown. Those places are good if you need to make a quick run for a notion.

    I recently took a trip to Guadalajara where there was almost a fabric store on every block. There must be a lot of sewers in that city!

  54. Emma February 21, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Well I am 730kms from my nearest big fabric store – it takes about 8 hours to drive without stopping for lunch! There is a small store in a town 250 kms away but it has only a few very limited quilitng fabrics (like probably no more than 50 to choose from) and some threads. In a town about 240kms away there is a slightly bigger store but the selection is just too limited for me. Plus the prices in these towns are more than double what I would pay in the city! I think that’s why I have the stash that I do – if I find sometihing I like at a reasonable price I just have to buy it! I like internet shopping, but I would prefer to be able to feel and touch the fabrics first!

  55. Nethwen February 21, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    I live in a middle-sized NC town and the closest sewing supply store is a small Hancock, 45 minutes away. There may be other craft stores around that sell fabric, but since I don’t craft and don’t want puppy dog printed quilting cotton, I don’t go to those stores. In a pinch, and if I don’t need black thread (they are always out of black), I can get some notions at Wal-Mart, which is a 10 minute drive.

    The good news is that a yarn store opened in town and she only sells quality yarn that one cannot find at chain stores. If you can find it at Wal-Mart, she won’t carry it. Even though I’m not much into yarn arts, I hope she succeeds and her shop becomes a fixture.

  56. sarah February 21, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    I live in East Van, though not as far east or south as your office. I frequent Dressew or Fabricana in Coquitlam. (The overpass construction just east of the Ikea is finished, so getting to this Fabricana is a breeze compared to the Richmond location. I’d say 40 minutes round trip in decent/average traffic.) I will occasionally head to Fabricland on Marine Drive.

    But everything is far enough away that it requires planning and significant time.

    For thread, I try to plan with enough advance notice to order 1000 meter spools online from Cleaner’s Supply. I purchased a Gutterman thread chart from them and use that for colour matching. Otherwise, I pick up thread at Dressew. I’m not too picky about the thread colour inside the garment, so I have been known to rethread my machine multiple times so that I am only using the matching thread for topstitching. But that is a pain.

  57. francine February 21, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Dressew is my closest store, which is 20 minutes by bus. I love it but wish they were open later than 5:15! There is also the Fabricana in Coquitlam, which although is equal distance from me as the one in Richmond, it’s far easier to drive to! But yes, there used to be so many more fabric stores when I was in highschool, but now all the Fanny’s are gone and the Fabriclands are disappearing. Textile clearance house shut down last year. Based on how busy Dressew always is you’d think there’d be a big enough market for more stores!

  58. Seraphinalina February 21, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I’m actually pretty lucky. Nothing is super close to my home, but there is a Fabricland enroute to many places I go. One mid-way to my parents, 3 near 3 of my clients offices, and one close to my employers. So really, there isn’t a weekday that I can’t get fabric if I need to, some are just easier than others. To drive specifically to Fabricland is about 15-20 minutes one way, so you are looking at least an hour adding in shopping time, I’d rather go when it’s just a little detour on the way home or a lunch time trip.

  59. Jennifer Lachman February 21, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    The nearest fabric store to me is about an hour and a half away by car but it carries mostly synthetics. If I want natural fabrics I have to drive 2 hours if traffic isn’t bad. Most of the time I buy online and make trips to the fabric store an occasional treat. When I do make it up there I stock up on threads, trims, needles and keep a big collection of the things I use every day.

  60. Leslie February 21, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    The fact that we have a couple of quilt fabric stores in my small town is astounding. Even though they specialize in quilting, I can always find thread in a pinch…and the two stores are only 5 minutes away.

  61. Ellen February 21, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and there is a very sad (for fabric) fabric store about 10 minutes by car, but they do have all the regular notions and decent thread. There are 2 Joann’s but they are at least 20-30 minutes by car (unless you happen on traffic… what am I saying… there will be traffic). There are lots of home dec fabric stores and the nearest is about 15 minutes away in an industrial kind of area (where actually several are located). The one store I would buy fabric at (and have) is about 20-30 minutes away in another different direction. Ironically, both fabric.com and atlantathread.com are local to me, but they aren’t open to the public so I have to buy online from them. I don’t know about international shipping from atlantathread.com, but they have great prices and you could stock up.

