The Fabric Had Me at Hello

I've had a lifelong love affair with fabric, and I really think that my love of fabric is what got me started sewing. As a beginning sewist, I would l wander the fabric store aisles with lust in my heart and big plans on my mind. I often bit off more than I could chew and had much more fabric than I could stitch up.


I have just one rule of fabric shopping:
I never pass up vintage bark cloth.

At a certain point, I had to be careful about walking into fabric stores because I just didn't have any more room for fabric.

But there always comes that time when the fabric lies in wait and springs on you when you least expect it. That's exactly what happened to me when I walked into an antique mall recently.

I was there scouting out a chair for a photo shoot. I found the chair, sent the images over to the art director, and waited to hear back.

That was some fateful time on my hands. I wandered into one corner of the house of treasures and there it was: a stack of vintage bark cloth, just looking at me like, "Hello."

Now, I have one rule about fabric: I never, never, EVER pass up vintage bark cloth. First of all, I just don't come across it that often. Second, I am a complete sucker for it. Whenever I see bark cloth, visions of scatter pillows and full, gathered skirts start dancing in my head.

You will be glad to know the restraint that I showed. The fabrics looked to be 1940s or 1950s upholstery swatches from a long-gone fancy showroom on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

I swear that fabric was stalking me.  I had no choice. I only bought 3 panels and I have absolutely no idea what I will do with it.

For now, I'm just happy to look at it adoringly.

For plenty of patterns to use your favorite fabric on, check out the Spring Clearance Sale in the Sew Daily Shop, featuring tons of items 30% to 70% off.

Do you have a story of a fabric love affair to share? Do tell!

Happy stitching!

   

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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

13 thoughts on “The Fabric Had Me at Hello

  1. You got me with the word “fabric.” Oh how I understand your love of fabric. I’ve been sewing since about 12 years old and am now in my 60’s. I have many special places to stash fabric in my home — because I have purchased so much on a whim with ideas galore. (Most of those ideas are long gone past the way side.) For many years I simply wouldn’t allow myself back in a fabric store for fear I couldn’t contain myself. Yet I still love fabrics, the colors, the textures, the possibilities. And I am still learning — it wasn’t until I was in about my 50’s that I discovered what is called bark cloth. It surrounded me as a child and so it simply seemed nostalgic until I learned there is a name for it. Go bravely, my friend. There is always something new to discover out there.

  2. You got me with the word “fabric.” Oh how I understand your love of fabric. I’ve been sewing since about 12 years old and am now in my 60’s. I have many special places to stash fabric in my home — because I have purchased so much on a whim with ideas galore. (Most of those ideas are long gone past the way side.) For many years I simply wouldn’t allow myself back in a fabric store for fear I couldn’t contain myself. Yet I still love fabrics, the colors, the textures, the possibilities. And I am still learning — it wasn’t until I was in about my 50’s that I discovered what is called bark cloth. It surrounded me as a child and so it simply seemed nostalgic until I learned there is a name for it. Go bravely, my friend. There is always something new to discover out there.

  3. Amber- I just read your whole post out loud to my husband because “this is exactly how I feel”. And he got it…again. (LOL)
    I constantly try to explain my absolute passion for fabric (every time I bring yet another treasure or 3 into the house). DDH is very understanding….He is THE best money manager a wife could have, yet he doesn’t do more than gently tease me- again! I’ve even had to give away (to charity sewing groups) dozens and dozens of Garbags full of perfectly good (but now ‘surplus to requirements’) fabrics that I once couldn’t live without but which are now taking up space I need in those plastic tubs.
    Yes, my name is Aless, and I’m an addict….a fabric addict…. :-

  4. The Fabric Had Me at Hello!!! How this discribes me….I have been blessed with a husband that indulges me in my fasination with fabric….all kinds…silk, wool, and all the blends, and dare I say all the beautiful quilting cottons….Of course with all the gorgeous fabrics must be accompanied by patterns…all kinds of patterns…quilts, garments, accessories. I have been sewing since I was 10 and now I’m 66. I am working at trying to finish what I buy…..I’m doing pretty good….I’m only 3 projects behind. I admit…I am a fabric addict….

  5. Is there a cure for this addiction?!? I’m 75 and my mother started me sewing by hand when I was 5 or 6, then graduated me to her treadle sewing machine. Like you, I absolutely love fabric and I have a room full of it! I’m constantly looking for new projects on which to use it.

  6. I am definitely in this fabric addict club. I have 5 huge metal shelving units filled with 56qt tubs of fabric in my basement. I don’t even remember what project I was going to do with them. I love fabric, most days I go to a fabric store, just to see all the fabric, to me that is a good time! I think I need help! (lol)

  7. I fell in love with it when I first saw it…though I usually don’t buy fabric at WalMart! It was pretty good quality, though……and the design was amazing! A deep purple and royal mottled background, covered with tiny, slightly wonky hand-drawn-looking stars in all different colors! I used it in a quilt right then, went back and used it in a project for my Master’s program, then bought some more. Then the WalMarts in my area discontinued their fabric on bolts and I was devastated. I try eBay every so often, and have found 3 more yards that way. I still love it, will always love it, and even photocopied it to make gorgeous scrapbook paper once…… sigh…….. Just don’t want to cut up what I have!!!!!!!

  8. So, what is bark fabric? Never heard the name before and how would I know it. I have a fabric issue also and have had some trip me when I was trying to pass it by. At least that is what I told my husband.

  9. I visited my friend in Rhode Island & she took me to a hilt store in Conn, I think.
    There were so many bolts of flannel fabrics, I almost hyper-ventilated. I’ve moved on from flannels as my favorite but I still get excited when I walk into a new quilt store.
    My husband took me to every hilt store between Daytona Bch and Savannah for my birthday one year. He gets me and he’s a great guy, obviously.
    I still don’t know what Bark cloth is.

  10. At least I am not alone in my obsession! I ADORE flea markets, yard sales, rummage sales, vintage shops and the like. I live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the Mennonite Central Committee has annual sales of quiltmaking supplies and other sales with fabric. I have sold some of my fabric at a vintage co-op but I still have a zillion pieces.

    I went through an eBay phase of searching for vintage fabric, linens, trim and lace.

    I also went through a Goodwill/Salvation Army raiding phase, and especially spent hours in the Goodwill outlet store where every garment is 85 cents. I have re-sold a lot of clothing at the co-op and sidewalk sales but I still have piles of it and it is totally unmanageable.

    SO…..I now have a huge collection of fabric and used clothing and although I have a vintage electric sewing machine I have still to start using it. I love the magazine Altered Couture and plan to get into gear sorting/purging/creating this year.

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