Have you been thinking about dusting down that old thrift store sewing machine and making some of your own outdoor gear? If so you'll quickly discover that one of the major barriers to getting started is locating quality lightweight fabrics at a price that doesn't make you wonder if you'd just be better off buying the finished item from the retail store.
We do have a few fabric stores in Winnipeg, even after the loss of Mitchell's Fabrics, but the prices are often very high for what is on offer (Fabricland); or there are no labels on anything, so you really have to know what you want (Northwest Textiles).
If you are looking for something specific, it has generally meant buying from the USA, with all the associated shipping costs, mail delays and the specter of customs charges (not to mention our low loonie).
The good news is that Gerrit Hoffman, a local paddler, is offering an alternative solution. His Portage la Prairie-based online store (http://hofmanoutdoorgearsupply.ca/) stocks a range of the latest hi-tech lightweight fabrics at reasonable prices along with a range of accessories for finishing your DIY project. Gerrit's primary focus is providing materials for aspiring hammock campers but anyone wanting to make a tent or ground dwellers tarp will find everything they need.