Tag Archive for 'B & J Fabrics'


Sultan's Fine Fabrics

I used to work in the garment district of New York City. I think that made me a bit spoiled for textile fabrics. I would spend hours after work wandering the aisles of my favourite shops – B&J Fabrics, Mood Fabrics, NY Elegant Fabrics, etc, etc. The selection was endless. Rows, upon rows of cotton shirtings, linens, wools and everything else under the moon. It was not uncommon for clerks to say ‘this was from Marc Jacob’s/Calvin Klein’s/Diane Von Furstenburg’s last collection’. This selection of fine fabric is one of the things I really miss about New York.

The closest thing I’ve found to that quality of fabrics here has been at the Lida Baday Showroom, on a much smaller scale. Until now.

A few weeks ago, a customer was working on a dress for his wife in the shop, he was using the most gorgeous red & blue plaid fabric. When I asked where he got it, he showed me the card for a shop that I had never heard of. I took a photo of the fabric & the business card and I’ve been obsessing over that fabric ever since. Today, I took a little adventure in a Zip car to check out Sultan’s Fine Fabrics.

Tucked away in a small industrial building was an absolute treasure of a fabric shop.

I was not expecting the sheer volume of fabric and I was so happy that I had a specific fabric in mind as my starting point otherwise I may still be walking the aisles. The owner, Sultan, greeted me when I entered and after I showed him the photo of the fabric I wanted, he took me directly to the bolt. Thank goodness! I would never have found it on my own. Sultan was so helpful and kept pointing out all the different types of fabrics he carried – cashmere, wool, linen, lining, cotton shirting. His main clientele are Harry Rosen & Holt Renfrew for their made-to-measure programs, so you can imagine how nice these bolts were. His selection is amazing & overwhelming. His fabrics range from $2/yard to $5500/yard! My selections were in the $16 – $22/yard range.

I highly recommend going with some specific projects in mind or maybe a time limit. I had to return my Zip car, so I just had an hour to agonize over what to get. I ended up with four fabrics – the cotton plaid shirting, a grey stripe cotton, a brown plaid linen and a mustard-y herringbone. I am excited to sew these up! While I adore printed quilting fabric (obviously!), there has been a bit of a hole in my heart for proper clothing textiles here and there. No more!

Oh yes, and there were ‘cashmeres from Tom Ford’ on the shelf.

If you go to visit Sultan, please tell him that I say ‘Hi!’. You can also shop a selection of their fabrics online!

Sultan’s Fine Fabrics
89 Bentworth Avenue, Unit 2A
Toronto, ON M6A 1P6

Sultan's Fine Fabrics

Sultan's Fine Fabrics

Sultan's Fine Fabrics

Sultan's Fine Fabrics


Bib Front Dress in Corduroy

If this dress looks familiar, it’s because this is version #3 of this style! First made is summery pink/purple gingham, then in navy with gold linen and now with the softest purple/grey corduroy.

Let’s talk about this fabric first. I bought it a few years ago in New York at B & J Fabric. I love to treat myself to a nostalgic trip to B & J whenever I can. I used to have the luxury of wandering the aisles for hours after work every day, dreaming up new things to make. The wale on this corduroy is so fine, the fabric feels a bit like velvet. The colour mixes my two current favourites, grey and purple.

From my past versions, you know all about this pattern. It is based loosely on the Amy Butler Liverpool Shirtdress with some major adjustments.

I actually made this dress just before the holidays, it was my Christmas dress. It feels really cozy to wear, so it’s the perfect winter dress. AND apparently winter isn’t quite done with the snow we’re having today!

Bib Front Dress in Corduroy

Bib Front Dress in Corduroy

Bib Front Dress in Corduroy


Liverpool Shirtdress

It’s taken me a while to tell you about this project. I made Amy Butler’s Liverpool shirtdress back in June, but needed to make some further adjustments on it and I ended up starting another project instead. You know how it is.

The fabric I chose is from B&J in New York and is a lovely cotton shirting fabric. The buttons I found in my collection from my New York days. They are absolutely perfect with this fabric! Since I worked in the garment district, I would often wander through the fabric and trim shops after work purchasing random bits and bobs. It’s so satisfying when those odd purchases make perfect sense nine year later.

