Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shopping on Queen

The weather Fri. was mild and the sun was shining beautifully when my friend picked me up to drive into the city to shop for fabric. We picked up our friend Angela on the way down as Angela knows the fabric district so well that the staff in every store calls her by name! 

We were looking for fabric for my friend's dress for the wedding of her daughter in Vietnam this spring. It will be hot and humid and the wedding is going to be on the beach so the fabric had to be cool to wear. 

Now if you have never shopped in the fabric district in Toronto it is a real adventure. It is not like going into your regular fabric store or quilt store where the bolts of fabric line the shelves in neat rows often by colour or type. Most of the stores are like fabric jungles and people like me have a bit of trouble navigating the vast and overwhelming selection. (That's why I love to bring Angela with me She knows where everything is and which stores to visit to find the best of everything.) 

Here is just a sampling of what you might find when you pass through the doors of one of these shops.

There is every kind of fabric you can image and such fabulous silks and embroidered or pleated fabrics. Some that defy description.

And then of course there i the stuff that is so old I would consider it junk. But you know what they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure.... 

One decorating store we visited had such an amazing array of drapery hardware - all so modern and not at all what you would find in the big chain stores!

And they had walls of silk and other fabulous fabrics for draperies and upholstery but still in weights with which you could make clothing. Every colour you could imagine. Embroidered, pleated, tucked, plain. It left me breathless!

We did find my friend's dress fabric in a more traditional store called LA Fabrics. She bought the whole bolt of pure silk fine Georgette that was over dyed and embroidered in an allover design with a fine chain stitch. It seemed just a bit dark but the sales girl put a light coloured lining fabric under it and it lifted the whole colour scheme and showed off not only the embroidery but the delicate colouring. Sold! 

And then we were off to a Greek pastry shop for a bite of lunch before we all headed home. Another successful day and another great shopping adventure. 

Many of the fabric shops in my old stomping grounds are closing and suddenly bead stores are popping up everywhere. It is so sad to see the fabric stores go. Last fall we were there shopping for the wedding dress fabric and it was impossible to find the kind of lace we needed. And since then there have been so many visible changes along the street. 

If you have any hankering to experience this part of Toronto I urge you to make the visit in the near future. Like everywhere, fashion fabrics are getting harder and harder to find. So take the subway or the bus, take the train or drive (parking is not impossible) and savour this part of Toronto before it disappears! You just might find a bargain as well.

In the meantime keep stitching!!

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