Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fine Fabrics

This is Mom, Mom and I needed a little adventure (if by adventure you mean fabric shopping!) and we took a one day road trip to Fine Fabrics in Norcross Georgia.  For the first hour all we did was walk around and exclaim "oooh touch this" "whoa look at that" "wow it keeps going" "there's more" "ooohh, wow that price!"

If you know anything about Atlanta you know that traffic is a huge deal and a solid reality.  We added about 30 extra minutes to our travel time simply to accommodate traffic on our way to Fine Fabrics, and I didn't even calculate the extra time it took to get home because we left during rush hour and that was a really silly thing to do, learn from our mistakes!!

If you've never been to Fine Fabrics and live within two hours of Norcross and are an apparel sewer, I ask you...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  This is a great place for apparel fabric shopping -obviously- but you may want to know a few things about it before you head out.

***EDIT*** One important thing I forgot to mention in the original post is that the individual bolts of fabric are NOT labeled for fiber content.  That is a hugely important note if you are new to sewing and are learning about fabric hand and how differing fabrics behave.  There are large signs that indicate huge sweeps of fabric types at the end of each aisle but they are not conclusive about what exactly you are purchasing. 
  • They cut only in yards and half yards.  
  • If they cut it, you buy it.
  • There's a Cracker Barrel really close in case you are distracted by silly hunger.
  • Gail K fabrics is across the interstate and about 5 miles up the road in case you need a little extra hand holding in making fabric purchases.  They seem to know what they're doing and could advise you and have a lot of beautiful fabrics too.
  • Fine Fabrics is a no frills customer service experience when you're trying to find something on the floor.  I asked multiple times about rayon bemberg and although they were willing to do a burn test when I brought the fabric to them (read drug heavy bolt upon heavy bolt to the cutting table) they were not willing to walk me to the bemberg so I gave up finding it.  I observed another lady having a similar experience while there.  Its ok with me but you just might want to know it before you go.  
  • They will unload your cart if its anywhere near the cutting table. 
  • Have pity on the poor gentleman who's face clearly says, "why wife, why am I here with you, and now I'm lost in the fabric" and point him to the exit.
  • Silks are 9.99 people, 9.99.  I purchased two lengths of adorable crepe de chine silk fabric and they had loads.  My Mom purchased raw silk for a suit, its gorgeous. 
  • Most knits and cottons are 5-6 dollars a yard.
  • Lining fabrics (polyester) were 1.50 to 2.00.
  • Wools were 10 dollars and up if my memory serves correctly.  Whatever the exact price was, whenever I checked the price I felt they were very fair and discounted.  
  • There's a ton of decorator fabric, I did not look at it up close, just from afar because I was tired.  But my Mom saw it up close said it was beautiful but very chemical smelling in that room and she can't abide chemical smells. 
  • Shake off the lady who wants to tell you all about her inexperience with sewing but that she's trying to alter -alter people!- an old dress to be suitable for her daughters wedding and she has no idea what shes looking for and could you please look at my pictures on my phone and tell me what to do because I can tell you sew and I am clueless and I am trying to do this insanity on my own, in a place where only really knowledgeable people should get the picture, I had to drop some truth/real talk on her in a southern way, and shake her off because, no, that's why there are alteration places lady and I wouldn't know where to begin to educate you on the undertaking you think you are ready to embark on.  -Sounds harsh but really, sigh, this was my Mom/daughter adventure day and that felt like a lot of work. 
  • This place is huge, just huge, you need aaaaaalllllllllooooootttttttttt of time to see it all.  Just skip going out to eat and wasting your time, pack a lunch and eat it standing up in the parking lot because... there's fabric to be seen. 
  • They have zippers, a lot of jacket zippers which I'm always on the hunt for.  They have measuring tapes on the shelving with the zippers so you can check the length which is time consuming because they aren't labeled.  
  • They have lots of cool jeans buttons and rivets if you're into that. 
  • They have a lot of elastic.
  • Quilters theres not a lot of quilting fabric.  As an apparel sewer I'm like "ha ha ha" finally a place for us!!! But if you're an avid quilter, you've been warned. 
  • They have a lot of African wax prints and they are beautiful.
  • Fair warning, its pretty overwhelming, at least it was for me most of the time, so I didn't go crazy buying up everything because I just couldn't open that floodgate.  Instead I bought two silks I really loved, a cut of lining (because they cut it before I knew it was polyester), zippers, thread clippers (for 1.00), woven fusible interfacing. 

What I will do differently next time...
  • Leave my house earlier so as to have more time.
  • Buy woolens, because I love a good wool jacket.
  • Buy at least one Ankara print because they are gorgeous (tell myself to disregard the two African prints from Kenya already in my stash)
  • Buy more silk, I love those silks.
  • Buy knits for my girls. 
  • Look at the decorator fabrics, just because.
  • Buy a bunch of those thread clippers for the sewing classes I just started teaching. 
  • Pack rations.
Ok so thats about the just of it.  If you are a pitiful significant other dragged there out of guilt, I'm sorry.  If you're a lady who wants to project runway an old dress but you don't sew, go to Gail K or better, an alteration shop.  Otherwise if you sew your own clothing, get out your calendar and plan your trip....because ITS FUN!
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!


  1. Good description and great advice! Whenever I go to Atlanta, I always make time for a trip to Fine Fabrics. I have had better luck with the Gail K location on Cheshire Bridge in Atlanta rather than the Norcross location. I wish I lived closer!

  2. Ooh, thanks so much for this detailed description. I live in Savannah and go to Atlanta a couple of times a year. I didn't know if trekking out to Fine Fabrics was worth it, so your description clearly states that it is, so thanks!

  3. Maybe bring your own lighter next time?

  4. Great review and you summed up Fine Fabrics well! I live in Atlanta and venture there rarely because it is just so overwhelming and I always come home with a bunch of stuff that I don't need (I'm not a stash builder). If you're short on time, you definitely need to have an idea of exactly what you want, otherwise you will roam the aisles petting every piece of fabric you can reach. I second the suggestion to block off time to go to Gail K on Cheshire Bridge Road (it's only a few minutes further south on I-85), and if you're looking for something specific where you will find out exactly the fibre content and get great guidance, add time to head to Topstitch in Decatur.

  5. I’m so glad we got to make this trip. It was fun and bewildering to see all those fabrics at one time. We need to go again! Love, mom
    PS. Thanks for not posting the exhausted picture of me at the end of the day!