Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Seattle Fabric Shop Roundup (Summer 2014)

Have you ever traveled (or moved) to a new city and wanted to check out the area fabric stores, but from the Yelp reviews or googling "City_Name fabric stores", couldn't easily determine which stores were still open and if they'd carry fabrics that would interest you? I know that I felt this way when I first moved to Seattle a year ago. I kept hoping that I'd run across a blog post or something similar to give me a 10,000 foot view of what fabric stores were in the area, but never did. On my own, over the past year, I've been chipping away at my list of "to-visit" shops and taking notes on what they carried.

Portland might (somewhat rightly) get all of the love for being a fabric mecca, but it turns out that Seattle has a very nice handful of independent fabric stores. The shops are all a bit spread out, but you shouldn't have any trouble hitting 3-4 of these in an afternoon if you have a car and half a day to kill here.

Note that this post focuses on stores that carry at least a fair amount of apparel fabrics and focuses on stores within the city of Seattle. Disclaimer: The hours I list are the hours posted on these stores' websites and are subject to change.

Here are the stores that I've visited (in alphabetical order)

District Fabric


District Fabric in Fremont
Address: 513 N 36th St #A, Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: 206-629-879
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm
Neighborhood: Fremont
Parking: Street (Minimal free parking; spend $1-$2 and park in a metered spot)
District Fabric shop interior
District Fabric is lovely fabric boutique located in Seattle's trendy Fremont neighborhood. Most of their fabrics are natural fibers (cottons, silks) with some knits and rayons, as well. When I visited, a fair amount of their fabric had been imported from France. 

Digital panel silks
Galaxy-print knit
Fabric quality and prices are similar to Emma One Sock, but they do have some nice, lower-priced fabrics available (particularly in their cottons).  In addition to really nice fabrics, District also carries patterns from indie faves like Colette and Deer & Doe, which is totally in line with the shop's aesthetic:

Flipping through patterns like flipping through 10" singles
I love how the patterns are packaged individually in cellophane, which brings back memories of my teenage years spent hanging out in indie record stores hunting for Smiths singles imported from the UK.

District's customer service is super-friendly. You probably wouldn't want to go here with a very specific fabric in mind, but if you go in thinking, "I want to make a pretty blouse or dress," I can pretty much guarantee that you'll find something to make you happy.

Drygood Design 

Drygood Design & Sewing Studio in Ballard

Address: 5308 Ballard Avenue NW, Studio 1, Seattle, WA 98107
Phone: 206-535-6950
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
Neighborhood: Ballard
Parking: Street (Busy neighborhood with lots of shops, restaurants, and parking spot turnover)

Sewaholic patterns at Drygood Design
 Drygood Design is a tiny fabric boutique that is definitely worth checking out. Everything in this shop was personally curated by the owner and staff. Similar to District Fabric in that both stores' stocks emphasize natural fibers, Drygood Design also carries a small amount of fun, high-quality quilting cottons that are appropriate for girls' clothes. (My recent purchase here was a pattern and fabric for a romper for my daughter.) I had trouble finding the store on my visit; you actually enter the store through the Anchored Ship Coffee Bar, which has the more prominent storefront.

In addition to their lovely fabrics, Drygood Design also carries a wide array of indie sewing patterns and sewing books.

Japanese pattern books at Drygood Design
 When I visited earlier this week, they were running one of their kids' sewing camps; they have a sewing studio in the back part of their store place where they hold classes. Several of the young students were picking out fabric while I was in there. (As the parent of a daughter, who's already draping herself in fabric and enjoys looking at patterns, I get a little overly excited by things like "sewing camps.")

Drygood Sewing Studio
As with District Fabric, your best bet is to go in here not looking for something specific, but to go in looking for pretty dress or blouse fabric for yourself or for something fun for a little girl in your life.

