25 August 2010

Fabric Searching on the Cheap

 

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My current favorite “cheap” fabric:   Calico Corners sells this fabric as Vienna Flowers Vintage for $31.99.  Robert Allen sells it as Eleria Green Tea, wholesale it is a lot less.

 

I was searching  for an inexpensive fabric for a client when an email from Calico Corners caught my eye.  I’ve been disappointed with Calico Corners ever since they changed policy – no more in-store stock, you can only order fabric.  Well, I’ve got the Decorative Center for that, if I want to wait.  Calico Corners was always good for that last minute job – run in and run out.  I’m not sure if this is a chain-wide policy change, but that’s how it is in Houston.  Wow – what a great business decision – make your customers wait.   I haven’t been back since.   Still, a quick look at some of their “newer” fabrics caught my eye.  Some I’ve been seeing around a lot lately. 

 

 

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For instance, this blue and white Ikat from Calico Corners seems to be everywhere these days.  The cotton Kalah Ikat comes in both navy and spice, retailing at $23.99.

 

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A recent spotting of the Calico Corner Kalah Ikat was on the online magazine Lonny when they showed Ellie Somerville’s apartment.

 

 

image Recently, Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home used two panels of the Calico Corners Kalah Ikat, framed in this dining room.  I think this is such a great idea!  The bright blue bounces off the deep red painted walls. 

 

 

image Apartment Therapy ran this question about Tyler Dawson’s curtains.   She used the Suzanne Rheinstein ikat by Lee Jofa.  Pricey, certainly.   But doesn’t it look very similar to the Calico Corners Kalah Ikat in spice?  

 

 

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The spice Kalah Ikat from Calico Corner is a dead ringer for the much more expensive Lee Jofa Ikat.

 

image The Suzanne Rheinstein Ikat for Lee Jofa comes in several colors.  I prefer the softer blue than this brighter blue. It is a gorgeous fabric.  But, not everyone can or wants to spend the money when there is another fabric that looks very similar and costs much less. 

 

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The interior designer and blogger Urban Grace used the pricey Rheinstein ikat in her kitchen window.  HERE.

 

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As always – first check with Lewis and Sheron Textile Co. when looking for inexpensive fabric copies.   They seem to beat everyone’s prices.   Above are two ikats that rival the originals and the Calico Corners copies. 

 

 

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Another popular fabric that is often copied is the Suzani.    The suzani from  Calico Corner reminds me of two different fabrics.   

 

 

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Their “Suzanni” shown on the ottoman comes in three colorways at $32.99

 

 

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It is almost a dead ringer for the beautiful Carlton V Suzani, shown here in a bedroom designed by Sara Gilbane.   Gorgeous!  I can only imagine how much this room cost in fabric, the  Carlton V is not cheap and certainly the Calico Corners fabric would be a huge savings. 

 

 

imageThe Calico Corner Suzanni in Jewel is a copy of one of the more popular  Brunschwig and Fils suzani, Dzhambul. 

 

image Brunschwig’s suzani included in this tent’s fabrics.

 

 

 

image The Brunschwig suzani first showed up in the blogosphere here in this bedroom by Krista Ewart in 2007.

 

 

 

image Popular blogger Style Court covered her bench a year earlier in 2006 – in Dzhambul.   Recently, the fabric has shown up again.

 

 

 

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First online magazine Lonny showed wing chairs covered in the Brunschwig suzani at  Tom Dolby and Drew Frist’s Hamptons house.  I love the way the walls are painted to blend with the fabric.

 

 

 

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And then, blogger Little Green Notebook used it for her parent’s living room.  Except, here – she actually used the copy of the fabric from Lewis and Sheron.

 

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While Calico Corners charges $32.99 for their copy of the Brunschwig’s fabric, Lewis and Sheron charges only $24.98 for their copy. 

 

 

 

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Calico Corners line of assorted suzanis. 

 

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The Calico Corner’s Corazon Seaglass suzani at $58.99 reminds me of the Donghia suzanis.

