You know how countries and cities like to make jokes about each other, Canada vs USA, Australia vs New Zealand, Belgium vs Holland, and so on? Sydney and Melbourne are a bit like that, too, though just like those other places, we love each other underneath the good-natured jokes. Hence, Sydney, sin city.
My work took me to Sydney last week. It’s not often they let me out of the office so it was a welcome change. Not only did I have two highly productive days of working with one of my company’s very important customers, but I was able to fit in a visit to some fabric stores, too, in the inner suburb of Surry Hills.
We Melbourne people are straight-laced, slow-paced and dress in black. They say Sydney people are just the opposite. Personally, I love visiting a town that has hills, with streets that don’t run on a nice tidy grid and where tradesmen wear board shorts teamed with high visibility tops. (I saw this in Sydney. It would never happen in Melbourne. Really.)I went to The Fabric Store at 21 Cooper Street, Tessuti Fabrics at 110 Commonwealth Street and E & M Greenfield at 30-36 Ann St all in Surry Hills. I wouldn’t recommend any of these shops for quilting supplies but if you love fabric or craft or dressmaking they’re definitely worth a visit.
E & M Greenfield are hard core suppliers to the trade, as evidenced by a cutting fee of $3.60 that they apply to any purchase under 25 metres. Similar to Hong Kong the fabric is stored out of reach and you pick what you want up front, in this case, from a binder. They had several binders but I wasn’t in the market for anything in particular so I rummaged among the remnants. Once I’d found the piece I wanted I had to go downstairs to pay for it, then return with my docket to prove I was legal. On the way I passed a wall with time cards – who knew anybody still used time cards?
I loved that the docket for the remnant I bought at E & M Greenfield came with full care instructions. For a $4.40 one metre remnant of cotton drill I got to hear all about the country of manufacture, washing, drycleaning and ironing instructions and that the composition was 100% cotton. I wish all fabric shops did that. E & M Greenfield also have an impressive range of notions. If you need bathing suit cups, that’s the place to go.
Tessuti Fabrics had bridal and other laces safely stored behind glass, and would be my choice if I wanted to sew evening wear but there was something a bit elitist about them. They have a range of pattern books but only sell Vogue patterns, thank you very much.
The Fabric Store was my stand out favourite. They had a good range of high quality dress and suiting fabrics, including designer brands and hard to find fabrics like wool jersey. There was a lot of lovely linen and linen cotton blends, plus wool blends for coats. In short, it was as far away as you could get from Spotlight in terms of range and quality and their store had a lovely ambiance and gorgeous staff, too.