Lovely Morning Out with The Girls: The Fabric Store

Brisbane has a few fabric stores.  Some places specialize in quilting fabrics to the exclusion of almost any other type of fabric.  Some places carry 85% garbage, and you have to dig for the 15% of good stuff while the staff ignore you.  I’m looking at you, Spotlight and Lincraft.  Some places carry fancies imported from Italy with prices per meter comparable to my weekly rent.

Katie: vivacious, beautiful and knowledgeable, cut all our fabrics.

But now- we have The Fabric Store, from the same people who run New Zealand’s Global Fabrics!  A friend of mine goes to New Zealand frequently; she usually hits Global Fabrics and takes my shopping list with her. (I’m lucky to have such good friends!)  That’s how much we already loved Global Fabrics, and how much Brisbane needed a shop like this one.  She and I and another fabric geek friend checked out The Fabric Store yesterday.

They opened last November in the Valley; I only just got around to visiting them for the first time and I can’t believe this place.  They carry everything (even teflon), no garbage.  I love this wall of linen rolls- weights from “tote bag” to “diaphanous gauze.”

When I saw these sequins, I immediately wanted to make a top like Neighborhood Gal’s sequined Blank Canvas Tee.

It’s not all linen, either.  It’s everything.  Designer end-of-rolls, organic cottons, lightweight wools, merinos, tencel jersey, gorgeous printed silks, linen jersey, interesting (and boring, useful) denim, and sparklies!  Best of all, the prices are eminently reasonable.

The shop itself is very basic- a clean, light, freshly painted warehouse full of incredible fabrics.  They even have an area for non-fabric-geeks to sit and rest and toys for kids.  AND they have big mirrors.  It’s a simple place, but obviously set up by people who love fabric and have the sewist in mind.  I love it.

I took advantage of their sale (30% off from Saturday!) to pick up a few basics.   The bright blue is an organic cotton jersey, and the khaki an ordinary but nice stretch-polished cotton.  My husband needs new clothes and hates shopping; I forsee a week or two of sweatshop-sewing-for-the-man in my future.  That last fabric is a stretch denim.  Por moi.  Doesn’t it look like silk?  It’s a weird one, stretchy along the selvedge:

I’m putting it through my battery of “fabric torture tests,” I’ll show you my results tomorrow!

New Zealanders/Syneysiders/Melbournians- tell me about your local Global Fabrics/The Fabric Store…?

Be sure to check out the Pants-Block-Tester-Giveaway!  I’m really encouraged by the response, and how this project is shaping up with this week’s testers.  Thank you so much for sharing about your pants issues, it really helps me create the best service possible for you.

Also– It looks like Congress has put a hold on the SOPA- PIPA legislation– largely due to the humungous public outcry against it!!


42 comments

  1. Thanks for finding this store. I usually head to Robina for a fabric fix if I am fed up with two you mentioned, now I will def be heading to this one.

    • Yes- this one is WELL worth the schlep to the Valley. It’s such a pretty, lovely store and you can tell they care about people who sew.

  2. I heard there was a fabric store in the valley but have not made it there yet. Hmm maybe next week when the kids are back to school. Thanks for the heads up. Better do some planning rather than any impulsive purchase.

    • No problem. That’s what I did too, and I’m quite pleased with my sensible purchases. They don’t put the pressure on you to buy buy buy either, which is refreshing. They let the fabrics talk.

  3. I think I bought that stretch denim- look fabric from the Fabric Store in Melbourne. It is actually stretch bengaline! Check it for micro ribs. I made StyleArc Linda pants with it and I live in them. There is a review on pattern review if you want to see them :). And yes, I love the Melbourne Fabric Store!

  4. Another reason why I miss Brisbane *sigh* Might have to head down to Sydney soon to check out those fabulous sparkly treats! Can’t wait to see what you make with your awesome finds :D

    • Sydney also has Tessuti and Morris & Son and probably at least six or seven other awesome places I’ve never heard of. No pity from me! ;)

    • They call Brisbane a big country town of a city and I’d mostly agree. Seriously. Though lately it seems to be waking up to being the biggest city for more thousands of kms than I’d like to think about…

    • The Fabric Store offers a sample service for all rural customers, so you can request the fabrics your interested in and then purchase from those over the phone. Details can be found on the website.

  5. You were quite restrained!
    The warp stretch is good if you like selvedge hems – I made many skirts and trousers in that stuff!

    • Restraint? No… I’m skint! :) Also, when one posts one’s philosophies on fabric buying, one feels the need to stick to it…

  6. What a lovely store! I think finding a gem of a store (regardless of what they’re selling) run by awesome people makes for an awesome outing. A great new fabric store? EVEN BETTER!

    Also, you look lovely in your dress. :) Is that the wholesome dress?

  7. I’m insanely jealous that you have a Fabric Store; the time I visited the one in Melbourne (2 yrs ago) I was in heaven, and wished I had brought absolutely zero clothes with me so that I could fill my suitcase with fabrics instead.

  8. Yay! I love my local Global and am so glad you have one now too. I wonder how much their stock overlaps from Welly to Brisbane – the linen selection certainly looks similar.

    I did not realise they had linen and tencel jerseys. Of course, I almost never sew with jersey, but now I want some!

    That denim is indeed fascinating. I’m very interested in seeing what you do with it.

