Friday, February 18, 2011

A Visit to Michael's Fabrics & Stashoholism Confessional Plus IBOL Time!

A Fabric Place
When I went to Baltimore to do my coat photoshoot spend time with Cidell we visited Baltimore's excellent fabric store, A Fabric Place--known online as Michael's Fabrics. It was my first visit to the store, and it could easily have turned dangerous. However, I still had my willpower and I managed to walk away empty-handed.

Michael of Michael's Fabrics/A Fabric Place

The man himself was there! Michael is both personable and knowledgeable and was very happy to give us all the time we needed with him. We appreciated it because the store was suprisingly crowded. I think this is a good sign for home sewing and local fabric stores.


The store is much larger than you would think and is organized into several rooms. In the back at the left is the wool room. In addition to beautiful wool coatings and outerwear fabrics, they carry the most gorgeous suitings. You can also find fabrics in here for tailored shirts and whatever you need to look sharp.

Silk Jerseys

I was most tempted by the silk jerseys. A whole table of them in the most gorgeous prints! There was a butterfly print that was really hard to walk away from. The prices in the store are in line with general prices for high quality fabrics. So they're not cheap, but they are not inflated either. The $18-24/yd price kept me from indulging in this table, and only my good manners kept me from rolling around in it!


In addition to the fabric rooms there is a notions and trims room. I LOVED the wall of buttons--so beautiful and truly a button for any project you could possibly conceive of. This room also has ribbons, which Cidell assures are very good quality, and trims galore.

Cidell Feels Shy

Cidell was feeling a bit camera shy so here she is demonstrating the ribbon.

There is also a room for special occasion fabrics--all the sequins your little heart could ever desire. The main room contains the cottons and unbelievable silk charmeuse prints in all my favorite colors. And among the cottons you will find a selection of Liberty of London--it is so rare to see these gorgeous fabrics in person. I just sighed over them.

Cidell and I were discussing how if one could get away from being a stasher, every project could be made of "expensive" fabric. I calculate the approximate cost of each of my garments and it is unusual to have one that costs more than $20. But I don't count the time value of the money invested in the fabric that sat on the shelf for months or years, and I don't factor in the depreciation value of my giant inventory of stash. If I added these to get a true cost, I would probably be paying closer to $12 or $15 per yard than $5. It is interesting.

But truthfully, I love having a stash. I do wish I had a little less (and now I do have a teeny bit less--see IBOL note below) and I definitely do not want it to grow. But a room full of possibility makes my heart sing, even if sometimes the array of choices paralyzes me.

All the photos of A Fabric Place are here.


G Street 2-2011

And speaking of which, here is what I recently added to the stash.

Large Print/Motif/Cutaway Pattern Pieces? Pattern Review's Stash Contest is underway (nearly done actually). Every year in January and February the contest encourages you to sew up older stash (this year, at least 6 months old). I always try to focus on stash sewing in these two months, though this year I haven't done as much because a newer wool just *had* to be sewn up before winter's end.

However, I have done a few stash projects, including sewing up a knit print in what I consider Fall/Winter colors purchased at Jomar over a year ago. So when I went to G Street Fabrics for the monthly Fashion Sewing Club (my first visit to this den of temptation in the new year) I decided that I could replace that Fall/Winter knit print with the right hand turquoise and olive ITY.

I was also drawn to the crazy purple print fabric. It is a heavy weight knit like a ponte, though I don't know if it is actually a double knit or not. The motifs on it are huge. I couldn't think of any object to put for scale in the photo at right, but that is about 2 yards of length. It looks like it could be pre-printed pattern pieces that are to be cut out for midriff bands and hem bands, though the curved pieces baffle me. They are too wide to be for a neckline and too curved to be for a waistline. It needs a pattern with a lot of pieces to chop up the motifs. I don't have any heavy weight knit prints, so I decided there was a place for it in stash, especially as my awesome, awesome Butterick 5382 pleat neck long sleeve dress in similar fabric is pilled almost beyond wearability--although that probably should have cautioned me against buying this one!



Last but not least, it's IBOL time again! IBOL guy is looking for 500 Iraqi Bundles of Love to be sent for a special project. This is your opportunity to share your bounty of fabric, thread, notions, and sundries with Iraqi women who have suffered through decades of embargo and war and have a hard time clothing their families. You can send a USPS medium flat rate box to an APO address for $12.95. It's easy--I did mine last week. Lots more information on the IBOL blog.