  62. Amy K. February 21, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    I live in Buffalo, NY. There is a fabric store around the corner from my house, but it’s mostly home dec. and it’s more than I’m willing to pay while I’m still a beginner and prone to mistakes. There is a JoAnn Fabrics on either side of the city, both are about twenty minutes away by car. They’re close enough that if I forget something, it’s not a big deal. But since we only have one chain, the fabric that you can buy is limited. I buy most fabric from Fabric.com.

  63. Katie February 21, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    I live in an area that has about 100,000 between a few closely set cities, so not that large of an area. We have a fair number of quilt shops, but not too close to where I live. Other than those, I am stuck with Joann’s, Walmart, and Mill End Textiles for fabrics. My Mill End focuses more on quilting fabrics and has such a small section of apparel that Joann’s becomes my go-to. I do a fair amount of shopping online though because of lack of selection. There is no way I could ride my bicycle to any of the stores and have energy to do anything after, nor will I ride this time of year. Driving it takes me 20 minutes each way to get to any sort of store, aside from Walmart, which is a ten minute drive (and definately not my first choice for anything, sewing or not).

    When I make my trip to Joann’s I make sure to buy thread for whatever fabrics I’m buying. I don’t care if I have the same color at home already because I would rather have extra than to run out. I do quilting and thread painting with my machine so having random colors around isn’t always a bad thing.

  64. Rosemary February 21, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I live in quite a rural area of England, Shropshire. My home town of Newport has a small quilting store (which sells quilting fabrics that are too expensive for me). Other than this i have to take a hour bus trip to Shrewsbury which has a reasonable but still pricey dressmaking shop or go to 2 hours (providing i am make all my connections) by bus/bike and then train to Birmingham which has a good selection of cheap fabric on the market. So i have to plan ahead as much as possible. This can be really hard when using Birmingham’s Rag Market, because the high turn over of fabric often means that the selection has complected changed every time i go.

    I am lucky in a way though the quilting store is only 100m from my flat and there is market with a small yarn stall, which sell a limited selection of haberdashery (but loads of buttons) opposite my flat. The only problem with the yarn stall is that it is only open twice a week and shuts at 3pm. so i nearly always miss it as i have to work.

  65. Alicia February 21, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Even here in Chicago, the options are really limited. I live 20 min from Joann’s, and 45 minutes from each Vogue store. That’s in good traffic, which happens about 3 hours a day.

    I think this is why my stash is so big. I buy almost everything online, and I order a lot each time because I don’t want to pay shipping for just one piece of fabric here and there.

    I’m jealous of everyone who lives in NYC. It’s really sad that it’s so hard for the rest of us to get to good fabric stores!

  66. Katy February 21, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I have a great specialist fashion fabric shop a 5 minute walk away from work (I work in Norwich in the UK) so it’s really handy for picking up supplies and fabric at lunchtimes. I also recently discovered a stall in the daily markets that sells fabric. There are also a couple of department stores but they tend to only stock quilting fabric, so I will only buy supplies from there. There isn’t a fabric shop near where I live but that’s no problem as it is only a 20 minute drive into Norwich. That said there is nothing in the UK that’s equivalent to Joann’s or Fabricana, they seem to be huge chain stores. Anything that big here only sells curtain or upholstery fabric. I would love to have something like that near me, even a 1 or 2 hour drive away! We have Hobbycraft which I like going into for supplies. They just sell quilting cottons but the shop covers every conceivable crafting hobby of which I am only interested in sewing!

  67. Kristin February 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    I live in Eugene, OR and have a JoAnn’s about 10 minutes drive away, and another about 20 minutes away in Springfield. They are great for buying patterns when they go on sale, and for haberdashery, but in regard to good quality fabric, they are sorely lacking. I also have a Walmart about 10 minutes away that has fabric and notions, but the quality there is like JoAnn’s and I prefer not to shop there at all. We have a couple of quilting fabric stores in town, but I have never found the desire to sew a quilt. If I want good quality fabric I order it online- but that is always hit or miss on the quality. Portland is a 3 hour drive one way from here and we hardly ever go there- occasionally to fly out to a destination where the flight does not leave from Eugene, but that is all. I envy everyone who lives in a larger city where quality fabrics are easier to come by!