  9. Where I live there is a fabric store chain. It is my go to place. They have everything. But, you really have to wait for the member sales because otherwise you’d go broke. (It kills me knowing they are still profiting with the sales. The non sale price is a total gouge!) There is another store with a good selection but again money money money. I found a store that caters to the folks who have their origins in India. Stunning fabrics. Shocking prices. But what a fantasy gown they would make!

    • Oh what a fun sounding shop. I’d be tempted to get my hands on that fabric and make “normal” stuff out of it. For fun. :)

  10. I love The Fabric Store – I discovered it last year in Melbourne on one of my trips over from Tasmania. The range is fabulous and prices are reasonable for the quality too. Nowhere else have I seen Silk Lycra in the most luscious range of colours for example. My local Spotlight is just so limited if you don’t want a cotton print.

    For those not local to one of their stores they will do mail order – you ring them up and let them know what you are looking for. They will mail you up to 10 generous samples at a time. You then just ring them up and say ‘I want 2 metres of number 5’ and it is express posted to you at postage cost. I recently visited Melbourne just before their 40% sale started and got a bunch of samples and simply rang them on the first day of the sale.

    I’m impressed with the in-person and over-the-phone customer service I have had from the staff there. Knowing they have a fabulous range of linens and merinos makes it easy – they had about half a dozen pale blue merinos to choose from so I could get just the one that suited me, without thinking ‘that’ll do’. Not that I’ve turned it into the hoodie yet. Too precious to cut into it!

    • Thanks for the info, Sarah. I was eyeing some of that silk lycra the other day, wondering if I dare make some panties or lingerie with it… ;)

  11. If anything was going to motivate me to get my licence, it would be this. The idea that theres a store like this less than 2 hours drive away and I CAN’T GET TO IT. Sometimes I miss living in Sydney. Then I look out my back window and fabric seems less important..

  12. so, so jealous. Canberra is an awesome place to live (don’t tell anyone) but we sadly lack a great non-quilters fabric shop.

  13. Pingback: The Stretch Denim Torture Test « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  14. Hello again, Hope everyone is doing well. I have a question about fabric stores, and fabric in general. In the states here we have JOAnne Fabrics which is a national chain, there’s one 5 towns over, about 60 miles away, In this same town there is a small fabric store, not very big, a small but good selection and it seems to me better quality fabric. Is this just my imagination or is there a noticeable difference between fabric depending on the origin? My next question is for what circumstances would buy the cheaper fabric, compared to spending extra for better quality fabric?

    The wholesome dress looks so nice, may I ask what pattern you made that from, I’ll have too search your site to find the details on that one. Just beautiful. Oh the model too… ;-)

    I got a chuckle out of this one too.. ”sweatshop-sewing-for-the-man in my future” I had to read it twice to decipher the comma. good play on words.

    • What you find at JoAnns is a bit of a crapshoot. Sometimes you get lucky and find something good; more often the quality is really lacking. They only purchase goods that are mass market produced.( think Wal-Mart.) An independent shop can purchase ends from garment manufacturers in very small quantities. But a huge chain needs to be able to purchase thousands of yards of any one item so that they can get it into all or most of their 500? stores. They carry few brand name fabrics, and have to share the store with an ever growing craft market.This whole thing makes it really hard on the garment sewer, who wants more than what is found at the ‘quilt shops’.
      All that said, their basics like muslin and notions go on sale regularly, as does the home dec – which is all name brand quality goods.

  15. I was swooning over the picture of all those rolls of linen. Oh, to have a lovely fabric store near. Not in my small town, but it’s always on my list when i go to the city.

    About that denim – the wash and drying will be the telling – I picked up a gorgeous piece of printed stretch twill ( I know it sounds like a contradiction of terms, but it really was pretty) and the minute the heat from the iron hit it shriveled up before my eyes. I was making a bag so I didn’t wash it first, and when I went to fuse the interfacing on it……….. I need to wash the remaining, as I bought enough to make a jacket; I sort of lost my excitement about it when I saw the shrinking.

    • Ah! It’s important to remember to use a warmish iron if you aren’t sure… Mine is always set between “linen” and “cotton” as a default, but I hardly work with synthetics..

  16. Steph, I went to The Fabric Store last weekend. I wasn’t supposed to go (fabric purchase hiatus – self imposed due to fabric stash!) but I just wanted to have a look and in 9 weeks of uni holidays I have been painting my room etc .. but I digress.. I lived in Auckland for 11 months a few years ago and fell in love with Global Fabrics (and other really great fabric shops) so was thrilled when The Fabric Store opened up. Of course I bought two pieces of two mtrs each so it’s not much but it is great to have a store who actually wants to sell their fabric (looking at same shops!) and have a great range at pretty good prices.

  17. I love the Welly Global Fabrics too and am not allowing myself to go shopping there for a bit. I have to ‘sort out’ my to do sewing list before I indulge in more purchases. I can spend literally hours there and particularly with the silks (which I have a weakness for but haven’t sewn with yet).

    I love that they have wonderful colour ranges and weights of most fabrics and the staff are alway helpful, knowledgeable and nice. To know that everything is good quality makes me relax somehow. Does that make sense?

    • Silks aren’t too bad, I think they scare a lot of people but most types of silk fabric aren’t really that much more difficult than ordinary cotton to sew… I may do a “tips for sewing silk” post next time I’m working with it…

      Yes- it’s so much easier to know when you walk into a fabric store that you don’t have to over-scrutinize every piece of fabric for quality… They do some really good work on buying, and I think it shows.

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