My mom loves yarn. She is an accomplished knitter and fashions intricate, perfect, beautiful wearable art out of her yarns. She loves everything about shopping for yarn, both in person and online. For me, it's fabric. I couldn't tell you why, but I just love fabric. I don't just buy fabric, I use it to make all kinds of things for around the house. And, like most other fabric-lovers, I too, have a stash of The-Unused-But-Fabulous-For-Something in my closet.
I like to make things for the house. I'm not versed in making clothing. It's so complex and I am so impatient. But I love being able to whip up a new pillow cover or to transform the colors in the bedroom by making a new duvet cover or bedspread.
One of my favorite fabric haunts for upholstery silks, brocades and other high-end designer fabrics is The Fabric Warehouse in Belleville. At 681 Main St., in what seems like the middle of nowhere, is a giant warehouse, filled with discontinued, previously pricey (some upwards of $100 per yard, originally), beautiful fabrics, now at prices from $4 to $15 per yard. And these are not all remnants, either, you can usually find that ten- to fifteen yards or so yards you need for a big project.
The Fabric Warehouse also has short bolts and cotton remnants as small as one yard. They usually sell for $4 and up per yard. They also have clothing fabrics, faux fur, vinyl, mens' suiting, lace, batting and supplies. And, if you get on their email list, they will send you notices of their not infrequent 40 and 50% off sales. You may not find what you're looking for, but if you do, you will score it for a bargain.
Recently, I've been on a fabric hunt of major proportions. I've been developing a handmade product that needs just the right pattern. I've happily spent hours online scrolling through swatches.
Online shopping is good, if you know what you're looking for. Nothing takes the place of actually touching the fabric, so I like to "meet" the fabric in person before I go shopping online.
Definitely my favorite place to go for fabric is Rock, Paper, Scissors, at 15 Bloomfield Ave, in Montclair. The store itself defies the traditional fabric store by being sunny and open on two sides with giant windows. The fabrics are beautiful and the design of the store is just as pleasing. Prices are competitive with online fabric, all without the shipping charges.
Although Rock, Paper, Scissors also has a wonderful collection of beadmaking supplies ("Rock") and tasteful and eclectic collection of scrapbooking supplies ("Paper"), for me, it is the bolts and bolts of fresh, colorful prints that are the reason to stop in and linger. Owner Beth Rowan also has made Rock, Paper, Scissors into a hub for the crafty. She loans out books and holds classes.
When I do move my shopping online, my favorite sites are: fabric.com, which seems to have everything and will give you free shipping on orders over $35; and Hawthorne Threads.com, which is owned and operated by husband and wife team Charlie and Lindsay, self-claimed fabric-lovers who operate out of Upstate New York.