Where I Buy Fabric

June 10th, 2016 - 

Textile Center Garage Sale

I can’t remember how or when I learned about the Textile Center’s annual garage sale, I just know the knowledge has been life changing. Basically, I can stock up on awesome patterns (new and vintage) and fabric to last me the whole year.


The sale includes donated fabric, yarn, patterns, and machines for sewing, knitting, and weaving. (And there’s a lot of it.)

2016 was the first year I donated to the sale, mostly patterns and fabric, and it’s also the first year I paid to attend the the preview night. Not something I’ll do again, most likely, but there was free nachos and a DJ so that was nice.

Mostly, on the preview day, you’re confronted with so much, for someone with my approach to shopping—AKA “JUST GRAB IT”—it was not a great benefit to be there with so much available. Basically, I ended up with a HUGE pile of fabric and patterns and had to really reason with myself on how much I should spend on, ostensibly, my back up stash.

Some examples of my Textile Center Garage Sale fabric finds:

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I also won an auction on a knitting machine in 2015, but I still haven’t taught myself how to use it!

SR Harris

This is my fabric home. I kind of live at SR Harris. It’s the best in town, IMHO.


All of the fabric is 50% off, so usually $3-6 for most of the things I buy. I’ve bought a few higher end items too, usually designer or name brand wool coating and such.


I just love the variety, and the experience of snooping through the reams of fabric  to find something perfect to stash or use for a specific project. This is where I bought the pink shantung for my wedding dress, among other things.

They have a new second location in the south suburbs, but I still prefer their northern location tremendously. It’s one of my top favorite places in the world, probably.

Hancock Fabrics

The nearest fabric store to my house is Hancock Fabrics, so I’m there a lot for pattern sales, fabric remnants, and discounted fabrics.


This coat is basically a Hancock Fabrics production. From the woven houndstooth material, to the fleece binding and exposed zippers, and even the pattern it’s based on (Butterick 6255).

I used to go there a lot (too much???) but hadn’t been in months because, since the baby, I haven’t really been sewing.

I dropped by last week and learned they are going out of business! All of them! Every Hancock Fabrics is closing across the country, reportedly due to financial mismanagement. I can’t even believe it.

Vogue Fabrics

This is an online fabric retailer. I’ve bought mostly from their clearance section, multiple yards of cute synthetic fabrics to use when trying out new patterns.

Some examples:



I try not to shop at Jo-Ann, except from their remnant bin. They don’t have many good items for garment making in my opinion. Otherwise, I like to visit fabric stores in other cities when I’m visiting. LA had some of the best shops, for sure, but I’ve also bought fabric in Nashville and Austin, that I can remember.

I do like Crafty Planet in Minneapolis, but, despite how cute their fabrics are, they’re better suited for quilters and crafters and not exactly what I want as a garment-maker. So I don’t stop in that often.


McCall’s 6747 #1

October 17th, 2013 - 


I thought this dress could be done with a dressier fabric and buttons to make for a nice work dress, but my first attempt is a big flop.


Adam says it looks like pajamas and now I have trouble seeing it any other way. I wore this to work once, I always try to wear my makes once, but I think it’s pretty awful.


This fabric with the pattern seemed like a good fit. I really like the color, but it’s gross polyester with texture issues and I realize now this project just wasn’t a good match.

I think I bought the fabric at the 2013 Textile Center Garage Sale for $3.

I’ve had issues before with lining a dress, so here I decided to stack the dress fabric with its lining on the body of the dress, serge the edges, and sew those stacked pattern pieces together.

Not a bad work-around, except when the pattern is new, and still needs adjustment.

This dress started too big, so I kept skimming off the edges, and the two slippery fabrics kept moving, so some areas of the dress look extra bunchy to me.

This process has been the fatal flaw of at least three dresses so far. I think I have learned my lesson. Hand slapped. Will not do again.

A good reminder for me to make a muslin as well, since I’m not true to any size and still have a lot to learn about fit.

Total cost: $1 pattern + $3 fabric + 7 hours

I can’t actually remember how much time I put into this, 7 hours is a guess.

I did hand stitch the placket together so it wouldn’t pop open when I sit, which is a big deal for me. I hid the stitching really well and that part I’m really proud of. Doing this to all of my shirts would be a great idea.

Wiksten Tova Dress #1

September 2nd, 2013 - 


My first Wiksten Tova dress! I love it.


I made this in a flannel fabric we picked up at the 2013 Textile Center Garage Sale. Adam had wanted it for a Western shirt, but once I pointed out there were strawberries all over it he said I could make it mine.

I really like how flannel works with this pattern. It’s so comfortable.

I was very worried I wouldn’t be able to sew this weekend, because as you can see…


…I have a big ol’ scar on my hand! That’s 19 stitches along my pinky finger.

If you must know: I was washing a glass when it broke around my hand. Adam was a champ getting me to the emergency room though and we had a really great physician helping us out. I work with doctors in my day job, so I know many of them think they’re funny (but usually aren’t) — this guy was a hoot though. I mean, if you have to go to the hospital, it’s nice to have someone making you smile right?

We also made it over the border this weekend to Wisconsin which means I got to buy some New Glarus. Worth the trip, if you’ve never been to Wisconsin. Also, cheese curds. Never leave Wisconsin without gaining five pounds or you’re doing it wrong.

Anyway, this dress is really great and I love it but I was disappointed at first by the neckband. It stays so stiff and big! The structure insists that your collar flop down. Don’t fight it.

I made the XL size and added some additional fabric along the sides. I added way too much at first and kept grading down though, so I have no idea how much I added at this point.

I did see that the pattern maker on her blog made one without the neckband, and just used bias tape facing and strengthened the placket with some lightweight facing. I think that’s a great idea. I’ll likely try that next time around.

Now that I’ve got the sizing down, the next make should be fairly quick. I look forward to having one a bit dressier I can wear to work.

Total Cost: $10 pattern + $4 fabric + 6 hours