  68. Lucy February 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    We have four (pop. 200,000) – none are that near my house. But in this city you can pretty much drive between any two points in half an hour or less, so it’s no big deal. Unfortunately, one isn’t that good and is pretty expensive (and stocks a lot of old lady fabric!), one is a Spotlight (our equivalent of JoAnn’s), one isn’t bad, but it’s a warehouse so quite hit-and-miss, and one – the closest to me – is an emporium, so between ugly curtains, ’80s lining fabric, and gold lame, you might find the occasional good one. They’re all fine for emergency notions, though. The best city is a couple of hours’ drive away, but it’s a pain to do that too often, especially with all the fabric shops scattered around! And in NZ it’s outrageously expensive to have anything shipped from the US, and locally they only seem to sell quilting fabric online.

    It’s driving me nuts, because I really want a cosy, snuggly flannel lining for my Minoru, but can only find fabric in little-kid designs – guess they think that only mums wanting to make pyjamas will buy it!

  69. Clozmkr February 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Wow, lots of responses here! It’s so interesting to see how the rest of the Sewaholic flock gets their ‘fix’!! I’m also pretty lucky-living in SoCalifornia. As for traditional brick & morter – it’s Joann’s and a couple of local chains that are passible. We do, however, have a little hidden GEM here called (drum roll, please!!) THE SWAP MEET. If you don’t mind digging into piles of ‘pre-cut’ goods :), and are not looking for something very specific, it’s the place. If you pay more than $1.00/yd, you’re being downright MUGGED, and a lot of it comes from the LA garment district. Which leads me to the other option – a 1 1/2 hour drive and you are in the heart of the LA Garment district including Mood, F&S, Levine’s, and block after block of fabrics & trims. My sewing buddies make it a day trip about 4 times a year, and it’s a blast!!

  70. Renae February 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    I live in an inner suburb of Adelaide, Australia. Within 1-2km (less than 5 min bike ride) I have a pretty decent fabric shop, a dressmakers (which sells heaps of sewing supplies), a knitting/sewing shop and a couple of quilting shops. There’s a Spotlight and Lincraft (which have nearly everything, but it’s hard to get too exctited about their fabric) in the city about a 15 minute bike or bus ride away. My favourite fabric shops are a little further, but still only 30 mins on the bike or a 15 min drive, although in opposite directions. After reading how far the rest of you have to travel, I’ve realised how lucky I am. I will never complain about going to buy supplies ever again!!

  71. Lena Merrin February 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I live hours away from any fabric stores, but 10 min away from “Little Vietnam” with 11 fabric stalls on one street full with fabric! Too bad they speak so little English! :))

  72. Graca February 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    The closest fabric supply store is a Fabricland 5.6 km away, the other side of the bridge. It is not close enough to walk but it is about 15 minutes away by car. More than half of the store is dedicated to quilt fabric and home decor. There not a great selection for the sewist that sews clothing. Some of my favourite fabrics in my stash, I found in Toronto. But that’s 2,048 km away. There is an Ikea that is suppose to open later this year, I’ve heard people say that Ikea sells fabric… a gal can only hope for one more source.

  73. Janice February 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I live in NYC and the nearest fabric store for me is in the garment district, which is half an hour walking distance from my house. Unfortunately I work during the week so the only time I can really go on the weekends, so it is a pain for me to run out of supplies.

  74. Tanit-Isis February 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I’ve lamented the distance to my nearest fabric store, but it’s nowhere near that long a commute—maybe a ten minute drive each way, at least as long as I avoid rush hour. It does irk me that there are at least two places within walking distance—Zellers and Walmart—where I could buy a sewing machine, but nowhere that sells fabric (except the thrift store, but that doesn’t really count). Both those places sell thread, and the dollar stores usually have some as well, albeit not the kind or quality you’d want for topstitching. That being said, those are all places I tend to avoid, for various reasons—so I’m much more likely to trek off to the fabric store, even just for thread.

    Oh, and there’s a sewing machine store right at my train station when I get to work. They have thread and zippers, though not much in the way of buttons. So I guess I am pretty lucky. Hmm. I better quit whining… ;)

  75. Christine February 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    I’m quite lucky – I’m surrounded by mass chain fabric stores. My nearest JoAnn’s is a 10 min drive – 5 mins if I get the right light timing. I also am somewhat close to a Beverly’s and Hancock’s. There’s a discount fabric warehouse by my work, but I have to generally go with something in mind as it can be chaos. And unfortunately the small, specialty fabric store that I loved to frequent just closed and became online sales only. While I’m certainly spoiled by this selection, I do find it’s hard to find some good, quality specialty fabrics like laces and non-quilting cotton.

