The French Seam – A Must See Fabric Boutique in Indianapolis

Over Thanksgiving, while visiting my brother and his family in Indianapolis, I discovered The French Seam, a place where “Vintage and Modern Meet,” according to this fabric retailer’s website. So, while most people rushed out on Black Friday to pick up the latest electronic for someone on their Christmas list, I went to the The French Seam. 

Photo Courtesy of The French Seam

It is hard to write this post without gushing, but The French Seam is truly a lovely fabric boutique – yes, “boutique,” not “store” because, well, store sounds too common, too JoAnn Fabrics. The French Seam is not pretentious in the least; on the contrary, when I walked in the door, it was like walking through a magic portal into a  welcoming, relaxing, inspiring environment – a respite from the busy world on the other side of the doors. The French Seam is a family endeavor with Courtney Young full time and her mother, Linda Compton stepping in when not at her day job. They are experienced sewers with an impeccable eye for fabric; the fabrics (linens, silks, wools…) are simply gorgeous – the feel, look, colors. Even though I have not made a pair of trousers in years, I want to make a pair (or twenty)!

Photo Courtesy of The French Seam

The store is smartly laid out and there is much attention to details: There are comfortable chairs on which to sit and contemplate what you are going to make or to peruse patterns and books (or even balance your checkbook to see if you can afford to buy EVERYTHING you want). The lighting is good and there is space to move around. The 1000+ bolts of fabric are nicely displayed so that you can see color options and the quilting cottons are laid out in collections or interesting palettes that work together. For example, I found Lotta Jansdotter’s fabrics grouped together and promptly selected an arm full to purchase. The notions are easy to find and the assortment is well-curated – many are of high-quality, there are just enough choices and each one has a purpose (i.e., no gimicky devices here).

The store caters to people of all sewing abilities – from the beginner to the professional. This is evident in the fabrics, patterns, books, and now class offerings. The boutique is also extremely customer focused – so important if much of your competition sits in the form of a computer in front of many of your customers 24/7. Courtney and Linda (and the other employees working the day I visited)  were attentive to each customer, not in an intrusive way at all; they simply wanted to introduce themselves to customers and offer to help in any way if needed. While some of the customers were new to the store that day, many were returning and on a first name basis with employees. My bet is that this store will play a key role in attracting a new generation of people who sew and provide inspiration to those who all ready enjoy this craft!

Photo Courtesy of The French Seam

Whether you are visiting Indy from another place or just “playing visitor” in the place where you live, there are many places to explore in this very drivable city. My ideal itinerary (in no particular order) …

The French Seam

Mass Ave Arts District to stroll through the independently owned shops, including the Mass Ave Knit Shop

Broadripple area shops

Zesco – a restaurant supply company that I have not personally been to, but have received the best ever muffin tin from; it is open to the public and it is on my list next time I go to Indy.

Lunch at Taste

Dinner at La Piedad

This ideal day in Indy is going to have to wait for now, however, because its back to the sewing table for me to finish up some gifts. Happy sewing!

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