teaching sewing confidence, tip by tip

Monday 7 September 2015

Exploring Portland OR - Modern Domestic

Once my husband's work in Seattle was done (you can read more about my Seattle trip here) we drove down to Portland and I just had to 'research' a few more fabric stores for you - three to be precise.  We're starting this Exploring Portland OR series here at Modern Domestic in the Alberta district of NE Portland.

Note my visit was to the original Modern Domestic store - the store moved to its new location in Fall 2016.

The Modern Domestic store is divided into three main areas: entrance/main sales desk/Bernina area; main fabric area; and class/work area.

For the pic below we're standing by the main entrance door,

while in the next we're looking past scrummy fat quarters beautifully stored in a divided shelf unit and through into the second main fabric area. 

In this pic, we're having another glimpse across the main fabric area from the store entrance through to the class/work area at the far end of the store.

Now let's look at each area in more detail.  Starting again at the front of the store - as soon as I walked in the store I fell in love with all the Bernina sewing machines on display, as an ex-Bernina sales person and proud Bernina owner the Bernina brand kind of gets to you like that.  The way the machines are set out makes you want to sit down and start sewing.

If you're not a Bernina girl bear with me for another 3 photos then we'll move on to fabric; I promise ;D

and what Bernina girl would be able to resist this fab glass cabinet showcasing all the feet and accessories, "one of everything please".

Time for a closer look at that amazing fat quarter unit, I looove how these fabrics are folded and stored - the colours look good enough to eat and you can see a good amount of each design without opening up the folded fq.  Makes you want one of everything - oops, I think I've said that already and we're hardly past the entrance! 

Notions and more

and this gorgeous cabinet is well stocked with every type of scissor a modern sewist longs for - how cute is that???

Exploring the main fabric area we'll look up first to the quilts on display - even my husband recognised and named the Aviatrix quilt in the centre, hardly surprising as he's shared his living space with an identical one for a couple of months while I've been making mine (which reminds me I really should get around to finishing quilting it sometime soon).

The area behind the hanging quilts is truly mouthwatering.

Solids in a swirl of rainbow colours and let's take a minute to wow over the magenta pink wall they're displayed on.  I looove that colour -  for the last 10 years I've painted at least one wall in my daughter's bedroom that exact same colour, wherever we've been living and I love that Modern Domestic has been bold and brave enough to showcase colour against colour.  Many fear the effect a coloured wall will have on the colour of fabrics particularly in a sales environment but I'm delighted to see it put into practice so successfully here, IMO absolutely gorgeous.  

You'll see in the following pics this main fabric section is just full of fabric, all weights and types of fabric, in every colour and the latest designer fabrics/collections.

Patterns too

and thread,

trimmings and webbing.

Sooooo many choices.

Looking around you'll see lots of the latest patterns and designs we know and love from all the quilty web surfing we do ;D

Finally moving into the third work/class area, lots of light again and spacious work areas.

It's a stunning space with everything you need on hand and the latest Bernina machines for you to use, I'd love to teach a class in this space, wouldn't anyone! 

The quilts displayed are A Topography of Doubt Tarp Quilts by Wynde Dyer who lives and works in Portland, OR.

Ending our visit back in the main entrance area in this longer shot you can see another painted wall - this time, it's a rich plum and exactly the same colour as one wall in my living room - got the feeling they love colour here as much as I do!

The staff were welcoming and helpful and I got to meet up with MD staffer, Meredith, who used to work at the store where I teach in Manhattan though before my time.  We actually met for the first time three days earlier at the PNWMQG #epicmeetup2015 in Seattle but I'll share more about that in another blog post.

Modern Domestic
Note: In Fall 2016 MD will be moving 10 blocks from its current location to a new home on Alberta Street - you can read about the new premises here on the MD blog.
new address from Fall 2016:
422 NE Alberta St Portland OR 97211
(503) 808-9910
hours: daily 10 am -6 pm
classes / online store / website / blog / facebook / Instagram / Bernina

Permission granted by a staff member to take and blog all photos.

Read all my Exploring Portland OR posts, the first about Modern Domestic, my second about Bolt and finally my Cool Cottons post by clicking the images below:

For details of other fabric, yarn, trim and notion stores 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

Clicking on an image will take you to a new page of crafty goodness :)

Click to follow me on

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs and opinions are my own.

Linky Parties
This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can see where I like to share my work.



  1. I've always wanted to visit Portland, OR. This just confirms my suspicions, that I'd fit right in!! Thank you for sharing your explorations with us, we appreciate all your hard work! :)


    1. I barely scratched the surface, it's def worthy of a second visit or in your case Nini a first! - Chris :D


I love to hear from everyone, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts. Please leave a message to let me know you visited, it's a great way to get to know you all better too :)

Chris Dodsley

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.