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Magazine Giveaway: What is the most exciting sewing destination you’ve been to?

On the Contributors page of Threads issue #163, we asked our authors “Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled for your work?” Most of them (because they work in the sewing field) spoke of places that provide sewing inspiration or education.

Of all the places I’ve traveled to, New York City provided the most sewing excitement. The first time I shopped there for fabric, I was in my early 20s searching for the perfect fabric and lace for my wedding gown. My hometown didn’t have any dedicated fabric stores–Woolworth’s (a small department store, now out of business) was the only place in town that carried any fabric at all. I could not believe the extensive, extravagant, gorgeous selection in the garment-district shops in New York . It was an experience I’ll never forget.

Have you ever traveled to a location that provided sewing excitement? Perhaps, like me, you were amazed by the selection; perhaps you found educational inspiration; perhaps it was simply a small shop that had all you had hoped for and much, much more. Leave a comment below before the deadline (Tuesday, October 2) and tell us about your exciting experience. By doing so, you could win a copy of our latest issue! The winner will be announced during the week of October 8 and will also receive a winning email.

Good luck!


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  1. daydreemz | | #1

    A fabric shop in Williamsburg, VA. It was amazing! Rich textures, deep colors; my senses were over whelmed. If I had the money at the time, I would have bought more than the 2 yards of beautiful brocade that I did; however, it worked nicely into a lovely vest that I still have today. Some things never go out of fashion :)

  2. sewsewnerdy | | #2

    Fabric shopping in the garment district in NYC. I was in heaven! (a little in debt)

  3. User avater
    emmyjay | | #3

    It wasn't a long trip, but one that incited a life-long passion: The Midwestern city I grew up in was home to several women's clothing manufacturers. From time to time each held special sales at which they offered fabric and notions remaining from the previous seasons' lines to the public, most at incredible prices. The sales were held in the cutting rooms of the factories, and though the lines were long, even as a young teenager I didn't mind, as I was fascinated by *everything* around me.

  4. User avater
    racu | | #4

    While living abroad in Buenos Aires! It was very difficult to find good quality quilt fabrics back then, so finding the one and only store that carried imported american fabric was really a challenge!

  5. pathersl | | #5

    Been to NY and I'll probably never see Paris or Milan, but I spent hous at Keepsake Quilting in NH. The ride through the mountains is wonderful and one of the largest attractions in town is the setting for "On Golden Pond." Not exciting you say. No, just warm and loving, full of those bubbling things that make one apreciate America.

  6. MaryC104 | | #6

    I think the most "sew-inspiring" place I've been is Alaska. My mother and I took a cruise to Alaska in 2009. The colors of the countryside, the atmosphere in Juneau and Skagway was great. We saw glaciers and icebergs that contained a fascinating color of blue. We went to a little fabric/yarn shop in Skagway and bought beautiful fabric and yarns. While not in Alaska, part of the trip included Victoria. The Butchart Gardens were very inspiring with all the colors and landscaping arrangements. One of these days I'll go back!

  7. alisoncat | | #7

    The Sewing Expo in Puyallup Washington! I took several awesome seminars, picked up some lovely supplies and saw tons to inspire me!

  8. bajjmayer | | #8

    My most exciting sewing destination was an all day trip to the fashion district in New York city---I was like a kid in a candy store--wide eyed and jaw dropped! SO many fabric store to browse through. I had identified a couple pre-trip BUT when were walking through I was almost overwhelmed by the number of shops and even shops that are just trimmings! Naturally went to MOOD ( my fave) but also fell in love with Paron! Found awesome designer fabrics at both for wonderful prices---can't wait to finish sewing with what I bought so I can replenish the supply!

  9. User avater
    chelosunny | | #9

    Actually it was Macau.
    While exploring the back alleys of this tiny compact nation, we could hear a swishing sound. A sound I had never heard before. It was coming from the Chinese tailors using treadle machines who construct a lot of garments made out of silk. For hot weather, silk is the best and is abundant in South East Asia. Every seam line is layered with tissue paper to keep the fabrics from slipping. The paper is easily ripped off before being presented to the wearer.

  10. User avater
    vintagetailor | | #10

    Okay, you might think that London would be my answer, since researching the Sewing Destinations: London article took me to many neighborhoods, shops, museum collections and market stalls I otherwise wouldn't have discovered.

    But I have also loved prowling New York's garment district. I have peered through a fabric store window in Madrid to watch an ingratiating salesman unfurling bolts to entice a skeptical customer. I've petted luxury wools at Britex in San Francisco. I've spent an entire day at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL in a hypnotic trance.

    Here in the Twin Cities I thrill to three quite different places: S.R. Harris, a big fabric warehouse; "The World's Largest Fabric Garage Sale" annual event at the Textile Center of Minnesota; and Treadle Yard Goods, an independent fabric store with wonderful classes, too.

  11. Sambo | | #11

    Ottawa Street in Hamilton is one of my favorite sewing destinations.

  12. FaSewLaTiDo | | #12

    Visiting the Swiss Miss textile mart and lace factory in New Glarus, WI, twice as a child is one of my best sewing destination memories. It was amazing! Sadly, it's long gone now, and the amazing embroidery machines were sold overseas. I was grade school age the last visit, but I bought a bag of remnants with what little money I had. My daughter begged for some new doll dresses, and I made a special one out of one of those 38-year-old vintage remnants recently.

