I’m a very focussed shopper: I have a plan and I don’t deviate. This generally shields me from impulse purchases and buyers remorse, but often hinders more than helps when I’m sewing. I go into a fabric store with a very clear image of what I want but rarely find it. This results in my being dissapointed and also causes me to stomp around Fabricland like a clydesdale with those side-eye cover thingies. I miss a lot of good stuff.
I was inspired to save my pennies and go on a fabic-shopping binge with no specific plans. Sewing bloggers constantly talk about their ‘stash,’ but I’ve never developed one with my blinders on. I was also inspired by an article in Seamwork Magazine called The Seamworkers Guide to Montreal written by the fabulous Caroline Côté who makes me so jealous of the Montreal sewing scene. If you dig through her blog, you will find a super useful guide she put together. If you download the PDF on craftsy your homework is done. I’m not kidding, she has maps, and charts (I love charts!) with notes, hours of operation, phone numbers, metro stops, parking, and food reccomendations! Seriously, if you ever read this, CosmicCaro, thank you so much!
So, the hubby and I packed ourselved onto a morning greyhound bus, swung by Schwartz’s deli for some smoked meat and then parted ways for the afternoon. I started up in the Chabanel district, which I understand to be the (aging?) fashion district. In this area, you see big warehouses, old-looking stores with industrial sewing machines and manequins for sale. And not a lot of people. There were many moments when I wondered if I was in the right place.
I started at Tonitex, which may have been a bad idea as it was really overwhelming. The biggest sewing store I’ve ever shopped in was Fabricland, and Tonitex is a wholesaler. I wandered agog for a while until an employee explained I could look through the samples rack (which I first mistook for a really well-organized remnants section), bring a sample to an employee who would then find and cut it. This made things considerably more manageable, but I’m not sure I saw everything the store had to offer, as I went back later askign after wool and saw a whole new section I hadn’t explored. At any rate, I found a ton of super fun printed cotton and picked up a bunch. The swan print is by far my favourite – I have a bright pink sweater with a giant swan on it, which is something of a fan-favourite at school, but is sadly stretched out and singing its swan song (har har.)
Next, I ventured toward Tissus Alisha. I identified the suite number, got into the suspect-looking elevator, and got off at my floor. The halls were plain, scuffed and full of shipping pallets. At one point, a draft blew a heavy door shut with a bang and, I won’t lie, I screamed like a child and was sure I would turn the next corner to be affronted by young hoodlums dressed in 1920s attire (I’ve been watching too much Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries ). I did eventually find the store, but it was closed. I noticed on the guide, that a lot in that section of town would be closed on a Saturday, much to my dismay. I visited one or two more before heading down to St-Hubert St.
I found the next bit just as overwhelming as Tonitex, but in a different way. I weaved my way across the street at least a dozen times, jumping from one fabric store, to another. The strip was also dotted with buttons and trim shops. Many of which were not on the guide. I found these stores all had a lot of the same things – tons of polyester and super stretchy stuff. I didn’t buy anything until I got to C&M Textiles. We do have one in Ottawa, but it’s out of my way and seems to carry more home dec than anything else. Either way, here I indulged in more printed cotton (I really wish I quilted, so I could justify more purchases like this, but it’s too tedious for me). I also found the mustard yellow wool I’ve been looking for to make a cape. It was 20% off (Thank goodness) and easily the most I’ve ever spent on fabric by the yard, but it is beautiful and so soft.
My last purchase of the day was at Goodman-Carlyle. I bought some fun wool (not nearly as nice and soft as the yellow) in a fun white with pink and purple plaid. I also spent a good amount of time in Tissus St Hubert. They had a lof of wool (both boiled, for coats, and tons of tweeds and the kind you use for suits), in addition to a lot of great stuff for special occasions. There just wasn’t anything there jumping out at me.
I tried to get to Effiloché before they closed, but arrived about two minutes too late. I did stare wistfully throught the windows for a while, though, at its expanse of beautiful wool and colourful printed cottons. Alas, another day.
I then headed off to the restaurant Mike and I decided to try out before heading back home. I can’t stress enough how amazing Mezcla was. Their ceviche is the best I’ve tasted outside of Peru. Seriously, so delicious!