This is the first in a series I'm writing as a resource to my fellow creatives in Rhode Island and the surrounding region. When I teach sewing lessons, most people think the only resource for fabric is the national chain store Joann Fabrics. NOT TRUE!! While there are many places offering expensive fabric*, especially some fabulous online boutiques, there are also many local resources that are wallet-friendly. I'll share each of my favorite fabric sources in a separate post, compiling everything as a permanent resource here on my website when finished.
Let's talk about Lorraine Fabrics. The link goes to the Facebook page--they do not have a website.
Located in an old mill in Pawtucket, RI, since 1991, they carry discontinued fabric. Bolts that simply haven't sold in quilt shops, etc., and they offer it all at a huge discount. There are two floors, and you'll notice quickly--hand written signs everywhere. Word of advice: obey the signage. I find that following the rules and being extremely nice to staff who can be a bit cranky is well worth getting fabric for almost nothing.
*I'll share the online resources in an upcoming post.
If you see something you like, buy it now. Because everything has been discontinued, it may not be there the next time you go.
The first floor has trims, notions, specialty fabrics like satin and sequins, fleece, wool, linen, quilting cotton...the list goes on and on. About half of the floor is filled with upholstery and home décor fabric. They even carry some Sunbrella, but it might be a print from a year or two ago, not something in the current Sunbrella catalog.
Please excuse the slightly blurry camera photos. While there is no posted sign saying "no pictures," I wanted to be on the down-low with my reporting. I never want to be the excuse for a newly-posted sign.
Don't quote me on this because I did not look at every roll and bolt, but I didn't see anything more than $17/yard. That's pretty amazing for outdoor and upholstery fabric!
Venture to the second floor (skipping the first entirely like I do most trips) and see where sewing becomes magical and affordable again. You know how sewing your own clothes is supposed to save you so much money? And then you buy fabric, even with a coupon, and end up spending $40 on a dress for your 10 year old (not including the pattern, notions, your time, etc.?) Well, the second floor of Lorraine's is where you can really save money by sewing your own clothes.
How is this possible???
EVERYTHING is $2.99/yard. I'll give you a minute to stop jumping up and down from delight...
I'm not going to lie...sometimes what you'll find is a complete crap shoot. I've found Cloud 9 organics for $1.99/yard (before the price increase this past year). Today there was Lotta Jansdotter, Windham, and Michael Miller fabric for $2.99/yard. There is also the largest collection of ugly polyester you will ever find under one roof. There is organization by fiber type, but after that you're on your own. There are racks of pre-cuts, which are usually 1-3 yard cuts and they're rainbowtized. Word of caution: the precuts do not specify fiber type. You're on your own to figure out if it's cotton, poly, wool, etc. The more time I spend in the bargain loft, the more projects I think up.
So where is this fabric gem?
593 Mineral Spring Ave
For me, it's about a 45 minute drive. Well worth it, but also not a store I can pop over to without planning. If you go, let me know what you think!! Even better, send me a picture of something you've made with fabric you purchased there!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.