Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pilgrimage to Fabric Mart

Group Photo

Well, our visit to Fabric Mart was a roaring success!  In addition to me and Cidell, 5 people were able to join our spur-of-the-moment trip.  The group photo shows Layla, Mary, Claudine, Cidell, Lisette, me, and Diane thoroughly dazed and sated after our 3(!!!) hour visit to the store.  We really felt like we'd been in there for only an hour.

Fabric Mart, Exterior

The drive from Baltimore took about two hours and Fabric Mart was easy to spot once we got into town.  The parking lot isn't large, but they don't get too much in-person business and we had no trouble finding a place.

About to Cross the Threshold

You can enter through the front of the store (didn't get a picture, sorry) or the back, from the parking lot.  We came in through the back.  Here I am about to enter the store for the first time.  Can you feel the anticipation?

Fabric Mart Sharon Our Lovely Hostess

We were greeted by Sharon, with whom many of us have had email correspondence.  She was incredibly nice and patient with us and gave us a tour of the palace grounds.

The area you enter is the store.  Down the center of the store are the clearance items--generally there is not enough yardage to sell online.  Once it gets into the store's clearance area, prices are 50% off marked.  Most of my purchases came from this area.  Where the items are available online I provided a link below.

Cheerful Cutters

Then you keep going.  There's a cutting area, a back room, an upstairs, and a downstairs.  The areas are marked with letter codes (B=Back, D=Downstairs, and so on--so now I know where their product codes come from!).  You can wander the shelves at will, writing down codes.  There is a computer in the front where you look up fabric content and price based on your code.  If you decide you want something, you just grab it off the shelf and bring it to be cut.

The whole time we were there, the cutters were steadily working on online orders.  It seemed like a happy workplace.  The cutters were joking with one another and everyone was incredibly nice.  This makes me doubly glad to shop there in the future.  Happy employees and a non-chain business--what more could you ask for?

Fabric Mart Happy Shot

After much contemplation, it was finally time to get our fabric cut.  Sharon had so much patience with us--we ended up getting 97 yards as a group!  I was responsible for more than my fair share, I'll confess:  27 1/8 yard.  Cidell beat me at 28 yards.

I think the look on my face in this photos shows it all.

Fabric Mart Fancy Wovens 11-2012

 The fuchsia wool/cotton/lycra blend on the right was my splurge fabric, a Julie's Pick at $12.99/yd.  For this quality fabric, I consider the price a bargain.  It's lighter weight, but totally opaque.  It will make a gorgeous work dress.

The nylon jacquard is, I think, my only mistake.  I was really drawn to the color and the weave, but I didn't really feel it until I got it home.  It has a scratchy, uncomfortable hand.  It would be ok for a purse, but the color wouldn't work for a purse.  I think one mistake is allowed.

Fabric Mart Ponte 11-2012
My second mistake was being too influenced--I LOVE the mustard ponte and I only bought one yard of it.  I wish I'd bought 3.  This was from the clearance section so it's not available online.  Alas.

These pontes are great quality and you can't beat the $4/yd price!  The turquoise is totally my color and I was influenced by the sweatshirt dress Cidell was wearing that day in getting the heathered charcoal gray.

Fabric Mart Knits 11-2012

The bright print with the black background hasn't made it onto the website yet, but it is meant to eventually in the ITY section.  The border print was in the clearance section and Cidell and I had a bit of a tug of war over it.  Let's just say, I'm small but I'm fierce.  LOL.  It will be a wrap dress.

Fabric Mart Wovens 11-2012

Love these two prints!  The cotton was from the clearance area.  I can never have enough bright colors.

The peacock-style print on the right is a rayon challis.  It's another fabric that hasn't yet made it onto the website but is supposed to join the other rayon challises.  It will be be another Burda 09-2007-120 tie front blouse, and hopefully soon.

I also got some underpinnings:  8 yards of a nice light gray lining ($1.99/yd) and 1 yard of black tricot ($1/yd)


After all this, you can imagine that we were ravenous!  We tried to go to the pizza place just down the street, but it was closed.  We all piled into Lisette's minivan (imagine 7 grown women emerging from a minivan, it was kind of hilarious) and headed to Frank's Pizza to tally our purchases and plan our next stop.

You didn't think there would be more?

PA Fabric Outlet

The PA Fabric Outlet, which has a store in Philly and a few other locations, is based (I believe) in Lancaster, PA, which just happened to be on our way back home.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take any photos inside but it is a big store famous for its notions and trims.  They also have plenty of fabric.

PA Fabric Outlet 11-2012

I couldn't resist two more knits, an orange red medium-weight knit that will make a nice top in a fiery color to keep me warm through the winter, and a purple wool-blend (based on my burn test) knit for $7.97/yd.  You really can't beat that price.  It will make a great t-shirt dress, though I am contemplating other uses for it.