  76. Rachel February 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    I’m incredibly lucky. There are two fabric stores within about 100m of where I’m living at the moment. Although I’ve never actually bought anything from either of them (one is silk specific, and the other a “dancing fabric” store). However “the fabric store” is less than 500m from my house and i buy PLENTY from there. There’s then at least 3 or 4 good fabric stores in the city, which is about 20mins walk, and then a fair few dotted around within less than half an hours bike ride or tram ride. Very lucky.

  77. Roxanne February 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Oh how I love Melbourne!!! I can’t even count how many fabric stores are within an easy 30 min drive/1 hr bike ride/ 30 min tram ride. So many great designer remnants, top quality fabrics or Spotlights and Lincrafts. I’m lucky that I have to drive between offices for work and there is a Spotlight store in-between. Great for a quick lunchtime stop for urgent supplies/impulse fabric purchases. There are some parts of town (like Brunswick where the fashion school is) where it might be a little further to go but its worth it for the selection of stores around there. The other day I caught up with a friend for lunch, I got lost on the way home and da da there was another fabric store I hadn’t seen before with a wonderful selection. This is however not so great for my credit card or my fabric stash. I think if you had to make a special trip you would be better and planning and managing projects and purchases. I am way too impulsive!!

    • Jenny February 22, 2012 at 1:50 am #

      Yes, so lucky! I’m in the inner suburbs and can think of at least 10 stores around where I live or on my way home. Each of them are quite different so I can pick and choose depending on my mood!
      Spoilt for choice :)

      • Kirsty February 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

        Melburnians Jenny and Roxanne Please do tell me your favourites. I’m in Hobart, Tasmania and we only have a Spotlight. I’ve found The Fabric Store, Clegs, Tessuti and Kimono House but haven’t ventured further afield on my trips to the ‘big smoke’. I’ll be back over in a couple of weeks with a free day while my other half works.

        My closest store is Spotlight, and it is the only one apart from quilting or home dec stores. It is a 10 minute drive/ bike ride (longer to get home on the bike though back up hill) which is very convenient. So while I can get thread and notions, the range of fabric leaves a lot to be desired – as do the prices unless they have a sale.

        So I have a very close fabric store but much prefer to shop for fabric in another city or online.

        I just about wept at the range of colours in over locker thread- I didn’t know they even made and sold it for the retail market in those colours. Sigh.

        • Rachel February 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

          If it’s a weekday or saturday morning that you’re free it’s worth getting the 19 tram up to sydney road in Brunswick, on the same block that the brunswick spotlight is on there are 4 or 5 little independent fabric stores that have some nice fabrics. Then if you walk east along one of the cross streets about 10 minutes to Lygon street you can go to Rathdown Remnants and GJs (which has quilting and dance fabrics, a little bit of nice fashion fabric, but might not be your thing), and then you can get the tram back down lygon street. I’ve done that little loop a few times on a Saturday morning when looking for fabrics.
          Oh and if you’re after formal fabrics, I discovered Franke Stuart in Hawthorn last weekend, it has some AMAZING fabrics there and seemed very reasonably priced. It’s a short walk from Glenferrie train station.

          • Kirsty February 27, 2012 at 3:39 am #

            Rachel – thanks for the local tips. I know what I’m doing at the end of next week now! Although being the day after payday could be dangerous…

  78. Juliette Sewing and Style February 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    I live in Ireland, and let me say- there is NO LARGE FABRIC STORES IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY. There is Woolen Mills, a small old shop. Hickeys- a chain of small shops, mainly selling interior design fabric and only a couple of branches sell fashion fabrics ( mentally overpriced!) and a couple of other small places. They are all in Dublin city centre- it is 100km (60miles) up north from me, with mental traffic and parking is an arm and a leg there too. so i shop online- especially on ebay, and myfabrics.co.uk- they do great sales and send out free samples too! But nothing can substitute the sheer pleasure of walking through the lanes of fabric, touching, feeling, choosing etc… and I miss it all! Unlucky!

  79. SueC56 February 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    12 minutes away by car (and even that seems a ways to go just for a spool of thread sometimes). We have Hancocks, Joanns and a couple of quilting stores in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo IA metro area.I also order online (Fabric.com, and Stans Sewing Supplies for long zippers). Once a year or so, I head up to the Twin Cities (Mpls/St. Paul) and hit a few fabric stores there (Mill Direct, SR Harris, etc.).

