For the past week I have been up in Canada seeing my Dad. While I was there I was able to visit a fabric store recommended by the incomparable Judith. It is called Designer Fabrics Outlet and you can see their website here. The website does not do this store justice as the ambiance and layout of the contents are unique.
The store is located in a couple of old buildings on Queen Street W. in the Lansdowne area of Toronto. When I was in college it was considered a great place to live as there were cheap rents, cheaper restaurants and a lot of ethnic diversity. The area still looks the same and the first problem you encounter while trying to go to this store is the almost complete lack of parking. The store itself has four (yes, that's right, FOUR) parking spaces on a side street. Most of their customers seem to cruise nearby streets for parking or they come on the street car.
The store has thousands of different fabrics with the first floor mostly occupied with home decorating fabrics while the second floor is mostly devoted to fashion fabrics. The second floor has some fabrics straight from the runways at incredibly high prices. You do not cruise the aisles looking for just the right bolt but sift through tons of fabric samples hanging from hangers on clothes rods. You can borrow the samples for up to three weeks for free. Once you choose your fabric or trims or embellishments or anything else you find in the samples, the staff locates the right bolt and brings it to you for cutting. What you can't see on the website are the hundreds of bolts priced at $9.99 a meter, or less, that are remaindered or bolt ends. If there is only three yeards on the bolt, you must take it all, otherwise they will cut any length you need.
I was thoroughly overwhelmed by this shopping experience. I needed some cording and they had 15 different sizes and multiple colors. I scored more that what I needed and a bunch of sixty inch long zippers priced at $0.99 each. I picked up a couple of pieces of fabric - a half yard of multi-colored striped seersucker and a yard and a bit of peach colored silk that seemed to go together. I felt most peculiar standing in line with my handful of items while others had, in one case, 30 yards of cream colored wool and, in another, 24 eighteen inch long silver and black tassels.
If you ever make it to Toronto you must check out this place. The creaking floors, high ceilings and jam packed shelves of everything needed for any sewing project, make this place worth the visit... even with the lousy parking .
Have a great week!