 

 

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The Donghia Suzani is much more expensive than the Calico Corners Corazon suzani, but its a good copy.

 

 

 

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More favorites of the new fabrics from Calico Corners are from the French Stripes Collection.    Much quieter than the other bold ethnic prints, these cotton/linen blends are from $29.99 to $36.99 and they seem to be an answer to the burlap and natural linen craze of the past year. 

 

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Here, designer Carol Glasser used pricey original ticking as a table cloth.

 

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From Veranda, original ticking is more costly than the  Calico Corners copies.   Shannon Bowers interior.

 

 

 

image This Calico Corners fabric, Florabunda, is a a linen blend for $22.99.   It reminded me of a Bennison print, all faded with wonderfully large flowers.

 

 

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It’s extremely hard to copy a Bennison fabric since they are hand blocked, but their Dragon Flower does seem similar to the Florabunda I think.

 

 

 

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   Ballard Designs’ Suzanne Kasler Collection recently debuted beautiful new linens.  The soft blue is a favorite of mine.  All linens, shown above, retail for $32.00 but are now on sale for $28.00.

 

 

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Suzanne Kasler’s linens for Ballard Designs.  The blush and mineral are both so pretty. 

 

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Robert Allen’s Eleria in Green Tea and Biscotti

 

When it was all said and done, the fabric I want for my client is a personal favorite – the Robert Allen linen, Eleria.   I first saw this fabric in a house nearby mine and fell in love with it.  This neighbor had used the fabric in the biscotti colorway for curtains in the master bedroom.  The biscotti has a lot aqua in it, while the green tea colorway has raspberry and peacock blue.   The green tea colorway will be perfect against the coffee brown linen I plan to use on my client’s sofa.  The best part is the price, it wholesales  for under $20 and that can’t be beat. 

 

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A closeup of the green tea colors – the leaves are a light and dark brown which picks up the sofa colors.   I want to use two raspberry velvet pillows on the sofa, along with one or two Eleria pillow. 

 

But of course, others have used this fabric before me.  Again, the blogger Little Green Notebook used it for curtains in a client’s bedroom.   She found her fabric at Calico Corners under the name Vienna Flower Vintage for $31.99 HERE.    Interestingly, the Biscotti colorway is available at Calico Corners, but only in silk!  It costs $57.99   A lot of the online fabric houses sell Eleria, mostly for around $30.00.  

 

 

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Little Green Notebook used Eleria Green Tea for curtains in a master bedroom HERE

 

 

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For my client, I plan to use the Eleria for curtains, just like these above.  It looks great against her existing fabrics and wall color, but the problem is that she doesn’t like the birds.  I am trying to explain to her that once the fabric is hanging she won’t really see the birds – as you can tell in this picture.   I like how the dark brown shades look against the fabric, which is exactly how I want to use it, if only she can get over her bird phobia.  Wish me luck!!!

 

Do you have a favorite “cheap” fabric you like to use?  

 

NOTE:   The new Skirted Roundtable is now ready for listening.  It’s just the three of us, Linda, Megan and myself, talking about all the recent changes in the magazine world.  Thank you for your continued support – to listen, go HERE.

87 comments:

  1. I'm in love these days with Calico Corner's new French Stripes Collection. The red/white stripe is a favorite and I'm thinking of slipcovering a wingback in it.
    The Robert Allen linen for your client is gorgeous, and I can see it with the raspberry velvet pillows. Sounds yummy. Hopefully she will get over her bird phobia!

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  2. love the French Stripes as well, and the Robert Allen linen is lovely, tell her they are Egrets, a distinct dinosaur (they were you know). Perhaps she is interested in them, not knowing they were birds, or you can only hope she has children. That will pique their interest and demand that she accept the "bird".

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  3. French Stripes Collection is so lovely.
    My favorite fabric is now and alwayss linen.
    Have a great week!

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  4. I really like canvas (no secret there) and love using it - I can paint on it too which I love. I get the painters cloth on when it is on sale. I also love white denim.
    As for print, I love stripes.
    pve

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  6. I had no idea Calico Corners had made such an awful change. Really, wasn't that the point? Go there. Get fabric. Scheesh.

