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.
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.