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Fabric Shopping in Boston

Ah, vacation season is almost upon us, and any fabric maven knows the pleasure of finding a new fabric store when visiting a new place! Boston (my hometown) is a favorite destination for summer vacationers. So for your visiting and stashing pleasure, here is a list of some of my favorite local fabric haunts in the Greater Beantown area.

In Boston and Cambridge:

Sew-Fisticated Discount Fabrics
Twin City Plaza
14 McGrath Highway
Somerville, MA 02143-4505
(617) 625-7996
A family-run business, Sew-Fisticated has been serving Boston sewers for more than twenty-five years. The main store is located on the Cambridge/Somerville line, within walking distance of the Lechmere “T” stop and a short drive from Kendall Square. When I walk into the store, the first thing I notice, with lots of pleasure, is the number of young women walking around with bolts of fabrics and spools of trims under their arms. Sew-Fisticated carries a good selection of home dec and garment fabrics at great prices. They had a fantastic collection of feather trims when I was in there last, and they have some very nice woolens in the back. They carry Simplicity and McCalls patterns at 50% off retail. They don’t advertise anywhere, but word of mouth has served them well, and they seem to be going strong. They also have a store on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester, just south of Downtown Boston.

Sew-Low Discount Fabrics
473 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 661-8361
Less than a mile from Sew-Fisticated is Sew-Low, a tiny gem of a store nestled among butchers, small grocers and Brazilian bakeries (great cheese bread across the street!). Sew-Low is what I call “Bolt Diving” at its finest. The store is packed to the rafters with all sorts of fabrics. You may have to dig, but you can find some real winners here. The store has lots of knits and a fair home-dec selection. They also have a nice assortment of African cottons and bark cloth in the front of the store. They carry the La Petite line of buttons, which I had never seen before. And they have pattern drawers in the back that are just chock-a-block full of vintage patterns from the 1980s, all of which are 50 cents! What fun it was to rifle through them! This store is definitely worth a visit. Like Sew-Fisticated, it is within walking distance of the Lechmere “T” stop. So wear comfy shoes and walk to both stores, and enjoy the local flavors while you’re there.

Van’s Fabric

14 Beach Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 423-6592
This store, in the heart of Boston’s Chinatown, has a great selection of silks and brocades at very reasonable prices. You have to be “buzzed in” to the store, but once you’re in, you’ll be glad you came. You can find rolls upon rolls of fabrics with unique prints, suitable for bridal, formalwear or even a great evening bag! Last time I was there, you had to ask the prices; the bolts had no markings. But the prices were reasonable and the staff was very courteous.

WinMil Fabrics
111 Chauncy Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 542-1815
WinMil is a veritable institution in downtown Boston. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. They have a broad selection of fabrics, ranging from wools to silks and silkies to cottons and home dec fabrics. They do a brisk business, and they have a good selection of patterns from all of the Big 4, as well as lots of out-of-print patterns for $1 to $5. They have a wide assortment of zippers, mostly YKK for $1 each. They carry a decent selection of trims, interfacings and linings as well.

Windsor Button Shop
35 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 482-4969
The name doesn’t begin to tell it all! This store carries much more. In addition to the area’s largest selection of buttons, buckles and closures, Windsor carries all manner of sewing notions. From needles and pins to boning, dress shields and trims, Windsor has them. They stock a wide array of bridal headpieces and tulle. They also have a large assortment of knitting and crochet supplies and patterns. Windsor Button is a five-minute walk from WinMil, and less than ten minutes walk from Van’s. This troika is definitely worth visiting when you are in the area!

In the Greater Boston area:

Fabric Place
136 Howard Street
Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 872-4888
The largest independent fabric chain in New England, this family-run business has been serving the sewing public for more than fifty years. With a wide selection of garment, quilting and home dec fabrics, Fabric Place is likely to have exactly what you need. They stock patterns from Kwik Sew, McCalls, New Look, Simplicity and Vogue, as well as Lazy Girl Designs, M’Fay home dec patterns and Burda World of Fashion. They carry a good selection of sewing books and magazines. Their notions, trims and buttons departments are well stocked, and they have a custom home furnishings department as well. Fabric Place also carries an extensive selection of yarns and knitting supplies. In addition to the Framingham home office, there are stores in Woburn and Randolph, MA and Warwick, RI.

Freddy Farkel’s Fabric Outlet
86 Coolidge Avenue
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 926-2888
Located not far from Harvard Stadium and within driving distance of Harvard Square, Freddy Farkel’s houses a large assortment of home-dec fabrics and notions. This is another classic “Bolt Diving” site. If you look carefully, you can find some high-end and very current designer fabrics at great prices. Freddy’s is also renowned for their twice-yearly sales, so if you are in the area during a sale, get there early and prepare to find lots of great stuff!


80 Market Street
Lynn, MA 01901
Located just north of Boston, Zimman’s is a store that specializes in breathtaking home-dec fabrics, often at equally breathtaking prices. But what fabrics they have! Many of the fabrics are from high-end European and New York designers. Their silks are dizzying in their selection and quality. You can also buy trims, home-dec notions and such items as cushions and pillowforms of all types here. They recently added a small furnishings department, and they have a custom decorating department. They have a branch store in Hudson, MA, close to Worcester.

Slightly Farther Afield:

There are two other stores that merit mention here, even though they are technically not in the Boston area. Both are in the Manchester, NH area, about one hour’s drive north of Boston.

Fabric Fix

45 Blaine Street
Manchester, NH 03102
(603) 668-7105
This gem of a store is off the beaten path but well worth the trip. It is filled with lots of great fabrics at terrific prices. The owners, Donna and Jerry, scour far and wide for top quality fabrics. I’ve picked up silks, wools, cashmeres, Malden Mills technical fabrics and more here. They carry a small but high quality selection of home-dec fabrics. They also carry a fair selection of Ultra-suede, and their knit selection is great. They have a table of remnants that runs much of the length of the store, all priced at $3 per yard. They also carry a good selection of buttons, purse hardware and Zippers (frequently Riri). They run two tent sales per year, one in August. So if you are vacationing in Northern New England, they are definitely worth a trip!

Martin’s House of Cloth

4 Ridgewod Road
Bedford, NH 03110
Less than two miles from Fabric Fix is Martin’s House of Cloth. Martin’s two-story building houses a large selection of home-dec fabric, hardware and patterns (on the first floor), and garment fabrics, notions and patterns (on the second floor). They carry the Big 4 and Kwik Sew patterns at 50% off retail, as well M’Fay patterns for home dec. Martins has a good selection of cottons, tweeds, woolens and fleeces. They also have a sizeable bridal and formalwear department. If you’re visiting NH, both Martin’s and Fabric Fix are must-stops!


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