Monday, April 24, 2006

Ode to San Francisco

Have you seen the commercial on TV where the father is catching fireflies with his son. Then the next shot is the father putting his son to bed and crossing catching fireflies off a list of things to do with his son....well that's how I feel about fabric shopping in San Francisco! It is something that I have wanted to do for quite some time but family and other things have always come first! Last month I learned that I needed to go to Newport Beach, CA for business and I found the perfect opportunity to visit my friend Lynn in San Francisco!

Believe me it was a long week at work waiting to get to the fun part of the trip but finally I was at the Oakland Airport where I was met by Lynn and we started our San Francisco Fabric Odyessy. First, let me tell you if you think I did any sight seeing other than fabric stores forgetaboutit! It wasn't happening! My dream was to fabric shop and fabric shop only!

Lynn made a wonderful shopping schedule that was easy to follow and restful after working in Newport Beach for over 12 hours a day for 3.5 days ~ not including the evenings for long, long dinners with staff and clients! So we started in Berkley and visited Poppy Fabrics, Stone Mountain and Daughter & Lacis on Friday afternoon.

At Poppy I bought a beautiful coral silk burnout and a printed linen ~ because linens were on sale for 30% off. At Stonemountain and Daughter, I mostly purchased from their half price store upstairs (50% off the price on the bolt) but Lynn had a 25% off everything coupon that they both let us use! Very nice of them, yes! I got a brown/blk/gold chenille that was a home dec fabric backed with a fusible interfacing, a lavender/dk. purple silk tweed, a floral linen print with the 25% off and one yard of a tartan plaid that looks just like the plaids Michael Kors is using in his fall 2006 line!

Next up was Lacis, Lynn was so sure that I wouldn't purchase anything here! Boy, did I fool her! First, we toured the museum in the back. They are having an exhibit that features women's clothing from the 1850s through 1920's. The interesting thing about the exhibit is that alot of the clothing is displayed inside out so that you can see the construction of the garment...way kewl! It was also interesting to see how they handled the fact that they rarely laundered their garments by adding cotton underarm shields and the attachments to the hems to handle dust. Well I did buy something there ~ some vintage mother of pearl buttons and some mesh beads that I will use as buttons!

**Saturday, April 22nd**

We got a late start on Saturday and Britex was suppose to be our first stop, but we snoop shopped the designer floor at Neiman Marcus, first. I was so thrilled to go inside and look up at the beautiful architecture. As a fashion merchandising major in college, retail stores and their layouts was discussed at length! Even though I have seen pictures of the interior, it was truly kewl to see it with my own eyes!

At Britex, Lynn said that I got this really big smile on my face when we walked inside! I have always wanted to go to Britex and it is an absolutely beautiful store. Hard wood display cases, fabric laid out like jewels, just awe inspiring. But I have to tell you, we were on the first floor looking at these beautiful silks on a table, and I found a silk print that is presently selling on Fabric Mart's site in the silk blowout section for $5.99 per yard. Britex is selling it for $24.99 per yard! If you ever get the chance to go to Britex, you should go just for the experience! It is that awesome! I felt the same way there that I felt the first time I walked into the Rockville G Street store and saw the rows and rows of wool crepe in every color and weight!

At Britex Lynn purchased a beautiful piece of linen and some notions. I bought buttons. I found a better amber glass button for the "Cashmere Dreams" Jacket than the ones I already owned and I bought some rayon trim. Okay, I will 'fess up I bought 36 yards of a beautiful amber rayon trim - but it was only $5 for the entire piece so I couldn't leave it! Plus, this definitely counts since I shared 10 yards with Lynn!

Next stop was Satin Moon ~ this is a store full of gorgeous fabrics. I didn't purchase anything here probably because a lot of what I saw in the silks, embroidered silks and sheers, I see everyday in the garment district in NY. But the store is wonderfully laid out and had some great sewn garments displayed. And Lynn picked up some beautiful 100% cotton lawn and batiste remnants. She is really into heirloom sewing!