    Amazing how similar the Florabunda is to Bennison. No doubt the hand of it is different. Nothing feels as yummy as Bennison linen.

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  7. I like the fabric, but I don't love them. I know fabric will date a space quicker than any other element so I tend to go with more timeless prints like the solids and stripes that you found. Great post!

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  8. I’ll be honest I have a cheap-ish source in Belgian for amazing heavy linens in any color that I can’t get enough of at the moment. Prints and I are sort of on the outs at the moment since I can’t seem to find what I want but isn’t that always the case?

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  9. Gosh, I used to shop the Boca Raton Calico all the time and they had great prices and 4 rooms with
    bolts of fantastic fabric. I have been under a rock up here in Maine. Boston is the closest place for a huge fabric place. I miss the trade. Enjoyed this so much.
    yvonne

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  10. I love fabric shopping, sadly where I live there is one fabric shop. Then if I find nothing there I have to go to the tiny bit of John Lewis where they have like 4 rolls.

    Its no good.

    xx

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  11. I too was disappointed when Calico Corners changed to having to order fabrics rather than being able to buy on the spot. I loved being able to go in, buy my fabric and then go home and sew. Enjoyed this post. I guess it really pays to shop around for fabric.

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  12. Another frustrated ex-Calico shopper here. Say you drive the hour to the store and look at their samples. Return home and remember the one you kind of liked but didn't get a swatch of. Run to your laptop and try to bring it up for another look. NOT THERE! That's right. All the samples they have in their stores aren't necessarily on-line. Wha? I called. "It would take too long to load all the pictures of fabrics we carry." Huh?

    I'm still in mourning over the loss of the Calico Corners outlet store that was 10 minutes from me. Bah!

    Ellen

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  13. My guess is that Calico Corners was trying to eliminate maintaining a costly inventory. I'm surprised though, they they didn't simply cut down on the number of fabrics that they carry in-store. I'm one who likes to touch fabric (not just small samples) and roll it out and see the big picture, so to speak.

    We had a wonderful store nearby that carried decorator fabrics from France, in very wide widths. It was expensive but you didn't need as much yardage. I use decorator fabrics for a different purpose - I make handbags and tote bags. I'm am dying to make a large tote bag from one of those Suzani fabrics!

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  14. I'm loving that Robert Allen in the Biscotti! How beautiful is that!?!?!? Love those colors together, they'll look great with the choc. brown linen! :) I can't wait to see the finished product!

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  15. holly mathis introduced me to this fabric, its very similar to the first two you mentioned...

    http://www.fabric.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=eeb4c352-9e43-49a2-acde-b194e5d6c0a5

    and calico corners carries this version:

    http://www.calicocorners.com/product/designer+fabrics+for+the+home/shop+fabrics+by+color/rust/olana+spice.do

    even better is that its half price of the ones you mentioned...

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  16. Yikes. No Calico Corners locally but I shopped there in nearby Atlanta - wasn't aware of this change. How can a brick & mortar fabric store not sell fabric in the store? Duh! I love Key West by Calico Corners and Lisbon. Thanks for this post - price is a concern for everybody these days!

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  17. I am a ghost blogger for a discount fabric store that carries a large selection of Robert Allen Fabric, often lower than my wholesale cost at Robt. Allen. Please check it out at onlinefabricstore.com. I dont think you will be disappointed in their inventory and stop by and read my decorating blog if you have a moment.

    I so agree with you on the Calico Corner issue. It was a good spot to stop in and pick up a few yards for a quick job and I wonder if they are aware of all the business they have lost. Our local store looks like a ghost town when you walk in.

    Love you blog, btw.

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  18. i agree about Calico acting like the dec center..ha! great post...i uses these sources often...many on fabric.com and housefabric.com lots of great geometrics from robert allen even waverly has a great grey one..under $15!

    www.hollymathisinteriors.com

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  19. This is a great post. I am amazed at how sophisticated Calico Corners has become - their design team really knows how to be competitive.