Nancy's Sewing Basket

Nancy's Sewing Basket in Queen Ann

Address: 2221 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: 206-282-9112
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30am-6pm (-8pm on Thursday), Sunday 12:30am-5pm
Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Parking: Street (Busy neighborhood with lots of shops, restaurants, and parking spot turnover)

Nancy's Sewing Basket
I know that Nancy's is considered an institution amongst Seattle sewists, and now having been there, I understand why. Unlike District Fabric and Drygood Design, you can come into Nancy's with an idea for a project and probably find the fabric that you want there. The store is large and carries high-ish end fabrics of all kinds. I finally found chambray there that I felt had enough body and drape to make a shirtwaist dress (something that has been on my project wishlist there for a while).

Nancy's Sewing Basket sample garments
Nancy's also carries a good variety of indie sewing patterns and BurdaStyle magazines. As with District and Drygood, customer service was extremely helpful and friendly at Nancy's. If you're into ribbons and trims, they have an entire "ribbon room" at the back of the store. Also, if you sew for children or are just looking for some fun cotton prints, Nancy's carries a nice selection of Japanese cotton prints.

One interesting fabric that I found was a woven version of the knit (from EmmaOneSock) that I used for my HP Weekender Daytona Hoodie:

Hey, I recognize this print!
If you're looking for garment fabric and can only visit one fabric store in Seattle, I'd recommend going with Nancy's. (However, really try to squeeze in a trip to District and Drygood, if you can!)

Pacific Fabrics (Northgate location)

Pacific Fabrics in Northgate

Address: 838 NE Northgate Way, Seattle WA 98125

Phone: 206-362-0111
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 10am-6pm
Neighborhood: Northgate
Parking: Lot with plentiful parking (in a strip mall)

I think I take Pacific Fabrics for granted. It's on my way home from work; I've visited the store far more times than any of the other stores on this list. In fact, even though I was planning this blog post, I forgot to take pictures the last time that I was in the store, so that's why there aren't any for this store entry.

Whereas Nancy's, District, and Drygood Design tend to carry a bit more high-end fabrics and be a little pricier (but worth it, IMO), Pacific Fabrics is more mid-range. About a third of their fabric inventory is apparel fabric, another third is quilting cottons (think Michael Miller and various licensed fabrics), and a final third is home decor. The whole back part of the store is notions and books. Pacific Fabrics also has a really impressive selection of trims. They even carry non-Wrights pre-made bias tape here.

Pacific Fabrics has several locations throughout the Seattle metro area; however, I've only been to the Northgate location. (The Sodo location is supposed to be fun to visit.) If you can only visit one fabric store in Seattle and frequently sew things other than adult garments, Pacific Fabrics is probably your best choice.

Seattle Fabrics

Seattle Fabrics
Address: 8702 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: 206-525-0670
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm
Neighborhood: West of Northgate (Northwest Seattle)
Parking: Small store lot

Seattle Fabrics specializes in outdoors and, to a lesser extent, active wear fabrics. These technical fabrics (and the accompanying buckles, zippers, ribbing, etc) are the only things that they carry. If you're planning an outdoors wear project, this store is a must-visit. (Note that Nancy's Sewing Basket carries fashion rainwear fabrics for garments like trenchcoats.) If you do not have an outdoors wear project planned, you can probably skip Seattle Fabrics, unless you want to gawk and the 25 different colors of polartec fleece available.


Stitches in Capitol Hill

Address: 711 East Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: 206-709-0707
Hours: Daily 11am-7pm
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Parking: Street, metered (Parking in this neighborhood is a total pain, but this shop is a short bus ride from downtown Seattle)

Stitches interior
Stitches is a cute sewing and knitting store in a neighborhood where parking is a nightmare. If you're staying downtown, you're probably better off taking the short bus ride up to Capitol Hill than trying to find parking near Stitches (unless there's some lot/parking option that I'm not aware of). Stitches carries a fairly eclectic mix of fabric, yarn, and embellishment supplies. 

Like Nancy's, Stitches carries Japanese cotton prints. They also have a small handful of fun quilting cottons along with their mostly-apparel fabrics. I got a kick out of this "Seattle" print:

Seattle print fabric at Stitches
I also got a kick out of this nautical shirting, which I know that some of us (myself included) recently purchased from FabricMart. 

