B & J Fabrics

Okay, this is not my usual ‘found by the side of the road‘ post. This is about discovering something in your possession that you forgot you owned. Like finding a $20 bill in an old purse you haven’t used for a few months, only I think this is much better. When talking to Debbie the other day about her metallic tote bag, I suddenly had a flash that I had bought myself some gorgeous metallic linen when I went to New York over Labour Day. When I went home, I scavenged in my spare closet and pulled out a beloved B & J Fabric store bag. Inside it, I found a yard of silvery linen fabric and also a couple yards of the finest wale corduroy in purplish grey. I can’t tell you how delighted and inspired I was.

One of the things I miss most about living in New York (besides French bistro fare, sample sales, Chelsea art galleries and the Strand) is aimlessly wandering the Garment district, slowly scanning shelves piled high with bolts of delicious fabric. I would often spend hours dreaming up creations and carefully choosing which fabrics would come home with me. B & J Fabrics is one of my favourites. This is where I first discovered Liberty of London fabrics. Just to be near those bolts of fabulous prints made me giddy.

Usually I find that the fabric tells me what it wants to be. The soft corduroy demands to be a dress and the linen a little sparkly top. As I start having some down-time over the holidays, I’ll be ready with my Gingher scissors to cut into these two fabrics and start creating.

p.s. There was a piece on the CBC radio show, ‘Spark’, yesterday about the resurgence of sewing. You can hear my funny voice for a few seconds here. Just fast forward to 12:30 for the part on sewing. The piece starts and finishes with cute audio clips from the 1948 film by Simplicity, “Pattern for Smartness“. It is extremely entertaining.

Greyish Purplish Corduroy

Metallic Linen


  • Hi Karyn,

    Nora from Spark here. Just wanted to thank you for participating in the show. We got some great feedback, especially from people in our audience who sew!

  • You’re a star! Great clip – thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see the finished product of those lovely fabrics!

  • Thanks for the heads up on the clip, Karyn! I liked what she said about it being like an apothecary… cool! I think Nora and Cathi just might enjoy a class at the workroom; they could find out why we love it so much… (maybe some patchwork…) :-)

  • nora – it was fun chatting with cathy about sewing. so many people have told me that they heard the spot, a tribute to how great your show is!

    heather – i’m having a hard time deciding what to do with these special fabrics, but i have a feeling you’ll be seeing a completed project very very soon.

    johanna – i liked the apothecary part too! everybody should do patchwork, of course. it’s only a matter of time!

  • Hi Karyn!
    I love your blog and your store all the way from Manitoba. I always read the Globe on Saturdays and listen to CBC whenever I can, and I’ve stumbled across both features! They always make me feel a little closer to the Workroom. Next trip to Toronto, I will certainly stop by. :)

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