    I had not seen the French linen stripe, but it is exactly what I am looking for - for a skirt under my kitchen sink (which I don't even own yet!) Can't wait to see these in person. ...and when I do a post on my new sink skirt, I'll make sure to link back to this post!

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  20. I really love the Suzanis. Once you've found the fabric you want, you might as well shop it to death to find the best price, your going to live with it for years, and if you are purchasing yardage, you can save a lot of money!
    Thanks,
    Liz

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  21. Great post - like many other posters, I love the French Stripes - would be great for tabletop also. I have 2 very large armchairs with ottoman covered with the Bennison Dragon Flower from over 10 years ago. My husband has unfortunately gone through the arms (yes, I know - should have had arm covers). I looked at the Calico Corners Florabunda but it's just not the same - not the same depth or color range. But the Bennisons, which I truly love, have become so pricey. So what to do, what to do...

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  22. You did a lot of research on this post, Joni. I love all the fabrics and pictures you have featured. Love the Ikat fabric in Spice, Joni! I have that color going on in my dining room and I just love it in there. That pattern would lighten things up a bit in there with the white in it. Something I may have to think about. I also love the lighter blue rather than the darker/brighter blue.

    I did not know that about Calico Corners. The last time I was in one was in May but that was an outlet in PA. So, what will they actually have in the store? What will be the point of going into a location then?

    The Suzanne Kasler linen in Mineral is the color of my master bedroom. No point to that information, Joni, just mentioning it because I'm glad to see it's still a color that's around after 4-5 years.

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  23. Just watching the design segment of the Today Show. Designer featured the color gray and ikat as the new trends. You're spot on!

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  24. Wonderful post. You have me thinking about livening things up with patterns.

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  25. Hi Joni from Calif. Yes Calico did this to all of its stores. I agree, poor choice on their part. It will have everyone running to other sources for sure. I gave you a shout out on my blog today, Not that you need anymore recognition I think everyone that blogs knows who Joni is but I did a post on my new gold sconces and how in looking I loved gold with gray and the post you did on gray was wonderful and I think everyone should read it!!! Have a great day,Kathysue

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  26. I just got Bennison's Brown Roses on Ebay for $55- per yard. I first used the same pattern over 20 years ago for my apartment.

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  27. Joni, you always put so much time and knowledge into to your posts. You are so right! "that once the fabric is hanging she won't see the birds." I always try tell my clients it is all about the pattern scale and the combo of colors when we are choosing a fabric for drapes. But sometime it is just hard to get over what the pattern depicts.
    You have such a good eye, hopefully she will just trust you and go for it.

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  28. i was in lewis and sharon in atlanta recently and noticed (who couldn't?) that their inventory was cut drastically and they had many samples. i asked about it and they explained that carrying large bolts of fabric was too costly in these tough economic times. they said that a bolt of fabric can take up to five years to sell--and this was in atlanta! i think many businesses are having to make very tough decisions right now just to survive right now--not necessarily by their choice. the real estate crash has far reaching effects, unfortunately, and many people are being hurt by it.

    cammie churdar

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  29. I sure hope someone from Calico reads this post, and especially the comments from {past} customers. So frustrating when you've been used to buying in the store and have to leave empty handed! Then again, it's forced me to go to JoAnn for the identical RA fabric at less than half the price. Of course, when you do go to Calico, the company line is...our business couldn't be doing any better!....I think somebody's head should roll.

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  30. Joni,

    I'm curious, is the fabric content the same for the fabric you chose, Eleria, and Calico Corners' Vienna Flower? I have debated about using that, in Green Tea, for a long time. I've never seen it in person, but I love it!

    I'm sorry to hear about Calico Corners. I'm sure it is about money and the economy and that's just plain sad.

