I had company on Thursday. Cennetta, came to Philadelphia on business and had some time at the end of the day to meet up with me and head on down to Fabric Row. The stores are only open till 5:00 or 5:30 on weekdays, so we had to do some power shopping, and I think we managed quite well.
There are about a dozen stores left on the Row, not a patch on what it used to be (and certainly not NYC) but still a lot of good stuff to be had at varying prices. One of the stores we hit was Kincus Fabrics, which is probably the closest we have to NY in outrageous fabrics, with accompanying outrageous prices. They did have some reality-priced fabrics, and they had Edgar, a very charming man who cut fabric for Cennetta and who was wearing one of his wife's handmade shirts. (The lady can make a shirt, let me tell you, and he was kind enough to let us turn him around and look at the detailing). Hearing a man say, "peau-de-soie" and knowing that he knows what it is, is a wonderful thing.
One of our last stops was the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet, which I don't really remember having been in before. They had the least expensive fabrics of anything we saw, and though the quality was varied, there were some definite goodies. Besides an amazing selection of buttons and zippers, leather remnants sold by the pound, menswear woolens, they had a whole rack of that great old rayon seam binding that has gotten so hard to find.
I only bought 3 cuts of fabric. Considering that I'm supposed to be fabric fasting, I guess that's 3 cuts too many, but I considered it justifiable. How often do we find a fellow sewist to shop with? Not often enough, as far as I'm concerned, and I actually think talking over the fabrics as we shop restrained at least me from buying more than I needed. I ended up with 3 yards of striped lining fabric for the winter coat I'm going to make with Gorgeous Things' chocolate brown wool, 3 yards of rust/brown wide-wale corduroy and 3 yards of a bizarre blue poly print with faces on it. I couldn't decide if the blue fabric was fabulous or hideous, but I leaned toward fabulous. The rule for the day was that I couldn't buy a fabric without knowing what it was for, which saved me from 3 yards of olive green wool at Kincus that didn't know if it was a dress, a skirt or pants - and at $14.95 per yard, it had better well know what it wants to be when it grows up.
This blue fabric thought it might be a lining, and then I looked over and realized that if I bought the blue, I could then buy the corduroy I really liked but which until that point didn't have a purpose. The two of them together are going to be Vogue 8480, which is technically supposed to be an unlined jacket, but who says the pattern's always right? Not me.
Many thanks to Cennetta for coming my way. I had a great time with her, talking sewing, talking fabric, just talking, period. And it got me out of my shopping comfort zone and into different fabric stores, and even though I didn't buy very much (only 9 yards!) my creativity is all over the place from all the fabrics I got to see and handle.