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sources of inspiration


The thing I really love about sewing is the excitement of making something new. With each new fabric comes a wealth of possibility. The potential is all there, unmined, and I am in charge of assembling it to make something new and beautiful. It's addictive; this is why so many of us have boxes/shelves/rooms full of fabric! We can't get rid of any because we might need it, and we always get more because we crave new inspiration.

I'm pretty lucky; I live in a city that has plenty of quilters, so there are lots of places to shop. I've managed to put together a list of all the inspiring places I like to go when I need a metre or three of the perfect fabric.


My favorite shop is Material Obsession. I'll be honest, I wasn't a quilter until February or March this year, when I picked up the excellent Material Obsessions 2 book at Borders for a steal. I went back for the original book after devouring MO2. It took me a while to screw my courage to the sticking place and go visit the actual shop, though. See, I have a thing. A thing about published authors. You know how teen girls get around pop stars? All dizzy and blushing and stammering and really embarrassed? Yeah. I'm like that with anyone who has published a book. So, hilariously, I prevented myself from going in and seeing the shop due to starstruckedness. I can't even make this up. Anyway, MO boasts a huge range of fabric, patterns, templates, and they are squarely in my tastes as they have lots of modern designs in bright, splashy colors. Plus there's really good parking just next door. Boom.
Talk to: Kathy (she's American!)
Check out: the little rabbit warren back rooms full of kits, bolts, and haby everywhere!
Address: 72 Roseby St, Drummoyne. Phone 02 9819 6455

Next on the list for their convenience is Killara Village Quilts. This is my "local" and I love it. It's usually very quiet with one or two customers max, but there always seems to be someone at the counter getting one-on-one advice from the shop ladies. I've seen people spend more than an hour sorting their quilts out with the help of the shop girls and it's a sight to behold. Great customer service and a servicable range of modern and traditional fabric, with the added bonus that it's literally a five minute drive away. The other other thing that really impressed me was, on my first visit, the shop lady wrote me out a list of other fabric stores in Sydney. Talk about service–she made sure I could find exactly what I was looking for, even if it wasn't at her shop. That made me loyal for life!
Talk to: Jillian (she's also American, holla!)
Check out: their amazing fat quarter collection
Address: 50 Koola Ave, East Killara. Phone 02 9499 5422

Another place I love is Cottage Quiltworks. These guys are a little further away so it's a definite effort to get there, and when I drag Mr Poppleton he has to be extremely patient as there is nowhere close by to sit and relax! (The cafe downstairs is never open when we come. Ever. It has become A Thing™.) I love their ranges–they have such bright modern fabrics–and their replica 1930s section is just great. Cottage Quiltworks is the place I usually get the time to talk the longest, and the ladies remember me and my projects and are willing to have a good chat about anything.
Talk to: Jann or Sandy
Check out: their great collection of perle 8 quilting cotton
Address: 4 Daydream St, Warriewood. Phone 02 9997 4661

But probably the place I stay the longest is The Remnant Warehouse. This fabric store is divided into two halves, a dancewear half and a patchwork half. I very comfortably live in the patchwork half, obvs, but they cater to theatre people/costume designers and have made quite a name for themselves in that regard. Remnant Warehouse is nice and big and they have a fabulous load of jelly rolls, charm packs, and layer cakes in addition to thousands of metres of really pretty modern fabric. Too bad it's in Alexandria...or maybe that is a good thing, for my wallet's sake anyway!
Talk to: anyone; they're all great
Check out: fat quarter Fridays, buy one get one free
Address: 490-494 Botany Road, Alexandria. Phone 02 9698 7855

Last on my list (but certainly not the least!) is the big secret of Sydney, the Fabric Cave! It's not a quilting fabric shop per se; it's a thrift store for fabric and haberdashery. One one side there is fabric for sale, in pre-cut lengths, organized by color. on the other side is everything haby, including (and this is my favorite part) 50¢ patterns. I've purchased dozens of children's patterns ranging from 1950s-1970s for 50¢ each (at the most, paying a whole dollar). I could literally spend hours crouched down in front of those pattern boxes. I found this excellent shop through the equally excellent Tessuti blog. Tessuti Fabric is the place to go if you want to buy dress fabric, and I speak from experience: that's where we ordered the silk for my wedding dress. The Fabric Cave is only open Mondays 9:30am-2pm, Fridays 9:30am-2pm, and the first Sunday of the month, 9:30am-12pm. But the great news is, it's literally up the road from the Pablo & Rusty's roasters!
Talk to: Jo
Check out: the vintage patterns and the orphan quilt block box
Address: 78 Belmore St, Ryde. Phone 02 8878 3353

For general sewing, I usually go to my beloved Spotlight, with Lincraft as a back-up. Both of those places carry a lot of essentials: thread, sewing machine supplies, homespun in solid colors, cotton batting, etc. I get my scissors sharpened at Lincraft when they need it. I find for specialty items along with a bigger range of quilting fabric, though, I have to go out to Hobbysew. Hobbysew is quilting-specific and it's a big store, so they carry lots of quilting books/patterns, hold classes, and have hundreds of fabrics from lots of different ranges, incuding a pretty impressive batik section (I'm thinking of Sel here, with regards to batiks)! They also carry lots of sewing machine accessories and when I went to buy my walking foot, they were kind enough to show my how to install it on my own sewing machine by demonstrating it right there in store. Brilliant.

So that's my list. I'm going out for fabric on Friday so I'll be sure to post what treasures I come home with! Of course, I'll be out with my partner in crime, Sel, so not only will it be inspiring, but it'll be extra fun! I can't wait!

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