Friday, 23 October 2009

Fabric shopping Sydney #2

I have blogger's block. I have so many things I am waiting to post about, that I don't know where to start. I was planning to present them in some sort of orderly fashion, but this seems to mean I am not posting at all, so I will just throw them out randomly.
Today's post goes back to my Sydney shopping, 2 weeks ago. I left you at the bottom of the stairs outside Greenfields, all my loot safely dispatched to Queensland by courier. I then walked a few blocks to The Fabric Place on Cooper St. I would have been hopelessly lost without my Google maps print out, Surrey Hills is a rabbit warren. I did become a little distracted by Empire Beads.

I do not count beading as one of my hobbies, but my daughters like it intermittently. They have received beading kits a few times as gifts, and one Christmas we made beaded initials as Christmas decorations/gift tags for all our relatives. Lately they have been making stitch markers (for knitting) and selling them on consignment at the local yarn shop. I spent about 3/4 of an hour in here and bought them some beading supplies. (Hopefully I will have some fancy butterfly stitch markers in my Christmas gift....) It has a fabulous selection, and it was very easy to browse and to see everything, although not so easy to make a final selection! (There is also a loo for customer use here inside the shop, very useful, as there seem to be no public loos anywhere else)

After this intermission, I made it to the Fabric Store. This shop was reviewed a few months ago in Australian Stitches, and I was quite excited to see that it was really a branch of Global Fabrics from New Zealand. I have been wildly jealous of New Zealanders for having these shops ever since the 2008 SWAP at Stitcher's Guild, where Heather kept displaying gorgeous garments made from fabulous fabrics she had bought there. At this time they not only did not have an on-line shop, but when I rang them, would not mail order to Australia. (Boo Hiss) I have been seeking out NZ merino knits ever since.

There are lovely, intoxicating fabrics in this shop, but not much else. They have Gutermann thread and Vogue patterns, but no haberdashery or notions that I could see. I was served by a very young lady, who obviously sews, but sounded like a beginner to me. I have no complaints at all about the service, she was very pleasant and as helpful as she could be, but I think her advice would be misleading to someone who had not much sewing experience. The fabrics are labeled with fibre type eg: silk and cotton, with most including relative percentages, but not by type. A chiffon, a charmeuse and a taffeta are all just labelled "100% silk", and the saleslady who served me did not appear to know the difference between fabric types. She lead me to a heavy wool flannel when I asked for tropical weight brown wool for trousers, but quickly found me something else when I asked for a lighter weight.

Here is the sensible, planned section from Global Fabrics, see the merino knits? I will make next to skin layer technical clothes for hiking and camping with most of these. My husband wants some as I rashly said that the Mountain Design versions were rather overpriced for something I could make. The pale pink one is quite an open knit, and I am thinking of a wrap cardigan for next winter. I only bought 1m of each of these, they are really wide. (Oops, 2m of the pink one, it is not so wide). Here also is the fairly light weight brown wool for work trousers, and some cotton shirting fabric for (surprise) work shirts.

Here is the result of fabric intoxication.
Mostly silks, I fell in love with the Lisa Ho reversible brocade on the left that has been nearly entirely chopped out of the picture by blogger, I do not know what I will make from it, or where I will wear it. The others are chiffons, georgettes and charmeuses for fancy blouses and scarves. I will probably pat these a lot before I make anything. There is also some mostly cotton stretch lace, maybe for a fancy t shirt.

I packed all of this into 2x 3kg post bags, and posted them at the Central Train Station postboxes (Friday). They arrived in Queensland on Monday.

Originally, I had planned to visit Tessuti in Surrey Hills, particularly wanting to look at the Japanese pattern books, but by this point I had a) overspent my generous self imposed budget
b) was suffering slightly from fabric overload eyestrain and c) had received a phone call from my husband asking me to meet him for lunch (about 12.30pm by now), so that was the end of purely fabric shopping.
After lunch I visited Photios Brothers near Town Hall station with husband in tow (we walked - that would be the husband influence, I would have caught the train) to look at trims on the advice of Sydneyite Sharon.
It was good advice, this is a very interesting shop, although mostly catering for costumes. I bought some hair ribbon for my daughters and nieces here. I did see some trim in the sample book for my one-day-I-will-get-around-to-it Chanel jacket, but it was not in stock.

Next I was in tow to a couple of cycling shops and a music shop. Then we went to Morris and Sons to inspect the yarns. This shop was very hard to find, despite being on a major street. This is the sign - does that look like Morris and Sons to you? I would have missed it without my prior research and map.

Morris and Sons must be the second class shop here - once you are inside the first floor of the tapestry and craft shop (full of embroidery goods and some framing things), there is a little sign next to the stairs to the dungeon, which actually looks lovely once you are downstairs. The staff here were very knowlegable and helpful, although have obviously been told to push their own Morris and Son branded yarns - made in China from allegedly Australian wool. I think Australian Country Spinners have just been in trouble for this sort of labelling, apparently once the wool is in China for scouring and spinning, there is no track on it, so the "Australian" wool could come from anywhere. I was unpatriotic, and bought Italian lace weight yarn for a shawl, labelled "made from Australian merino" (Do they track the fleeces in Italian mills?) which was the purpose of my visit to this shop.

We also bought sock yarn, knit picks sock needles and a ball of cashmere fingering weight yarn. This was entirely my husband's enabling. He felt that an entire weekend without handwork might be bad for me (or him maybe?), and I had complained that I had already finished the smocking I brought with me on the train trip into the city. (No knitting on Australian aeroplanes - and we only took hand luggage). It had nothing to do with the earlier male expenditure at the cycling shop, but I don't know if he would have thought I needed a present if he had been carrying all my parcels!


katherine h said...

What a lovely fabric stash you now have - happy sewing!

Sharon said...

What gorgeous fabrics. I have two pieces of the Merino Knit in my stash from The Fabric store and can't wait to make them up.

I'm glad you didn't ask me about Morris and Sons, I love Tapestry Craft but have never taken any notice of the shop downstairs, although did venture down the last time and was very impressed.

Gail said...

Next time you are in Sydney try the Remnant Warehouse at 494 Botany Road Alexandria. Their stock is improving on every visit and their prices are the best in Sydney. I bought pure silk for my daughter's formal dress for $16.95 a metre. A very comparable product was $42 a metre in Tessuti and $24 a metre at the Fabric Store in Surrey Hills.