We set out at about 7am on Thursday the 23rd, and with all the chatter between the four of us, the trip just flew by. After a somewhat amusing detour to find a Jo-Mar store, only to discover it shuttered and permanently closed, we got to Fabric Row (located in a part of the city called Queen Village) and started our adventure.
One of the things I always forget to do is take pictures when I'm out and about, so I don't have a lot of images of the actual day to share... I was too busy enjoying myself and the company of other fabricholics! However, we tried to be vigilant about picking up business cards so we could remember where we had gotten our treasures. And there were certainly treasures to be found!
Many of the stores reminded me a lot of the Garment District in New York: narrow passages, tight stairwells, bolts piled high and deep. And almost without fail, the people working in the stores knew exactly what their inventory contained, and so were able to help guide us to the items that most interested us. Only a few of our group had specific goals: I was looking for shirting to make more work shirts; Stephanie was looking for something for making shades for her bedroom; Regina was hoping to find some insertion lace.
So here, in no particular order, are the stores we went to, along with what I got.
This ended up being one of our favorite stops on the whole trip, due to the owner's droll sense of humor. Howard kept cracking jokes and we were all laughing along. We found some real treasures here: Lynn stumbled across two bolts of Ultrasuede: one a pale blue, the other a milk chocolate. I found some black pleather for recovering my dining chairs, and also some buttery-soft dark red pleather that will become a purse or tote someday.
At the southern end of the row was a store painted bright yellow outside, and there I found the perfect shirting fabric! I got 10 yards, which should get me at least four shirts. I also found a cute garden-motif cotton; they only had a little over a yard so I'll have to be content with using it as an accent on something. I also found a lovely polyester that will become either a shell top, or a lining on something.
By this time we were getting hungry, so we stopped at Red Hook Coffee & Tea. This turned out to be a lovely Bohemian hippy kind of place, with mismatched antique furniture, books and magazines to read, and really, really good food.
terrible fire last month. We had noticed a building across the street had been torn down, and the businesses next to it were having work done, but somehow it didn't click until we went into Jack B.'s and started talking with the staff. The April 6 fire consumed everything in the store: fabrics, scissors, everything. They are determined to rebuild in the original location, but were worried about all the new building codes they would have to adhere to. It will be a long upward slog, but they are looking forward to being a continuing presence on the row.
Here is where Stephanie found the perfect fabric for her bedroom shades, and I stumbled across a wonderful map-themed fabric that was just begging to become window treatments for one of our upstairs rooms.
Finally, we headed back to the car...
Rather than head south right away, Stephanie suggested we head for Reading Terminal Market. We had never heard of it, but her description started off with, "Well, they have chocolate..." No further reasons necessary!!
I have to admit, I was grinning like a fool the entire time I was in the market. It was HUGE. And varied. And every stall had these amazing smells!! The first place we went was Chocolate by Mueller, which had an incredible variety of chocolates in some... "interesting" shapes! There were anatomically correct chocolate hearts, lungs, kidneys, teeth and more. And chocolate "bagels"!! And, to my delight, the biggest variety of Dutch licorice I have ever seen outside of the Netherlands. I showed great restraint in only buying half a pound.
Finally it was time to head south. As we stepped into the parking garage to retrieve the car, the heavens opened up and it started to pour! We had avoided all the nasty weather all day, but the drive home was punctuated by waves of very heavy rains, which didn't make for very relaxing driving. However, Regina and I enjoyed listening to an Anna Russell album while Lynn and Stephanie napped in the back seat.
The only think I now wish I had bought was an embroidered red drapery fabric for our bedroom from B. Wilk Fabrics. Here is the swatch I got, next to the fabric that's already in the bedroom:
All in all, it was a fabulous day, and I can't wait to head back north and do it all again!! (But this time I'll remember to take the rolling bag I had put in the trunk of the car and forgot to take with me... but the weight of the bags probably prevented me from buying too much!)