Monday, 5 January 2015

Exploring Montreal's Fabric Stores

I didn't realize quite how limited Vancouver's fabric stores were until I went shopping in Montreal! Before heading back to Vancouver for winter break, I spent a couple days exploring Montreal's fabric stores to stock up.

I went first to Rue St. Hubert on my own, one of the main fabric shopping districts in Montreal. It was nothing like fabric shopping in Vancouver! There are so many stores along the road, and as someone who is used to Vancouver’s fabric stores, I found it pretty overwhelming!

I really wish I had taken some pictures, but I didn't think of it at the time. There are some on Heather's post about Montreal's fabric stores if you want to get an idea!

I didn’t really have anything in mind that I actually needed to buy, so I spent most of my time just wandering to get an idea of what the stores are like. I printed off Caro’s excellent guide and made some of my own notes throughout the day, so that I would know where I could go if I needed something more specific.

Probably the weirdest part for me is that in most of the stores, nothing was labelled with prices or fibre content. I wasn’t surprised about the lack of fibre content labels, but in Vancouver, everything is labelled with a price, so it was strange always having to ask for the prices.

Overall, it was very, very different from fabric shopping in Vancouver. Besides the fact that all the stores are together, and there are so many of them, and nothing is labelled, the stores just had a very different feel. 

Despite spending most of the day looking around, I only left with a couple metres of fabric. Both are cozy wool double knits that I splurged on, since it’s pretty hard to find wool knits in Vancouver. The bottom one looks almost black in this photo, but it's actually dark purple.

If I thought St. Hubert was different from Vancouver, I was sure in for a shock when I went to Chabanel! The day before heading back, I met up with Vicki from Another Sewing Scientist to explore some of the stores there, most of which are in industrial buildings, so it really helped to go with Vicki since she knew where she was going. I would have been very lost! I bought considerably more than I did on St. Hubert, yet only spent $15 – I was amazed!

We started off at Globe-Tex, which has a little bit of everything. They had tons of knits in solid colours, but I have a fairly large stash of those already so I didn’t buy any, although they probably would have been a quarter of the price I paid in Vancouver! I did buy three metres of floral rayon jersey (bottom right in the picture). I loved the print, and when they guy told me it was $3.50 a metre, I had to buy lots! Fabric for $3.50 a metre is pretty rare in Vancouver, and if you ever find any, it’s probably the nastiest most synthetic fabric in the store.

Next, we went to Stretch-Tex, where I dug through the by-the-pound bin and found the other two. The maroon one is cotton-spandex jersey, and the print I’m pretty sure is acrylic. I usually avoid synthetics, but I loved the colours and the print (it’s a mishmash of floral print and peacock feathers), and for the $5 I paid for both pieces, I couldn’t resist! I had about 2 metres of the maroon, and about a metre and a half with a chunk cut out of it of the other one.

I've already used three of the pieces that I bought, so I don't feel bad about buying all that when I already had quite a bit stashed from the summer! The others I'll save for when I'm back in the spring. Stay tuned for the posts about what I made!


  1. Oh, maybe one day I will go for shopping there%) But absence of prices is very annoying for my opinion.

    1. It was, a little... but it does also mean you can bargain for the price if you want!

  2. Hi Shannon - Great to see that you managed to get some sewing done during your christmas break at home. I, of course, still have the fabric that I bought piled on the floor. Oops. The red&black striped knit that I bought at Globetex will be the first used for sure; probably a knit dress as well.

    BTW, I was talking to my BIL who lives in Vancouver, and he got an industrial sewing machine for Xmas! He does all the home sewing, and also some at work: he is an engineer, and his research team often does community projects that involve building huge models, so he does the heavy duty canvas sewing, etc. Kind of funny to geek out over sewing with him ;)

    See you in the spring perhaps for another shopping trip.

    1. Good to hear from you! Yes, since I had such a limited time I tried to get through as much of my new stash as I could. I'm looking forward to seeing what you make from the fabric you bought! That's funny about getting the industrial sewing machine - I actually talked to a family friend who got one for Christmas too, to repair sails on ships (she's a sailing instructor). I would definitely be up for another fabric shopping trip this spring. Let me know when you'd like to go and we can work something out!