Britex Fabric – San Francisco

San FranciscoLast weekend I had the chance to visit San Francisco for some family events. My Mom grew up in the Bay area and we had a great, nostalgic visit with family and old friends.

Britex Art Neuveau

I love visiting iconic fabric shops in big cities (you can see fabric places I love in New York and London here.) I have heard about Britex fabrics for ages and never been, so we jumped at the opportunity. (It helps that my mom is a fabric lover as well. 😉 )

Britex Fabrics

Britex is located in downtown San Francisco, right off of Union Square, since 1952! It’s still family owned. You can read more about Britex history here.

Britex Fabric entry

It’s a four-story shop in a long skinny building, each floor specializing in a different aspect of fabric offerings.

Color Wall Britex Fabrics

The first floor specializes in apparel fabric – think wools, silks, lace, etc. This is the colorful display that greets you as you walk in the door.

Home dec fabric Britex-001

The second floor specializes in cottons – including Home Dec weight fabrics (above) some quilting cottons and double gauzes. We also loved the cut-work and textured bolts such as eyelet fabric and swiss-dots.

Liberty Fabrics at Britex

Also, a nice variety of Liberty of London bolts.

Wall of Trim

The third floor was home to an amazing selection of trims and notions

Britex Buttons

Including a ton of button options

 Britex - Ribbon wall

and ribbon – including imported French silk and hand-dyed ribbons. A huge variety of styles, materials and prices. And SO much eye candy!

Britex purchases

I bought just a couple of things. I found this large woven gingham and the denim linen blend in the sale remnants. I’ve had a shirt pattern I’ve wanted to try forever and I think I’ll make one (or two) with these. I was also feeling like this heavier denim stripe and woven ribbon completed the look so I got a bit of them as well.

 Cable Car ride

I have to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed and felt lucky to have this little trip – and not just the fabric shopping. I even waited in line an hour and a half to ride a cable car and except for the part where I froze, the views made it totally worth it. Also, fresh seafood for the win. 🙂 But mostly for lots of sentimental reasons including family and especially remembering my cute grandparents who lived in this area for decades. They loved that city.

UPDATE: Britex maybe moving. Sad news!

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  • Reply
    Needle and Foot
    July 20, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I grew up just south of SF and always heard about Britex but never want. I think I need to go the next time I am in the vicinity. Wow, what a fun place! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    MARY D
    July 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I discovered Britex Fabrics on one of my trips to SF quite by accident. Just walking around downtown. What a discovery. I drooled over the fabric and fondled the buttons. So many buttons. I love buttons. Glad you had a great trip.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  • Reply
    Lynda H
    July 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

    an hour and a half to ride the cable car?? I lived in SF during the early 60’s – the fun times – I worked in the financial district near what is now 100 California street and I lived out by Cliff House. I used to hop on the street car every week to go to my hairdressers on Thursdays in those days, street cars were just a form of transport – along with busses. I never drove in the city – too many hills. I wasn’t into fabric in those days, but my favorite haunts were the sample design shops where I could buy clothing for next to nothing – back in my size 4/5 days, and sample shoe shops as well. Memories.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2016 at 10:18 am

    What a wonderful trip! Love San Fran! And thanks for the beautiful pictures in Britex! This is a great excuse for me to return to the city by the bay!

    • Reply
      July 20, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      Wow sorry you had such a cable car wait. I know there is a trick to not waiting I think it is location some places are crowded while others are not. I grew up down the peninsula in Woodside and had an aunt who lived and worked in the city (San Francisco). I used to go at Christmas time and shop and see all the decorations.
      Next time you are in the area ,if you know ahead of time , perhaps a few of us could met up with you.
      Where did your mom live ?

      • Reply
        Amy Smart
        July 21, 2016 at 10:59 pm

        My mom grew up in Berkeley. We went and drove by the home my grandparents built. Lots of good memories!

  • Reply
    Irene Storteboom
    July 20, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    This post brings back awesome memories! In 1964 my parents, my fiance and I went on a 2 week road trip to California. During the trip, my parents finally agreed on a wedding date with us, and the next day we toured San Francisco. And there we saw Britex, mom and I went in, and bought the fabric for my wedding dress, her mother of the bride dress, and the three attendants dresses, including patterns, trims, notions, etc. Beautiful lush peau de soie – and compared to our Canadian prices, extemely reasonable. One of the best days ever! And I’ve been wanting to go back ever since to see if I could find that awesome candy shop of a store! Now I know, thanks! Oh, and DH and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary this past October – good vibes!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 21, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Oh, I LOVE it! What a great memory!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2016 at 3:23 am

    Well I’ve never been to Sam Francisco, but this looked so fun! Thanks for sharing your trip. The store looks Iike a real gem, and can we take a moment to just enjoy that bag? Beautiful font!

  • Reply
    Sheila G. Ratliff
    July 21, 2016 at 6:47 am

    One of my favorite stores. Every time I went to San Fran to visit my cousin I would drag her in to Britex. . Lots of eye candy. . .And I still have some fabrics I purchased there. . .

  • Reply
    July 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Oh wow, I don’t think I could have left the fabric store without buckets full of everything! I do hope they sell online?!

  • Reply
    Karen Seitz
    July 21, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I love your selections at Britex. I know you are glad to hear they are approved by me — lol!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    My daughter lives in Novato and I just found a very good reason to go for a visit!

  • Reply
    July 22, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I live 5 hours north in Humboldt. I have wanted to stop there like forever! Now that I’m retired and will be traveling to SoCa to see my granddaughters, I’m hoping to stop in.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    What special memories you gave me! I lived in the Excelsior/Mission district. We left in 1955. My sister and I visited SF in 2002 and found Britex. I thought I had died and went to heaven and it was the top floor of Britex! Since I live in the middle of nowhere Kansas, the store was totally mind blowing. I would love to get back again.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    P.s. July is the coolest month for San Francisco. October is the warmest. Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever spent was summer in San Francisco. My mom, daughter and I visited one year in July, and like you, we froze! We brought Kansas summer clothes with us. Our SF friends were wearing woolens and heavy coats. We only had lightweight cotton jackets. Mom had forgotten what summers were like when we lived there.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I only went to Britex once, probably around 1985. I showed the certain solid background color I wanted for a broken star quilt. The woman disappeared and came back with just the right thing. Amazing place!

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