27 March 2011

Fabric as far as the eye can see...



The never ending fabric shop! Believe it or not this photo was actually taken in the middle of the store, looking in one direction - it was, in fact, double this size. Before British readers get excited, no, this isn't Brixton - this is America. Falls Church, Virginia, to be precise. Casey gave me some great tips on fabric shopping in her former stomping ground while I was in Washington, and textile enthusiast friend Karen was more than up for driving me - hurrah!


G Street Fabrics' range was actually a bit overwhelming. I just walked around in circles for a while, in a total daze and unable to focus. In the end I was very sensible and only came away with this beautifully soft grey fabric to make some trousers with - in the cut offs pile at only $3 per metre!


"I just picked these up at Jo-Ann's." I've always wanted to say that. I can't be the only non-American who is envious of the ease at which things seem to be able to be picked up at Jo-Ann's. The crafting revolution is only just starting to emerge in the UK so we'll have to wait a bit longer before you can find belting solutions and embroidery floss at $4 for a pack of 36 skeins in every town.


Oh the variety! Casey also recommended I visit the exhibition of First Lady dresses at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Museum + historical dresses = I'm there. Here are my favourites:

Mary Lincoln's dress

Helen Taft's dress

Eleanor Roosevelt's dress

Michelle Obama's dress

Last but not least, I can't write about Washington without sharing these snaps:

 

Vice President Joe Biden! Nooooo, not in Jo-Ann's, in the Capitol building, silly.

[Soundtrack: 'I Walked' by Sufjan Stevens]

28 comments:

  1. Loads of fun. That museum looks fabulous. I felt similairly overwhelmed in Mood but went to the opposite extreme. I think I bought five metres of stuff in this uber-spontaneous, panicked, 'Er, I'll have THAT'. Then you worry that if you run out of fabric you won't be able to get hold of more so order everything extremely generously. Bad for the wallet!

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  2. What a store! I would probably be over-whelmed as well and not knowing what to buy.

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  3. omg. what a store! I can't imagine!! I think I would be in a complete daze too! Ooohh..your trip looks like it was so much fun!

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  4. I can't believe that I've found a blog post featuring my two main interests of sewing and US politics! BEST. POST. EVER.

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  5. *imagines Joe Biden in Jo-Ann's* hahaha

    Glad you had so much fun while you were over here. Washington, D.C. is on my list of places to visit!

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  6. There are some crazy good fabric stores in a Maryland suburb of DC. My favorite is Korean run and the prices are amazingly good. Your next trip!

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  7. This fabric store looks like fun, I am thinking road trip now! I have been to the museum and have a book of all the dresses. It is truly breath taking to see the gowns. Wow, I didn't know you couldn't get much over there in the way of sewing/crafting. I am sorry to hear that, that really surprises me. Glad you had a great trip!

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  8. You are so funny! I love those pictures of you standing in Jo-ann's. You're right, we take it for granted here in the States. And I might add that every Jo-ann's looks and smells the same. It's like going home when you're travelling.

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  9. I wonder if Jo-Ann's have thought of expanding to the UK?!? It would do extremely will for sure!

    Looks like you had an excellent trip Tilly! Love the fabric you bought and the museum looks beautiful!

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  10. It all looks fab!!! I'm feeling a touch of the green eyed monster lol! sooo much choice in the fabric shop I wish it was like that over here!!!
    plus those dress's look fab!!!
    looks like you've had a fab time!! :)

    fashbrickroad.blogspot.com/

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  11. Just so you don't feel like it's only you non-americans frustrated by the "Oh, I found this at Jo-Anns" phrase. It seems to be that only certain Jo-Anns (generally those in smaller towns in my experience) have the really good stuff. Louisville isn't that big, but we never get as good of stuff at our stores as my friend's in smaller places seem to find. Looks like you had a great trip!

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  12. Tilly! You threw a glance at heaven! :) Wish I can go there some day, too!

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  13. What a fun trip! Two of my best friends live in DC (I live in the midwest of the US) and I'm sure I'll get around to visiting them someday - and I know I'll be able to plan an excellent sewing side trip thanks to online friends!

    You know, I've been doing a few posts on my blog about fun sewing shops in my city - I think it's cool to see that sort of thing. It never even occurred to me to include Joann's and Hancocks since I take them so for granted! I'll have to do posts on them as well, for those with no Joann's/Hancocks access.

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  14. that is a lovely trip...combining business with your sewing hobby is fab. I wish it was easier to get things from the US, they seem to have it all for cheaper

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  15. I had a similar experience of being overwhelmed by massive fabric stores and going to a historic dress exhibit at FIT in New York this past week! Amazingly, I left with only 1 yard of fabric (so proud of my self control!). I'd love to get to G Street Fabrics as it's only a couple hours away - maybe I can pair with a trip to the museum you went to, too :)

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  16. As soon as I saw the photo, I knew you were a G street! I have been going there for years. I live in Pennsylvania. One of local sewing machine dealers used to sponsor semi-annual bus trips to G street in Rockville, Md. We would calculate amount spent, per bus, at the end of the day. The winners received no prize, just the knowledge that they had spent too much money. I am talking way serious cash. I set next to a small group of ladies on the last trip, this was maybe 4 years ago, who spent well over $3000.00 US each! One did sew for other people, the others sew for self and family. I was frequently overwhelmed in the store so I would focus on only certain things. Perhaps linen/linen blends and suiting wools. Great place, glad you enjoyed it.

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  17. Oh, my! What a feast for the senses!! I'm not sure I would have done as well as you in the fabric store! :)

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  18. And the Falls Church G St is the small one of the group. I took a class at the G St in Rockville and it was sensory overload, plus being sooo hard to control myself...I'm so bad, I work for the Smithsonian and hardly ever get to any of the exhibits....

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  19. Beautiful dresses! Reminds me of the fashion section in the V&A. It's good they put the clothes behind glass, because people like me would just want to touch, touch touch the pretty fabrics and embellishments!

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  20. Ooo! Looks like you've had a really good time. I just moved to Southern Maryland, and I will be making a trip to D.C. in a couple of weeks. I have to add that fabric shop to my itinerary. Thanks for pointing me towards it!

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  21. thanks for making me appreciate jo-ann's. I never knew it was anything special :)
    And that giant fabric store kills me. I would spend all day in there!

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  22. Very jealous of your trip! That fabric shop looks pretty overwhelming though... wish there were more of these places over here.

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  23. "I just picked these up at Jo-Ann's." Yeah, I understand you! I often wish I had those American commodities here in Italy :)

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  24. So glad that you were able to visit my hometown. G Street Fabrics began in a lovely old building across from the American Art Museum on G St. in DC. It was such a treat to wander around all of the floors. Now they have a few suburban locations and that old building just holds ghostly memories.
    Hope you had good weather while you were visiting!

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  25. Fabric stores that big always make me want to swim in a big pool of fabrics!

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  26. Ah G-street... there is one in Potomac Mills that I like to visit when heading into Northern Virginia :)

    Sounds like you had an exciting time here!!

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  27. Oh, I recognize that store! I knew that was GStreet Fabrics as soon as I saw it! I am about an hour from there and 30 minutes from another one. I haven't been to the gown exhibit yet but I'm definitely inspired to go now!
    Laurie

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