I've been skulking around the Queen West fabric district between Spadina and Augusta since 1996. Over this time I've seen stores come and go, and settled on which shops are best for what you're after. Here is a run down my favourite places and their specialties:
Fabric By Design (452B Queen W) : Located in a very clean basement, this store is well organized and reasonable. They have the best selection of wool coating, as well as a range of fine and less expensive fabrics (closed on Saturdays). This is almost always my first stop.
World Sew (511 Queen W) : Although World Sew is a bit chaotic, the prices are great and there is always something new to see. The wool is very inexpensive and they have lots of cotton twill, power mesh, spandex and jersey. They also sell notions, thread, lining, interfacing, dyes, and machine needles.
LA Fabrics (495 Queen W) : This store is the perfect combination of high end and reasonable price. Very well organized, you'll see some stunning fabrics in here as well as great sales. Great for natural fibres.
Leo's Textiles (400 Queen W ) : If you're making anything bridal, this is your first stop (followed by LA Fabrics). A great selection of silk, lace as well as the polyester counterparts. They also have a fantastic selection of fun fur and spandex.
Queen Textiles (444 Queen W) : This store is a bit clausterphobic but they have almost everything. It's better to ask one of the friendly sales associates as they have fabric swatches on cards for you to look at. Prices are a bit higher but the selection can make this worthwhile.
The Wool House (454 Queen W) : This high end store has an incredible selection of fine wools and shirting cotton. Very well organized with knowlegable staff to help. Go in knowing your price point as some fabrics can be over $100/yard
Affordable Textiles (529 Queen W) : If you're looking for twill, denim, vinyl, inexpensive prints or costume items such as marabou feathers or sequined spandex this is your place.
Chu Shing Textiles (440 Queen W) : A wonderfully tidy store, there are some very interesting wools and silks in here as well as an expansive collection of spandex and high end jersey in bamboo and wool blends.
King Textiles (161 Spadina Ave) : King recently moved to Spadina from Richmond street. The move has tightened up their selection making the shopping experience a pleasure. Prices are a little higher here but the goods are well organized and the staff is ready to help. The basement has a huge selection of trims and notions. If you want something pleated, Accurate Pleating is located here as well.
Leather Sewing and Supply Depot : I haven't been to the new location yet on Spadina (North of Queen), but I'm sure they will still have the good selection of trims, buttons, zippers, findings and leather pieces. This is the cheapest place to buy serger cones. If you can't find the leather that you're looking for here, try Perfect Leather at 555 King St W. A much broader selection at a slightly higher price.
Trilium Button (451 Queen W) : The buttons are cheaper at the Leather Depot, but the selection here is better, you'll also find notions, threads, patternmaking paper, dyes and tools.
Fabric and Buttons (461 Queen W) : You can get buttonholes made here.
Most of these supplier are jobbers which means that they buy stock from distributors at the end of the run or warehoused dead stock. For this reason you will often find vintage fabrics in the mix. It also means that once a bolt is finished, no more is available. If the chaos of some of these stores drives you mad, head west to Designer Fabrics (1360 Queen W) where order reigns and everything from upholstery to drapery to fine silks are at your fingertips (and re-orderable). Let us know where your favourite fabric stores are, leave a comment below!