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Bay area fabric sources: a short list

Here in the Bay Area, we are blessed with an array of fabric shops that outstrip those in many cities. They range from couture shops like Britex to the low end stand-by of Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. They all have a place, and a part to play in our sewing projects, and it's always good to have more that one or two of them on your GPS's "favorites" list. Here's a short list to get you started navigating your options.

Britex Fabrics
146 Geary St.
San Francisco CA 94108
Full of high-end couture fabrics: Silks, wools, leather, linen, quality laces and more. All top quality—many from designers—and all of it really delicious. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. A special store to help you turn out special garments.

Stone Mountain and Daughter
2518 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Great place for quilting, inexpensive fabrics, and tools. Probably the best selection of buttons around. A variety of classes are held upstairs. They also carry hard-to-find fabrics like horsehair interfacing.

Discount Fabrics
3006 San Pablo Ave.
San Francisco

San Francisco
2315 Irving St.
201 11th St.
With three locations, a large variety of fabrics from sequined yardage to racks of upholstery fabrics, this is a Bay Area favorite. Your first stop for costuming, it has a wonderful selection of feather boas, and beaded trims.

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
300 El Cerrito Plaza
El Cerrito, CA 94530-4004

75 Colma Blvd
Colma, CA 94014-3231
Probably the best-known fabric store chain around. Best for inexpensive fabric and trims, its selling point is price, not quality. They have coupons galore, classes, and offer a wide range of products that are marginally related to sewing, like silk flowers, picture framing, and holiday decor, scrapbooking supplies, and so on. Sometimes it can be useful to have access to these supplies when working on a project. There are many, many locations beyond the two I have listed here. You may wish to use the store locator on their site for more options.

Dharma Trading
1604 4th Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 456-1211
The artist's mecca. Here you will find a narrow but quality selection of fabrics with the artist in mind—meaning it's all ready to dye or paint. This does not mean that you MUST dye or paint them, but it certainly is a lot of fun if you do. Silk, cotton, hemp, rayon—all wonderful stuff to work with, and the best prices around. If you need bulk, it's best to order on line, as the retail space's selection of goods is pretty much what is offered on line but its depth of goods is necessarily limited. You'll also find yarn, clothing blanks, dyes, and kind and friendly staff.


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