How to Fabric Shop in Atlanta

I’m an ATLien who knows how to fabric shop in Atlanta. Most of you know that I grew up in Atlanta. Not the surrounding areas, not Alpharetta or Henry County, but Atlanta. I claim it as my hometown even though I haven’t lived there in quite some time. So then, it shouldn’t surprise you that when I return home, I love to eat, shop, and fabric dive. Over the years, I compiled a logistical plan to navigate the traffic and ping through the city with grace and fabric bolts in hand. Also, new shopping experiences are added or enhanced as times have changed.

Fine Fabrics fabric shop in Atlanta denim

In this blog post about sewing and the ATL, I will take you through the city on a tour of each fabric shop and explain what you can expect before you get there. If this is your first time in A-town, welcome to the city with more streets named Peach-something than any other state in the country. Fabric shopping in Atlanta can be fun and exciting with a little planning and diligence. As an aside, I don’t make quilts (yet) or upholstery, so this post will only address garment sewing fabrics or fabric shops in Atlanta that house garment-making fabrics. Frankly, those fabric categories –upholstery and quilting – could generate two new blog posts. The non-garment major players and a good place to start are Forsyth Fabrics, Atlanta Sewing Center, and the Fabric Joint.

There are four major garment stores any sewist and fabric junkie must hit in Atlanta.

Let’s get started, walk with me.

Gail K Fabrics

Gail K Fabrics sewing for my sanity

Without stopping by Gail K, no fabric shopping experience in Atlanta would be complete. The Gail K Fabrics experience feels like you are in a different world. You are no longer in the Big Peach. You are in a mini-fabric haven. Wall-to-wall fabric: Gail K Fabrics has an impressive selection of fabrics for special occasions, such as lace, sequin, bridal, and dancewear. Their collection of bridal lace and special occasion fabrics leaves very little to desire. If you aren’t searching for bridal or lace, you can find massive amounts of knits, lycra, swimwear, and Ponte. On my quarterly fabric hauls to Atlanta, this is my place for knit fabrics of all kinds.

Gail K Fabrics

From a real estate perspective, the shop isn’t huge, but they’ve used every square inch from the ceiling to the floor except the cut table, aisles, and restrooms for fabric. You cannot pull fabrics from above your head; the staff will help you get bolts down to touch and explore.

Gail K Fabrics button wall

No fabric shopping experience in Atlanta would be complete without talking about notions. The button and trim walls are a thing of beauty, and if you are looking for a different kind of button to grace your make, this is the place.

button wall at Gail K

Multiple Locations for Gail K. Beware

There are two locations: Atlanta proper on Cheshire Bridge Road and Norcross. Parking is tight at the Atlanta location, depending on when you go, and there is a carwash next door that always seems to be busy. Sometimes you will run into sewing celebrities –one time I ran into Anthony Elle from Project Runway Season 4 and Winner of Project Runway Season All Stars Season 6. It was an awkward moment that was quirky and bombastic but nonetheless memorable. I’ve traveled out to the one in Norcross, and it’s nothing like the location in Atlanta. If you are going to go to the Norcross location, only do it as a side trip from Fine Fabrics listed below.

I happened to visit Gail K Fabrics on a Sunday. The inside traffic comes in waves; one minute, you are eerily alone, and the next minute, it’s teeming with clients.

Fine Fabrics, the Ultimate Fabric shop in Atlanta

Fine Fabrics Atlanta

Imagine a warehouse with everything imaginable for sewing while you are fabric shopping in Atlanta, and you have Fine Fabrics USA in Norcross, Georgia. There are three locations, but the mothership is the Norcross location. I don’t know how large this place is, but you could ride your bike through it, skateboard, or do laps. I lost my husband and small child together in the store once for about 20 minutes; he was on an endcap reading her a story or something. There are a ridiculous number of rows of fabric. I don’t think you can see everything here in a day without becoming fabric-exhausted.

From lace to wool and cashmere, Fine Fabrics has just about everything. When I’m in town, I load up on horsehair braid, zippers, and other notions. Check the hours before you go because each location has different days and hours of operation.

Fabric World

If you are on the far East side of the perimeter and outside of the perimeter, meaning outside of Interstate 285, consider Fabric World. Let me set your expectations. Fabric World is a potpourri of fabrics. It’s like TJ Maxx; you have to be in the mood to search and rescue fabrics. The staff is nice here, but you must have some fortitude and patience to find what you are looking for here. There is no website, online ordering, or online presence; this is a local stop or travelers exhibition. This is not the place you go to look for a specific color gabardine or anything specific; this is where gems are accidentally discovered.

Melanated Fabrics

Melanated Fabric is unlike any other fabric stores on the list. These shop owners literally took everything we hated about fabric stores and made it better. It’s hip, it’s modern, and it feels like you want to hang out there. I wrote an entire post about my first experience there and recently updated it for today’s traveling sewist. This place feels more like a fabric shopping experience. Located in one of the hippiest areas of town, just outside of the Beltway. It’s a small brick and mortar that gives the larger stores a run for their money.

Melanated Fabrics
Melanated Fabrics
Cute little storefront, logo, and sign

How? This store packs in quality in a large way in a small space. While I love shopping the larger fabric stores mentioned above for the sheer volume of fabric, Melanated Fabrics tops other stores in terms of quality.

I wrote all about these perks in this blog post. Besides, the other perk you have is that this fabric shop is also an online merchant. While shopping online has several disadvantages, when you know that both shop owners sew themselves and value great fabrics, there is a sense of trust there. The store is owned by Mimi Ford of Mimi G Style Lifestyle Blog and sewing vlogger/blogger Brittany J. Jones. To date and to my knowledge, it is the only women-owned and operated fabric store in Atlanta, GA.

atlanta fabric shop melanated fabrics
fabric shop atlanta Melanated Fabrics

sew it academy, melanated fabrics
Downstairs at Melanated Fabrics

Logistics of fabric shopping in Atlanta

Here’s how to navigate your fabric journey in Atlanta. If you have time to drop by all the high-point stores on your quest for fabric shops in Atlanta, start at Fabric World. Grab a coffee or espresso and head east toward Stone Mountain. It’s well outside of the perimeter and truly in the suburbs. Then, make your way to Fine Fabrics in Norcross. You are guaranteed to be here for at least an hour, especially if it is your first time shopping for fabrics in Atlanta, so give yourself some time. Next, venture off to Gail K Fabrics. This is the perfect opportunity to grab some grub. The food in midtown is great, and shopping at Gail K will make you hungry.

Total drive time is approximately 1-1.5 hours, depending on unpredictable Atlanta travel and traffic patterns. I recommend beginning your Atlanta fabric store journey in the morning on a Saturday or mid-morning on a weekday. Atlanta traffic is fierce. There is often bumper-to-bumper traffic at midnight. MARTA is not a fun, viable option for this excursion, but it is possible. It would involve taking the Stone Mountain Transit Park and Ride to MARTA. You would also have to think long and hard about how much you can haul back using public transportation on your fabric shopping trip to Atlanta; things could get heavy fast.

Other places you might to fabric shop in your travels: Paris, Greece, Oklahoma and the best overall.