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  31. Thank you for sharing these great fabrics. I'm not even a "blue" girl and yet I'm so drawn to that particular Ikat! I have room envy over that apartment highlighted in Lonny. LOVE IT!
    xo Elizabeth

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  32. Check out fabricguru.com -- andther selections of Robert Allen fabrics .... might be something there at a VERY nice price!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  33. Thanks fro sharing these beautiful fabrics and their less costly alternatives!
    Teresa

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  34. GREAT post! I love getting cheap fabric and was disgusted with Calico Corner's change. For those in the NW, Portland, OR, Fabric Depot, who will order anything for you at 40% off, plus they have a huge selection, (quality varies at times). I'll take your fabric suggestions and price them here. (They have an online presence) Mill End Store also gets great "mill ends"..

    A favorite "cheap" source--I picked up a toile at the Pierre Deux website for $15/yard last month, so bargains can lurk in unexpected places. You can also find fabrics on Ebay, unfortunately quantity may be an issue.

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  35. Great post, Joni. I used to shop at Lewis and Sheron when I lived in Atlanta...a little out-of-the-way, but great deals. The bargain basement was always a great place too, if you could survive affixiation by formaldehyde fumes. Hope you are well! xx

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  36. This is a great post...I'm saving (as usual) to study in depth. thanks.

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  37. Joni--love this post. You know, I haven't been in Calico Corners in a couple of years (although I do shop them online---some of their Thomas Paul prices beat Duralee wholesale I've found) and had no idea they only do orders now...agree...what is the point?

    Re: ringer fabrics I recently did a post on a close knock-off. Compare Clarence House Flowering Quince to Braemore's "Flowering Branch" which can be found on the internet for around $15 a yard!

    http://www.maddiegdesigns.com/look-for-less-clarence-house-flowering-quince-fabric/

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  38. Great post Joni. Have you recovered from Lizzy leaving the nest? xoxo

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  39. Thanks for all the great info Joni. I LOVE fabric and the ones you have shown us here are gorgeous.

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  40. Unprimed linen and cotton artist canvas works well for upholstery, and comes in 84" wide rolls. It's super cheap, and should work for that rough Belgian look. I haven't been too thrilled with the Calico Corner fabrics-- for me the quality is so-so, and they fade fast and unevenly.

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  41. I am really happy to see your post on patterns. I love patterns, and even though I admire the belgian look, if I tried it, I would pattern up my house afterward in a matter of weeks. Plus, I just ordered from CC and the fabric came in really fast. It's at the craftsman now. The fabric at CC has improved so much it's worth it even if you have to order it.

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  42. the calico corners i shop here near seattle is the same way. orders only. i was shocked when i walked in last year and was told every fabric is now ordered. i still buy from them... catching their 25% off sales. i like browsing there too if only to see and feel the fabrics... then perhaps finding them cheaper online. great post, as usual, joni! pam

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  43. They closed our Calico in North Scottsdale, and I haven't been to the other location to see what is what! Thanks for doing this post, it was helpful, interesting and entertaining like always! Do some more on specific design items, your take is always appreciated.Going to SRT now!

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  44. You are right about ALL the Calico Corners switching to samples only. They said that MOST of their customers usually order their furniture from them, and it was not profitable to carry all that inventory. So, like most designers, I never go in there anymore. Lewis and Sheron is going part that way also. Bobbie said that it is just too costly to carry all that inventory. POOP!

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  45. Dear Joni and fellow fabric enthusiasts,

    I understand completely why many of you are upset that Calico isn't stocking so many big bolts of fabric now. We're all into instant gratification! However, the trade-off is that the Calico Corners - Calico Home stores can offer TWICE the selection of fabrics to customers--more than 5,000 SKUs now, making it much more likely that you'll find what you want. And isn't that really the point, rather than walking out with a fabric that day?

    The main reason that Calico changed its merchandising strategy was to make it possible to add new fabrics more quickly, making the stores more fashion forward. Many of you have noticed these stylish new selections--and there's a lot more coming for Fall (Iman Home in September and Thom Filicia in November, for starters).

    About 2,500 fabrics are shown online at www.calicocorners.com. We've not posted many of the plain dyes, for example, because it's hard to read the texture and finish of a solid color fabric on a computer screen. Our online inventory is growing constantly as new fabrics are added each season.

