I Went Fabric Shopping With My Mom
“Oh crap,” I say. “Ohhhhh shit.” My mom starts to laugh. We’ve been inside of the store for about forty-five minutes, I’ve already snagged a pattern that I don’t need (oh, but I do) and I’m toting a bolt of cotton I have no plan for ($3.50/yd, I can’t say no) and I’ve finally found a display of all of the especially twee fabrics that are my kryptonite.
This is my third time rounding the table where the bolts are lined up like an ice-cream-colored, floral-and-deer-printed carousel that was at one time my whole paycheck but will soon become the revenue of Fabricland, “New Jesey’s Largest Fabric Sewing & Window Fashions Store!” My mom is following me, practically wiping sweat from my brow like a 1920s boxing coach at a prize fight asking, “When should I stop you from buying things? You tell me.” The most supportive woman in my life, I tell you. All dress fabrics are 20% off. I’m beginning to feel light-headed.
When I asked her two weeks ago if she wanted to go fabric shopping with me, I wasn’t expecting her to say yes. Turns out she was in the market for a few yards of linen. So we set out on this mother/daughter shopping spree to the first fabric store I ever visited. Honestly, I thought it had closed down. When you google “Fabricland” with the corresponding zip code, they are not even on the first page of search results. But she assured me that they still exist*. I wasn’t expecting find much of anything there, the dressmaking fabric tucked away in the rear of the store, behind yards of heavy, ugly brocade curtains and old-fashioned, upholstered armchairs, and so many valances. (Valances, guys. People still buy them. They get them at Fabricland.) I mean, I know I could go to any number of Manhattan stores and find anything my heart desired but I’m going to be completely honest with you here and say that I was incredibly intimidated. I was too scared to go to Mood because there is a huge selection and I don’t know the difference between voile and double gauze (???) and Tim Gunn shops there (not sure if that is even remotely true but I really loved Project Runway back during season one). I figured that if I could find a decent cotton solid or even a funky remnant in a place where no one would judge me as they purchase their custom bed canopies that it would be a good baby step for me. And besides, if I didn’t find anything my wallet would thank me.
But I was wrong. Fabricland is no Mood. It’s certainly not glamorous or overwhelming. It’s exactly what I wanted. It’s got a tight selection of quality fabrics and just about every Simplicity, Burda, and McCalls paper pattern ever manufactured. The prices were right, the sale helped, and my mom has a frequent buyer card (whatever that means. Neither of us know. She has about five hundred frequent buyer cards on her keychain). While there are a lot of novelty prints (potato fabric?) and some others that just weren’t my style (I’m picky), there was plenty to choose from and when we reached this last table, I was really going through the ringer, trying to talk myself out of buying every polka dotted, pastel piece there was. To top it all off, everybody there is nice and they didn’t think I was crazy kick me out even though I was yelling, “I don’t want you to stop me! I want everything!”
In the end, I did good. This was self-control at its best. I purchased two yards of this adorable pink and white striped cotton. I said before, it was on sale so I felt the need to get 2 yards even though I have no idea what it will become. Scout tee? Probably that’s the only thing I know how to make!
The best was this adorable print by Art Gallery Fabrics. It’s got these little tiny Xs on it in pink. I don’t know why but it really spoke to me. So adorable. Since I was holding onto this Simplicity 1693 pattern that I was JUST carrying around but DEFINITELY WASN’T GOING TO BUY, I admitted I had been lying and that I was buying this fabric with the intention of it becoming this very top. The pattern was half price when I got to the register.
The most exciting part was this melon fabric. It’s Robert Kaufman Kona cotton. I decided that I was going to make the collared version of the top and it was going to have to be a matching solid. I was pretty psyched to find a dead match. It’s the little things, really.
It looks like my starting to build a fabric stash. I’m trying to be good and limit myself since I have nowhere to store more material and my yarn stash is threatening to eat me in my sleep. It’s hard to say no, though. I dream about yarn and fabric and thread and buttons. I’m so happy that I made the trip to Fabricland. I was just so pleasantly surprised. Thanks, guys!
Do you have a favorite local fabric shop? What treasures have you uncovered there?
*I remember taking a basic sewing class at Fabricland when I was in high school. I learned to make a cozy for travel-sized kleenex packages. That was the last time I touched a sewing machine until I bought mine two years ago. I’m definitely going to blame that fricking kleenex cozy.
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