Visiting Fabric

swiss dot

Adorable Swiss Dot

Have you made a fabric excursion away from home?  We just spent the last week in North Carolina visiting my grandparents. While we were there I got to take some time out to visit Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia.  I’ve heard it’s awesome.  I’ve heard it is huge.  I’ve heard the staff are awesome.  I’ve heard the staff are terrible.

First and easiest.  The Staff were helpful, kind and knowledgeable in their areas.  One staffer even explained that as an out-of-towner I might want to take pictures of fabrics I like, but don’t buy now, so that I could email the photo later and they would locate it on the floor and prep an order for me (or anyone).   The one questionable part was when a staffer told my grandmother to just carry the rolls of fabric over to the cutting table.  I wasn’t in site and my grandmother clearly wouldn’t be able to carry many of the rolls.

Selection:  This pairs a bit with Organization:  There were many hand-lettered signs hanging above the fabric display areas, but it was sometimes hard to tell which of the fabrics under or near the sign actually fit the description.  An example of this on a larger scale is that the Dancewear/bridal section is where I found the cotton knits.  It is not intuitive.  This means I may have missed some things.  Fabric info (type and fiber content) was often missing from bolts other than the quilting cottons.  If you aren’t comfortable with fabric this could be a serious drawback for you.

That said, back to the Selection:

Let’s break this down into categories:

Quilting Cottons: Heaps and piles of these.  Lovely.

Batiks:  lots.  Also lovely.

Apparel fabrics: Oh so many more than at the big box stores in my area, but while amazing in some areas, less amazing in others.  I was really hoping for a better selection of knits.  There were lots of dance costume knits, maybe 10ish cotton prints, and possibly as many solid cotton knits.  The prices were about average.  There were no sweater knits (I asked.)  I saw no terry’s.  Batiste and Voile were represented.  The batistes were largely poly cotton blend. There were some awesome suitings and silks, but they weren’t on my shopping list.  Linens and linen blends, as well as, basic bottom weights (in a variety of fibers) were well represented.

Look at the goodies.

Prices?  I got some great pieces that were priced in the $4-$5/yd. range.  A lot of things were average.  A few things seemed quite pricey.

How was it?  Good.  Not Amazing and awesome in all ways-but, I was quite happy with my purchases.   If I’m in the market for specific things I might stop in next time I’m in the area, but unless I’ve got a bit of a list I probably won’t drive the extra 35 minutes.

Thanks for travelling with me.   Where do you like to shop?

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