There are a lot of people who are obsessed with shoes, artwork or the perfect lamp. And then there are those of us who can't get enough beautiful fabrics - whether they're patterned, printed, silk, cotton, linen or lace, we're all in for buying a yard here and a panel there, either for a project we have in mind or just to hoard away until the perfect opportunity to use it arises. In Canada, though, it's sometimes hard to fulfill this passion, as many of the beautiful materials you see in magazines are available only to designers, and ordering from international sites can include prohibitive shipping and customs charges. But there is help. In the past few years there has been a surge of online fabric shops opening up across the country, full of affordable, practical and whimsical delights. Here, we've chosen a few of our favourite sources to satisfy that textile craving.
Where to buy affordable fabrics online
Double Decker Fabric, doubledeckerfabric.com
Dorienne Fairbanks, the owner of calgary's Double Decker Fabric, credits her children with providing the motivation to start her online shop. "I had all these projects to create but couldn't find the fabrics I wanted," she says. Drawn to prints with both retro and modern whimsical appeal, this lover of textiles fittingly sells collections from Michael Miller Fabrics and Riley Blake Designs.
Fabric Spot, myfabricspot.com
"I'm an all or nothing kind of person," says Markham, Ont.'s Karen Chan, owner of Fabric Spot. Selecting whole collections from designers like MoMo and Heather Ross, Karen believes in giving customers the choice of colour- ways and coordinates to personalize their projects. Organic fabrics are a priority for Karen. "Fabric is what's against our skin," she says. "Given the option, how could I not choose to sell organic?"
Fridays Off Fabric Shop, fridaysoff.ca
"I call myself a fabric curator," says Toronto-based Alanna Banks, owner of the year-old Fridays Off Fabric Shop. "I don't buy full collections - only the prints that jump out at me first, even if they're outside my comfort zone." So far, so good for Alanna, whose inventory always includes stock from modern designer favourites like Lotta Jansdotter and Tula Pink, among others.
Tonic Living, tonicliving.com
Sometimes the fabric just finds you. For Janine Morrison, founder of Tonic Living, the light bulb moment came nearly 15 years ago, when she acquired a lot of vintage fabric for her home collectibles eBay store. Now Tonic Living is one of the heavy hitters in Toronto, with an amazing array of accessible geometrics, florals, solids and prints from the likes of Waverly and Dwellstudio for the decorating market.
Warp & Weft, warpandweft.ca
Owner and former designer Esmari Taylor approaches purchasing wares for Toronto's Warp & Weft the same way she buys new furniture or shops for shoes: "I look for things that are timeless and have integrity." she's succeeded with her inventory from lines as diverse as Cloud9 Fabrics, Design Team and the Victoria and Albert museum. A devoted sewer, Esmari also sells notions from Merchant & Mills and Sajou.
Pictured fabric prints (above)
1 Anna Maria Horner Field Study cotton Fine Feathered in Ghost, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $9/metre.
2 Braemore linen Sakura in White Tea, Tonic Living, $30/yard.
3 Joel Dewberry Bungalow Cotton Hive in Pink, Warp & Weft, $11/metre.
4 Carina Gardner Evening Blooms cotton Evening Wallpaper in Gray, Double Decker Fabric, $14/yard.
5 Lotta Jansdotter Glimma cotton Flowers in Rosy, Warp & Weft, $12/metre.
6 Waverly Chinoise Chic cotton Peaceful Temple in Porcelain, Tonic Living, $20/yard.
7 Leah Duncan Tule cotton Natie Fringe in Celeste, Warp & Weft, $14/metre.
8 Charley Harper certified organic cotton Upside Downside, Fabric Spot, $17/yard.
9 Valori Wells Designs WIsh cotton Treasure in Patience, Fabric Spot, $11/yard.
10 Natalie Lymer Enchant cotton Birds in Green, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $10/metre.
11 Michael Miller Fabrics Retro cotton Lunch Box in Red, Double Decker Fabric, $13/yard.
Toss cushion fabric patterns
1 Tula Pink Acacia cotton Raccoon in Sky, Fridays Off Fabric Shop, $9 per metre.
2 Carolyn Friedlander Botanics cotton 14258 in Charcoal, Warp & Weft, $15 per metre.
3 Patty Sloniger Les Amis cotton Socks the Fox in Dusk, Double Decker Fabric, $13 per yard.
4 Dwellstudio Vreeland cotton in Aquatint, Tonic Living, $23 per yard.
5 Leslie Shewring Palos Verdes II certified organic cotton voile in La Venta, Fabric Spot, $17 per yard.