Shopping for Fabric on Queen Street West
There’s an area in Toronto, on Queen St West between Spadina and Augusta, that is a person-who-sews’ dream come true as far as buying fabric in Toronto goes. (I have just been going back and forth on the fact that it’s probably not correct to call a person who sews a ‘sewer’ because, of course, a sewer is a whole different thing!)
I don’t even sew that much but always have fun poking around the shops lining both sides of the street on this block. Many of them have been there for decades and probably even have old stock left from when they first opened.
You just never know what sewing-related materials you will find, so would likely come away with well-priced fabric that you didn’t even realize you needed or wanted but that you can’t wait to turn into something great. However if you’re in need something specific, there is so much variety available that you will surely find exactly (or pretty close to) what you’re looking for.
Shopping there is not for the faint of heart though, since in most of the stores everything is crammed together tightly and challenging to get at.
After you’ve had a peek at the shops that are stuffed to the rafters (I recommend Affordable Textiles near Augusta for fabric, and Neverene’s near Spadina for buttons, buckles and trims), there are also some nice and tidy shops, that sell the more luxurious fabrics, like imported silks and pure woollens. I don’t have any of these to recommend because I don’t risk sewing with fine fabrics myself, but there are many that look like they have gorgeous material.
And even if you don’t need anything for sewing or making things, it’s still an interesting part of town that’s great for people watching. And there are some good cafes, restaurants and bars along there to take a break in too.
I went last week because I needed a bit of polka-dot material to make a sash-belt for a dress I have. I brought my (store-bought) dress along with me and was able to match the black polka-dots almost perfectly except the dots are slightly larger on the fabric I found, which is fine with me.
↑ That’s my dotty fabric waiting to be cut in Affordable Textiles ↑
I also got a few other things, including an awl. I’ve wanted one for ages to make these notebooks, and when I saw some at one of the checkout counters I added one to my purchase.
So yes, I bought an awl as an impulse purchase. Exciting, right?