Northwest Fabrics and Notions Show, 19-20 September 2008

About the show
This show has been held in the Seattle area twice a year for about 15 years. I was interested in attending because it was within driving distance for me. It’s a fairly intimate show, with about 30 vendors, some of who represented multiple manufacturers. There were about 400 people pre-registered and by Friday afternoon, another 30 had registered at the door. At any one time, there seemed to be more exhibitors than visitors. Visitors were badged as Designer, Manufacturer, Retail, or Other. I was an Other, and vendors weren’t sure what to make of that.

The show was held in two of the Northwest Rooms at the Seattle Center. Doing my pre-show homework, I was a bit concerned that Magic the Gathering and other collectible card games book the Northwest Rooms frequently and that we might have hordes of rabid gamers to deal with. In fact, the venue was very quiet, and a finance motivational seminar down the hall was the only thing else going on. Besides the exhibit rooms, the show also provided a break room where you could sit down. And this being Seattle, the break room came with large urns of coffee.

Surprisingly for a Pacific Northwest regional show, there was little to no fabric on display for outdoor apparel. Silks and batiks were well represented, but by far the largest single fabric category was aimed at the target audience of fabric retailers serving quilters. There were several vendors showing trims ranging from simple ribbons and gimps through crystal bangles to fancy buttons. I did not notice anyone showing staple notions like twill tapes, interfacing or similar supplies, but I may have overlooked that.

Notable resources
Several of the vendors caught my eye as especially useful for the small DE, including two jobbers and a custom embroiderer. Lisa B also noted some suppliers of fine cottons, and may have a more comprehensive trip report in the member forums. For contact information of all the vendors listed, go here in the forum.

Rimmon Imported Fabric, an LA-area jobber, had a very eclectic mix of fabrics on display, most with less than 50 yards available, and some with less than 5 yards. Their minimum cut is 10 yards (although there seems to be some wiggle room if you are ordering multiple items) and their prices are really very good (many prices in $3 to $8/yard range). In addition to showing twice a year at this shop, one of the Rimmon brothers also does a coffee-house “show” for Portland-area designers a couple of times a year.

London Textiles, a NJ-area jobber, carries famous name designer textiles. The fabrics on display at the show tended toward heavier fabrics, like bottom weights or upholstery weight, although certainly there were sheers and dress shirtings in the mix. Minimum cut is 10 yards. Their price point is noticeably higher than Rimmon’s (many prices in $8 to $12 range) and shipping from the East coast is less attractive to me, but they do have a Seattle-area representative with a book of swatches.

ABC Embroidered Accessories was the biggest surprise for me. They had several oversized binders full of applique samples and were selling sample yardage of embroidered fabric at the show. I stopped in to ask about custom work, and found that their minimums for either appliques or custom embroidered yardage are well within reach for a small DE. Their minimum for appliques is 300 pieces and for yardage is 15 yards. They do not do embroidery of garments, but they can embroider area, borders, or isolated motifs on yardage up to 120 inches wide. Embroidery across 60 inch wide fabric is routine for them.

Given an accurately prepared applique or embroidery design, ABC Embroidered Accessories can return a quote in about two days, and produce samples for approval in about two weeks. Each production order takes about two weeks. They manufacture in Taiwan but ship domestic orders from Phoenix, AZ. They ship finished goods from Taiwan on a weekly basis.

Lisa B spotted a couple of lines of cotton prints more finely woven than the typical quilting fabric, better suited for nice apparel. Art Gallery Fabrics, represented by Cindy and Natalie Nelson have been designing fabric prints for about 5 years. Their designs are very attractive, with a focus on classic geometric and floral motifs. In the Beginning Fabrics, local to Seattle, were represented by six or seven people according to the show directory. hey seem to have quite a diverse range of print styles, from whimsical through antique patterns to pure textures. Lisa says their fabrics look better in person than on their website.

For contact information of all the vendors listed, go here in the forum.

Get New Posts by Email

6 comments

  1. Kathleen Fasanella says:

    So in the end, how many of you ended up meeting? The last I saw in the forum, you had ten or so people lined up. Sorry to hear the show was so small. I’m hoping you all got to meet up at least.

  2. My supplier, Barb Alexander from BatikButik.com was there. Her fabrics are rayon and are just wonderful to work with. She’s also very easy to work with. I’m going to Bali with her in Oct/Nov to visit the factory where the fabric is made. I think of her as my personal designer…LOL. No minimums, high quality. Wholesale only.

    Marguerite

  3. Leslie Wiberg says:

    I got there late on Saturday and although I spoke with Andrea D. via cell, I didn’t make eye contact with anyone. It is a shame too. There will be other opportunities, I hope. I get to Seattle and Portland several times a year.

    Rimmon did carry a wide range of fabrics, didn’t they. I ordered a red leather skin/hide (cow) from them. They also had some great other skins; lots of lamb and maybe one or two goat. I will have to keep in touch and make it to their Portland coffee house “show”.

    Also, Varley Enterprises, LLC from Portland, was there representing several lines. Quite an eclectic mix also. Troy Corp was one; a jobber with designer fabrics. I think I saw a lot of Nicole Miller in their samples. Prices were $2.00 and up per yd. 15 yd minimum. They carried some nice wools also.

    Leslie

    I hope Barb from the BatikButik did well. Her fabrics are very nice indeed.

    While talking with a long time vendor, he mentioned that the number of vendors at each show has declined in recent years. However, he did say that the spring show is a little larger/busier.

  4. Hi Stuart,

    I like very much your post and it seemed to me very informative also. This used to be a big show, but in the latter years our rep Cindy thinks that it is organized itself very poorly and it was declining in size and importance. It didn’t have good promotion and does not have a real representation of all the types of textiles on the market. I feel that it is a shame, since these shows are made for costumers who often cannot be present at shows so big as Quilt Market due to the costs or don’t want to travel that far. Our designs were very well accepted and they happen perform very well in that area, we have many fans.

    Thanks,
    Patricia

  5. Mark Santangelo says:

    Kathleen

    Good morning

    My name is Mark Santangelo and I was reading your article about NW Show. My wife and I recently purchased the show. I have been involved with the show since it’s beginning in 1995. Before the NW Show there was a distributor show, The Aptex Show, which goes back to the early 60’s. I worked for Aptex since 1978 and was the GM until it’s sale in 2006. Aptex would attend the NW show with 10-15 booths with dress goods, jobbed goods and a full line of sewing notions. We stocked over 40,000 items, all sewing related, in our warehouse located 12 miles south of Seattle in the South Center mall area. We ran shuttles back and forth during the show for customers who wanted to make purchases or just run there hand over thousands of different fabrics and complete line of notions. But that was then and this is now.

    We intend to make some changes to the show in an effort to fill some gaps. Attracting a notion vendor will be priority and more dress good vendors and jobbers as well. You mentioned in your article that the show was close to you. I am located in Kent, WA and would like to talk with you to discuss what you feel you and your group would like to see more or less of in future shows.

    Sincerely

    Mark & Christine Santangelo
    The NW Fabric & Notion Show

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *