fabric shopping in the washington d.c. area

We are back with another contribution to our fabric shopping series from cities around the world. Join me in welcoming Charlotte to the blog. She’s giving us a fabric shopping tour of the Washington, D.C. area. Glad to have you here Charlotte!

When you try to shop for fabric in a country that isn’t your own, you’ll find that sewing terms aren’t easily translated. To help you out, we created the Sewing Translator, which many of you have contributed to and use. We hope it will be useful to you as well in your travels. Sewing Translator is now available in 14 different languages, and if you have an iPhone or iPad you can download it to use the native iOS app off-line as well. We hope you’ll make good use of it! You can find Sewing Translator in the Apple app store, and it’s free.

DC fabric shopping

Washington, D.C. is known for many things – politics, monuments, museums. Fabric shopping may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a visit. But there is a thriving creative community found in the D.C. metropolitan area known by locals as the “DMV”(District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) and a growing network of sewing enthusiasts and resources for quilters, knitters, and stitchers of all kinds. I’m excited to share some of my favorite places to go for inspiration!

Sadly, there are no fabric shops in the District itself, probably due to skyrocketing rents that have pushed many business owners out of the city. So I go to the nearby Maryland and Virginia suburbs to find fabric, take classes and meet others in the sewing community. In D.C. proper, there is plenty of inspiration to be found in the many museums located throughout the city, including the Smithsonian. One of my favorites is the Textile Museum, which houses a collection of textiles from all over the world and an ongoing program of special exhibits. The Smithsonian American Art Museum also has many textiles and includes a beautiful selection of quilts in the permanent collection.

Starting in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Capital Quilts is a great resources for quilters and sewing in general. With over 5,000 bolts of fabric, an endless supply of notions, a full schedule of classes, friendly staff and beautiful quilts, tote bags, garments and other items throughout the store, Capital Quilts is a great “one stop” shop for all of your sewing needs. It will satisfy everyone from beginners to experts with many years’ experience. The inventory includes a large collection of batiks, quilting cottons, and in recent years, they have added more fabric suitable for garment sewing, including some great knits. During my recent visit, owner Alison Zacharkiw noted that they will soon carry Cosplay supplies and are in the process of setting up that display. The shop is an authorized dealer for Janome, Accu Quilter and Handi Quilter machines. One of my favorite programs at this shop is Capital Quilts Cares, where sewists can participate in the shop’s community outreach activities to bring blankets, pillowcases, scarves, baby quilts and other items for local hospitals, homeless shelters, pet shelters, cancer support groups and others who benefit from items handmade with love.

DC fabric shopping

DC fabric shopping

Heading farther south and east in the Maryland suburbs, Three Little Birds Sewing Co in Hyattsville is a gem in the Gateway Arts District. Filled with modern prints, patterns from independent designers, embroidery kits, books and an eclectic mix of notions and supplies, Three Little Birds is a wonderful creative space. Classes include a great series for children, who can often be found dressing mannequins with fabric scraps while parents shop. Owner Kate Blattner offers several summer camps for kids and often partners with independent designers for weekend long workshops, including a weekend making jeans and a bra making workshop. Three Little Birds is an authorized dealer for Ever Sewn machines and has machines available to rent. The shop has a really nice neighborhood vibe, and customers often discover they are neighbors and enjoy a cup of coffee around the corner at Vigilante Coffee Company.

DC fabric shopping

DC fabric shopping

Continuing further east in Maryland towards the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is home to Cottonseed Glory, a quilter’s mecca located not far from the beautiful downtown area and the U.S. Naval Academy. Home to the Crabby Quilter, this shop has a huge inventory of quilting cottons (more than 6000 bolts of 100% cotton!) and supplies. Cottonseed Glory offers a number of classes to teach specific quilt patterns and offers generous discounts on materials needed for each class. This shop is an authorized Bernina and Handi Quilter dealer.

Next stop, Old Town Alexandria, where sewing enthusiasts can find inspiration in the heart of the charming historical district at Stitch. Stitch offers a wide selection of fabrics for sewing garments and a beautifully curated inventory of linen, Liberty cotton, and unique fabrics such as block prints and ikat. The shop hosts a wide variety of classes, including a series of primers on sewing techniques and embroidery, as well as more advanced sessions on sewing with knits and specific patterns. Speaking of patterns, Stitch maintains a comprehensive inventory of items from independent designers and hosts workshops with indie designers. The shop maintains an inspiring collection of books for purchase or to borrow from the lending library.

DC fabric shopping

DC fabric shopping

DC fabric shopping

Further out of town, Finch Sewing & Knitting Studio is another great shop found in the quaint town of Leesburg, VA. It is worth the drive out to this historic town if you are in the area. An authorized Bernina dealer, Finch offers classes on the use of sewing and embroidery machines and sergers. The studio also offers a wide range of sewing, knitting and quilting classes, something for everyone – rope bowls, jelly roll rugs, retreats, and a kids’ series. The shop is full of beautiful samples that will inspire shoppers. They also have a great selection of Nani Iro linens, which are not easy to find in the DMV. One unique offering is Finch Box, a subscription service that brings creative projects to your home and supports an extended sewing and knitting community beyond the brick and mortar shop. Each Finch Box is tailored to subscribers’ interests and sneak peaks can be found on their Instagram handle.

DC fabric shopping

DC fabric shopping

Plan a visit to Washington, D.C. and make sure to visit these great stores! You’ll discover a whole creative side of the city beyond what you see on C-SPAN and in the news.


 

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12 Comments

  1. Enquiring Seamstress

    You missed G Street Fabrics in Rockville, historically the biggest fabric store in the DC area. What’s up with that?

    1. kim

      I was thinking the same thing. I haven’t been there for several years but they had a huge quilting section any many other beautiful fabrics.

    2. Kelley Matieriene

      I was just coming on here to say the same thing…I don’t even live in the DMV anymore but every time I go to visit I make sure to schedule a visit to G street fabrics their 2.99 room always has something for me..in fact they are one of the reasons I even have a fabric stash…

  2. Elizabeth

    Also came to mention G Street Fabrics. Since they’ve gone through the bankruptcy and reorganization, they are located at 12220 Wilkins Ave, Rockville, MD. Yes, it’s smaller than before but still has a good selection of garment fabric. Definitely worth a stop if you’re in the neighborhood. BTW I remember when the used to be on G Street in DC way back when…and on Rockville Pike.

  3. Puzzled

    Agree with above comment. G Street Fabrics has gone thru some changes but still has a variety of fabrics. They also have a room full of textiles that are all less than $3. You basically pick thru the many layers of fabric. You can find some gems hidden in the pile of fabrics. I think it would be a real loss not to check out this store which has been around for decades/.

  4. Mindy

    Oo, the Textile Museum looks amazing!

  5. Jaime

    Love the Textile Museum! Great post, too; love the photos.

  6. Kim Dimond

    I love this series on where to shop. We have a RV and I am definitely going to be using these posts as a reference as we travel the US.

  7. Also Artistic Artifacts, in Alexandria. They offer unique and lovely prints, and all types of quilting supplies. (in addition to other spectacular art supplies.)

  8. Jennifer O.

    I would add to the voices suggesting G Street Fabrics and add Fabric Place down on Richmond Highway in Alexandria. They both have all kinds of garment fabrics and notions. G Street’s button selection is impressive!

  9. Meg R

    I would add four stores to this list….
    The Quilter’s Studio in Fairfax is one of my favorite stops. http://www.quilterstudiova.com . Kathye is always adding new fabrics and classes to the store. It is a bright cheery store.

    Chadwick Heirloom and Quilts in Richmond, VA https://chadwickheirlooms.com This is another of my favorite shops. Pat the owner has over 7000 bolts of fabric! They carry my favorite lines from Fabric Finders, Liberty,… incredible fabrics plus thousands of quilting fabrics. Yummy! Chadwick Heirloom and Quilts has an extensive collection of patterns, laces, buttons, notions, threads, books, and fine fabrics. They also have hundreds of samples decorating their space. It is a delight for the senses. They will also guide you to wonderful little places to dine in the area so make a day of it. Closed on Sundays.

    Sarah Fabric in Takoma Park MD. (1173 University Blvd E Takoma Park, MD 20912) This store is a bit like stepping into a NYC fabric store. They have the best selection of trims in the area. Go with yardage requirements in mind as they do not carry many patterns… but they do have an extensive zipper selection as well as a lot of dressy fabrics, linens, knits… I have always received good help. The bolts are everywhere…. Also in the shopping center diagonally across the main intersection you will find another fabric store. This area has many independent fabric stores. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe they are closed on Sundays…. best to give them a call to confirm though.

    Vien Dong Fabrics and Sewing Machines (6218 Wilson Blvd Falls Church, VA 22044) This is a hole in the wall fabric store that has an amazing array of fabrics tucked inside. Come prepared to look through stacks and stacks of fabrics. They also have a good selection of trims. They carry apparel fabrics vs. quilting fabrics. Closed on Tuesdays.

    I do miss the G Street of the late 80’s… it was a wonderful store worthy of a long drive.

  10. dawn christian

    A friend took me to G Street Fabrics when I was a student, and I sewed all of my clothes from there. Great place to spend some time. Definitely worth a visit in Rockville now.

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