    The stores are stocked with mini-bolts, large hanging samples and grommeted samples; they take up a lot less room than 40-50 yard bolts. Most customers don't need their fabric that day to start a project, as it's usually going to a workroom--and Calico will ship directly to the workroom so that the project can be started quickly. Calico ships almost 95% of orders within one or two business days.

    The Calico stores will cut swatches from their mini-bolts. In addition, customers may borrow ANY of the fabrics to take home and try with their other furnishings, at no charge. The smallest fabric displays at Calico are larger than any designer showroom memo samples available.

    Of course, in addition to offering great fabrics, the stores specialize in great service with knowledgeable sales associates and in-home designers. They assist with color and pattern and coordination, designing window treatments, figuring yardage, selecting trims, hardware and much more.

    The Calico stores' goal is to be the best retail source for custom decorating--and not just a fabric store. Everything we do is designed to make the process a friendly, fun and creative experience.


    Thanks to all who are concerned about the changes at Calico. When September arrives, come in to see what's new for Fall and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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  46. Good luck with birds...sometimes it is hard for clients to see beyond the big flat piece of fabric. I am sure you will be able to sway her. --Gretchen O.

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  47. Hi Joni,

    I love floral chintz, which is currently out of style, so I have a hard time finding patterned fabric I like. I'm currently looking for a leopard print that isn't too heavy. And I just bought some beautiful faux ostrich fabric from Robert Allen that I absolutely love!

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  48. Hi, Squeak--
    Saw your comment about leopard prints--and although the following patterns aren't chintz, they are cotton prints and may fit your needs. All of these patterns are online at www.CalicoCorners.com and all are affordably priced:
    PALI, SIBOHAN, CHEETAH, SHEENAH and LEOPARD.

    The latter is a Ralph Lauren pattern and is not available for purchase online but is sold through all the Calico stores.

    Another leopard pattern, PANTHERA, is a lightweight jacquard woven and may be suitable for your needs (you could even make slipcovers out of this).

    You can enter any of these names in the Search Box at the top right corner of the Calico website and the pattern should pop right up. Hope this helps--and happy decorating!

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  49. That's unfortunate. The birds are my favorote part!

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  50. How wonderful to see your fabric "showcase"! I love that people are choosing strong print and bold color for their environments. New to the blogging scene-- you may enjoy a peek at my own designs! langnerdzign.com
    Always looking forward to your posts,
    Gretchen

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  51. Jan, thank you for answering the concerns about Calico Corners. Of course I think we all understand the economy of the situation, but in the end, Calico Corners filled a need for immediate gratification - the go-to place to get fabric when you need it. You could see the entire piece, not just a small sample. All that is now lost. It's a real shame, but I'm sure people will get used to the changes in the long run. Thanks again!
    Joni

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  52. i love that ikat of course and just used the LA sommers on another project in gray.

    cannot wait to see the room you're talking about. i know it'll be gorgeous!!

    Greenhouse fabrics is another place with really cheap fabric.

    thanks so much for the mention!
    xoxo,
    lauren

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  53. i love that ikat of course and just used the LA sommers on another project in gray.

    cannot wait to see the room you're talking about. i know it'll be gorgeous!!

    Greenhouse fabrics is another place with really cheap fabric.

    thanks so much for the mention!
    xoxo,
    lauren

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  54. I love that you share this kind of info with us "lay" people and don't try to keep it all to yourself! you are very generous with your knowledge and your wonderful taste!

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  55. Hi Jan!

    Thank you very much for the suggestions. They're all great!

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  56. Joni-

    I grew up in the deep south (Louisiana) where birds are found everywhere - outside and inside - literally and figuratively - and are highly revered for their beauty. When I moved to Boston, I met with my first round of emphatic resistance to the images of birds in fabrics, art work, etc. After realizing there was a pattern here - I began to ask my clients what the birds represented to them.

