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Conversational Threads

Large, beautiful fabric stash

jarams | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

For some years I have been carrying around a large stash of really beautiful fabrics, wools, linens, silks, predominatly natural fibres and all are excellent quality.  My husband now refuses to move them again and I don”t sew very much anymore so the pile isn’t going down.  I live in Ontario Canada and have tried to sell the stash on a web site without much success – seems like Canadian women don’t do much sewing anymore.  I would consider donating them to the Sally Army or similar organizations if any would take the stuff but only if there is no other alternative.  I wonder if anyone else who is/was a fabricoholic like me has any ideas to share as to what I could do with this stash.

A c ouple of you have expressed an interest and have asked me to contact you via e-mail addresses.  I have sent e-mails but am wondering if they got through as I have not heard back from you.  Perhaps the two people in question could let me know.  Thanks and look forward to hearing from you.


Edited 10/18/2009 9:21 am ET by jarams


  1. beo | | #1

    I can't think of any site, but I certainly don't want to see you donate such beautiful fabric that may or may not be appreciated.  Perhaps we could talk?  Please e-mail me at [email protected]

  2. nmog | | #2

    Hello - your stuff sounds beautiful! I live in Calgary and have found that I can donate my large scraps (the larger, the better) to the local children's theater group. Depending on where you live in Ontario you may also find a historical village that could use the material for costumes as well. You may also be able to put an ad up at a design school bulletin board and see if you get any interest that way. Good luck!


    1. sewluving | | #3

      Another Calgarian.  Liking our weather.........LOL I'm not.  Wish I still lived in Ontario as that fabric sounds really nice.

      Heather in Calgary

    2. jarams | | #6

      Hi Nicole

      Many thnks for your suggestion.  I live in Ottawa, I hadn't thought of the theatre group idea but that could be a good source.  My stuff is really pieces I bought as opposed to scraps from projects.  It pains me to part with a lot of it because some pieces are lovely and there ared no fabric stores carrying nice stuff here anymore so it is so hard to find natural fibre fabrics.  But as I am no longer working my needs for clothing have changed.  I did contact the local design school here but they sell fabrics so weren't too interested in my stuff.  Thanks again for getting back to me, I will check out the theatre group option.


      1. Kbrane | | #8

        Hello,I do understand your desire to sell it rather than give it away, but if you can't find a purchaser, you might try to find a young person who is sewing a lot and making do with what she has and suppliment her stash (read fabric addiction). I'm a young wife and mom and I'm always looking for nice free fabric since I don't have much money to purchase "needs" much less "wants". But I do end up using it for needful things. I would think you could find a similar young lady in your area (as opposed to me, who lives in Albquerque, NM :)Hope you find someone to love and appreciate your collection!

        1. jarams | | #9

          Hi there

          Thanks for taking the time to reply.  I would be happy to give some of it to a deserving  young person if I could find one but would like to be able to recoup some of the money I spent on my addiction! :-) I have come to the conclusion that sewing your own clothing is not something that many Canadian women do anymore and while there are probably fewer in the US, there is still much more of a sewing community in the US, hence the popularity of Threads and magazines similar to it.

          Thanks again

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #10

            Hi Jennifer. I live South of Ottawa. Have you looked into donating some of your stash to the rural 4H sewing clubs. There are several still around in the area. You might also try garage selling your fabrics. There are several large community garage sales in the spring that hordes of people go to. Fabric, craft supplies and notions are very popular items at these, especially good quality ones. Priced at 1/3 of the ORIGINAL selling price, or less, they will sell quickly. CathyPS There is a lack of really good quality fabric in many of the Ottawa Stores. Have you gone to any of the small independent stores to see if they might sell your stuff on consignment by piece?

            Edited 10/7/2009 4:05 pm ET by ThreadKoe

          2. jarams | | #11

            Hi Cathy:

            many thanks for your response and suggestions.  The garage sale option would be difficult as I have to move the stuff before next Spring, the main time for garage sales. 

             You're right about the absence of decent fabric stores in Ottawa.  Besides Fabricland and Rockland Textiles,I only know of one independent dress fabric store who used to be o  n Bank near Laurier and I thought of approaching the owner but then he relocated somewhere but no idea where.  Given that I have so much I wasn't sure he'd be interested but nothing ventured, nothing gained so I should check that out.

