So, eons ago, Baltimore had an actual garment district. It covered several blocks in downtown Baltimore. In fact, the London Fog Company was started in Baltimore. The largest manufacturer of straw hats and umbrellas was once in Baltimore. We were *the* importer of Panama hats for a minute. Twelve years ago a button manufacturer actually burned down. Of course, all that has changed now. And there is just one fabric store left downtown in our old garment district.
Guss Woolens was started in 1919 and bought by the current owners in the mid 90s. I shop for fabric here because it’s locally owned and they have really really great men’s suitings and shirtings. Like more suitings than I’ve seen in place. Possibly ever. And yes, I’m counting G Street. And, well, if you go on a Saturday afternoon, there are a lot of seriously hot men who want your opinion on what to buy. Why so many hot men? Because we have two or three sports teams and those athletes are super tall or super big and muscular and often need custom tailoring. And who am I do deny the draping of fabric against their broad shoulders while delicately guiding their decisions on fabric?
The first floor is the cutting room where most of the in season suiting is. The shelves line both walls. And, the owner says at last inventory they had over 2,200 bolts of fabric. I’ve heard they even sell to Britex.
Four drawers like this have remnants of two to three yards between 12 and 20 dollars. Linens, wools, shirtings, silk twill, tie silk — you name it. They have it. Well, not like lace. But, you get the drift.
The second floor. Be still my heart. Stacks upon stacks upon stacks of two and three yard pieces for a pittance. Ok, not an actual pittance. But, easily for sale for 50 percent less than when they were on the bolt.
At any rate, this Patrones dress and the creamsicle Burda dress boast thier fabric. Three yard remnants are $20 or less. I had to literally put down the black duiponi silk. I tell you readers, only for you did I enter this store today. I almost broke the 2010 fabric fast. But, whew. I was strong.
I share this with you because I realize I’m a lucky son of a gun. When pressed, I have at least two options for fabric between Guss Woolens and A Fabric Place / Michael’s. When desperate, I have several Joann fabrics within 20 minutes of me and G Street within an hour. The good news for you is that Guss Woolens does do mail order. Who knew, right? The website is terrible. But, you can email them from there and let them know you’d like fabric samples. Just tell them what you’re interested in.
But, what I REALLY really love here, is the stove (it’s a stove right? Coal? Wood?) on the second floor:
Gorgeous, right? It’s covered in dust. But, if you look real close, it says ‘Improved Baltimorean’.
If they ever go out of business that stove is going home with me.