Do you know about discontinued fabric sample books? They’re fabulous.
On a recent trip, my sister spotted a sign in the window of an upholstery shop in Almonte, Ontario. “Discontinued Fabric Sample Books For Sale”, the sign read. Eight dollars later I was the happy owner of eight books filled with upholstery fabrics and even one with fake leather (no idea what to do with that one, but it was too cool to pass up).
Getting anything usable out of the fabric books can be tricky. Sometimes, they only have paper on the bottom edge of the fabric on the back (listing the fabric name and colour, fiber content and washing instructions). Sometimes you only have a tiny window of “clean” fabric with paper all around. Sometimes the paper is impossible to remove from the fabric at all. And sometimes, the fabric’s beautiful design is just off center enough for the piece to not be usable.
The other issue is the mess. You get glue fluff from the top of the book. You get paper fluff from the paper you peel (or soak) off the back of the fabric. You get fabric fluff from the torn edges at the top and sides. This is a project that definitely needs a vacuum cleaner. You also need to be careful with the giant staples. They aren’t messing around when they put these together.
Some of the fabrics are too strange or thick to use. They could be fine for a chair or something, I guess, but fabric that is three millimeters thick does nothing for me, stitching-wise.
But others are just amazing. Soft and smooth and full of interesting designs. So when I wanted to stitch a little origami butterfly in the same style as my rabbit, I dug through my pink book, made sure the fabric peeled relatively easily, and went at it!
What interesting fabrics have you dug up lately?