            Thanks Again


          3. gailete | | #12

            One of my favorite trips was to the fabric stores in Hamilton where my hubby let me loose with a charge card! I got lots of lovely fabrics which I have yet to sew. Now though with the need for a passport for both of us to cross the border, that delight is out of our budget for a good long while.

            Do you have a CraigsList style thing where you live? I hear people do really well with that, or I can't remember if you already tried selling it on line? http://www.ecrater.com is free to list and no fees to sell so a great place to list. Business is booming for me there if you wanted to go that route (ebay charges killer fees plus the Canadian Postage is a killer,I know).

            Such a shame that you can't use it in some positive way. I would hate to give up my stash. Glad that I don't have to give up mine.

          4. sewluving | | #13

            I used to live in Hamilton.  Love the fabric stores that used to be on Ottawa street there in the 60's.  That was when I was in high school from 1959 to 1964 (we had grade 13 back then).  It was super to go to those bargain stores and shop.  Everything was everywhere and stacked to the ceilings almost.  Don't think they have as much as they used to.  Go back to visit family but they don't live in Hamilton anymore so don't get to the shops.

            Heather in Calgary

          5. jarams | | #15

            Hi Gail

            Thanks for replying and for the words of understanding.  I love fabrics whether they be for the home or for fashion and I still and have to exercise iron will to not buy when I got to these places with friends or for a notion or something.  I did try to advertize on used ottawa.com and had one person who said she was interested but then never showed up so I had kind of given up on that option.  I have had some interesting replies, one who is a designer i n TO who might be interested.  So I am hoping that I can move my stuff before long.

            Thanks again for taking the time to respond.


          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #16

            If you are thinking of Darryl Thomas, he has relocated. He was in the Sparks Street mall. I am not exactly sure where he is now. The other nice place you might like is C & M Textiles on Merivale Road, just North of Meadowlands Drive. They are a branch of a lovely store out of Montreal. There is also Firefly Fabrics on Bank, at Alta Vista. They are a really nice independant store, mainly geared to quilting, but carry a small selection of other things, of good quality. Try them to see what they might do, as they are very helpful. No harm in asking. Cathy

          7. jarams | | #17

            Many thanks Cathy.  Darryl Thomas was on Bank then he moved so no idea wher ehe is now but I will check out the others that you told me about.  As you say it is worth a try and I really appreciate your info.


          8. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #18

            153 Preston Street
            Ottawa, ON K1R 7P6
            (613) 239-3854Hope you have fun shopping. I have not yet been to the new location. If you get there, I would appreciate an update. Cathy

      2. Gloriasews | | #14

        Your local quilting guild may be interested, if your fabrics are all natural.  When I moved last year, I contacted the quilting guild in my previous city & they very kindly offered to advise their members about a sewing machine I had for sale, as well as a box of quilting & sewing books - & I wasn't even a member!  I appreciated it so much - & made $450, too. 

  3. clbgob | | #4

    Is there a church that might have a ministry to use them? We have a project that makes tote bags given to be given women in need holding small toiletries.

    1. jarams | | #5

      Thank you that's an idea I could check out although I would first prefer to see if I could get a little money for some of the pieces and while I have never heard of churches in the affluent city I live in doing that sort of thing I need to explore it further.  Thanks for your suggestion and for taking the time to get back to me.

  4. jei | | #7

    I have a custom fashion designer friend in Toronto who is very interested in your fabrics.  She has indicated that, depending on what you have, she will purchase what suits her.

    Contact me at [email protected] and I will give you her phone number.

    What is the predominant colour scheme of these pieces?


  5. zuwena | | #19

    No ideas but this was such a disappointing message. Like you I've been a fabri-holic for years, having only recently stop accumulating. I have always told the family "sell the fabric" because it will provide more than the inheritance. Now, it seems I'll have to stop saying that.Good luck on the disposal. Z

    1. jarams | | #21

      Thank you for responding.  Yes its quite disappointing and I think perhaps that one o the reasons that fabrics are unwanted is that perhaps Canadian women don't sew that much anymore, not a criticism, simply an observation of change. We used to have several fabric stores in my city and now we have only a couple.  I am trying too stay optimistic that my stash will go to good homes though.


      1. Sancin | | #22

        I know it would be a lot of work, but would you consider selling and mailing some of your fabric to members of this list. It sounds like there may be some interest. However, I am not sure of the policy of advertising - but seems it has already been told about. If you wanted to say you would do it anyone could send you an email privately. I was in touch with you via email, but unfortunately my cousin cannot pick anything up for me d/t health reasons.

