So I've been putting this one off for a while because there's so much I want to cover! Those who live in the area probably know of these already but for those of you who don't live in the area let this be your impetus to PLAN A VISIT! The places I will be reviewing are all ones I have been to and love. In light of that I issue this challenge: introduce me to a NEW favorite Chicago/Chicago area fabric store that I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO BEFORE! A Prize will be given for the person who can :D
Ok, enough of that blah blah blah.
I'll start with the downtown area stores first, starting with the absolute if-you-get-nothing-else-from-this-go-to-this-place-as-soon-as-possible-move-over-disney-this-is-the-happiest-place-on-earth: Textile Discount Outlet aka LZ's Products aka Sol's. If you don't believe me watch this VIDEO! I really can't explain it any better. HUGE selection. I DARE YOU to show me a bigger selection in one place. Go ahead. Do it. I bet you $20 of fabric you can't do it. Anyway, great selection and seriously dirt cheap prices.
The parking is extremely limited. It's located in a mostly residential neighborhood where there's street parking that's almost always packed car to car. Their parking lot holds about 8 cars MAX. If you're taking the El to get there, it's off the Pink Line at 2121 W 21st St. (Damen & Cermak stop).
They are always closed on Saturdays however so plan accordingly.
Seriously. Just go there.
The next rant-able place is Fishman's Fabrics. Located at 1101 S. Desplaines St. They have a lot of beautiful fabrics. The place isn't large as some others but it's packed with quality silks, wools, velvets, designer fabrics, upholstery-weights, and drapery-weights. As well as some stunning trims! Prices are pretty reasonable as well. There's a parking lot and I think the closest El stop is off the Blue line at Clinton (10 min walk from Clinton stop).
While you're there, head across the street to Vogue Fabrics. It's basically what I wish every Joann's was actually like. Well organized, good selection, reasonable prices, includes a remnant room. They don't have very much in the way of upholstery weights but they do carry a large selection of trims and notions.
And before you leave that block, go right across the street from Vogue, around the corner from Fishman's and just pop into New Rainbow Fabrics. It's a very small Indian-family owned store with a bunch of sari and special occasion glittery fabrics. Sometimes you can just find that one oddly perfect thing there and it doesn't take long to look around so always worth a stop in.
Ok, now I'm going to branch out to my two favorites north of the city. The first is just the Vogue Fabrics-Evanston location. They often have a better selection than the downtown location, otherwise it's all the same.
The second is Loomcraft. In Vernon Hills, it's a good bit north of the city but they have a big selection of upholstery and drapery weights, for reasonable prices, always discounted. There's a remnant section and a shelf with silk and silk-blend remnants for dirt cheap. Most of Gresham came from that shelf. So go there if you can.
So I had this chemise... got it from a friend who had made it and it was beautiful with really long full sleeves and it was this light soft silk with a gathered neckline that I took to wearing Italian squarneck style. I wore it all last season at Bristol, through the sweat and the dirt and the dust and the rain.
I'm not sure if it was the super fine dust that played sandpaper anywhere the chemise came into contact with ANYTHING, or something else entirely, but by day two of my SoCal Romp it had gaping holes in the back, the front, the sleeves, the drawstring casing, the hem, the seams... well you get the idea. Unfortunately it was the only chemise I could wear my open ruffs with because of the neckline so I had to throw together a square-neck camicia if I wanted to wear my pretty pretty ruff.
I didn't have enough fabric to make the sleeves long enough in one piece so I had to add a chunk but since the sleeves will be under other sleeves 99.9% of the time (the .1% taking place while dressing/undressing) I don't care! And once I find beautiful light soft silk again I'm going to remake the original chemise and use that one probably.
Then, thinking about my open ruff, this one here,
I always wanted to make a set of cuffs to match but just never got around to it. So I threw together the start on the machine and took them with me on a couple flights and got all the tedious hand stitching the serpentines together done on trips. So now I have these too:
Then I decided to make a hat!
I wanted something I could wear with my current rig and also with my next dress. There's the same burgundy in both so I went with that. And kind of made schtuff up as I went. Played with the attifet shape combined with a fancy biggins cap. I also had bought this scrapbooking paper that was all cutout prettyness and I wanted to use it as a stencil so I experimented with different materials and different colors and made my own silver leaf painted silk in the end!
Gold leaf on white organza
Gold leaf on burgundy organza
Gold leaf on burgundy silk
And finally the winner, silver on burgundy silk
The painted pieces of the the big gins cap. I cut away the front of a simple biggins pattern so it shapes around my rats and behind my ears.
side views showing painted cap
Front and top view sans rats.
I'm not 100% sure I like it yet. I think I have to see it with full rats and ruffs and makeup and jewelry... If I wear it this weekend I will try to post pictures of it so you can decide for yourself. If I hate it on then you won't see it again >:^(