Shopping for Fabric & Yarn in Amsterdam

Unlike on Prince Edward Island (my latest vacation locale), there are a good number of fabric shops in Amsterdam, along with a good number of blog posts on fabric shops in Amsterdam. The one I used was the Seamwork Guide to Amsterdam, but of course this is my own take on it.

Ever since I’ve started travelling without my family and their itineraries, I’ve started to make my trips revolve around fabric and yarn shops. I always feel slightly guilty that I didn’t go to more museums instead, but at the end of the day fabric shops are how I see new places and what they have to offer. In Amsterdam, just walking to the fabric shops I got to see so much of the city.

Anyways, on this trip I really spent most of my time in fabric and yarn shops, and I have no regrets. Here’s where I went and what I thought:

The first place we visited was the very well-known yarn shop, Stephen & Penelope, made famous by owner and knitwear designer/celebrity, Stephen West. I went in knowing that their yarns are pricey (around 30 euro a skein on average), but I couldn’t go to Amsterdam and not check it out. Many of the yarns there were imports that I can get in various Canadian yarn shops, and I didn’t feel the need to pay in Euros + 21% VAT for something I could get at home. The only yarn I was tempted by was Stephen & Penelope’s in-house yarn brand which was just recently released, and pretty well priced at 20 euro a skein – but I didn’t have any projects in mind for it, so I passed it by.

Right next door is A. Boeken, a small but impressive fabric shop. I went there twice, since the notions section was so impressive that I needed one trip for fabric and another trip for trims and buttons. It was pretty busy and hard to look around with a lot of focus, so I only got two fabrics there. I didn’t find anything there that was really extraordinary, but their prices are reasonable and they have every trim and button you can imagine. I bought loads of trims as well as some metal eyelets for some sneakers I plan to make (I had SneakerKit ship me another kit while I was there). They seemed a bit understaffed and it was a bit hard to find someone to cut yardage for me but I otherwise found the staff nice and helpful.

Right down the nearest side street to A. Boeken is Tinctoria. I didn’t plan on buying anything there but I did a lot of natural dyeing in school and had to check it out. The fabrics there were beautiful, but quite expensive (I can imagine the work that went into them, so they were priced fairly, just out of my price range). The owner had a huge basket filled with off-cuts and pieces with mistakes on them, and she said I could dig through the basket and she would price the pieces by weight. I found some beautiful velvet scraps, but then realized I had enough scraps at home and didn’t need to buy more.

Across the little canal bridge from A. Boeken, Stephen & Penelope, and Tinctoria, is Capsicum Naturstoffen –  I went in because A) it was raining, and B) I felt like I needed to visit all the fabric stores in the city. I wasn’t really expecting to find the most exciting fabric I would find on my trip. The store itself is lovely – beautiful textile homewares (pillows, tableclothes, etc) and scarfs, as well as some garments. The fabric they have is folded up, rather than on bolds, and just kinda looks like giant pillows on a shelf. The woman working there was incredibly helpful and explained the pricing and manufacturing processes of the fabrics. I chose a beautiful double ikat cotton with colourful squares on a cream background and I love it so much. It was pricey (and on the lower end of the range in the store – the hand-woven jacquard silks were 110 euro a metre), but it was a really lovely “treat” to bring back from my visit to Amsterdam.

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One morning we hopped over to De Steekwhich was close to our Air BnB in the Jordaan neighbourhood. I hadn’t seen De Steek on any blogs or guides, but it was on the list of stockists for Papercut Patterns, and I was in search of a Meridian Dress pattern in print (spoiler – De Steek doesn’t actually carry Papercut Patterns). De Steek is focused on sustainability, and a lot of their fabrics are deadstock or ecologically made. I bought some nice cotton seersucker and a neat “eyelet” knit. They also carry lovely lingerie and legging kits, as well as Merchant and Mills and Named patterns. They have a sewing studio so if you need to get your sewing fix on while abroad, that’s the place to go.

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We spent a morning checking out Albert Cuypstraat market, an outdoor market which I think is open 7 days a week. I didn’t take any photos because I was kind of overwhelmed by how much stuff was there. The market has food and weird off-brand socks and stuff, but they also have fabric booths that sit outside actual fabric stores. There are quite a few along Albert Cuypstraat, but the ones I went to were Kniphal and N&N Stoffen. I really liked Kniphal (they have amazing upholstery fabric if you’re looking for any) and they had lovely garment fabrics, but none that I especially wanted. I couldn’t quite tell how they were organized but it was fun to just browse around. N&N Stoffen had a lot of knits and baby fabrics (like double gauze with little whales on them and whatnot) and no fabric that really interested me, but I did like their selection of books and magazines. I ended up going home with a La Maison Victor book of dresses (called Jurken 2) as it had loads of dress patterns I think I’d like to use.