I made a couple adjustments to the pattern right from the start. I adjusted the shape of the collar and made it more square. Amy’s collar was a bit too flared out for me. I also made the dress less a-lined and added side seam pockets. The pattern calls for ties that are sewn into the side seam and can be tied either in the front or the back of the dress. I decided to create the tie as a separate piece. I also made it extra long, so that it wraps around twice and gives me options with the type of knot or bow I might want to do.

Because I make so many Japanese dress book patterns these days, I sometimes forget to read the instructions when I’m doing an English pattern! I didn’t realize until I was almost done the dress that I had cut the back piece of the dress as one panel instead of two pieces. Oops! This meant that I had an extra inch in the body of the dress which actually made a big difference in the fit. I went back, removed the collar, cut the back in half and put in the french seam that was meant to be there. Depending on your print choice for this pattern you may want to omit doing the french seam and opt for cutting out the back as one piece. To do this you simply need to remove half an inch (the seam allowance) from the centre back line of the pattern piece. For plaids or ginghams or stripes, this would allow the print to flow uninterrupted across the back.

I got stuck when I was doing the cuffs. I just couldn’t seem to figure out her instructions no matter how many times I read them. I finally googled this problem and discovered several people posting about having this same issue. If you ever get stuck on a pattern, I recommend doing a search on the internet. You’ll probably discover an answer to your question. Amy has posted an addendum to the Liverpool pattern here that elaborates on how to do the cuff.

Another note on the sleeves. They are long. I did the 3/4 length sleeve and they come very close to my wrists. It would be wise to measure your arms versus the sleeve pieces to figure out the right length for you. I plan on wearing the sleeves rolled up, so I didn’t fix this.

This is also the pattern we did in our Shirtdress Day Camp. We had a really fun week, sewing, chatting and working together. Everyone’s Liverpool turned out fantastic! Here’s our class photo. We have one more day camp coming up this summer and I’m looking forward to being a student this time and spending the entire week sewing and quilting.

Amy Butler "Liverpool" Pattern

Liverpool Shirtdress

Liverpool Shirtdress


Vintage earrings from Erie Basin

I was surprisingly restrained with my retail spending on this trip. Usually I view a trip to New York as a ‘free pass’ to spend like crazy. I tried really hard to find a new pair of jeans, but nothing was quite right. I very rarely get out these days to go shopping, and even still I just found myself making mental notes for ideas I wanted to try making for myself.

When we were at Erie Basin, Andrew saw this pair of vintage earrings that caught his eye. He had me try them on and we both loved them, so he gave them to me as a gift! Just looking at these earrings makes me imagine all kinds of wonderful stories of where they have been.

I bought a Mango Butter soap from Saipua. I can’t wait for my current soap to run out!

I finally bought a ‘Found My Animal‘ leash for Maisy. I almost bought one on our last trip to New York, but didn’t. Then I saw this photo on the Sartorialist – it kinda looks like me and Maisy. (Now I just need to make a cute blue layered dress) I was so happy to find that they had them at Smith & Butler. The concept behind Found My Animal is really great. They are trying to raise awareness and money for adopting animals. Each accessory they make is numbered to indicate how many animals have been helped by their products.

I bought a stack of Fine & Raw chocolate bars as gifts. (and a couple for myself) I love their packaging and couldn’t resist the one with the Fafi artwork. (I LOVE her) That bar has dried wild blueberries in it – YUM.

The last morning we were there I went on a solo mission to B&J Fabric. When I want a little ‘fix’ of NYC fabric shopping, B&J is my best bet. It’s so well lit, organized and not too big. I’ve really been liking checks, gingham and plaids recently. The navy blue fabric is linen with gold thread detail. I imagine this future dress will have a cute yoke or perhaps bib front. The purple and grey plaid is cotton shirting and I’m not sure just yet what that will turn into. Hopefully I’ll be showing you real soon!

Mango Butter soap from Saipua

Found My Animal Leash

Found My Animal Leash

Fine & Raw chocolate bars

Fabric from B&J Fabrics


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