I’m excited to share my favorite fabric stores that I frequent in the SF Bay Area. This is a list that I wish I had when I began venturing beyond my local chain stores and shopping for fabric at independent brick and mortar stores within an easy driving distance from me. No, we don’t have a garment district here in Northern California, but we have far more beyond your average nondescript American shopping center with Joann’s or Hancock’s (we also have another regional chain — Beverly’s). There is truly some great fabric shopping to be found.
146 Geary St., San Francisco New Location: 117 Post Street
If you’re a sewist and headed to SF, you most likely already have Britex on your list. Located in Union Square and surrounded by high-end stores, Britex is the most luxurious fabric store I’ve ever been in with four floors of fabrics. Britex is easily reached by public transportation and there’s a parking garage down the street across from Macy’s. Britex has an array of fine fabrics from all over the world and you can pretty much find any fabric you’re looking for. In addition to fabrics, there’s an incredible selection of lace and trims. I always find the lace that I’m looking for at Britex. They carry some notions that I haven’t found at any of the other area fabric stores along with a selection of indie patterns. I usually pick up the European edition of BurdaStyle at Britex, and there’s a clearance section of magazines on the notions floor. The remnants are on the fourth floor, which is a must-stop for some amazing deals. I try to hit Britex during one of their 30% off sales, which are really busy, but well worth stopping in for. The staff at Britex are very knowledgeable and helpful. Unless there’s something I really need at Britex, I try to avoid the area in the summer months due to the influx of tourists in Union Square. Geary is busy year round, but much less in the winter. Britex also has a selection of fabrics, trims and notions on their website and if you call them, they can send you just about anything that they have in store. After shopping at Britex, I often walk down the street to the Daily Grill for lunch. There’s an abundance of shopping in Union Square, if that’s your thing.
Fabric Outlet, 2109 Mission St., San Francisco
If you’re looking for a deal, you definitely need to check out Fabric Outlet. Located in the Mission, Fabric Outlet has a big selection of ever-changing fabrics at excellent prices. They often have 40% off sales where you can score some beautiful fabrics at great prices. Yes, there’s a lot of costume fabrics, but amongst them are some wonderful finds. Fabric Outlet is easily reached by public transportation or you can find a parking spot on a side street. The staff is friendly, helpful and accommodating. They also have a good selection of notions and trims, plus a large home dec section. Fabric Outlet also has an online shop — Cali Fabrics. I usually stop next door at Thrift Town and then walk across the street through Clarion Alley over to Community Thrift. As it’s the Mission, there’s a lot of excellent taquerias in the area that my husband and I like to frequent.
- Discount Fabrics, 2170 Cesar Chavez St., San Francisco
- I went here once and wasn’t thrilled about it. There’s a lot of fabrics, but you have to hunt through them. I don’t think the prices are that fabulous.
- Fabrix, 431 Clement St., San Francisco
- I haven’t been to this store yet, but a friend recommended it to me.
Piedmont Fabric, 4009 Piedmont Ave., Oakland
Piedmont Fabric is a new find for me. It’s a really cute store with a curated selection of fabrics. They carry some beautiful fabrics from around the world, plus some indie patterns. They have some samples sewn in the patterns and fabrics that they carry and a wonderful window display. It’s a nice shopping experience at a small store with friendly owners. There’s a large parking lot behind the store and Piedmont Grocery is across the street.
- A Verb for Keeping Warm, 6328 San Pablo Ave., Oakland
- I haven’t visited this store yet, but I understand that they have high quality fabrics, yarn and specialty natural dyes.
Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics, 2518 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
I first went into Stonemountain back in 2010 searching for voile for the lining of my wedding dress and was happy to find some wonderful bamboo voile. Since then, I’ve always been happy to stop here, as the store has a very friendly and welcoming vibe. There are a lot of quilting fabrics, but you will also find so much more, including Japanese prints, organic fabrics, knits and fine silks and wools. There’s a great selection of notions and indie patterns. They have a classroom and sale area upstairs, but they will soon be cancelling their classes. My guess is that they will be carrying more fabric with the additional space. 🙂 My husband actually enjoys stopping in at Stonemountain, plus you can bring your well behaved dog in to shop with you. They have some of their fabrics on their website, so you can peruse online as well. They have a lot of teaser pics on their instagram, which have led me into the store to buy those fabrics a couple times. Stonemountain has their own parking lot out front and are located a short distance from Berkeley Bowl. My husband and I also usually go over to Urban Ore, which is so much fun to explore (plus, your dog is also welcome there!).
- Discount Fabrics, 3006 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley
- I used to shop here quite often, but I don’t stop here anymore. This is the sister store to the one in SF. They have a lot of fabric and you have to do a lot of searching to find what you’re looking for. There are some nice quality fabrics amid the rolls and rolls of textiles. I don’t find the prices to be that wonderful and the employees aren’t that friendly.
- Lacis, 2982 Adeline St., Berkeley
- I’m a bit conflicted about including Lacis on this list as I had a bad experience there and have not returned. It’s a beautiful store with a “museum” and a wonderful collection of gorgeous laces and vintage clothing and accouterments. They carry hard-to-find needlework and millinery supplies and a great selection of books. However, I found the customer service to be HORRID. The employees were arrogant and unhelpful and downright rude, which apparently is not an unusual occurence if you look on yelp. I went there looking for lace for my wedding veil and didn’t find what I was looking for (I found it at Britex). I did buy a few other things there, but I was treated so badly that I have yet to go back.
- Tinsel Trading, 1659 San Pablo, Berkeley
- A new store that has relocated from NYC. A great place to find vintage trims with some vintage fabric available as well. Also, their store displays are some of the loveliest that I’ve seen.
- Dharma Trading Co., 1604 4th Street, San Rafael
- I haven’t been here yet, but a few friends have recommended it. They apparently have great prices on silks, plus a lot of yarn and craft supplies.
- Thai Silks, 1959 B Leghorn Street, Mountain View
- I haven’t been here yet, but it’s been recommended by a few friends as a great place to find silk. You can also shop online.
- Fabrics R Us, 1745 Berryessa Rd., San Jose
- I haven’t visited this store yet, but it’s recommended by a reader.
Harts Fabric, 1620 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is not located in the Bay Area, but if you’re visiting, a drive down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz is one that you shouldn’t miss. And while you’re there enjoying the boardwalk, the wharf, and the beaches, stop in at Harts Fabric. Harts is a large and cheerful store which is really fun to shop in. They seem to carry most of the fabrics in their online store, so you can check out what they have available and go in and pick it up. Of course, it’s much more fun to browse in person as they have such a great layout and selection and it’s a nice experience shopping there. They have a wide selection of popular fabrics, Japanese prints, silks, wools, and the best selection of knits in the area. They have a parking lot and street parking and down the road on Soquel, be sure to stop in at the Buttery, which has some of the best baked goods I’ve ever tasted.
Recycled Fabric Stores
Do you have any fabric stores to add?
Happy Fabric Shopping!