The final stop was Fabrix and this is where I bought the most stuff. Serger thread for 99 cents meant that I bought 15 cones in 5 colors. Look, that's one of those buys that when you see it you should buy it! *smile* And maybe, I should have thought a little harder about it because it is pretty interesting packing 15 cones of serger thread to transport back across the country!!!!

I also bought 5 yards of an autumn colored mesh because it was only 99 cents and it was stunning! A blue crocheted knit, a dark sand polyester knit, a blue print stretch woven that had these wonderful blue and green water color florals and a couple of yards of a black and orange torn denim for my daughter. The interesting thing about Fabrix is not just the inexpensive prices ~ nothing in the store was over $3.69 per yard but also the way they measure fabric. Yardsticks, what are those! They do the an arm is a yard measurement. But don't worry, they are very generous with the cut so I am sure that I ended up with much larger cuts than what I asked for! It was a very satisfying fabric shopping experience and I can now cross that off my list of things that I have always wanted to do!

The most amazing thing about the fabric shopping was that in almost every store we shopped, I saw at least one but most times two or more pieces that I had recently seen on a fabric internet site and considerably cheaper! If you don't have an independent fabric store near you to support, please realize that you are getting absolutely fantastic deals from both Fabric Mart and Fashion Fabrics Club.

I have to thank Lynn again for helping to make one of my dreams come true! I am sure that to some of you it seems like a minor thing but everyone has something in their life that they have always wanted to do or see. As I get closer to 50 and my children get older, I want to do and see the things on my list! This was a wonderfully, awesome experience and I am soooo glad that I had the opportunity to do it! These pieces of fabric will be treasured as they are cut and sewn or just as they stand watch in my fabric collection...and who knows maybe one day when I am a very old lady I will cut a piece and remember the wonderful weekend that I spent in San Francisco with a very dear friend!


  1. It sounds like such a wonderful trip - I really enjoyed reading your post.

    It's nice to hear that you saw so many similar fabrics to internet makes me want to go shopping online again!

  2. Carolyn, that sounded fantastic. I almost made me feel as though I was there!

    I really like a lot of what you bought, and am glad your spring green coat made the trip with you :)

    Vicki M

  3. Loved reading your post of the SF fabric tour. It brought back many happy memories of a similar trip. A few years ago I was asked by my Saturday sewists to join them for a sewing vacation to SF. We took Marcy Tilton's Armani Jacket Workshop, shopped the SF fabric stores and had just the best time. Britex was selling the identical Chanel fabrics that I had at AAF for $100 more per yard!!! YIKES....

  4. Two thoughts come to mind:
    I agree that Lynn is a great fabric tour guide. When I visited her, I don't think we went to so many shops (we only had an afternoon) but she "just knows."

    Secondly, I want to commend your restraint! You really didn't buy that much but the pieces you bought sound gorgeous!

    Is Los Angeles on your list? *grin*

  5. What a great trip! I didn't realize there are so many independent fabric store in the SF area - I will definitely have to check them out the next time I'm up there.

  6. I really enjoyed reading about your trip, Carolyn! What a wonderful time you had. I'm filing those stores away in case I get another SF trip. The only one I've been to is Britex.
    --blue mooney

  7. Well, sniff, you could have told me you were going to be in the neighborhood.

    It sounds like you had a fantastic time.

  8. It was a great time, it really was! We even got in a little sightseeing. I *made* Carolyn look at the ocean and at the Cable Cars and guess what? She took pictures of those too!

    The time flew by, it was fun. Carolyn was very gracious about the unexpected trip to the vet on Saturday morning. We got off to a late start but, we sure did pack in the fun.


  9. Oh! I am so envious. Thanks for sharing your fabric shopping odyssey. I use to live in Santa Rosa and visited Britex everytime I went to SF. Glad to see the photo. Brought back great fabric shopping pleasure.


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