Saturday, 2 November 2013

Fabric Shopping in San Francisco - Recommendations Please!

 I am delighted that my brother Yoda is getting married (this is a photo of us at my wedding in 2005)
He and I have always been very close and his partner is wonderful and they are going to be very happy :) The added bonus is that Yoda lives in San Francisco so Paul and I get to visit again - I love that place.

Now, here's the thing ... last time we visited I was not sewing stuff. I bought bits and bobs for card making but I was not in the market for fabrics, patterns and trims. This time clearly I am!

I have been very good - I committed to not buying patterns this year unless they were about £1 - which pretty much guaranteed they were from charity shops and/or vintage and therefore I was either (a) supporting a worthwhile cause or (b) saving them for posterity!
I mean, I even passed on an absolutely corker of a costume pattern in July.

Obviously my priority is the wedding but I've come up with a shortlist of 'must visit' places and the truth is it's not terribly short!

The place I'm desperate to go to is Alameda Flea Market but it's not on when we're there (honestly, rubbish wedding planning - I have complained!). So that's one less option. Serendipitously we're in a hotel literally round the corner from Britex. And my brother's house is a stone's throw from Stone Mountain & Daughter. If anybody has any recommendations I'd be glad to hear them - I've got to make the most of my limited time!
Jacq x
PS - The photos are the patterns I have happened to pick up in the last week - sum total spent £4.75, total bargain. Of course I don't need them, obviously ...


  1. Congratulations to your brother!

    When I was there this spring, I went into Thai Silks in Los Altos. Not technically in SF, but an easy CalTrain ride south. I really regret not buying anything there: the prices were so reasonable and the offerings so nice. I just got really overwhelmed because there were so many choices!

    1. Hi Gail, thank you for the information, I had a look at their website - beautiful fabrics. I keep realising how much I missed out on past visits because I didn't sew - my brother has previously lived in Cupertino and Campbell and obviously stores like this were not far away. My has squeezed in a couple of business meetings when we're there - that might give me the perfect opportunity for a train ride :)

  2. I live just 20 minutes east of Berkeley and Stone Mountain. If you travel about 6 blocks down Shattuck to where Adelaide branches off you'll find L'acis. They have all kinds of lace (the owner collected vintage laces and dresses made from lace) as well as all sorts of notions, corset supplies, books,'s worth walking through just for a few minutes of ogling, Too bad you miss the flea market, it's pretty good : ) There is a button store in El Cerrito, about 20 minutes from Stone Mountain, called Exclusive button. It's tiny, only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10-3:30 and only accepts cash but has every button (almost) ever made. There is a Discount Fabrics store on Ashby and San Pablo if you want to look at bolt ends and funky. There is a fabric store on Mission and 17th, next to Thrift Town, in San Francisco that is similar to Discount Fabrics with a tinge more latin flare : ) Other than that we have a few really good quilting stores if cottons are your thing and the usual Joann's middle-of-the-road stuff. Thai Silks that Gail is talking about is great but you can shop online and if you're a really serious silk lover you can buy a swatch of everything in the store for $20 or so. When I did weddings I had that set of swatches. Thai Silks prices are great because they are the direct importer, stores like Britex buy FROM them. You are most welcome to email me if you need any other info at If I'm around I'll meet up with you at Stone Mountain : )

  3. Hi Loran, thank you so much for all that information - I am disappointed about missing the flea market as I like to reuse and repurpose and love old patterns. I'll definitely be going to Stone Mountain, my brother lives not far from there at all. We fly out on the 17th, we're planning our itinerary this weekend (working around P's business meetings and wedding stuff), I will definitely let you know when I'm planning to visit the store :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment :)