Fabric Shopping!

Well I had a busy weekend and took not just one but two trips to Chicago to look for fabric for upcoming projects. I visited three stores over the weekend: Fishman's Fabrics, Vogue Fabrics, and Discount Textile Warehouse. I enjoyed all three of them however for different reasons:

Fishman's Fabrics

Our first stop was Fishman's Fabrics. It is located on the west side of Chicago near the University. Not having a real fabric store nearby, I was in heaven as soon as I walked in the door. They carry a wide variety of apparrel fabrics and have a wonderful selection of wool suitings (which is what I was looking for). The staff was amazing and was more than willing to help with any questions I had! I also liked the fact that I didn't get the usual "you're a man what are you doing here?" response that I normally get from our local JoAnns. As with any independent fabric store, the prices are slightly higher but are still competetative especially given the knowledgeable staff and wide selection. We are already making plans for a second trip.

Vogue Fabrics

Since Vogue has a store just around the corner from Fishman's we decided to stop there to see if we could find a couple colors of suiting that we were still looking for. Whereas Fishman's was nicely organized, with everything neatly aligned on shelves, Vogue was a bit messier. However they had some cheaper suitings which helped since I couldn't talk Raj into letting me spring for the $60/yard English wool for a costume. (I did get her to promise me I could get some to make myself a suit eventually so I'll be back for the pretty stuff!) They had a nice selection of suitings and they were of fairly good quaility (and still better than the variety I could find at my local JoAnns). The staff was helpful and we added another 10 yards to our total!

Discount Textile

Discount Textile was on our plan for Saturday but we discovered that they were not open on Saturdays and scheduled a future trip to take a look around. However, in looking at the schedule we decided that it would be best if we just went back Sunday to take a look. After driving around the block a couple times we finally found a parking spot and braved the ice and snow to enter what a member of our group described as "the place fabrics go to die" The whole place is a three floor warehouse stacked floor to ceiling with rolls of various fabrics. Although they seemed to carry primarily Home Dec. fabrics we were able to find some apparel fabric to use for some upcoming projects. I also found some wonderful green Bermberg lining to use for Simon's coat! The place was amazing, however you definitely have to know about fabrics and have an idea of what you're looking before before you shop. Although some fabric is labeled, most everything is simply stacked wherever with no indication of fiber content or price. You either have to be able to tell fiber content by feel or be happy not knowing exactly what the fabric is made of just that it looks good.

The checkout process was also an experience. Half of the prices seemed as though they were being decided upon by the manager on the spot. I espeicaly loved the "I've not seen that one before. Where did you find it?" reaction we got to the brocade we bought for a corset for Raj. Since very little is priced (and the stuff that is seemed to vary depending on if it was actually put on the right bolt or not) you have to be prepared to say no thanks if something is priced out of your range. I also realized after we left that I should have stocked up on a couple of the things I bought and at the prices they charged may have been better buying 10 yards of some of the linings. I did enjoy it and hope to make a trip in the future!

In general I loved the trip and was glad for the chance to shop at some smaller stores with great selection. It really helped to be able to feel the fabrics and find things that my local JoAnns just didn't carry. I was also taken back in time to the world of written sales orders with not a computer in sight. It was an amazing experience!