Why fluttering chiffon butterflies are a good thing

Spotlight fabric store

One of my favourite sewing bloggers is Peter Lappin from Male Pattern Boldness. Peter, who lives in New York, has been sewing for the past 7 years and has already noticed and lamented the general decline in fabric shops. I was interested to learn following one of his posts that the problem that has been going on here in Australia for a good 20 plus years is not unique to our shores. People from all round the world responded to Peter's post with similar stories.

Instagrammers are right onto this problem, but from the perspective of supporting fabric shops that are still out there offering up fabrics for us to buy. If you follow any sewing Instagram accounts you'll often see posts showcasing shops they've visited. So that's what I'm going to do as well - occasional blog posts about Melbourne fabric shops. Or fabric shops I visit on my travels and shops my readers visit too! If you find a great little shop, take a photo or 2 and email it to me with perhaps a little story about your find!

Spotlight fabric store 

I'm making a start this week with Spotlight. I know it's not the most inspirational of shops but it is the biggest in Australia and the one we so often end up in. My own relationship with Spotlight is definitely 'love-hate'. One year they'll have roll after roll of great fabrics and the next they'll have nothing but crap. As far I'm concerned right now they're going through a good phase and over the years some of my best outfits have come from fabric bought at Spotlight. That includes this chiffon 'butterfly' skirt made 6 or 7 years ago during that brief period when fabulously full ruffled skirts came back in vogue. You have to admit it's fairly extraordinary fabric - it's got little chiffon 'butterflies', stitched all over it, that flutter and fly. Then there's the 10 flared chiffon gores front and back with a ruffled lining. The skirt flounces and bounces with a mind of its own!

 chiffon gored skirt

 

Peter proposes several  reasons why sewing and fabric shops have been in decline, including 'fast fashion' where clothes are available so cheaply they're  considered disposable, a less formal society, reduction in value given to technology classes at school and women now being in the paid workforce. I'd add to Peter's list by saying contemporary society has become less hands on - that we don't manipulate materials ourselves as much anymore. By that I mean we get people in to do things for us instead of doing it ourselves- from gardening to conducting a children's party. Children play on iPads instead of making mud pies.  Adults spend weekends at the supermarket, on the computer or drinking coffee instead of making model boats, tinkering on the car or sewing. What are your thoughts?

I'm looking forward to sharing with you some of Melbourne's other fabric (and haberdashery) shops because, although there's not so many of them anymore, they certainly are diverse. Don't forget to send me your gems too!

Georgie at Spotlight 

PeterLappin's post is at (scroll past his opening about a giveaway winner to get to the guts of the post):

http://malepatternboldness.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/giveaway-winner-5-biggest-challenges.html#more

 

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Georgie Munro
Georgie Munro

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5 Responses

Wanda
Wanda

July 18, 2016

P.s: That skirt is fabulous!

Georgie
Georgie

July 17, 2016

Wanda – can’t wait to see your local and Toronto pics! Spotlight’s ‘humungousness’ is deceptive because on top of fabric (both dressmaking & home furnishing) and haberdashery they also stock homewares, manchester, readymade curtains, party goods, even balloons. So the fabric is only about 1 quarter of the floor area. Still, it is a large shop and there is one for every 5 suburbs (at a guess) and they’re in every city and decent sized town in Australia – so most people have access to fabric through Spotlight. But they’ve just about drowned out the other shops which is the disappointing thing. But then again, you can go to Spotlight and they’ll have most basic fabrics and you’ll probably find something to suit. So you can see it is a real ‘love-hate’ relationship!

Wanda
Wanda

July 17, 2016

That store is humungous compared to the ones around here (which I will snap some pic for you soon). Should I get to Toronto in the fall then I will have some fantastic photos for you. I am hoping to get to the fabric district

Georgie
Georgie

July 16, 2016

Hi Sam – I bet your ‘patchwork’ shops are full of amazing gadgets and some great quilting fabrics (I have to admit I love quilting fabrics for hat making!). Country towns and regional cities like Ballarat so often have terrific quilting and patchwork shops and although I’m always surprised on my travels when I see them I shouldn’t be. On the other hand – it must be very frustrating for dressmakers in rural and regional Australia when they want something other than a quilting cotton – you could well be behind the success of so many online fabric shops.

Sam
Sam

July 15, 2016

Hi there is just the Spot….. and Linc…. stores for dressmaking fabric and a few ‘patchwork’ fabric stores in Ballarat :(

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