Nautical-themed shirting
Unlike the other more...sedate stores on this list, Stitches is where you'd want to go if you need to buy neon pink fake fur for something. However, they did have plenty of "normal" fabrics for garments and other projects, too. Prices here were a bit more moderate than compared to some of the other stores listed here, too. 

So, that pretty much wraps up this summary of Seattle fabric stores.  I stuck with the city of Seattle didn't cover any of the stores on the Eastside or North shore areas, but if you have a favorite store there, feel free to mention it in the comments. I'll likely do follow-up posts at some point to visit other stores in other areas or to comment on how inventory at these stores has changed. (Most of these stores clearly have summer fabrics in right now, which makes sense in July. I'll be curious to see what they carry in December.)


  1. Love this post! My son just moved to Seattle so I know what to do when I visit! I also smiled at the nautical fabric that was also on Fabric Mart. DH just bought 3 yards (he's pining for more PJs). Like I said, this post really made me smile. I can't wait to visit!

    Thanks for going to so much trouble to put together such a great list. I'd love to visit every one of them!!

    1. You're welcome! If you don't mind me asking, what part of Seattle did your son move to?

  2. Oh my gosh. What a great post and summary. Thank you for taking the time to share the information you found about each store. This is a nice resource to use should I ever visit Seattle. Of course I'd let you know beforehand so that we could meet for lunch!

  3. This was a fantastic post!! You make me want go do this for the Twin Cities!

    1. You should! Think of how many times an "I"m traveling to City X. Tell me about the fabric stores there" thread shows up on PatternReview. I think there's a fairly recent one asking that question for the Twin City area.

  4. Great post! I moved to Seattle about a year ago as well and have been keeping a list of Seattle-area sewing things. I actually didn't have Seattle Fabrics on mine though, so thanks for pointing it out.

    1. I actually discovered District and Drygood Design via your blog. ;)

  5. Thanks for this post for the rest of the world, i.e. not us native Seattlites. I personally can't say enought good things about Pacific Fabrics, Northgate, my go-to store. If you haunt the flat fold tables in the back, you are bound to come up with some fabulous finds from time to time. Juicy Couture knits, Italian wools, real stripe cotton knits, to name a few. Great staff, too. Their SODO store on 4th Ave South is also worth a trip. If for no other reason than to see where the company started. It was originally Pacific Iron and Metal and they dealt only in scrap metal and fabrics from nearby factories.

    1. I'd heard that about the SODO location. I *think* I've also heard/read somewhere that the SODO location was an overstock/outlet location for their other stores? Or am I confusing that with something else?

    2. Michelle, SODO does get some stuff that the other stores never see, but I find that to be less true now than in years past. It seems to have been more brought into line with the other stores. Having said that, a few years ago SODO got in a ton of wonderful Ann Taylor, White House, Black Market, and Chico fabrics. I truly thought I had died and gone to heaven.

    3. Ah, my golden youth at the SODO store (before it was called SODO). That said, I hang out in PacFab at Northgate frequently. We are having a bit of a renaissance for stores right now; for the longest time it was "and there used to be this great fabric store THERE" as I drove around town. Tina's on Madison is supposed to be a wonder cave of fabric, and Our Fabric Stash in the International District is a consignment shop for... stashes! And full of goodies.

  6. Great post! I have Seattle envy right now. I wish someone would do this for Kansas! I've found zilch decent fabric shops here (that sell anything other than quilting cotton) ;-(

    1. The only apparel fabric store that I'm aware of in Kansas is Needle Nook in Wichita, but I have no idea if that's anywhere near you. I feel your pain, though. When I lived in San Diego, we had a few nice apparel-oriented fabric shops, but those all closed within the past few years.

  7. Thanks so much Michelle! This is super useful for me since I've just moved to Seattle. These shops look really interesting.

  8. Thanks for this great listing, Michelle! I hope I can visit one or two of these places when I visit Seattle for work next month!