Lauren's Virtual World

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fabric in the Bay

I currently live in Tampa, but I'm originally from Chicago. Needless to say that makes me super spoiled with fabric and sewing resources. I had to do some serious searching to find of stuff in Tampa and I always share. So if your ever in Tampa, here's the lowdown.

Fabric Stores:

Jays Fabrics 801 Pasadena Ave S St Petersburg, FL
(727) 381-6600
I've never purchased here but they have really nice high quality fabrics. Just be prepared to pay. The place is large and they have an extensive selection. The sales people were very nice and they knew their stuff. I like it there a lot, it's just a little far for me.

Queens Fabrics 1724 S Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa, FL
(813) 258-2805
I love this store. Great high quality fabrics and again you gotta pay. What I really like is the set up. Everything is kind of everywhere but it works because the place is so small. So it's really hands on and kind of cozy. There's also a good variety. There's even a sample section to order super expensive couture. The person there was nice and friendly. She asked if I needed any help, talked with me a little, and let me browse. When I'm off fabric probation, I see this being my favorite store.

Jo-Ann 11215 Causeway Blvd Brandon, FL
(813) 655-1408
Ahh, good old trusty Jo-Ann. Home of the 3.99 Vogue patterns. I like them for that alone. It seems like they're converting Jo-Ann to the supercraft stores which I kind of don't like. It seems to lower the quality and selection of fashion fabric. The thing I find interesting about Jo-Ann is how overpriced the fabrics are for what they are. I guess you just have to wait for the sales. As for fabric, they are not my go to people. I quickly browse the fabric but take advantage of the pattern sales. The Brandon loacation has the best selection of sewing magazine, though. They are the first place I've ever seen who carries Australian Stitches. And they don't throw away back issues of Vogue Patterns. And they're good for notions. They have a great selection of just about all kinds of notions you could ever need. There are other Jo-Ann store but I've found this one to be the best. And the salespeople are friendly if you make them be :) That just means you have to engage them first.

Hancock Fabrics 1112 S Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa, FL
(813) 251-4232
Very similar to Jo-Ann- great for patterns and notions. While Jo-Ann is trending toward the superstore, Hancocks has kept their focus on sewing. I have found with Hancocks you get better fabric and more variety than Jo-Ann. Definitely keep them in mind for the pattern sales. They have books and magazine but not like the selection at Jo-Ann. Not to sound mean, but the people there are not very helpful at all.

Fabric Sites:
Since there aren't too many good fashion fabric shops, the internet is a great alternative. I spend too much time drooling over fabric surfing the net at my favorite spots. Now I'm not going to give you an exhaustive unedited list, just my favorites who have good stuff for fashion sewing. I hate those long lists, only to find out half the stores only sell quilting fabrics or don't even sell online. So trust me, my list is good.
Enter at your own risk. You will either leave broke or depressed because your broke. She has some of the most beautiful and unique fabrics ever. The prices are steep but the fabrics are very high quality and worth it. What I love about her website is the photos and descriptions. You really know what your getting. There's also sewing guides if your unfamiliar with working with the fabric. She also has great service. I've ordered from her a few time and service is top notch. The funny thing is, my fabric has always looked and felt much better than I expected. The fabric there also has very high turn around, so the great stuff goes quick.
Don't pay retail! This place has great fabric at the best price. I love it. I used to be a part of their swatch club but it looks like they're not doing the club anymore. The pictures aren't color accurate and it's hard to tell exactly what you're looking at. My advice is to stick with what your familiar with and go by the description. I've ordered from them before and I had good experiences.
Also bank breaking, gorgeous, to die for fabric. I used to be in their swatch club but I've never ordered from them. They're expensive, but let me tell you, their fabric is worth every penny. They also have buttons, thread matching services, and extensive selection of interfacing.
I've never had a chance to shop here but there are some great fabrics at wallet, friendly prices. I especially love the knit prints. And she sells Burda (yay) and vintage patterns.
This is the website for Vogue Fabrics swatch club. Ok fabric, ok prices. But still a good resource. I love how they're now offering some of the fabrics in Vogue Patterns Magazine. There is also an extensive amount of notions and interfacing. You can also find some tailoring supplies and independant patterns. And one thing that works good for dressmakers is that fabrics are available for a long time. I was able to order fabric from a 2yr old swatch. I was also satisfied with their service.
I love her website. She has so much fabric available and at reasonable prices. I haven't had a chance to purchase anything yet. But I'm cleaning her out when I get off fabric probation. I've also heard so many good reviews about her fabric store.

I hope this list helps anyone who is in the Tampa area. It's definitely been hard for me adjusting to the new area with less resources available, but they are here. You just have to look.

Happy fabric shopping!