    Each ethnic group has some aversion to birds that involves death, illness or financial misfortune - just depends on which ethnic group(s) you ask. My advice as a designer about this folklore is simple - give it up and move on to the next gorgeous fabric. Folklore is clearly an irrational emotion - not worth getting yourself or your client all worked up over a few birds!

    Great and timely post with beautiful fabrics! It just goes to prove that good design (and gorgeous home furnishings products) is available to everyone that has an interest in creating a beautiful life. Everyone has a budget - some are just more grand than others!

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  57. PS - I have ordered a fist of samples from http://lsfabrics.com/ --Thanks for the great tip, you are awesome!

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  58. I too have been disappointed in Calico Corner not stocking anymore. As for Jan's comment about borrowing samples, their policy is that memo samples have to be returned in a day or two and that's not always workable for professionals who have to schedule meetings with clients who may or may not be local. So, yes, like many here, once Calico went to this new policy, I've not been in since. But, since most of their business is direct to consumer, it's likely a fine policy. I just wish they'd do a better job with their windows in the Hanover, MA store - they used to be so inviting and now it looks closed all the time!

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  59. It is amazing to see how similar some fabrics are to each other, a part of the price. If the quality is also comparable it is absolutely a win win situation. Joni, I can't believe how accurate your posts are, you must have a skilled group of assistants (just kidding)

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  60. Everyone probably knows this already, but it bears repeating. Ballard Designs has fabric by the yard at very good prices. Right now they are having a sale. They also have quite decent upholstery, for the price, including some good fully upholstered beds. It's mostly foam and flat springs, not spring down or Marshall units, but that's the trade-off for the price. I had one of their daybeds, and was quite happy with it, sadly I had to sell it when we moved. They will do COM, as well. I don't work for them, I'm just a customer.

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  61. When I started seeing the trailers for "Sex and the City 2" I said to several people "Well, this means that the market is going to be saturated with Ikat, Suzani's and harem pants. Ugh." I hate it when I am right.

    My favorite cheap fabric source? I rencently went to Lancaster County~ home of the Amish. In a small home/store I found not one, but 3 very, very old blue ticking mattress covers. They were filthy dirty, still had feathers everywhere, but the seller wanted $10. For everything. I felt like the woman in the Ikea commerical: "Hurry start the car." I just picked up my new (old) wingchairs that now are wearing old ticking slipcovers. The arm even features the original owners name on a tiny label. Jacob Peachy. Peachy indeed.
    Will reveal next week.

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  62. Joni, thanks so much for the mentions! I love getting the look of very expensive prints for a lot less. It's not for every client, but I love using Robert Allen and P Kaufmann fabrics in place of Bennison and Brunschwig. Sometimes the budget is just not there.

    It's so funny that your client hates the birds in the RA print. My client did too!! And I promised her the same thing - the birds get lost in the curtains. She's really happy with the room and so am I!

    xx

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  63. I'm so sorry to read this about Calico Corners - the change hasn't hit the Jacksonville store yet.

    In Florida, Boca Bargoons is a great place for discounted fabric.

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  64. Hi Joni, I read this before and came back to it today. So much information - thank you for the in-depth research! I'm all over the stripes, just like many of your other readers and completely in love with the suzani print too. I actually have a real suzani coverlet and have been thinking about using it to upholster an ottoman, but perhaps a printed fabric would be a better choice. Again, thank you.

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  65. A really, really great and well-researched post, Joni!

    Add me to the list of disappointed Calico shoppers. Mine (Pittsburgh) is over an hour away, not ideal for returning samples in a day or two. I just LOVED walking in and seeing all the big bolts of fabric.

    Jennifer in PA

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  66. A really, really great and well-researched post, Joni!

    Add me to the list of disappointed Calico shoppers. Mine (Pittsburgh) is over an hour away, not ideal for returning samples in a day or two. I just LOVED walking in and seeing all the big bolts of fabric.

    Jennifer in PA

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  67. Joni,

    I love this post! Thank you for all of the great tips!

    Kelly@40isthenew30

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  68. Joni,

    I love this post! Thank you for all of the great tips!

