Chicago’s Bucktown Neighborhood – A Destination for Crafters

Like many big cities, Chicago is a mosaic of neighborhoods and one of my favorites is Bucktown on the city’s northwest side. It is home to many wonderful restaurants; unique, locally-owned shops; and is simply a great neighborhood for wandering about in when you feel like doing a bit of urban exploration. So, on a recent Sunday, my daughter and I combined a trip to see our new baby cousin with an excursion to some of our favorites stops in Bucktown.

Since breakfast is good any time of day on a rainy Sunday (in my opinion anyway), our first stop was Toast, which serves great coffee and breakfast fare. The lunch items also look good, but I have not ventured off the breakfast menu.

With tummies more than full, we went off to The Needle Shop, a fabric store that carries a limited, but very nice, selection of fabrics for apparel, home decorating, and upholstery projects. I have never walked out of the store empty handed and this time was no exception – this cute Alexander Henry owl print and the polka dot trim (from Soutache – see below) will soon be a pillow.

The Needle Shop also offers a wide range of sewing classes, from making your own clothing to sewing up cushions and other home decor items.

Next stop was Soutache (French for “braid”). This store is like a candy shop except instead of candy, it sells ribbons, buttons, feathers, and other adornments. Everything is wonderfully displayed – some items are out in the open and others are tucked away in drawers. The store is abuzz with ooohs and ahhhs as customers open cases or see yet another spool of beautiful ribbon. My daughter and I just kept saying to one another, “Oh, you have to come see this one!”

The woman who owns the shop is especially nice – she helped my daughter select ribbon and then walked us through the steps of using it to cover a headband.  She also makes lovely silk ribbon flowers and other custom items to use on clothing, hats, etc. and, like The Needle Shop, offers classes.

Our final stop was Virtu, a well-curated shop of mainly hand-made items. The selection includes ceramics, jewelry, paper goods, textiles…

There are many other shops and restaurants alongside the ones mentioned above, so whether you live in the area or are visiting, if you are looking for an interesting neighborhood to stroll through, I would put this one at the top of the list.

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