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Fabric hunting around Toronto

There is nothing more I love than fabrics, but sometimes there is nothing more frustrating for me than finding the right fabric. So to recap, we’re looking for a durable neutral fabric for the kitchen bench. We haven’t found the right fabric yet – You’d think it was easy. But it’s not proving to be.

Main criteria (A) Neutral Linen Look and (b) Within our budget (this bench is 8 feet long!) and (c) Durable. It’s in the kitchen. We’re having a baby. Something that will clean up easily with soap & water. 🙂

First shopping trip we went to MacFab fabrics here in Toronto, as I had found out that they moved into the East end from the West End. So one night we just zipped over to see what they had. Candy store!

Hellooooo beautiful fabrics

It’s impossible for me not to initially compare MacFab to the all time favourite store, Designer Fabrics in Toronto. Us Torontonians love places like Designer Fabrics, for good reason. The store is huge, and have a wide variety of fabrics in all price ranges. However, other than the fact that they are both fabric stores, they offer totally different lines. MacFab is (a) much smaller and (b) stocks more higher end fabrics on my initial comparisson. Don’t discount the store…if you’re looking for that PERFECT fabric, this store likely carries it. They have swatch books after swatch books, and you could stay for hours browsing through their carefully selected collection of fabrics.

I didn’t see something on my first stop in but I didnt really know what I was really looking for. The first trip to any fabric store for me is generally like this – you go, let your eyes adjust to the eye candy and possibilities. I’ll go back, now that I’m having a better, clearer idea of my needs for this bench.

A few days later I went to Designer Fabrics and brought home these samples.


I know. They look boring, but we have to consider the “overall vision”. 🙂 (click to see the post where I posted my inspirational pictures) My favourite is the top left. And of course, it is the most expensive and kind of out of our price range. (Banging head on desk) But colour wise, it was bang on. The others, although gorgeous and would work, aren’t making me fall in love. I’m not going ahead with this until I find a fabric I love.

The, we stopped in to see eye candy at Restoration Hardware. They have their outdoor collection out now. *Sigh* It is gorgeous. I loved it last year, and love it again this year. They maintained the same colour pallet from 2009, which always makes me drool. What I love about their outdoor collection is their natural fabric colour that they stock on the floor model outdoor samples. It looks like Linen but it’s not linen obviously since it’s outdoor furniture. It’s Sunbrella Fabric. And of course I touched & felt the cushions, and it feels like soft fabric, not like plastic cushions at your grandmothers backyard patio set.

So, what does their outdoor collection have to do with my bench?


I thought to myself that if we could find the same fabric for our bench I would be sold! My thought process is this…

Durable enough for outdoor = durable for kids and in our kitchen.

But, knowing my taste, this fabric is going to be $100 a yard and I’m going to cry.


Restoration Hardware lets you order samples of fabrics (hello, this is awesome) so I ordered 2 fabric swatches, one of the exact fabric that I saw in-store, and one a little darker. Since I loved it in store, I’m going to see if I love it in our house.

I’ve also emailed Sunbrella to see who carries their line of fabrics in Toronto. I’ve seen them in a variety of stores, but I’m not recalling who carries a full collection. If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations, I’m all ears. 🙂

So, my search for the Restoration Hardware fabric may prove to be a dead end, but at least what I’ve gotten from this is a clearer direction on the fabric look. 🙂

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  • Reply
    April 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I live in California and know that Joann's Fabrics as well as Calico Corners carry Sunbrella fabric. Additionally, Joann's fabrics put a 40% off coupon in the newspaper every Sunday. Joann's also has online ordering and will honor the 40% off coupon for online orders. They also periodically offer $5 (US dollars) flat rate shipping. That might be an option worth researching,
    Good luck!
    A reader of your blog.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for much for the heads up on Joann's…!

    LauraJane – I'm on the website right now and it's so funny that you provided that link to the Linen-Pampas style as it's the same page that I was on admiring! With the 40% off it seems VERY affordable! Only downside is, that it doesn't look like they ship to Canada. 🙁 However, if it was the right fabric, I would maybe shoot an e-mail to friends in the US that I could ask for a favour to order.

    Now I have to figure out how to get a 40% coupon…so if anyone has one, I'll be bowing down to you! 😉


  • Reply
    April 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I'm pretty sure you can find the discount codes at (they have one listed, but it expired yesterday). Maybe once you have your sample fabrics you can look up the site again? (I find all sorts of coupons for online stuff on that site- swiss chalet too, hahaha)

    The Linen-Pampas is gorgeous and would be an awesome neutral.

    Ps. I have a brother in Michigan- I have absolutely no shame in getting him to order things for me to save $ 🙂

  • Reply
    April 5, 2010 at 1:56 am

    As soon as I read your qualifications for the "perfect" fabric at the beginning of thise post I wanted to shout out "SUNBRELLA!" 🙂 But, you beat me to it. I'm planning on recovering the seats of the chairs at the end of my kitchen table in Sunbrella fabric, too. Great for lots of little hands and spills!

    Hope you find *just* what you're looking for! 🙂


  • Reply
    April 5, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    these are fantastic! I hope you found what you were looking for.

  • Reply
    April 6, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Thank you everyone! I'm glad I'm not being thought of as nuts for using Sunbrella! 🙂

    LauraJane, I have no shame in asking you to ask your brother!! 😉 Especially if it's going to save 40%. 😉 However, I may be able to bribe a family member too, use the baby as an excuse. 🙂

    Let me get the samples from Restoration Hardware to see which exact colour match I would like, and see if I can find it's twin on that site and I'll post an update. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 7, 2010 at 4:26 am

    It's anonymous from California again. If you have a fax, I could fax you this week (or any other week's coupon). I believe they will accept photocopies in store. On line you would only need the bar code #. If you're stuck for someone to ship to, I could also receive here and ship to you.

  • Reply
    April 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Both Calico Corners and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores carry Sunbrella fabrics.

    Jo-Ann has two types of stores, the large format and the small format. In the large format stores you should find the Sunbrella 2010-2011 Furniture Fabrics book. You may also find hanging swatches and select set of swatches from Tri Vantage’s High Point Collection.

    As for the small format stores, what they offer varies so we generally don’t recommend those stores to customers. The Where-to-Buy locator on our web site ( only returns results with the large format stores.

    Calico Corners offers the Sunbrella 2010-2011 Furniture Fabrics, but they additionally have select fabrics from our Made-to-Order collection and from Joe Ruggiero.

    Beyond these two stores there are many decorative fabric jobbers who offer their own Sunbrella collections. A complete list is available at

    We hope this helps.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2010 at 2:36 am

    nice post!

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