Sunday, September 30, 2012

a magical journey to Sultan's Fine Fabrics

Yesterday my buddy Melinda and I went on the most thrilling little excursion. When we came back to earth (and back to my house) all we wanted to do was wrap ourselves in fine wool coating and grin like mad women. So we did that for a little while.

deliriously happy with my yardage of violet blue wool coating for Gertie's SAL

Modeling the fabric for the the Gertie's Butterick 5824 Sew-Along

Who's to blame for this transformation of two otherwise rational, professional women (with acknowledged weaknesses for textiles)?  That would be Sultan.

Do you know Sultan's Fine Fabrics?

If not, then OH MY GOODNESS are you in for a treat!  He does mail order, but after a transcendental fabric shopping experience there yesterday I have to recommend -- nay, URGE you to visit in the flesh if you are in the Toronto area.

Melinda and I recently joined Gertie's coat sewalong -- we're still waiting for our copies of the pattern (Butterick 5824) to arrive so we can catch up and work on our fitting muslins -- and were inspired by Karyn's glowing report on Sultan's Fine Fabrics to visit the shop ourselves.

Once upon a time, you would have expected to find this shop down around Queen and Portland, in the "fashion district" (before it was called the fashion district...and when it really was a garment district, through and through). But Sultan's is in the north-west part of Toronto, in a semi-industrial area -- but honestly it's not really much of a journey from downtown (and of course quite readily accessible from the 401), and totally, completely worthwhile.

Sultan's Fine Fabrics -- view of one part of the shirtings section
view of one section of fine shirting fabric

Sultan's Fine Fabrics -- view from one section of wool suiting and coating!
view from one section of wool coating fabric

As soon as we walked in I recognized Sultan: I had bought a couple of exquisite yards of Italian shirting fabric from him at the Creativ Festival two years ago! (Which reminds me that I owe my hubby a shirt...that's a topic for another post!).

But Sultan's shop is another experience altogether, an enormous space filled with wool, silk, cotton and other natural fibre fabrics -- so much more than I saw at Creativ Festival, and of a quality that (intellectually) I knew existed but which I had never EVER been able to experience firsthand. This was like being transported to another planet.

The fact that Melinda and I were looking for relatively inexpensive wool coating didn't stop Sultan from showing us the full range of goods he carries, and for this I am so grateful.  He has a true passion for fine fabric and recognized in us an extremely appreciative audience.  The fact that we clearly don't have the means to purchase cashmere and vicuna wasn't reflected in the customer service he offered -- which was truly amazing!

We took two sweet hours to select our coating and lining fabrics and after oohhing and ahhhing over all sorts of tweeds and plaids and houndstooth and herringbone, we both ended up with bright solid colours -- anticipating that our coats will be ready by late winter/spring, when a splash of brightness will be appreciated.

Melinda with her magnificent persimmon wool-cotton coating fabric and Sultan, amused by us (I hope!)
a very patient Sultan and Melinda (like me, she was drunk on fabric)
As if the journey to selection of coating and lining wasn't enough, Sultan steered us to the remnants tables...and oh lordy, I'm having trouble finding words to describe just how overwhelmingly lovely these tables are.  All the remnants were at least a yard, plenty for a beautiful wool skirt...and a few of them managed to wiggle their way into our respective loot bags. Sighhhhhhh.

Melinda's pile and my pile, eek
Melinda's goodies on the left and mine on the right 

our extras: incredibly lush wool remnants from Sultan's

Finally, a little Stash Love sidenote: I haven't bought any quilting fabric, not a bit, and I'm sticking to that.  But garment fabric?  Well, that's something else.

If you do go to Sultan's, please say hello from Melinda and me!



Catherine said...

Looks like a great day out!

Sue said...

lolol Garment fabric doesn't count as stash....Risking possible hypothermia does!

Chelsea said...

That really is a giant Alladin's cave if fabric! I'm planning a trip out to Toronto in the spring to visit friends so I'll have to add Sultan's to the list of places to visit Do you have to make an appointment with him or is it open to the public?

I love that you both bought bright coating. Winter gets so dreary ( yes, even here on the west coast), especially when everyone is all in black.

Archie The Wonder Dog said...

What a fabulous place! When are you starting work on your coat? (I can't wait to see it!)

quirky granola girl said...

that sounds so dreamy! when we visit (someday...) i'll have to check it out :)

Heather Lou said...