Fairfax Fabric Co.

3613 Magazine St., (504) 309-9503; www.fairfaxfabriccompany.com.

Ten years ago, Patricia Cordaro-Daigle explored the idea of opening her own business. One day while driving, she noticed a Metairie fabric store had closed, and she had an epiphany. "It was like a light bulb went off," says Cordaro-Daigle, a nurse. "I thought 'Magazine Street doesn't have [a fabric store], and I love fabric.'"

  Two years of research followed. In September, Cordaro-Daigle opened Fairfax Fabric Company. Large fabric swatches are draped from hooks and an abundance of take-home samples are meticulously folded in baskets, so there's no needle-in-a-haystack hunting through racks.

  "The goal was twofold," Cordaro-Daigle says. "I have limited space and didn't want a lot of filler. If I didn't think it was great, it wasn't going in my store. And it had to have a price point to meet that."

  Fairfax stocks bolts of fabric for immediate sale as well as books of fabrics that can be ordered. The shop also offers high-end fabrics and custom-made fabrics by locals: Amanda Talley's signature painted swirls are digitally printed on linen; Blissett Textiles' material is made with natural fabrics and eco-friendly inks.


2844 Magazine St., (504) 899-2122; www.perch-home.com

  As owner of Perch, Caroline Robert is involved in many elements of home design. But these days, fabrics are a big part of her business. "We sell it by the yard and have a nice range of price points," Robert says. "We have things for $20 a yard and things for $500 a yard. It really depends on your budget and what you're looking for."

  The store's samples range from simple to ornate. Robert says some of the freshest items include heavyweight linens with embroidery, new takes on traditional looks like toile and unusual color combinations like turquoise and black and fuchsia and orange. Customers buy for all kinds of projects – from reupholstering furniture to window treatments, pillows and bedding.

  Robert's creative use of fabric even extends into the realm of art. "Something as simple as a Roman shade can function like artwork when the fabric has a wonderful pattern," she says. When working with fabrics, she sees endless possibilities. "[Fabrics are] a great way to make your house look really unique without looking like you just pulled something off the rack."

Katie Koch (by appointment)

1117 Josephine St., (504) 410-1450; www.katiekochdrapery.com, www.katiekochhome.com

  At Katie Koch, customers find a visually inviting and extensive fabric library. They'll also find the expertise that comes from working with fabrics for 17 years. In addition to selling thousands of fabrics directly to consumers, Koch offers an on-site workroom that produces custom drapery, pillows, cushions, slipcovers and more. "We're soup to nuts," Koch says. "We have the linings, the hardware, the manufacturing. It's one-stop shopping."

  From simple linen and elegant silks to retro mid-century modern prints, Koch offers a broad range of fabrics and knowledge of how to use them. "I know what applications a fabric will work for," she says. "I know how it will lay, if it will drape, if it's better for something rigid, if you have to back it." Koch also knows that while trends come and go, every client wants something that speaks to their needs and tastes. "There are certain things I like a lot, but I appreciate fabrics across the board," she says.

Shawn O'Brien Interiors (by appointment)

6063 Magazine St., (504) 899-3282, www.shawnobrieninteriors.com

  An interior designer and self-described "textile buff," O'Brien has spent the last 20-plus years amassing a collection of fabrics, now housed in her newly renovated fabric studio Uptown. Its clean white backdrop is the perfect foil for the floor-to-ceiling shelves of fabrics that are available to the public by appointment.

  "Once I had a comprehensive sample room, it was what thrilled me the most, so I upgrade and update it with regularity," O'Brien says. Among the trends she's seeing: painterly linens, shades of purple, digitally printed fabrics and synthetic fabrics engineered to look and feel like traditional indoor fabrics with the durability of outdoor fabrics. She tries to keep something on hand for everyone. "I've developed relationships with all the reps," says O'Brien, who also handles design and fabrication when needed. "I meet with them every season and I keep a really good cross section."