happiness is a designer fabric shop
by Patricia Belyea
OTTAWA, CANADA A few years back when Curtis Blondin and Carrie Alexander were working at Library & Archives Canada, they longed for a more creative livelihood. Trained as photographers, both enjoyed crafting and sewing. This energetic couple decided to open a shop with all the fabrics that they liked but could only buy online.
Two years ago Fabrications opened, their petite designer fabric store in Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighborhood. In the meantime, baby Owen was born—a precious boy who enjoys all the colors and patterns in his parent’s shop.
The store outgrew its original storefront and moved two blocks east to a space twice the size. The slated opening date is tomorrow, October 1. Luckily for me that when I headed to Fabrications late this afternoon, Curtis was ready for business. Doubly lucky, Carrie and Owen arrived so I could meet the whole Fabrications family.
I learned that Curtis made all the fixtures in the store, from the wall of bolt display boxes to the cutting tables. He and Carrie thoughtfully placed some seating near the front for browsing books or waiting for fabric-loving friends. Plus they added a mini hospitality center to offer coffee to their shoppers .
Fabrications offers a robust schedule of classes that span making clothing to learning how to quilt. Carrie mentioned that unlike the old store, the six Bernina sewing stations for students or hourly rentals are now in a dedicated area.
My visit felt charmed—the light-filled store, the gorgeous fabrics, the lovely couple with their contented child. I’m thrilled that Curtis’ and Carrie’s vision of opening a fabric store has worked out so well—both for them and all the modern sewists in Ottawa. And I’m pleased that I was able to buy the solids I needed for my quilt project today!