“Two of my favorite things!” said a friend when I emailed that I found an independent fabric store with a gelato cafe next door during my trip to Kansas City last week. I have to agree. After all, what is more soothing for the soul than walking through a quiet fabric store with rows and rows of bolts of hand-painted silks, multi-layered silks and soft woolens? So, here is what I found in Kansas City, Missouri.
Independent Fabric Store in Kansas City Since 1946!
I searched for fabric stores and found this very helpful page of listings. I was intrigued by this description of Kaplan’s Fabrics: “Our one remaining upscale designer fabric source in town, as reflected by its Plaza address. Can be difficult to find, the shop sign is hidden by trees and parking at the Plaza is *always* a challenge. If you want $200/yd silk for your wedding dress, this would be the place to look. Expect to discuss pricing with the owner, as almost nothing is [sic] labeled.” Well, that settled it…I had to go into the 90+ degree heat and humidity and find this last vestige of independent fabric stores.
My slow walk (as to not perspire too much) was rewarded with a gem!
From the moment I entered the store, I was reminded of when I was a little girl and would go with Mom to House of Fabrics. We would enter the store and colors would jump and dance in front of me as I ran my hands along the standing bolts. There’s that same hush in Kaplan’s that I remember as a child, not like the craft/fabric superstores of today.
Kaplan’s isn’t a very big store. They specialize in fashion fabrics; however, Steve Chaskelson tells me that some of the fabrics are sturdy enough for home dec, too, such as the hand-stitched cotton. These hand-stitched fabrics were fun to look at and touch. The designs were primitive and folkart-ish in flavor, just right for children’s clothing or casualwear.
Then I saw the crewelwork. It was rich in oranges, pinks and blues on an olive-y background. Lately, I’ve only seen this as a home dec fabric. But this was on a lighterweight, almost linen weave. Although, it could certainly be used for home dec or a fun yoga bag. But it could easily be panels on a fun jacket or even for dress…maybe a fun halter dress. I’m into halter dresses for the hot summer. I traced the needlework on this for several minutes before moving further back into the store.
There were designer woolens, a few knits, some home dec sample books and some elegant trimmings, which I forgot to photograph!
Back to the front of the store where the beautiful silks were displayed. There was an assortment of hand-painted silks, with designs from floral to abstract. There was a stunning printed black silk with butterflies on it. I really wanted to find a reason to buy it, but the size of the butterflies on my short frame would be too big. Then I saw the textured silks and I had to run my hands over them. Silks woven together to make a stretchy give in several tones. Diaphanous sheer silks with rows of 1-inch squares sewn on top, with each of the rows in different tones of the silk. It fluttered just walking by the sample that was draped on the end display.
I could have spent several more hours at Kaplan’s, but hunger was starting to strike me. I figured it wouldn’t be very nice to faint on top of the Burberry cotton print or the textured woolens. So, with the help of Ruhan Roberts’ expertise, we estimated yardage for a simple gathered skirt, tank-style dress in…nope, I’m not going to tell you. Basically because then I’m not exactly committing to when I’ll finished said dress from this fabric. It’s so hard to finish my current projects when I keep adding to my stash!
My only complaint, which I had read about before I tracked down Kaplan’s, is that there are no prices on the fabrics. I hate the feeling to fall in love with a fabric to only find out that it is beyond my pocketbook. Kaplan’s is visited by both home sewers and designers. The staff is friendly and you don’t feel at all rushed and can take your time enjoying all the textures and colors.
G is for Gelato. Stop by Balsano’s After Kaplan’s Fabrics.
After looking and touching all those luscious fabrics, be sure to go to Balsano’s next door to enjoy your purchases with fresh-daily quiche and homemade gelato. The prices and people at Balsano’s are very friendly. This is where I found myself with a delectable bacon-cheddar quiche and salad.
Manager Matt’s and Gelato Master Charlie’s favorite flavor is the peanut butter chocolate gelato. It was absolutely delish! They make 18 flavors everyday, including fresh fruit flavors, such as mango. Yummmm! I with I had more room after eating the quiche. Check out their Facebook page for more information and tempting pictures of the gelato. They’ll be happy to give you a taste to help make up your mind. Pistachio is my second favorite.
Hungry for Bar-B-Que?
Of course I couldn’t be in Kansas City without having BBQ. Luckily, I was with BB (big brother) who found the address for Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, which was profiled by Guy Fiery on FoodNetwork’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The line was out the door and around the dining area. In one of my previous jobs, I visited Warner-Robins Air Force Base where I was advised that all good BBQ comes from gas stations. They were right then and they were right this time, too.
We had the pork ribs, beef brisket and onion rings. The ribs fell off the bone the moment your lips touched them. The beef was also very tender. I didn’t need any additional sauce, but BB dipped into extra sauce and all I heard was sounds of yumminess. The only disappointment were the bbq’d beans. There were black beans and corn in it. Seemed to be more of a Southwestern bean mix.
We also tried the ribs, brisket and burnt ends at Arthur Bryant’s, which had more of a smokey flavor and you could see the smoke ring on the meat, but it didn’t have as much flavor as Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ. The burnt ends weren’t burnt (we come from a family that loves the burnt parts.) We also couldn’t figure out why the coleslaw had a lime-green liquid on the bottom of the cup, like melted green jell-o. But Arthur Bryant’s sauces were tasty. My favorite was the hot bbq sauce.
More about the historic fashion district in Kansas City and President Harry Truman’s connection with fashion in my next posts.