Fabricland closing at Honest Ed’s – opens at Galleria Mall

This is the second time I’ve stocked up on thread at a downtown Toronto Fabricland that’s closing, and it looks like it may turn into a tradition. Along with my receipt, the cashier handed me a 50% off coupon for their new store – in the Galleria Mall at Dufferin & Dupont.

Another location that’s slated to be demolished in the not-too-distant future! I don’t get it! Is it really good business practice to rent, staff, and stock a store, then close it, and sell off the stock at a serious discount after a year or two? Or even three?

So it looks like I may be making another thread-buying expedition soonish. (Thread is expensive; a 40% discount is not to be sneezed at!)

As for the 50% off coupon, I’ll have to be lucky to find a fabric I want. Since I prefer natural fibres, most of Fabricland’s stock is not something I would usually buy. Amidst the polyester, polyester blends, polar fleeces, etc, they do carry some natural fabrics, but they’re mostly kiddy-print flanelettes, craft cottons, or pricey. The pure linens they had today were $40 a meter before the discount – hair-raising for someone used to Fabric-store.com or Carolina Calicos, both of whom sell linen at less than $10 yard!

But who knows? As well as thread, this time I was looking for a printed cotton in shades of denim blue, and found one that worked. It’s the one in the background of the image, and it’s 100% cotton. It originally was $24 a meter – more than I would be willing to pay for a workaday cotton print – but at $8, I cheerfully added it to my basket.

(And in case you’re wondering why most of the threads I bought are grey – one of the oddities of colour is that, if a grey thread matches a fabric on the light/dark spectrum, it will happily blend in with pretty much any colour!  The red is because I’ve got a bunch of red sewing planned, and I like the colour.)


By | November 12th, 2016|cotton, fabric stores, linen|Comments Off on Fabricland closing at Honest Ed’s – opens at Galleria Mall

Mining the stash part 2

LiviaDaPortoThiene&Daughter4webTurns out my Mining the stash project is going to be delayed. For the best of reasons: I’m going to Italy with my sister next spring – and the dates are just too close to do both justice.

Much as I enjoy the annual SCA* Arts & Science comptetition, it’s no contest – I’m off to Italy!

A great opportunity to look at lots of art and at any historical textiles I can find.

With luck, I’ll be able to see stuff I’ve never met before and gather lots of information on colour, details and those visual elements that translate poorly at a resolution of 72dpi, or even in book-size photos.

In the meantime, I’ve gone through the stash & chosen the main fabrics for the gown and coat and the fur for the lining and the zibellino (the furpiece the countess is holding over her arm).

fabrics & furs for the Livia di Porto Thiene outfit project


  • The coat fabric is a grey/taupe cotton velveteen – apparently cotton velveteen is closer to what Renaissance velvets were than 21st century velvets. I’m hoping to be able to check this out while in Italy!
  • The gown fabric is dark green silk damask – to show the detail, I’ve made the scale bigger in the sketch than it is in real life
  • The fur lining will come from an tawny mink coat a friend found when clearing out his mother’s estate
  • The zibellino is a red fox fur I bought in a second-hand shop in Toronto’s Kensington Market.

Tempting as it is to get started making the outfit, this is as far as I’m going to go with the project until I come back from Italy!

Actually, that not quite true –  I’ve made the zibellino and am working on a detail that doesn’t show: stockings. As the countess is dressed for winter, she’s almost certainly wearing stockings.

I’ve used my imagination and am making a pair of knit red silk stockings in the style of the pair found in the tomb of Eleanora of Toledo. I dyed the yarn with cochineal and am waiting for it to dry. It looks like it’s going to be more towards purple than the red I was aiming for, so it’s going back in the dyepot tomorrow.

Stay tuned

* SCA – Society for Creative Anachronism


By | November 6th, 2014|costume, cotton, fur, Italy, SCA, silk, the stash, travel|Comments Off on Mining the stash part 2

Adding to the stash

Regardless of overstuffed storage space, the stash grows.

The Textile Museum of Canada Volunteers’For Love of Cloth” sale last weekend tested my resolve – and it crumbled a bit.

A pair of sample panels in this huge, gorgeous stylized carnation pattern that looks like it’s inspired by Ottoman ikats bushwhacked my resolve. They’re gorgeous; no idea what I’m going to do with them. They’re from Pierre Frey in Paris, and I discovered that one of the colourways is still available – one more yard would be enough to make a spectacular vest. However, when I found out that the fabric is $600/yard + tax + shipping, I gave that idea up. Maybe something parti-coloured!

My mission for going to the sale actually was to find a fabric to make the shell of a mink-lined vest. A couple of years ago I found a vintage mink vest with a the label of Simpson’s, a long-gone department store I used to shop at, and I bought it out of nostalgia.

The vest fits but it’s showing its age – bald spots around the arm holes and a couple of divots from moth-munches – so I decided to turn it into a vest lining.

I wanted a shell fabric that was lightweight and interesting, and lucked out with a sample panel of a toile de Jouy-like  cotton/silk damask.

Green and blue sample panel of cotton/silk damask in a toile de Jouy-like pattern










Now all I need to decide is whether I want to use the blue version or the green version…


By | October 21st, 2014|cotton, silk, Textile Museum of Canada, the stash|Comments Off on Adding to the stash