    Kelly@40isthenew30

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  69. The Robert Allen Eleria print in Biscotti has been one of my favorites for awhile now - and I plan on using it in my living room one of these days now! I love the chartreuse and turquoise in it.

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  70. The Calico Corners and Ballard Designs of the design world are sure offering some great alternatives to those of us that love it all but have a stingy budget!

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  71. If you live in the Atlanta area please stop by the Calico Corners in Dunwoody, we still have around 100 large bolts of beautiful fabics - includung silks at clearance prices for immediate gratification!! All of our in-stock trims are 50% off as well. Our sample botls range from 1-2 yards so you can feel them and see the full pattern too! If you need to order yardage, the timeframe is only 5-7 business days. We have a large, beautiful store w/ a friendly & knowlegable staff. Hope to see you soon! :) Oh, we also have 7 yards of the Vienna Floral/Vintage in stock! Come see our new look for fall....

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  72. I say poo-poo on Calico for for no longer carrying in stock fabrics.It really is not about having a larger selection as they say. It is really all about reducing inventory.

    I buy my drapery lining by the case from the mill. I have on occasion been in a hurry and needed to pick up some lining. Locally Calico does not even carry drapery lining any longer.If I have to wait on it being shipped then I might as well as order it my self.

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  73. I haven't been to our local Calico Corners in awhile. Last time I was there I did have to order the fabric for a client, but looked as if there were some options to buy onsite. I agree... why make us wait?

    Great post!!!

    xo,
    cristin

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  74. In Houston, I still like roaming the aisles at Glick. My girls love collecting the pre-cut samples then have fun crafting with them when we get home.

    Would you believe my very first Quatrine purchase 11 years ago came with four Bennison pillows and I had them replaced? I was too young to know (but a wise employee at Quatrine told me to keep the fabric, so I'm still looking for a way to use it)!

    Happy weekend!
    Linsey

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  75. I feel your pain Joni. As a fabriholic I spend hours and hours searching for fabric online.

    As far as Calico Corners is concerned: their sales may have been slipping, but changing themselves into a closed showroom like the ones in a design center is a recipe for disaster. Consumers won't wait for anything anymore - and if you have a "retail" storefront you are courting disaster when you really don't have anything to sell. Shoot, clients don't even want to wait for you to visit them for a consultation. I don't go to CC anymore.

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  76. I love fabric and this post is great. Times are different and I know as a designer I have to rethink my projects and fabric selections. My sister owned a fabric store in the 90's and I love fabrics for a "bolt" price...1/2 of cut yardage for custom orders. Thanks you SO much for this story and for being such a great blog. I will research some of my favorite place and share them on my blog.
    PS I will always love chintz in beautiful prints.ihave older clients and that is all they want.
    Jane Coslick

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  77. I missed those post back in August. I too owned a retail brick-n-mortar design center and fabric store. I closed it a year ago and switched to a model offering only in-home appointments and sale of fabrics through ecommerce.

    I know how costly it was for me to inventory fabric so can only begin to imagine the cost for Calico Corners.

    It is a huge investment and very difficult to sit on those dollars. As frustrating as it is for shoppers it is a much more sensible business model.

    I miss my store every day, it tugs at my heartstrings, believe me. But, as you can imagine, tugging at heartstrings vs. pursestrings is a tug-of-war that easily gives way to the obvious answer=reduce the overhead!

    I have to say, I still enjoy visiting our local Calico Corners because the 2 or 3 yard piece is enough for me. I also enjoy being able to visit more frequently because the turnover is more frequent.

    Good post Joni, as usual!

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  78. Adore the minerallinen by Ballard Designs and the French stripe line by Calico. Thx for passing this post along~just had a friend show me a peacock fabric she had picked out for a pillow on a sofa upholstery job. Are peacocks the next big thing I wonder...

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  79. I can't tell from the swatch - what color is mineral? blue-ish gray? I'm looking at some x-benches on ballard designs in this color that look gorgeous but I can't quite get a read on the color. Thanks!!

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