I'm planning some editorial for INTERNATIONAL QUILT FESTIVAL: QUILT SCENE and would like to know about your favorite fabric store, which can be anywhere in the world. Do they have fabulous classes? A fun and inviting atmosphere? A super friendly manager who gives you a great big, toothy smile when you walk through the door?
I have about five that we are highlighting because they do smart marketing, have inviting, unique retail, feature fresh displays, and go the extra distance in reaching the needs of their customer base.
Please either email me or post the name of the store with a website, and tell me why you like them.
Founder of Quilting Arts Magazine
TV Host, Quilting Arts on PBS
Sorry Pokey My favorite is anywhere where fabric is piled to the ceiling and next to unorganized at all , When I was little there was a place called the Remnent Shop and thats the way it was , when they had a auction I bought their store display. old oak with glass drawer fronts and it sits under my computer table now ,I like odd fabric and you could not recreate some of my quilts for all the tea in china ,I am a sucker for good batik so I do go in the places you describe but I dont particularly like them :)
My favorite store is the one in my own hometown. It's called Calico Cats Sewing Center (http://calicocatssewingcenter.com/default.aspx) and is staffed, hands down, with some of the most knowledgeable and friendly people I've met in the world of quilts, so far. The second time I had ever shopped there, i walked through the door and was greeted by several of the staff immediately- by name. I was stunned that after only one previous visit, they had taken the time and effort to remember me and learn my name.
When it was time to upgrade my sewing machine, their staff was incredibly helpful in fitting me with a machine that would not only meet my needs, but allow me to grow as a quilter for many years to come.
On those occasions when I've managed to muck things up with one of my machines, I've always known that I won't have to worry about being without my machine for more than an afternoon because they never send machines back to the manufacturer for repairs- they do it all on site, usually while you're sitting watching.
They have been incredibly patient with my noobish mistakes and generous with their knowledge and advice.
Their classes are fun, often lively events and I always leave with a better understanding of machine sewing, quilting techniques, notions and materials.
My Blog My Art
My favorite fabric stores are in downtown Los Angeles, in the garment district. But my favorite quilting store is Bolts in the Bathtub in Lancaster, CA where I live. http://www.boltsinthebathtub.com/ The shop is full of fabulous fabrics, books, patterns, tools, a Bernina shop, and a good sized classroom. The classes are wonderful, taught by visiting professional teachers, as well as by the experienced and very knowledgeable staff, who are also members of the local quilt guild. Any time I've gone in, not quite sure what I needed to finish a project, someone was always there to help with ideas for just the right fabric, in just the right color!
Michele Ann L'HeureuxFiber ArtistLancaster, California
I have two stores I'd nominate...
One is in Catonsville Maryland called Seminole Sampler. Don't let the traditional name fool you, this store has about the widest color selection I have ever seen. They are so friendly, and I love all the ladies who work there. Even though I don't live in Maryland anymore, each time I go back for work I make someone take me there! http://www.seminolesampler.com/Seminole_Sampler/Home.html
My other shop I like very much is Tammy Tadd Designs shop in Sycamore Illinois. Now, if you like pink and green, you will be in heaven... this shop has a real whimsical style. Lots of the contemporary fabric lines. Lots of brights for kids. A really different quilt shop experience. http://www.tammytadddesigns.com/
Hi Pokey - my favorite fabric/fiber shop is The Cotton Ball in Morro Bay, California. Bolts of fabric line the walls of an old 2 story Victorian house. Quilts and art hang from tall ceilings. Every nook and cranny is packed with something colorful, delliciously tactile, and intriguing. Inspirational "you can do it" displays are made by folks who love sewing, fabric, and fibers. The clerks know that quilters and fabriholics travel from the hot Central Valley to their cool coastal town every summer to shop. I have friends who rent a litle place, take their machines and quilt for a month in the cool foggy fishing town of Morro Bay. Actually I drive over there frequently any time of year. Their fabrics are top of the line, well displayed. I've never taken a class; it's hard to fit driving time and working on Monday into a short weekend. Yet they offer classes all year round for coastal residents. They used to have a sign, "it's not shopping, it's an experience." Frankly I'd call it an "Event!" It takes me 3+ hours (and unknown $$$) to get out of there. The clerks understand our addictions and are very gentle with quilt shoppers who get the shakes from shelves of fabric, displays of quilts, and the smell of sizing. I adore the Cotton Ball.
My favourite store is "The Fabric Cottage" in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The manager Doreen is a great lady and so is her staff. Her and her staff make everyone feel at home and really get to know their regular customers. They always take the time to help the clients or just stop and chat. My two girls love to go in there because everybody says hi to them and likes to talk to them (it may just be that the candies and treats they always get help too!!!!).
The other reason I love going to this shop as they cater to both the traditional and art quilter. They bring in all sorts of great people (Catherine Nichols, Katie Pasquini and Elly Sienkiewicz are some of the most recent I can think of) and are always open to new class suggestions. If possible they will also consider bringing in products that they may not have considered carrying in the past.
Any several day class with a special guest always has a catered lunch and the classroom space is fantastic. Large, well-lit and never over-crowded.
I purchased my machine from this store in 2003 and they still provide excellent service for it and a small discount for any additional feet, etc. that I purchase. I never have to remind them that I purchased my machine there either.
I can't say enough about this store! Most of the staff has been there for more than 10 years and are an endless supply of knowledge and experience. I have never had the same level of service in any other quilt shop here in Calgary. I am not saying the other shops have poor service, just not the same personal service as I get here.
My favourite fabric store is Serge & Sew in Nanaimo, BC, Canada. I have taken several of their classes which were taught by some well-known Canadian artists, beaders and quilters (and are very close to a great sushi restaurant!).
They have a good selection of threads and carry some "fibre art goodies", but what keeps me going back is the super-friendly staff.
They offer pick-up and drop-off for cruise ship passengers and in the summer, it is not unusual to see a contingent of cruise ships' passengers enjoying a shopping day!
TADA / BC
"To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage." - Georgia O'Keeffe
There are not alot of quilt shops in my area of Switzerland and fabric is extremely expensive here so I do a lot of mail ordering. I have one favorite mail order store called www.equilter.com . They are great. Things arrive on time, are accurate, they go out of there way to make sure I pay as little shipping as possible and offer advise on how to keep my order to make the good shipping rates. They sign each invoice personally and put cute little stickers on each one. A real personal touch I don't get with any other mail order house hands down. I get great service on the phone too. They are always friendly and very helpful on the phone and get me answers promptly if they can't answer me immediately. I always check them first before looking elsewhere for fabric when I order.
I am almost like "OkieLinda" I love to recycle my fabrics before I buy any new since the town that I live in does NOT have a fabric store. Walmart is great for thin fabrics that I use in my rag rugs but for quilting I like to go to thrift shops and once in a blue moon I travel an hour to New Hampshire to go to Jo Ann Fabrics. I also love to go to auctions to buy fabric when I lived in Arkansas because the fabric was so cool retro delicious! (-: