Yards and yards and yards of fabric

I was in Denver this weekend for a short personal vacation while my husband represented Dungeons & Dragons at GenghisCon. In addition to visiting with friends and family, my weekend itinerary included a mandatory trip to the local fabric stores to seek the final fabrics for my Mulan costume.

Seattle has a wonderful selection of fabrics, but I had a specific color of navy (and thickness of fabric) in mind. One that I couldn’t find at home.

Little did I know that I would walk into two of the most jaw-dropping fabric stores I have ever been in: Colorado Fabrics (formerly Denver Fabrics) and Allyn’s Fabric and Bridal Supply.

My first stop was Colorado Fabrics – geographically it was closer to my hotel. I walked in and made a beeline to a colorful shelf of knit fabrics.

Co-Fabrics_1

While I pondered the many, many, many superhero costumes that could be made from this wall, I was warmly greeted by a staff member who gave me a tour of the store upon learning that I was from Seattle and this was my first time in Colorado Fabrics.

Co-Fabric_2

She was happy to show me the full priced fabrics (where I was), but she quickly took me back to the Bargain Fabrics wall. Everything on this wall is “bargain” because they cannot guarantee the fabric content. It tends to be poly-blends of all thicknesses and colors. They also have a dozen tables and hanging racks of pre-cut end of bolt remnants.

Photo credit - Blue Pashima Photography
Photo credit – Blue Pashima Photography

There is a wide variety of fashion fabrics – I really wish I had more projects in mind because there were some beautiful woolen fabrics.

The dark blue section of the bargain wall.
The dark blue section of the bargain wall.

After wandering (and fondling) the fabric-lined aisles for about an hour and a half, I settled on one pink fabric from the bargain wall for Mulan’s sash. (You can’t imagine the degree of self-restraint needed to only leave with ONE cut of fabric and a spool of thread. Or maybe you can.) I was hoping to also find a navy blue fabric for her robe, but my options were either not the right weight or the right color.

Thankfully, this was not my only stop. I next headed northeast to Allyn’s Fabrics, which I knew would have many many special occasional fabrics. I wasn’t prepared for what I would find.

The business is located in a relatively urban residential neighborhood (in contrast, Colorado Fabrics is located in a suburb shopping center) and as the business has grown (as their fabric stock has grown) they have expanded into the neighboring rooms of this building. I don’t know if I have seen a higher density fabric per square foot. If you are claustrophobic or OCD this may not be the space for you. Fabrics are stacked floor to ceiling (over half the stock is physically inaccessible without a ladder) on racks, in shelves, and leaned against the walls. (I wish I took more pictures.)

It took me a while to find what I wanted to look through. The fabrics are definitely divided by material type, but the racks and walls aren’t always labeled clearly. There were a few rooms that I initially thought were “off limits” because the lights were off and the space looked more like a back stock room. I did overhear that Allyn’s will be moving to a new location. I can’t imagine how they are going to move all of that fabric. Hopefully the new space will be a bit more open and well-lit.

Knits and spandex room

A post shared by Meris (@fabricalchemist) on

But do not let the facade of disorder deter you. The staff are friendly and helpful (when I was able to find them in the maze). Most of the staff members were deeply involved in helping other customers find the right fabrics, so it is not like they were uninterested in helping me. The other customers were also friendly and helpful. One gentlemen has been buying fabrics from Allyn’s for the past 15 years and he pointed me in the right direction multiple times.

They also have EVERYTHING you need for costuming. I found a rack of Asian “silk” brocade fabrics. I was hoping to find a navy fabric to use for Mulan with a bit of an “Asian” texture, but nothing was monochromatic (I didn’t want a navy with gold flowers).  I ultimately settled for a poly-satin fabric that was the “right color” for me.

The fabrics at both businesses were reasonably priced. Colorado Fabrics has many many sale fabrics (and their regular prices were comparable to other fabric stores.) The prices at Allyn’s Fabrics were a bit higher on the specialty fabrics, but most were comparable to what I would pay at Pacific Fabrics in Seattle. The sheer volume of fabrics means that you will probably find exactly what you need.

I should mention that a Yelp search returned many other fabric stores, some are smaller and more focused on unique everyday clothing and fashion fabrics and quilting. I didn’t get to visit all because I was focused on costume fabrics this time.  Whenever I return to Denver, I will be visiting all of these stores.

If you are in Denver and have at least a day to devote to fabric, visit both of these stores. You will be in heaven. And bring an extra suitcase.
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2 thoughts on “Yards and yards and yards of fabric

  1. I have yet to go into a really neat fabric store like this. Charleston doesn’t seem to have any. Maybe I need to look some up and make a day trip to Charlotte or somewhere that does!

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