Even before I moved from Berkeley to Boulder, I had heard about both Tattered Cover Book Store and Denver Fabrics. They were the premier stores in the time zone and among the best in the nation. Legendary would not be an understatement.
Did you know that National Jewish Hospital in Denver began as the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives? Jewish girls and women who worked in the garment industry in NYC were especially susceptible to consumption both due to crowding and inhaled fibers, which weakened their lungs. National Jewish treated the sick, without regard for ability to pay. Jewish organizations raised money to send the sick out to Denver and to pay for their medical care.
The women and girls who recovered founded the garment manufacturing industry in Denver.
All this is a digression to say that there were a lot of garmentos in Denver with links to the NYC and LA garment trade; one family founded Denver Fabrics. The array of top quality old stock designer stuff sold on rolls at DF was amazing. As .the. fabric store for the outdoor-obsessed Rocky Mountain region, they also stocked a room full of outdoor recreation fabric. Add their bridal and home dec departments and you had one stop shopping.
Oh, if you joined their DF Club (mailing list) for $15/year, they gave you 30% discounts on all patterns and books and loaned sewing VHS tapes for free.
Denver Fabrics moved from Denver to bigger quarters in Littleton, but then had to downsize a few years later (but in the same location.)
Times changed. Amazon arrived. Joann's perpetually marked patterns down by 40%. Manufacturing moved overseas and designer dead stock was harder to source. People quit sewing garments and moved to quilting. Times were so lean, the former owners sold the name, Denver Fabrics, to Fashion Fabrics Club in STL.
Some long-time employees of DF bought the store from the founding family and are trying to reinvent the sewing store. It's a totally different time and I have to be careful to not lament what I miss.
The biggest change is that they moved from Littleton to south Aurora and doubled the floorspace to 40,000 square feet. It's cavernous.
|Plenty of parking and you'll need it to get to suburbia.|
|Panorama from the front entrance.|
|New NY Designer stuff on near right racks. Older stuff on shelves to left and behind.|
This is the place to shop in Denver if you need to make a wedding or special occasion dress.
|The depth of the silk selection is impressive.|
|Longarm studio. Rent time or pay someone to quilt for you.|
|Batting sold at realistic prices every day (not Joann's mark-up or internet bargain prices.)|
|Bag findings, patterns and material all in one place.|
Oops, did I mention that they had a well-organized bargain fabric area? CF is also an odd-jobber of fabrics.
|Bargain fabric ($3-$5/yd) is organized by color in a rainbow.|
|Also bargain flat folds. Not pictured, the bargain silk remnant area.|
I ran out of steam and did not explore the Home Dec or Outdoor area last weekend. They sell high quality pillow inserts at reasonable prices. They're much better than stuff I ordered off the internet or found at IKEA and only slightly more expensive.
You'll have to imagine the thread and zipper selection.
I was disappointed in the button selection because I remember the wall of a la carte buttons in the old, old store. It wasn't quite like Britex, but maybe half the selection. Today's CF selection is kind of pedestrian in comparison.
They sell machines and have a classroom and a meeting room (in addition to the longarm studio.)
The staff is very helpful and knowledgeable. They are the best part of shopping at CF.
It's almost 41 miles each way from Boulder. (With each successive move, they get further and further from Boulder.) I had to make IKEA and LL Bean runs, which are sort of in the south Denver area.
South Denver is undergoing explosive growth. Roads are congested and constantly under construction. People drive way crazier in Denver than in California. I almost got t-boned by a jacked up Jeep that was cutting in and out of gridlocked traffic. How he could have not seen a minivan is beyond me. I arrived at CF so shell-shocked, my pulse did not go down to normal after a full hour of stroking fabric.
|I stroked this silk crepe de chine remnant while walking around the store. It came home with me.|
EFF is a jam-packed jewel box of a store that has a surprising amount of what I need (and didn't even know I needed.) In fact, I found that CF didn't have the French grosgrain that I wanted. I know that EFF stocks it. It's in a drawer and you have to ask, but they have it.
Additionally, Boulder has a Joann's and Fabricate. Then I have The Fabric Store, Mood and SAS in my neighborhood in LA. There are also many other great fabric stores in LA in areas that I frequent less often.
I've decided that everything is much farther away in Colorado but traffic moves (somewhat) faster. Overall, CO means more time spent driving than LA!
I did found out that the light-rail H line comes within 2 miles of CF. I can bike to bus rapid transit (BRT) from Boulder to downtown Denver's Union Station, bike a mile through downtown Denver traffic to the light-rail station, take it to 9-mile station in Aurora, and then bike through Cherry Creek Reservoir state park to the store. It can take 2 hours each way if I time it just right. Or I can just shop local.
If you are flying into Denver, CF is off I-225, due south of the airport. You can land, pick up a rental car, and shop CF on your way to the mountains.
Colorado Fabrics is having a grand opening on Saturday March 4, 2017. It sounds like great fun. I hope you check out the store because I hope they stay in business a long, long, long time.