Notions, PA Fabric OUtlet
I also stocked up on notions.  The best find was this elastic reflective piping for athletic-wear at 25 cents/yard.  That is a crazy price for this notion.  They also had pinchy toggle cord stops in a bag of about 24 for $3!!!!  It costs $3 for two of these at Joann.  Lisette and I split a bag.  I also picked up some zippers from the 8 for $2 barrel (plus two more "by the each").

Then it really was time to get home.  I managed to heave my suitcase onto the train, two metros, and finally made it to home sweet home, exhausted but entirely pleased.

All photos are here.


cidell said...

You are OUTING me! LOL! Thanks for insisting we take the trip and for documenting it. I've stolen your photo from the top :) I'm shocked you only bought a yard of the mustard. I think this is how my yardage is high. I NEVER buy just one yard and I err on buying extra. So, I bought three to 3.5 yards of every fashion fabric and 5 to 10 of stashable linings.

Karin said...

Jealous, jealous, jealous. That's me. Jealous.

I wish FabricMart would ship over seas. I would gladly pay the duty and the ridiculously high "administration" charges.

Elizabeth said...

Love places like this. Hard to walk away without a huge bundle of fabric. There is a really cool on in San Francisco, but I haven't been a while. This reminds me that I need to go :)

Clio said...

Green with envy! What a great haul and a fantastic group to shop with.

shams said...

Ahhhhhhhhh. I need a cigarette. (Except I don't smoke.) Thanks for sharing your adventures with Cidell and Claudine and everyone! I went to FM about a year and a half ago with several bloggers and it was a real highlight - a bucket list thing!!

Thanks for the recap!!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I loved taking the trip with you. It bought back fond memories from my pilgrimage there last year. And it is all the things you said, nice people, loads of fabric and time just gets away from you there. It's magical...glad you had a good time.

LinB said...

Oh, thanks for sharing this trip with us! I do love a fabric crawl. So much better to be able to touch and smell the stuff before you buy it, in my less-than-humble opinion.

Christina said...

You are petting the fabric, love it! Hearing that the employees seem happy is really important, and I am glad you shared that.

T. Sedai said...

I love your fabrics! I will be so excited to see when you make these into wearable garments. It looks like there are going to be a lot of fun dresses in your future.

DawnSSL said...

Great haul, glad you guys had fun... I just recieved my package from Fabric Mart today! Wondering if the ladies were cutting it while you were there..lol Dawn

BeckyMc said...

Well, there goes parity I guess! What a great trip. I'd love to spend a Monday holiday that way. But in Seattle there's no such fun.

Seraphinalina said...

Wow, you sure made up for lost time! That peacock print is stunning. I'd have a hard time finding the "perfect" project for it, I'm glad to hear you have something in mind already.

lsaspacey said...

Wow, I wish I had been up for such a long trip but it would have been about 11 hours round trip. Next time I visit my sister in New Jersey I'll have to talk her into driving me there. Glad you guys had fun!

MushyWear said...

Oh my goodness, what an awesome outing. I would go crazy to be able to shop at fabric stores like that. I have been very pleased with Fabric Mart's personal service regarding shipping fabrics to HI. I recently purchased a firey red knit too. Looking forward to seeing what you make with yours.

Lisette M said...

I keep thinking about that rayon challis and thinking that I have no idea why I didn't get some since I saw you put it on the table...I must have gotten distracted by something else. I think I'm going to have to make a phone call =)

Nancy K said...

Sounds like great bargains and fun was had by all.

Kyle said...

$4 a yard ponte??? Not even Kashi is that cheap! WOW! and in turquoise to boot....my favorite fabric AND favorite color! Thanks for the details about the store--I feel like I was there! I've never ordered from their website but SO many sewing bloggers write about them.

Kyle said...

also, loved the description of 7 grown women emerging from the mini-van...

Stevie said...

wow seriously jealous. I wish they shipped to the UK!
There are some gorgeous fabrics there. Looks like you all had a fab day!

Mrs. Micawber said...

What a TON of fun! That rayon challis is gorgeous - I have a thing for nice heavy drapey rayons. And wool-silk-lycra - wow.

Thanks for letting us tag along!

P.S. Cidell's sweatshirt dress is so cute and looks utterly comfortable.

AllisonC said...

This looks like a rather fabulous addition to the stash, I especially love the knit prints and can see why you'd get into a fight over it!

Linda L said...

I kept thinking that if I still lived in Lehigh Valley I could have had a meet up with you guys! Nice fabric haul and I will be looking at the site more frequently as I have my eyes on a couple of your fabric purchases.

ELMO said...

Wow that looked like a great time, I would love to go sometime, there's nothing better than running your fingers through yardage. sigh.

Anonymous said...

Looks like an awesome time! You're so lucky to be within driving distance of Fabric Mart. :)