  80. Christina February 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Cars are just a given in Los Angeles, but I have the fortune of living very close to Downtown Los Angeles… So the garment district is just a quick bus ride away for me (or sometimes a walk, depending on where I am)! And if I’m feeling luxe, Mood Fabrics is at most a half hour drive away too. I feel very fortunate!

  81. cate February 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    I’d have at least an hour round trip if I chose any of the 3 closest shops. One is a chain store, one is a quilting shop and the other is a large shop that specialises in formal fabics (lace, taffeta, silks..) This has lead me to fantasise about opening my own shop selling garment fabrics, but I don’t know how popular it would be… it seems to be all about quilting fabrics for any independent retailers where I live in Australia. If I want good quality fabric for clothes I get it mostly online (etsy or other U.S. sellers) because even with shipping it is cheaper than buying it either in person or from an online shop in Australia. I think we must have outrageous taxes on fabric…

  82. Cynthia February 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    There’s one about a 15 minute walk (or 5 by bike). And 4 more within 30 minutes. I feel blessed that there is such a DIY spirit in Portland, OR.

  83. Inna February 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    I live in Tokyo and I am lucky enough to live near many fabric/supplies shops. My local fabric shop in Shimokitazawa is just 10 min walk from my apartment. When you get on Shimokitazawa station, take the North Exit and the shop is just in front of Kaldi. It takes me 15-20 min to get to he second nearest one, Marunan, in Shibuya, just on Shibuya crossing, next door to LUSH. Shibuya is also a half-way to the office and I can always shop on my way home. I will get to the third nearest shop, Yuzawaya on the 7th and 8th floors of IOIO department store, in 20-30 min from my apartment. The 4th nearest shop in Shinjuku, Yuzawaya, on the 11th floor of Takashimaya department store. Last but not least is the fabric Mecca of Tokyo: Nippori Textile town, takes me 1 hour journey. You need to take the South Exit of Nippori station and walk about 7 min towards the neighborhood with tons of fabric shops.

  84. Emily February 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    I live in NZ and there are several options near ish my house. I live about 20 minutes from a great factory knit fabric shop with a Spotlight (mostly awful fabric though) about 30 minutes the other way and three very good general fabric stores an hour away. Plus there are three quilting/notions type shops within 10 minutes. All this is by car. Pretty good really.

  85. Denise February 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    I live about a 20 minute drive from my fabric store, but there is a Michael’s about 5 minutes away (good if you run out of black or white thread, but that’s about it). I, too, love Dressew, but since it’s about a 40 minute drive away, I have to plan my day in order to make it there!

  86. Lydia February 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    I am part of the ”close to Gala fabrics Dressew and Fabricana circuit” — a walk — Gala Fabrics, a bus ride– Dressew, or drive — Fabricana (I walk to Dressew at times, but their hours are terrible, and after walking 40 minutes to find it closed… annoying!). Dressew service is rather surley most of the time as well, and I don’t feel the ‘magic’ when I go there — I end up feeling rather uncreative and defeated!

    I also stop at Rocco’s on Fraser and 23rd to pick up silk crepe, silk charmeuse, silk dupioni and well.. all silk — (good prices on silk as well). It has the neatest laces, synthetics (got bridesmaid fabric there), and lots of upholstery fabrics. I also buy plain cotton, and cotton blends (3 dollars a yard for some) for making muslins or to use as light lining in some dresses.

  87. Natasha February 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    I’m in Richmond so my best options are Dressew and the Richmond Fabricana. Neither are actually that convenient because it’s 40 mins by train to Dressew and the bus to Fabricana only runs once every hour, so if you don’t catch it you either have to wait up to 50 mins for the next bus or walk a good ways to the train.

  88. Justine February 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Wow, I didn’t realise how lucky I am. I too live in Melbourne and have a Lincraft and Spotlight within ten minute drive, a knitting shop that sells thread at my local shopping centre, ten minutes away I have a shop thats good for machine feet and bobbins and within 30 minutes drive everything from remnant shops to specialised fabric shops.