Another amazing shop I visited was actually in The Hague (or Den Haag as the Dutch call it), called Cross and Woods. I went there with my friend Priscilla who I met through Fibreshare, and it reminded me a lot of The Workroom and EweKnit here in Toronto (especially since EweKnit is also a sewing/knitting shop). A lot of their fabrics were Merchant and Mills, Nani Iro, and Liberty, all of which I can get at EweKnit, so I didn’t do any fabric shopping there. They had gorgeous yarns that I couldn’t get at home, and I had a lovely time picking out some skeins with the help of the very kind store owners.

And that’s it! Please comment if you think I missed any shops worth a visit. If you haven’t been to Amsterdam, I hope this helps in planning your textile-y trip!

The Ultimate Guide to Online Fabric Shopping in Canada

BlogShopTour_webI think something a lot of us Canadian makers struggle with is online fabric shopping. There always seems to be such a great selection of fabric available online on American or European-based websites, but it never seems worth it to pay high shipping fees or risk hefty duties. Also, isn’t it nice to support Canadian businesses?

Over the past year, I’ve been doing a lot of research on fabric shopping in Canada. There’s actually more out there than you’d think. There are many, many shops that sell quilting fabric, and some of them sell garment fabrics such as rayon, knits, linen, and flannel.

There does exist a similar list on The Finished Garment, (do check it out, as it is more extensive than what I have here – I just found it difficult to remember which shop sells what, and I wanted a list more specific to the types of fabric I find myself looking for), as well as a Pinterest board, but I wanted to provide more of a guide than a list, with a bit more information about individual shops, to help you find what you’re looking for. Also, this list includes primarily apparel fabric stores, as well as a few quilting shops that stock some great apparel-friendly fabrics (which isn’t to say you can’t make great garments out of quilting fabric!).

Do you know some great apparel-fabric websites? Please let me know, and I’d love to add them to the list!

DISCLAIMER: I’d like to note that this list is not sponsored in any way. I simply wish to share these great shops with you, so you don’t have to do the research yourself! I’d also like to point out that I haven’t shopped from all these stores, so I can’t speak for the service/shopping experience for all of them.

My Favourite All-Around Amazing Fabric Shops:

  • Blackbird Fabrics – knits, twills, printed viscose and cotton, etc. Caroline curates her shop amazingly – you won’t necessarily find loads and loads of fabrics, but it’s about quality, not quantity. When I order from Blackbird, I know that whatever I’m getting will be of amazing quality. She also sells patterns and notions.
  • Matchpoint Fabrics – deadstock/sustainable fabrics. Michelle only just recently launched Matchpoint, so the stock isn’t the biggest, but again, it’s quality over quantity. I love the idea of sustainably sourced fabrics, and buying local is a big plus as well.
  • Spool & Spindle – knits, flannels, cotton & viscose prints, lining, Japanese fabrics etc. I love Spool & Spindle. I almost always find something I want to buy. Spool & Spindle is also a bricks-and-mortar store based in Waterloo, Ontario (sometimes I have my friend at U of Waterloo pick up my orders for me). They stock high quality fabrics as well as notions, patterns, and thread (I love a one-stop-shop).

Online-Only:

  • Mulberry & Macnab – stockists of Atelier Brunette, Nani Iro and Merchant and Mills garment fabrics. A small but lovely selection. Based in Hamilton ON with a local pickup option
  • Fine Fabrics Canada –  rayons, garment cottons, bamboo, sewing patterns. This shop carries a nice selection of garment fabrics (including Atelier Brunette and Lady McElroy), as well as printed sewing patterns that can be hard to find elsewhere, such as Sew Over It and Nina Lee patterns.
  • Cutters and Cloth – cotton, knits, tencel, silk noil. Cutters and Cloth is a pretty new shop (as of writing!) and the selection is small but lovely. Lots of Lady McElroy prints and solid-coloured garment fabrics such as double gauze, silk noil, and linen.

Brick-and-Mortar Shops with Online Ordering:

  • The Workroom – quilting cottons, lawn, rayon, knits, notions, books. The Workroom is one of my favourite shops to visit in Toronto. The store itself is gorgeous, and they stock a lot of “designer” fabrics (Robert Kaufman, Nani Iro, Cotton + Steel, Liberty of London, etc.). They also sell Bernina machines and accessories, lots of books and magazines (such as Japanese sewing books and Making magazine), tons of indie and vintage patterns, and amazing notions and tools.
  • Needlework Hamilton – quilting cottons, knits, rayon, lawn, etc. Needlework is a great little shop based in – you guessed it – Hamilton, Ontario. They sell a lot of great apparel fabrics such as Robert Kaufman and Nani Iro. I always like to keep an eye on them and see what they get in stock (for example, they just got in tons of colours of raw silk noil!).
  • Fabrications – quilting cottons, rayon, knits, lawn/chambray, etc. Fabrications, based in Ottawa, has a pretty solid stock of apparel fabrics. They stock lots of knits (solid and print), Nani Iro, double gauze, chambray, and more.
  • EweKnit – quilting cottons, lawn, rayon, chambray, knits, etc. I love EweKnit, another Toronto-based store. The actual shop is gorgeous and full of colour. They stock great fabrics such as Liberty of London, Merchant & Mills, and Cotton + Steel. Also, as the name suggests, they stock a huge amount of yarn!
  • Threadcount Fabrics – quilting cottons, rayon, canvas, knits, lawn, double gauze, etc. Threadcount was originally online-only, and only just recently opened up a bricks-and-mortar store based in Souris, Manitoba! I am always tempted by the prints sold by Threadcount – lots of Cotton + Steel, Dear Stella, and Art Gallery Fabrics!
  • European Textiles – various apparel fabrics (cotton, knits, lace), quilting cotton, upholstery fabrics. European Textiles is based in Hamilton, Ontario. It’s one of the few online shops I’ve found that sells stuff like satin, silk, lace, etc. If you need something a lil’ fancy, this might be the place to check out!
  • Patch Halifax – quilting cottons, rayons, knits, etc. Patch Halifax has lots of great “designer” fabrics from companies that produce garment fabrics as well as quilting fabrics, such as Cotton + Steel, as well as Nani Iro and various knits. The only frustrating thing is the cottons aren’t organized by type, so it’s a bit tricky to sort out lawns and canvas from the quilting cottons.
  • Fabric Spark – quilting cottons, lawn, rayon, knits, yarn-dyed, etc. Fabric Spark is based in east Toronto. They primarily stock quilting cotton, but have a handy little section of garment fabrics that includes Robert Kaufman Essex Linen, Nani Iro, knits, and boiled wool.
  • Five Arrows Fabrics – knits, cottons, linens. Five Arrows is a PEI-based fabric shop, and they pretty much only stock Merchant & Mills fabrics as well as some knit basics, but gosh, the Merchant and Mills stuff is lovely!
  • Maiwa – handprinted/dyed cottons and linens. You may already know Maiwa, which is based in Vancouver, BC, for their natural dyestuffs. But they have some incredible vibrant handwoven and block-printed fabrics, as well as white/undyed natural fabrics for dyeing.
  • Spool of Thread – cotton chambray & lawn, rayon & bamboo, knits. Based in Vancouver, Spool of Thread is a sewing studio with a small but lovely stock of fabrics and patterns online. They stock Lady McElroy fabrics, as well as Atelier Brunette, which can be tricky to find in Canada.

Specializing in Knits/Jerseys:

  • Watertower Textiles – activewear knits, scuba, bamboo, etc. I recently stumbled upon Watertower Textiles when looking for fabric online. They stock tons of knits, including prints and knits great for leggings!
  • Prairie Love Knits – jersey, sweater knits, quilted knits, European knits. Another stumble-upon, Prairie Love Knits has a nice variety of knits, including stretch lace and notions.
  • Sitka Fabrics – jersey, minky. Sitka Fabrics has lots of great printed knits I haven’t seen elsewhere, as well as some great Euro knits and organic cotton knits. They also have actual knitted fabric, which is beautiful!
  • Fabric Crush – jersey, swim knits, quilting cottons. Fabric Crush has a large variety of knit basics and lovely prints. Be sure to check out their swim knits if you’re starting a swimsuit project!
  • Simplifi Fabric – organic fabrics; jersey, terry, fleece, athletic knits, thermal knits, wovens. Simplifi is a bit pricey because they stock organic fabrics, but they have a lovely selection and stock knits you might have trouble finding elsewhere.
  • L’Oiseau – sweatshirt knits, bamboo, jersey, wovens. L’Oiseau stocks some great prints that I haven’t seen elsewhere, as well swimsuit knits, bamboo, and merino. They also stock some great wovens, including poplin and eyelet.
  • West Coast Fabric Boutique – jersey, double brushed poly, swim knits. West Coast Fabric Boutique has a lovely selection of knits and jerseys, with lovely prints and sweatshirt knits to choose from!
  • Fringe Fabrics – jersey, sweater knits, quilted knits, ribbing. Fringe Fabrics has an amazing selection of knits – there are some great jacquard knits, legging knits, and cuffing, as well as a huge range of solid basics. I particularly love the Hamburger Liebe brand for something a little different!
  • Bibs & Boots – knits, flannel, and minky. They also sell adorable baby apparel!

