Last week I had my first trip to San Francisco. Simon, my husband, was working during the weekdays and, as we were staying over the weekend for him to show me around the usual tourist stuff, that gave me lots of time to explore the area on my own searching out fabric and wool.
My first stop was Britex Fabrics, practically on Union Square at Geary Street - a 'must visit' destination for anyone with a fabric fetish that is shopping/sightseeing in the area.
I picked up this home decor weight 'Sewsaw' fabric in village blue/neutral by Premier Designer Collections - thinking of making the Cargo Duffle by Anna over at Noodlehead, I'm putting together a Pinterest Board of all the Cargo Duffles I see out there on the internet, there's some great fabric choices, variations, and tips making it really individual each time.
I also stocked up on several polka dot and stripe basics - 'Spot On' by StudioRK and 'Pimatex Basics' for Robert Kaufman and 'Clown Stripe' for Michael Miller, a pretty floral - Bryant Park by Khristian A Howell for Anthology Fabrics and much finer purple stripe - Lavender Love by Stof.
And I bought this selection of novelty buttons - 46 to be accurate and my bill was $116.00, boy that soon added up!!!
All in all, I think I was incredibly restrained, especially as I spent quite a while in the store exploring each floor.
I took photos of each area to share with you - phone photos again I'm afraid a few just weren't good enough quality to include but I hope you'll get a good feel for the store from these:
zips and thread
Japanese Echino, Kokka, etc
quilting weight cotton
home decor weight fabrics
and lots of other fabric types that I don't want to label just in case I get them wrong!!!
The store has been on Geary Street since 1952, it's huge and spread over four floors and there seemed to be everything you could ever need for every sewing project and eventuality.
Here's a description of each floor that I've taken from Britex's own website - click each link to go their webpage and find out more:
Library ladders from floor to ceiling give access to the 120-foot wall of woolens--boucle, gabardine, Super 100's, boiled wool, crepe, double knit, jersey and more. Tables filled with endless silks--charmeuse, chiffon, duchess, brocades and more. Imported laces complete the main floor‘s couture selection, which will entice the most discriminating seekers of wedding and special occasion fabrics.
Stay in fashion with the best cottons--Japanese indigos, Liberty of London cotton lawn, the newest cotton prints and more--along with a huge selection of linens, polyester blends, knits of all varieties and amazing velvets. A comprehensive Home Décor department features upholstery, drapery and accent fabrics in a wide variety of textures and styles.
Find over 75,000 styles of buttons, including vintage glass and bakelite, plus ribbons in all colors, prints and styles--from classic grosgrain to hand-dyed silks and velvets--and a treasure trove of embellishments including sequins, rhinestones, Swarovski crystals, faux fur trims, silk flowers, appliqués, feathers and boas. The third floor also houses a wide range of home decorating fringes, cording, tassels and tie-backs, and a comprehensive collection of bridal accessories including vintage and imported lace trims, veils, decorative hair pieces and Russian netting. Basic sewing notions like thread, needles, zippers and patterns round out the selection.
A cornucopia of discounted remnants from the first and second floors are joined by imported and domestic faux furs, leather and suede hides, athletic performance fabrics, muslin, interfacing, pillow forms, felt, neoprene, netting, tulle, and oilcloth--all on the topmost floor.
I loved the store, the staff were helpful, answering questions, explaining the store to me and showing me to the sections I wanted to visit and in the button section they spent time with me helping me make my selections and offering welcome advice. They were happy for me to take photos too just not of the fabric info/price tags which is fair enough.
Working in a fabric store myself, I'm always interested to see how other fabric stores operate from
how they display the fabric - Britex have their own stickered logo on every bolt card;
cut it - with a minimum cut of 1/4 yard the staff tear the fabric (giving you a truer crosswise grain line) and extra fabric allowance is made for uneven, misshapen fabric edges;
price it - they have hanging tags with the price/yard tucked into one end of each bolt;
swatches - none in store but at $1 a time you can order a 2" x 4.2" swatch on line
record your purchases - staff on each floor write a slip detailing your purchases - you pay for 3rd-floor purchases (notions/buttons, etc) on the 3rd floor, all other purchases are paid for on the ground floor. Interestingly, they did round up the cost of my fabric purchases to the nearest $0.50/$1.00.
TIP: Visit the fourth floor at the top of the store and check out great remnant selection.
If you want to visit Britex Fabrics you can find out more on their website and here're their location and contact details too:
San Francisco Store
146 Geary Street
San Francisco CA 94108
Mon-Sat: 10 am to 6 pm
There's so much to share about my San Fran adventures and there's a great wool store I want to tell you all about too but I'll save that for another post another time!!!
For details of other fabric, yarn, trim and notion stores that I've visited around the world along with the NYC stores I love, exhibitions and events I've attended and wonderful people I've been lucky to meet click the links below or in my sidebar :D