me and the city

park guell

Beach view

It’s been a week since I flew home from Barcelona and I am glad to be back!  Three weeks is a long time to be away from home, but it was a great few weeks setting up for an event for work and I even got to sneak in some touristy site-seeing (except for the Saturday I spent in bed with a stomach bug – yuck!).  Waking up with a view of the Mediterranean each day did not get old.


ribes y casal fabric1

It didn’t seem likely that it would happen, but I got a few hours free one afternoon and darted over to Ribes y Casals!  I love looking for fabric when I travel to cities and this was a store several of you recommended to me – it did not disappoint!  I only snagged this one photo inside the store since I wasn’t sure if it was ok to take photos, so I covertly took this one and went on my merry way.  What a wonderful store!  Everything was organized on tables in large rolls by fabric type and there were so many bold prints and bright colors.

What was different about this store compared to others I’ve been to, since I’ve never been to a fabric store outside of the US, is that you need to wait in line for a store clerk to come over and help you with your fabric selection, and you take them around the store and they cut out what you want.  I kept trying to get someone’s attention to help me with cutting my fabric, but then I noticed the looooong line everyone was standing in and put two and two together.  There’s no rush either if you need help, which is nice; I noticed a group of ladies running around with a clerk trying to find different kinds of fabric for their projects the whole time I was there.


ribes y casal

With my very limited Spanish, I found two beautiful poly crepes that were bright and colorful, like the city itself.  I’m thinking these will make some great dresses for summer!  Not pictured is a navy poplin I found with little white seahorses printed all over, perfect for a sleeveless Alder shirt variation.



Back at the machine

It felt good to sit down at my machine yesterday after no sewing in the past month.  I finished a Driftless Cardigan I started before I left, cut out a new project that should be done this week, and I jumped right in to Me Made May on Instagram.  Happy to be back home and in the swing of things again!



I rarely have the opportunity, when I travel for work, to do anything “fun” in the city that I’m visiting.  I fly in, have my meetings, and then I turn around and fly right back out.  This week was a different story – I flew to San Francisco on Monday for a Tuesday meeting, and then had the afternoon and evening free before my flight back to Boston early Wednesday morning (thank goodness I didn’t need to take a red-eye, those are the worst).  It was great to see the city, do some competitive market shopping for work, and of course, go to Britex Fabrics!!

Britex street sign

When my mom lived in San Francisco for a summer during the 60’s, she used to shop and buy her fabric at  Britex.  It was neat to be shopping at a fabric store that’s been around for so long, and I’m glad I convinced my co-worker to add it into one of our stops on the way back to our hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf.  I always look at the pretty fabrics on Britex’s website but can never pull the trigger to buy since their prices are way above what I typically spend on fabric at places like Mood.  However, since I didn’t know when I’d ever be back in San Francisco (the last time I was there was over 20 years ago as a little kid!), I kept an open mind and hunted for a “souvenir” for my trip.

Britex Fabric Wall

Holy cow – at first, it was overwhelming to take everything in since Britex is completely unlike any fabric store I ever shopped in.  It’s a veritable fabric boutique of everything arranged by color, with bolts neatly stacked on shelves – it almost felt like a fabric museum with how everything was so carefully and thoughtfully displayed, and I was worried about messing things up!  There are four floors total: the first floor has woolens, the second floor (where I spent most of my time) has all of their knits, cottons, linens, and home dec fabric, the third floor is their notions and trimmings floor, and all sorts of good deals on remnants can be found on the fourth floor.

Aesthetically, I loved how the fabric rolls were neatly lined up on tables and shelves, with the cheery technicolor fabric bolts lighting up the store.  However, it was a little challenging to really find what I was looking for – since all of the solids were arranged by color, linens were mixed with cotton jerseys and polyesters etc.  The rolls of printed silks, chiffons, and rayons were mixed together on stacked shelves, and I struggled to find a crepe-like polyester print that wasn’t so transparent.  I eventually gave up after going through the shelves and pulling out several rolls that didn’t meet what I was looking for.  Finally, I asked for help to understand the layout better and have some help locating the type of fabric I was looking for, which made a big difference in my shopping experience afterwards – should have done that in the first place.

Britex buttons and notions floor

It was fun poking around the third floor to see all of the buttons and trimmings – I could have spent so much longer up there looking at everything if I came to the store by myself.

Britex Fabric Haul

There were so many absolutely gorgeous pieces of fabric, many by high-end fashion designers, that it was hard to decide what I wanted to take home (and wouldn’t break the bank).  I landed on two pieces of fabric – a sweet rayon jersey with birds and butterflies for a Penny Raglan tee (just made my first one and I love it), and a floral pink and black rayon jersey for some kind of dress, maybe a wrap dress.  They had a few cute tote bags to choose from, but I liked this one the best – the opposite side has The Golden Gate Bridge, a perfect souvenir.

Sundae at Ghirardelli
And of course, the only proper way to end a trip in San Francisco – sundaes at Ghirardelli!