  89. Véronique February 22, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    Hello Tasia, I know I’m fairly blessed with fabrics stores ! I live in Paris, actually in Montmartre, near the biggest fabrics stores left : March√© Saint-Pierre. There is a pretty choice, and all sorts of prices.
    I can go and check in 15 minutes on foot… There are few stores left in Paris, and less in the surbubs. So when I welcome Mum and female friends at home, there’s and errand to fabrics stores in the end…
    Bye

  90. Erika February 22, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    It’s weird, but i’ve found that the small town in northern Sweden I live in nowadays actually are better for sewists than the big cities further south. Maybe people sew more up here? Or the abscence of Ikea and the super-big, really low priced chainstores ensures the survival of smaller shops? Food for thought…
    I’m lucky to have an “Ohlsson” (Swedish version of a small JoAnn’s, some home-decor, some adult apparel, some quilting and some children apparel, but no high-quality fabric) 5 min walk from work, so if I just need thread, zipper or interfacing I can get that during lunch =) More interesting notions are better to get elsewhere, and fabric I either shop in the independent stores in town or (for a few special fabrics) online.

  91. Rachel February 22, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    I live near Telford in Shropshire, I am quite lucky for sewing shops. Three miles away in Wellington is Dunelm, although they do not sell dress fabrics, but they have loads of thread and notions, and four days a week the market in the same town has a habidashary stall. 10 miles away in Shrewsbury they have a few dress fabric shops. My fav though is Abakhan in Chester, an hour away, more planning needed for that! They do sell online though, so this is always an option, but as others have said, the postage costs add up! I do buy fabric online quite a bit though as sometimes thar is the only way to get what you want/need!

    PS Happy 30th Birthday Tasia! I only had the Pendrell pattern until today, just ordered the rest!

  92. Tania February 22, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    I realise reading the comments that I am incredibly lucky living in Melbourne inner city. Where I live I am a 10 minute walk from 4 fabric stores, which are a good mixture of end of bolt stock and more commercial setups. Also until recently I worked above Tessuti which have the most amazing fabrics, my credit card took a fair beating though and I have a stash that is out of control. I now work in a different office space and I miss my daily fabric fix but my credit card doesn’t.

  93. colleen February 22, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I’m pretty set with local fabric stores. A really great quilt shop — Wish Upon a Quilt — is about 3 miles from me. Though I rarely use quilting cotton for apparel anymore, I love their bright selection. Also, they sell Aurifil thread which I adore. Now, I have a Joann’s and Hancocks about 5 miles away and I’ll get zippers and some notions there, but rarely fabric. I go into Chapel Hill/Carrboro every week and there’s a great place — Mulberry Silks — that is truly a real store, with the most amazing and spectacular fabrics and notions. The prices are high but the quality is there and the selection isn’t to be found anywhere else. If I need something really precise, I buy from there.

    That said, I’m sorry to say that to save money I do often buy from FabricMart and Fabric.com.

    Oh, and I buy most of my patterns from online sellers and can’t wait to buy my first Sewaholic, the Renfrew!

  94. Amanda February 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I live right close to the Fabricland in Langley, about a half hour walk from my place, and I’m so glad it’s there, cause I’m always running in there for last minute notions and such. I have taken to buying fabric and patterns online though, because they often have a pretty limited selection of good quality natural fibers available.

    I know what you mean about sewing shops being far away though – Dressew is even further for me!! :( It’s about an hour drive each way, and longer if I take transit. Although me and my mum had a trip out there in the beginning of the year, and I’m sure I could convince her to go with me again sometime ;)

  95. Gabrielle February 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    I used to have one of the Tessuti shops right near my office – very, very dangerous, let me tell you – especially while I had a hateful boss and needed lunchtime retail therapy! Now it’s moved the nearest (albeit rubbishy) fabric shop is a brisk 15 minute walk away in my lunch break, but it’s hard to fit 2x 15mins plus shopping time in. There are good fabric shops both not too far from where I live and not too far out of town, but with little kids that kind of activity isn’t happening much on the weekends. I have found, luckily, a little old lady kind of shop on my way home from work. It sells old fashioned nighties, knickers and handkerchiefs for the old ladies as well as stocking a good basic range of haberdashery – threads, zippers, shoulder pads etc.

  96. Milène February 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Wow, I’m really lucky to live in Amsterdam. I have a plethora of fabric shops to choose from. All within 20 minutes biking distance from my home. And a weekly market that is partly dedicated to fabric where you can find really good bargains (a lot of stalls have prices as low as 2 or 3 euros per meter). Also trimmings and notions can be found in abundance.
    There are at least two shops in Amsterdam that are specialized in silk. Several shops with a great choice in oilcloth. And apart from all this we have magazines like Knipmode and Burda widely available in supermarkets and bookstores for inspiration. I guess I’m spoiled.

