« Hand/Eye Magazine for Global Textile Explorers, Navajo Rugs, and Restful Stitches | Main | Summer Solstice, and Mind Like a Sieve »

June 13, 2009


I mail order almost all of my fabric from EQuilter. The variety is huge. We do have one SMALL quilt store about 20 miles away. They are helpful and friendly, but the inventory is just way too small. I might go in and purchase a handful of different fabrics, but I can't go in looking for something specific -- there is just too little there for that.

We do have a Jo -Ann fabric store. I will only go in if I absolutely have too. They are rude and the store is depressing. I also purchase my thread online so I can avoid going there.

Mail order definitely has its downside -- you can't match anything to the computer screen. I do dye and paint much of my fabric these days and carve my own stamps for simple prints.

Basically, I've learned to live with fewer choices.

I stopped buying cloth from fabric stores a couple of years ago. A rare exception was some silk devore from Stone Mountain Daughter in Berkeley when I visited last year - that is an incredible fabric store with great mail order service - you call and tell them what you're looking for, and they send samples. http://www.stonemountainfabric.com/
Tons of ethnic and luxury fabrics, as well as some really great bargains.

Most of my cloth comes from a pretty unique source - I have a friend in Japan who often visits the temple markets and gets rolls of old kimono fabric for me. The wool cloth is an exceptional bargain as the people there don't really wear wool kimono anymore.

I try to shop at a locally owned fabric shop, but they went through a "rude" phase which made it a chore for awhile and now it's hard to find what I'm looking for. I realize they have to carry what sells, but its frustrating. Beyond that, some great local sources of textiles is the thrift store and garage sales. You do have to be open to whatever you find, but I've actually found fabric in yardage and have even recycled the fabric from garments, curtains... for new garments.

this post is so key to enhancing the shopping experience as well. there is so much value to this movement.

As a former fabric shop owner, your comments resonate with me. I remember when there were many local shops to choose from. Now even the beautiful ones in the big cities have folded.

Your friend might have made a go of her shop if she had added a sewing machine dealership. That is where the profit is.

This last statistic is so alarming. Why, as Americans are we such consumers? What is the mentality that prompts this kind of spending? I am not sure. It would be fascinating to explore this further.

I would rather buy old textiles rather than new. That said, I will only go to local fabric shops when I want to buy something newer. The quality is better, and definitely the service. I also know many of these women are supporting families, and they need a loyal clientele to survive. It is too bad your local fabric shop has a reputation for being difficult to its customers.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

10 Qualities of Slow Cloth, by Elaine Lipson

  • I defined Slow Cloth several years ago on this blog. Read the original post at http://lainie.typepad.com/redthread/2008/01/this-must-be-th-1.html. (Copyright Elaine Lipson 2007-2011; all rights reserved).
  • Joy
    Slow Cloth has the possibility of joy in the process. In other words, the journey matters as much as the destination.
  • Contemplation
    Slow Cloth offers the quality of meditation or contemplation in the process.
  • Skill
    Slow Cloth involves skill and has the possibility of mastery.
  • Diversity
    Slow Cloth acknowledges the rich diversity and multicultural history of textile art.
  • Teaching
    Slow Cloth honors its teachers and lineage even in its most contemporary expressions.
  • Materials
    Slow Cloth is thoughtful in its use of materials and respects their source.
  • Quality
    Slow Cloth artists, designers, crafters and artisans want to make things that last and are well-made.
  • Beauty
    It's in the eye of the beholder, yes, but it's in our nature to reach for beauty and create it where we can.
  • Community
    Slow Cloth supports community by sharing knowledge and respecting relationships.
  • Expression
    Slow Cloth is expressive of individuals and/or cultures. The human creative force is reflected and evident in the work.


  • www.flickr.com
    MissElaineous1's items Go to MissElaineous1's photostream

Books and Reports by Elaine Lipson

Selected Articles by Elaine Lipson