I used to sew a LOT – my prom dress, my wedding dress, clothes for my children, costumes, quilts, upholstered furniture and art. Now heaps of of fabric sit waiting in boxes I may never get to because I’ve been all about the painting for some time now. Still, there is a love of textile that lingers, and I’d often wondered where Bay Area seamsters go to get their fix? All was revealed when my friend, Elizabeth Greer – maker / arts educator, took me to Britex in San Francisco!
Beyond the fabulous selection, what I adore about this place it the environment. Founded originally in New York, in 1939 by Martin Spector, a fabric merchant from Poland, he and is wife Lucy relocated to San Francisco in 1952 and set up Britex in a great period building in Union Square. This place FEELS like a real tailor shop, There is a beautiful orderliness to the bolts stacked neatly sky high and a library ladder running along the perimeter. The four floors are each devoted to their own niche. Floor 1- dress and suit fabrics. Floor 2 – upholstery and drapery. Floor 3 – Notions (buttons, ribbons and embellishments). Floor 4 – Remnants and plush. (I’m sure there’s much more but that’s my breakdown). There’s a lovely wooden staircase set against the brick wall to access each of the floors (or you can take the elevator) and you can be served in a variety of languages by experiences and friendly staffers.
This institution really radiates tradition and quality but that doesn’t mean the fabric itself is all stuffy serge and challis! I was charmed by these novelty prints in heavy, upholstery weight cotton…
Fawns (etc) in Frocks
By the yard.
California Road Trip!
Bolts and babes……
Floor to ceiling buttons….
Walls of ribbons….
Old habits die hard……………………………………can I make a skirt from upholstery fabric?
I can’t wait to introduce my daughter to this shop as she becomes more and more skilled with her own dress making!