    • Eleanor February 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      . . . this is just one more reason for me to live in Amsterdam when I grow up, right after bicycles and drugs.

  97. Eleanor February 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    I live in Madison, WI, a medium-sized city (I guess). I live downtown, so my closest fabric store is technically a quilting store that’s only about a mile and a half away, but last time I was in there they didn’t have a great selection for notions–however they’re quite near my parents’ house and Trader Joe’s so I’m sure I’ll have an opportunity to poke my head in again soon. There’s another little local place a little further away, 15-20 mins by bike, where the main advantages are that she doesn’t sell crap and she keeps Colette patterns in stock. Most of what I’ve bought there is cotton prints that have more apparel than quilter appeal, but if I needed silk fast (or she had a sale on) I could pick it up there. Also, Hancock Fabrics is about 5 miles away and pretty accessible by bike and bus; we have two JoAnn’s in town but they’re way out by the malls, in the suburban wasteland where it sucks to bike and the buses run infrequently so I usually beg a ride from my parents if I need to go out there.

    I am a design student, though, so even though it’s not a chore to get some kinds of fabric I don’t find the local selection particularly satisfactory; me and my classmates fantasize about opening a fabric store downtown, shopping at Mood in New York (yes we all watch Project Runway), and are thinking about getting together an expedition to Vogue Fabrics in the Chicago area.

  98. Antigona February 23, 2012 at 1:43 am #

    I live in a big city, (Madrid, Spain), and for fabric I have to take the bus for 15 minutes each way or half hour walking, but for notions and other small supplies around my neighbourhood you can find plenty of “mercer√≠as”, where you can get about everything you need (thread, zippers, hooks&eyes, free advice from nice old ladies) but prices tend to be more expensive than at the fabric stores. I even have a sewing machine repair place about 5 minutes walk from my house where I can also buy machine needles.
    Actually around a small area near the center (Puerta del Sol) there is a concentration of shops selling fabric, notions & craft supplies, so it’s very convenient when you are starting a project and you can go&get everything you need, and also compare prices in a few places to get the cheapest option. It’s not one big supermarket place but several,stores varying in size, one has three floors but the rest are fairly small old style shops. A couple of them with a big counter all around the store where you have to pick a number, wait, order what you want and then pick it up and pay at the cashier, I actually love it because it’s so old fashioned.
    If you ever come to Madrid I recommend a walk around the area.

    • Clare February 23, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      I visited Madrid last summer and was so excited to walk round the corner from Puerta del Sol and find those stores you described. The prices were fantastic РI bought two metres of border printed fabric for under €2!

      • Antigona February 23, 2012 at 9:39 am #

        In case you go back I recommend Calle Atocha, which is really close, there are only a couple fabric stores left (there used to be many more) but my favourite is Ribes&Casals ( I think they even sell online) , second floor they have this table with remnants, they are permanently 50% off, and most of them are at least 1 meter if not more, I took up sewing recently so I mainly buy there because I figured my mistakes will hurt less if I didn’t spend much on fabric. Plus it is bargain hunting at its best, you have to go through piles of stuff to find what you like.

  99. Sewing Princess February 23, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    I currently live in Italy in a smaller town. If I want a wide yet cheap selection I have to drive 1.5 return. For notions I can go to the market on Saturdays or to a shop which are 15 mins away by car. There’s also another further out within 20 mins drive.
    Clothing fabric choices are in general rather good. Price can be high though.
    Unfortunately you can’t get modern quilt fabric. Sometimes I buy off the Internet although for clothing is hard to tell. Can’t wait for my upcoming trip to the US for some serious fabric shopping and for visiting all the Joann’s and Micheal’s!

  100. Sara February 23, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Wow, I hadn’t realized how lucky I was. I live in Victoria, BC and I have a fabric store a 10 minute walk away. It’s always closed by the time I get home in the evening, so I have to go on Saturday or Sunday. I have to take two buses to get home, and I can transfer right in front of Gala Fabrics so I have that option on the weekdays. Bonus is they always have a free candy for my daughter to reward her for waiting. I haven’t bought anything online except Colette and Sewaholic patterns.

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