If you want to participate, leave a comment on the IBOL blog asking for the info and IBOL guy will email you the address and give you links to detailed information on what is most needed (large pieces--this is where garment sewists have the advantage over quilters) and how to create and send a bundle (it involves a specific customs form, the 2976A).

Since they are trying to get right around 500 bundles, he is needing to track who will be sending bundles and how many so you must get the info directly from him. I forgot to photograph my most recent bundle before mailing it, so this is a repost of last year's photo.


McVal said...

I cannot believe you made it out of that fabric store without buying ANYTHING! I could not do that...
My stash is extensive and I've just realized that by moving it all out of my sewing room to make room for my son to move back home temporarily. It's all stacked up in boxes in my bedroom now...
I've got too much...

Jean S said...

an amazing store. sounds like Vogue Fabrics in Evanston (I used to live nearby and would "go visit" my favorite fabrics)...

thanks for the IBOL post. I've missed that--how, I don't know. Just left an email w/the guy. I have some great trim (hand-crocheted and -tatted by the mother and grandmother of a 70-year-old friend) that would be perfect to add to a box. Can't wait to send it off to people who will truly appreciate it AND have urgent need for it.

cidell said...

Not shy... vain. I had zero makeup on :D

Anonymous said...

"only my good manners kept me from rolling around in it", funny funny. I know what you mean about stash. My biggest motivator to not stash was counting the amount of boxes of fabric my mother in law has in her basement. 34! I am not kidding, although some of it is yarn. It is nice cause she gives tons of it to me, but a lot of it is very dated and has definitely depreciated.

IBOL Guy said...

Seriously? You bought nothing? Who does that?

marjoriekh said...

A trip to Baltimore is in my future.

My stash is tiny but I think I can find some things to send to IBOL - I can go out and get what I don't already have. It is such a fantastic idea, and I really like the directness of it. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Jen said...

You know ... I went once, and it was just .. odd. I felt like I was annoying the person who helped me. And another person I know went once with a project in hand and was told "that is sewn wrong" ... I haven't been back, even though I mean to try it again and see if we both just happened to hit the store on a bad day.

ELMO said...

So I would like to know, does Michael ever recognize his fabric when you wear it into his store? lol!
Thank you for the IBOL link, good for you not buying anything, I have already slid off the wagon.

Faye Lewis said...

Love your new coat! Hey, the link to Micheal's Fabric doesn't work.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Thanks for the heads up, Faye. Link is fixed.

Karin said...

A silk jersey butterfly print? I definitely would have fallen off the wagon for that one! Applying the time value of money to a fabric stash made me smile. Sounds like a great excuse for buying even nicer fabric!

Sandi said...

HOW did you not manage to buy anything??? I went to A Fabric Place in August while I was traveling with my four kids and Michael was welcoming, answered my kids' questions!, gave me a really nice discount since I was stopping through from NC on the way to PA. It was fantastic...about to go play with some of the $225 worth of goodies I brought home from there.

kbenco said...

Nothing! I hope you were feeling OK.
Then again, if I had access to G street, I might be able to resist a Michael's sale. Well, probably not.
Happy stash busting.

Sigrid said...

Wow, not buying anything, I couldn't have done that either.

Binkydoll said...

I wish I could do an IBOL box this year, but I don't have any stash fabric to part with!

I read about it in your blog last time, and sent two boxes and it made me feel SO GOOD to know the fabric I had liberated from a friend who was going to throw it away was being sent to people who could actually use it (there was an added bonus for me too, because the friend I liberated it from was previously a sharp shooter in the Marines, and ummm, you know, had probably helped in some of the instability over there....)

Audrey said...

I was really surprised to learn you had never been to Micheal's. He has beautiful fabrics, but I want beautiful fabrics at a bargain price. I actually thought of you yesterday, when I was pawing through the $2.95 table at G Street Fabrics yesterday, hoping I would find some of the great fabrics you always seem to find there.

Gwen said...

I'm jealous of your shopping trip AND your will power! ;)

I'm participating in IBOL II as well - isn't it wonderful? :)

SEWN said...


Anonymous said...

My husband and I were talking about stashin' this morning, as I was up in the attic assessing mine. I have a healthy amount, but it's not overwhelming. It's especially light on summer fabrics, though I do have about a dozen big cuts of wool that I'll need to sew up next fall/winter.