“Chain” Stores/Brands:

  • Club Tissus – various garment fabrics (silks, lace, cottons), upholstery fabric, quilting cotton, notions. Club Tissus is only in Quebec, but they ship all over Canada. It’s another one of the few websites that stocks “fancy” fabrics, and they have quite a nice selection and a beautiful website. They also have all the notions and tools that you’ll likely need for your sewing project (like I said, I like a one-stop-shop). My main issue is that they don’t have free shipping deals like most online shops do, and prices are presented with the member discount (the “regular” price is in small), which you have to pay for. Also, only members get to take part in sales.
  • Fabricville (Fabricland) – pretty much everything sewing-related. Just about anyone who lives in a Canadian city knows Fabricville (or Fabricland outside of Quebec). They stock all sorts of fabric, but I’m not a fan of their selection. I often buy notions or tools here, since few other shops sell zippers, thread, etc. Like with Club Tissus, they offer no free shipping deal – in fact, the more you spend, the more your shipping costs.
  • DailyLike – oxford cottons, sheeting, canvas, knits. DailyLike is a Korean lifestyle brand, and DailyLike.ca is based out of Richmond BC. This is the website to check out if you love cute floral or animal-print cottons. They also have notions, stationery, and washi tape! How can you resist?

Shirting/Suiting Fabric & Menswear:

  • Sultan’s Fine Fabrics – wool, suiting, shirting cottons, linings. Sultan’s is a brick-and-mortar store in North York/Toronto, and he stocks stacks on stacks of high quality fabric. I have yet to find true dressmaking fabrics here, but doesn’t mean it’s not there. I recommend checking out the store in person, as the online selection isn’t anywhere near as impressive.
  • Thread Theory – jerseys, linings, some wovens. You may know Thread Theory for their patterns, but they also sell a small number of fabrics and notions in their online store.

Liberty of London Stockists:

  • Hyggeligt Fabrics – quilting cottons, lawn. Hyggeligt stocks tons of gorgeous quilting cottons, but if you’re seeking the much-sought-after Liberty Tana Lawn, you can find it here.
  • Dinky Doo – quilting cottons, linen, lawn. Don’t let the cutesy name fool you – Dinky Doo sells a great variety of the classy Liberty Tana Lawns. They also stock tons of Robert Kaufman Essex Linen and Cotton + Steel rayons.
  • EweKnit
  • The Workroom

Quilting Shops with Garment-worthy Fabrics:

  • Weave & Woven – quilting cottons, knits, oxford cotton, faux fur. Weave & Woven is based in Dundas, Ontario. I often find myself drooling over their selection of adorable oxford cottons and Nani Iro fabrics. They carry very fun printed knits and some rayons as well.
  • The Fabric Snob – quilting cottons, knits, fleece, flannel. The Fabric Snob has a lovely selection of knits, fleece, and flannel. I can also tell you from experience that Lindsey will package your order very lovingly!
  • Pins and Needles Fabric – quilting cottons, knits, corduroy, double gauze, rayon. Pins and Needles has a nice selection of prints (including Art Gallery Fabrics and Cotton + Steel), as well as notions such as Aurifil thread, ribbon, and print bias binding. They also sell patterns and adorable doll clothing kits!
  • Fridays Off – quilting cottons, linen, knits. Fridays Off has a small but nice selection of apparel fabrics including Robert Kaufman Essex Linen and solid knits.

Notions & Tools:

  • Sussman’s Supply Co. – zippers, ribbons, gemstones, feathers, etc. Based in Hamilton, Sussman’s is the place to find any trims and notions you’re missing. I happen to love them for their selection of invisible zippers, which can be hard to find online elsewhere.
  • Bra-makers Supply – pretty much speaks for itself! Based in Hamilton, this is the place to stock up for your bra- or corset-making endeavors.
  • Farthingale’s Corset Making Supplies – again, speaks for itself. They also carry millinery supplies, hoop steel, and tutu making supplies!

Used/Vintage Fabric:

  • Ian Drummond Stash – assorted vintage/rare fabrics. Ian Drummond has a vintage clothing shop, but he also collects and sells an amazing selection of vintage fabrics. I love to follow his Etsy shop and see any new finds that have been added. Also, if you’re based in Toronto, you can choose local pick-up and save on shipping!
  • The Old White Cupboard – vintage fabrics, linens, and trims. A lovely selection of vintage fabrics, mostly cottons, but you can find some quilts and linens as well.
  • The Fibre Trade – cut/pre-owned fabric, yarn, unfinished projects, quilting cotton. The Frade is a new and amazing website for selling, trading, buying, or donating fabric or yarn from/for your stash. Check them out and find some previously unwanted fabric a home! You can search listings by location if you want to shop local.