  13. wolfkit | | #13

    The V&A in London has more inspiration than you can poke a needle at and not just in their garments/fabrics areas.

  14. rosb | | #14

    My inspirational spot is Melbourne Australia I love the inspirational shops & boutiques as I walk to a shop absolutely packed with fabrics.This store as a child fascinated me as it was rolls of fabrics to the ceiling but the man could always find exactly what my mum needed then came the bargaining finally we would leave the store excited with what we were going to create.The store is still there and hasn't changed so after 50 years so Melbourne is fantastic.

  15. copywriterMT | | #15

    First, I have to say that this question is so awesome - thanks for coming up with such an inspiring conversation-starter!

    On vacation, I took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, WA to find Esther's Fabrics, which claims to be the oldest fabric store in the state. What a wonderful place this is! Charmingly decorated, with enough of every type of fabric to attract the quilter, dressmaker, home decorator, grandmother... A customer had the most wonderful child's white wool coat she was working on; I will never forget it. Helpful staff, unusual selections and inspiration at every turn. I can't wait to be back in Seattle area to board the ferry again!

  16. snowm | | #16

    When I was in college I was able to go with the fashion group to London, Eng. We visited a place where they hand print silk, a couple of retailers and visit with a hat designer among other things. It was so much fun! I brought back a small piece of silk that I made into a slip. I also brought back some batik prints from one of the retailer. I still have it and need to make up something wonderful to honor that memory.

  17. nbdrake | | #17

    the most exciting place I have purchased fabric was the raw silk I purchased for my wedding dress. I purchased in a bazaar in Bangalore India. As well as the fabric(again raw silk) for my three bridesmaids' dresses. The array of silk in the shop was amazing! I did this in 1971. P.S. I can still wear the dress.

  18. theresan | | #18

    My favorite sewing destination the New York garment district, no where else can you find such wonderful ideas.

  19. LucyJane | | #19

    Growing up on LI< NY I would browse the garmet district before catching the train. Button stores and ribbons galore. Found my waxed blossom wedding headpiece and veil from that location. Moving on......ended up in NH not 20 minutes from Keepsake Quilting. They have 10,000 bolts of lovely fabric all coordinated as to color and theme. Lets not even talk about their yarn store! They have a veranda with chairs for the husbands to sit and wait. Perfect! Moving on a store called Zimmon's in Lynn, Mass. It is like going back in time to see fabrics on bolts and a bargain basement. Unfortunately thses places are drying up. Out to LA there is similar store without the charm and I bought 1/2 yard of fabric at $125 a yard! It was like butter. Used that piece for the bodice. Another place in NH is the Exeter Hankerchief Factory. It isn't what it used to be but it is still there! Don't pass up yard sales, rummage sales, thrift stores for finding garments (to repurpose) and lengths of fabric.

  20. User avater
    agapantha | | #20

    The most exciting sewing destination I ever went to: the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico when Writing With Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities was on display. Ethnic costume and embroidery are my passions and this exhibit was a treat rarely seen outside China.

    Unlike other museums (I'm talking about you, Denver Art Museum) that put glass-enclosed displays so far away that you can barely see the items, this museum generously exhibited the costumes without obstruction. I spent most of the day wandering from costume to costume, noting color, construction detail, and embroidery. No mean little old lady frowned at me for leaning closer to see details and no crowds forced me away from a particlar costume before I'd looked to my heart's content. The exhibit catalog I bought is one of the most beautiful books I own and has been the inspiration for a number of projects.

    The same day across the mall, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture had an extensive display of rugs and (bonus!) a weaver demonstrating her craft. As a self-taught weaver, I was able to ask this woman several questions that I had not been able to figure out on my own. Simply standing and watching her work was an education in itself.

  21. fimiona | | #21

    Nancy's Notions in BEaver Dam, WI. I had watched her on TV for years, and what a joy to visit her store!

    I also went to Showtime in High Point for many years -to see fabric vendors from around the world, to walk through thousands of selections -it was heaven.

  22. skeeters | | #22

    I just got back from three weeks in Italy.
    Positano was our base camp..going down to the ocean front, I stopped at a bakery with husband in tow. There, beside the bakery and covering himself up (my husband was carrying his gimornous camera for bird watching)..I thought how strange this person was acting..We struck up a conversation with him. He realized we weren't paparratzi.I knew immediately who he was!! Hubby had no clue. I was not going to blow his cover. Goodness, I've never seen such a well dressed man Yes, I wanted his picture and autograph but decided I would treasure the moment in my heart forever. A half hour later I told my hubby who he was....He thought I was nuts..My heart be still!!

  23. User avater
    jbsews | | #23

    I would like to be able to say one of the big city garment districts, but wouldn't be true. I grew up in a small town and with a mom who sewed and a grandmother as well. Going to either of 2 big cit

  24. User avater
    etheldora | | #24

    Santa Fe, New Mexico. The colors, the art, the food, the people on the street ... a feast for the senses. One stop I must make every visit is the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery. It's a small space, but filled with some of the finest handwoven garments I've had the pleasure to touch! And, of course, Santa Fe has my personal greatest sewing inspiration. My mom!!!

  25. AZNittney | | #25

    Lancaster County Penna. Amish Quilts galore...need I say more. If I must then try the 2 material shops in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Small shops but the staff are wonderful and helpful.

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