There’s a lot of talk these days about “shopping local,” and while I’d love to say I shop locally for my fabric, the truth is that I don’t. I would love to shop more frequently at *my* local shop in Ann Arbor, but sadly they cater to a very different type of sewist than I — one who is more traditional and enjoys a wall full of batiks, for instance — so I have a hard time finding the fabrics I want there (and yes, if you’re wondering, I have offered my feedback, no surprise to those of you who know me in person). Lucky for me, Pink Castle will soon be opening a new modern quilt shop and fabric studio here in Ann Arbor (yippeee!!!) which I am sure to visit on a regular basis. Since they’re not open to the public yet, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite local fabric shops from my travels this past year instead. These places both inspire me to sew and give me hope that sewing will be alive and well in the next generation.
Now first let me say that I do think it is great that we have an online community of sewing enthusiasts who support each other virtually, through blogs and instagram and facebook and such. And I think it’s fantastic that we have such a great selection of wonderful online shops as well, because it makes it much easier for those who do not have local shops or who live far away from civilization to find and purchase fabrics they love. But over the course of a few years, I have been making a concerted effort to turn that virtual community into a real one; to meet my virtual friends in person and to visit as many brick and mortar shops in my travels as I possibly can, so that I can both support those shops and raise awareness by blogging about them. And can I tell you, as fun as making friends on the internet is, it is a bajillion times more fun to finally meet those friends face to face. And so important to have a place to gather, talk and sew.
This year I made a point of visiting local shops that carry a great selection of fabrics and supplies for modern quilters and sewists, and that offer classes to help encourage new sewists and pass on old skills to the next generation. I still have a ton of shops on “the list” that I’d still like to visit yet, of course, and I can’t wait to check off even more of these as time goes on. If you live near any of these shops, I hope you know how lucky you are to have them nearby and that you make a point of visiting them first and frequently!
Dry Goods Design, Ballard Washington
The most recent shop I’ve visited is Dry Goods Design, just north of Seattle. Dry Goods’ owner, Keli, has just opened Make*Do*Mend, a sewing studio space directly behind the fabric shop where she is now offering a number of classes. As you can see, the sewing studio is absolutely stunning.
With a modern navy, yellow and grey color scheme, original artwork by Blair Peter of wisecraft, and lovely fabric wall decals, this sewing space is fun and inviting. I was honored to be invited to help celebrate the Make*Do*Mend space’s grand opening earlier last month, so I gave a little presentation on sewing garments. But mostly it was just so fun to be in this space, talking to people and hearing about their latest projects…it made me wish I lived right around the corner.
The Dry Goods fabric shop space is equally charming, with lots of color, a comfy couch, and plenty of fabrics to keep you busy for a long time.
Nido, Burlington Vermont
I visited Nido early last fall (where I gave another talk — see the blog post here) and it did not disappoint! The antique decor and amazing selection make it a must-visit if you are in the Burlington area! In addition to fabrics, Nido carries a wonderful selection of yarns as well.
Purl Soho, New York City
Purl is another must-visit if you ever find yourself in New York City. I’ve never seen such an amazing selection of Liberty Lawn in one place, and their wall display of fabrics in embroidery hoops is pretty much now iconic. I had the opportunity to stop by Purl Soho a couple of times as part of Heather Ross’ sewing/fabric design weekends that I participated in this past year (see the blog posts here and here).
Whipstitch, Atlanta Georgia
Though Whipstitch’s owner Deborah Moebes recently transformed her shop space into a dedicated sewing studio for the local Atlanta sewing community (check out her amazing class selection!), these photos of the shop from my visit last March (see the blog post here) are still a lovely visual inspiration to anyone with dreams of ever opening their own space. I can’t wait to go back!!
I hope this little tour has inspired you to go out and support your local shop, or if you don’t have one, support an independently-owned shop that’s local to someone else. They are such an important part of our communities and deserve our support! Do you have a local shop that you love?