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Picking a fabric store


Source: G Street Fabrics & Home Decorating Center

For the novice seamstress, picking a store for their sewing needs can be as overwhelming as learning to sew itself. Whether it's on Long Island or on-line, knowing which store is right for your needs can save valuable time and money that could be spent on sewing projects. There are three main types of stores available.

1) The large chain store (Michael's, Jo-Ann Fabrics, etc.). Pros: There is usually one within a twenty minute drive from home, they have regular hours, they are cheap, and they have various supplies on hand, including patterns. Cons: Many employees have a very limited expertise, the fabric selection is poor (typically consisting of polyesters in bright patterns), and the stores are catered to all kinds of crafters, just not sewers. You might end up having to dig through aisles of paint brushes and synthetic floral arrangements before finding a cutting wheel or some embroidery floss.

2) The home-town fabric shop. Pros: These stores have a wide array of supplies and fabrics, a very knowledgeable staff, and often are willing to sell whole bolts of fabric to customers. These stores often offer classes in various textile arts, and may sell and repair sewing machines. Cons: These stores tend to be the most expensive, are often hard to find, have various hours, and have a constantly rotating inventory. It is a good idea to call ahead to find out their hours and to also ask if something specific is in stock.

3) The Internet store. Pros: Internet stores are great for fabric and sewing aficionados. Virtually any type of pattern, fabric, or notion is available. They are cheap, and they never close. Cons: You're not going to find much advice there (which is why you come here!) and you may have to spend time to find exactly what you want. Also, you can not see the quality or true color of the fabric. If you wish to order from an on-line retailer, ask for a swatch of the fabric and then run a burn test on it before buying.

Now that you know which store to shop at, here are a few locations to get started:

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