Last Halloween, I looked around for Navy Blue wool for J's Admiral costume and I couldn't find any. I figured that the fabric store must be like the clothing stores, always one season ahead of reality, so it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago this year to go over to JoAnn's Fabrics and see if the wool had come in, or if there was any. And there WAS wool, but it was a sad disappointment. It was the kind of rough, poorly woven shrinky stuff that gives wool a bad name and small children the itchies all over the world. It was lousy wool, and it was ...29.00 a yard.
So I left it there, and came home and googled "Chicago Garment District", and found it, and found a place that sounded like JoMarr in Philadelphia, and googled the location, and it was indeed in a "rough part" of town (the barbed wire around the parking lots is always a clue). To be fair, my parking place at JoMarr in Kensington was next to the burnt-out car, and you had to watch for needles and broken glass as you walked to the door, but I never had a problem there... besides buying too much. But I am not from around here, so navigating shifty neighborhoods in Chicago didn't sound too fun, (even for good wool), so I started looking online. Pendleton, which sells fabulous mill ends, does not sell them online. You have to know someone in Washington or Oregon who can go in person to the Mill End store and buy your stuff.
But online I did find TrimFabric.com, which did have smooth blended wool gabardine for 7.98 a yard plus ship, so I ordered it and I got it 3 days later and it is splendid:
It almost seems like a waste to put it on dolls, but I don't look that good in navy, and it will be nice to sew even in small pieces. That is, by the way, "One yard".
(Upper photo stolen from Reddit.)