Britex or Bust

No trip to the West Coast of the United States is complete for me without a stop at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. This time I had a specific goal in mind: finding silk lining fabric for the next “Classic French Jacket” I have planned. I was so fortunate to receive this lovely boucle as a Christmas gift from my (grown) children, and am so anxious to start work on this jacket, hopefully in the late Fall.

2 full yards of this glorious boucle! What a wonderful gift!

2 full yards of this glorious boucle! What a wonderful gift! (Purchased from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics in New York City.)

However, I knew I could not start work on it until I had the lining, the trim and the buttons. Britex seemed like the perfect spot to find the perfect lining (and trim), so off I went with my husband and son for a marathon session at this wonderful purveyor of beautiful fabrics and all things sewing. Walking in to Britex from their entrance on Geary Street always gives me a thrill. One is met with tables wide enough for entire bolts of silk twills, charmeuses, chiffons, etc., to be spread out for easy viewing.

Britex interior view copy

Like so many stores in San Francisco, Britex Fabrics extends through the width of the building, from its main entrance on Geary Street through to its back entrance on Maiden Lane.

Opposite from the silks are bolts and bolts of boucles lined up.

Britex boucles 1 copy

More boucles!

More boucles!

Above the silks are more bolts and bolts  – of woolens.

Britex interior view 2 copy

As usual, the Sales Associates at Britex are knowledgeable and always helpful. With my boucle sample swatch in hand, I started looking. My search was helped immensely by a lovely young woman who knew the silks, and started uncovering several which held promise. One, however, was the absolute winner. I was thrilled to find this blue silk lightweight twill, which had all the colors I wanted in a stunning floral print:

The photo does not give this silk its due. The colors are deep and clean.

The photo does not give this silk its due. The colors are deep and clean.

I had several more stops to make on the upper floors of Britex – for lightweight separating zippers (which I find impossible to find), for trim for my jacket (which I forgot to photograph before having it sent home with my other purchases), for Petersham ribbon, for this and that!

Returning to the first floor, I found my husband eyeing a piece of wool – not for me, but for him! Our tailor at home may find himself making a sport jacket out of a piece of Britex woolen:

Britex wool

With so much fabric already in my queue at home, I was trying to avoid being smitten by too much else. But I could not resist taking photos of some of the silks available:

I loved this geometric print.

I loved this geometric print.

Bold and beautiful.

Bold and beautiful.

I am always drawn to pink and green.

I am always drawn to pink and green.

A real conversation starter!

A real conversation starter!

An unbelievable print!

An unbelievable print!

A watercolor print, reminiscent of Matisse.

A watercolor print, painterly and shimmery.

I love the pop of pink in this blue floral silk charmeuse.

I love the pop of pink in this blue floral silk charmeuse.

With more to do and see in San Francisco, we were (too) soon on our way, and I bid a fond farewell to Britex. But only ‘til next time and next year and my next project needing something perfect…

9 Comments

Filed under Boucle for French style jackets, silk, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Britex or Bust

  1. Yummy! This shop is on my list when we come to CA for graduation in June. I can’t begin to imagine!!

  2. What willpower you must have! Surely you did not leave all of those fabrics behind 😉
    Look forward to seeing your new jacket.

  3. I have always loved Britex fabrics and your choices look wonderful. I can’t wait to see your latest Chanel like jacket. The lining is amazing.

  4. Beautiful choice for your lining. I’ve only been lucky enough to visit Britex once. And I loved it.

  5. Gorgeous fabrics. I have never been to Britex, but those silks look so luscious!

  6. Marguerite

    Just gorgeous stuff! I dragged my dad and husband there back in the 80s when we were on a west coast trip! I could have spent days perusing the floors. But they were pretty patient as it was. Fascinating just to look at all they have isn’t it?
    I seriously think you could make that sports jacket for your husband! Of course we would weigh the time and effort involved with the ease of having a tailor make it but then again…Palmer and Pletsch back in the 80s were certainly in favor of it! Phew…too much of the “back in the 80s” for one comment! Actually, the aunt that taught me to sew…back in the 50s!…made suits for her husband all the time. She’s hitting 100next week but hasn’t sewed for 6or 7 years now. She was an inspiration for sure!
    But those silk prints!!

  7. Sad news (10/6/16) — Britex has lost its lease after 52 years. Not going out of business — they hope — but I can’t share the owner’s optimism about finding a new location in downtown San Francisco. http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Loss-of-Britex-to-rip-hole-in-Union-Square-s-9810349.php

    • Thank you for telling me although this is so upsetting. (I’m sure my son would have passed the news on later today as he lives in the Bay Area.) I am really in disbelief, but very hopeful Britex will find a new home, although it can never be as quirky as the present location! I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a revolt of sewers over this news.

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