  6. Jeannes123 | | #20

    the compeer organization works with quilting and people with mental health issues giving them a skill.  That would be one option.  Another is http://www.craftbitsandpieces.com/  organization in town i live in (Fairport, NY) that takes donations of all kinds, fabric, yarn, partially finished projects and then sells at discount price.  Profits all go to help senior citizens in the community.

  7. Ceeayche | | #23


    On Thursday, I happened to meet with a woman who runs the activities for our local senior center.  We were talking about their activities for another reason, and she mentioned she was always on the look out for materials for their active sewing club.  Evidently most donations are quilting materials (which many of the members appreciate and enjoy); but that there was a handful of residents who wanted to do fashion sewing.  And another wanted dressy fabric because she incorporates sequins, satins, velvets and brocades into fanciful Christmas stockings that have become popular at the member craft sales.  Two in particular are longing to make new outfits for church.  So I'm going to go through the stash pull some of the cottons for quilting and find some items that might be appropriate for them to make items for themselves.  She noted that the economy has hit that generation the hardest, most are on fixed incomes and appreciate the small things in life.

    Hope this gets your creative juices flowing!

    1. gailete | | #24

      >>the economy has hit that generation the hardest, most are on fixed incomes and appreciate the small things in life<<

      Absolutely, so glad you can help them out. This year (2010) there is no cost of living increase for those on Social Security, yet many medical supplement insurances for Medicare recipients are going up, plus everything else. Reading in my local paper today that they are hoping to push through a tax increase. I wonder who they expect will be able to pay for all these increases? Any contributions to these folks especially in the subsidized senior living communities are welcome. My hubbies aunt lives in one and when people donate things like shampoo and other toiletries, etc. they are scooped off the donation table immediately. If you try out something like a shampoo but don't like it for whatever reason, don't toss it, donate it.

  8. Bionerd | | #25

    I'm sure you could use the $ as well-why not try Ebay or another site (? maybe PatternReview) that has a classified section.    Nice fabric does seem to sell especially as JoAnn is the only fabric store around these days and their quality is lacking.  Another option is to inventory all of it, donate it to a charity and take a tax deduction which may not be as lucrative.   You may also want to see what your DH will be moving in case you need some ammunition!

    1. jarams | | #26

      Hi there:

      Thanks for getting back to me.  I didn't try e-bay as i thought I would need to take photos of all of it which would be daunting as there is quite a bit of fabric - 9 large rubber neck boxes to be exact.  I live in Canada which is extremely stingy about charitable donations, you only get tax breaks on donations of cash and those have to be several hundred dollars in size.  the tax credit is also a very low percentage of what you give - the unfortunate consequence of living in a socialist nanny state where the politicians want to have the power to"look after" everybody!

      1. Bionerd | | #27

        Ebay is a little labor intensive, but if you have the time it is probably the way to go.   It is a pain to post pics etc. but if you group like fabrics together it may reduce the work load. Good luck !

      2. starzoe | | #29

        This is not a political forum and I for one am not interested in your personal opinions regarding any political system, particularly of a country in which you apparently reside.

        1. Sancin | | #30


      3. jane4878 | | #31

        That's not true--you get 17% on ANY amount you donate.  It is a tax credit not a deduction.  I'm a proud Canadian and I love my country.  You could always move elsewhere if you have issues with our political system. 


        1. Sancin | | #32

          Oh for heaven's sake. Bashing our political system is a Canadian pass time. If you don't like it move on to the next message. Jarams was simply voicing her frustrations, perhaps choosing inappropriate words. It doesn't mean she doesn't love Canada. In Canada one needs to have a receipt before claiming charitable donations, which many organizations, for a variety of reasons cannot give, to get a tax credit. This lady has a problem of having invested too much money on wonderful fabric and needs to know how she can recoup some of the cost. Lets move on.

          1. jane4878 | | #33

            She has been given suggestions on how to recoup her loss, but doesn't seem to want to make the effort. I'm sorry I wasted my time trying to offer suggestions to help her. I'm sorry I apparently wasted yours by expressing my opinion.

  9. jane4878 | | #28

    Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg may be interested in your linen and wool.  Their employees are all dressed in period costume.  Also, my sister took couture courses at one of the colleges or universities in the Cornwall or Ottawa area.  You may be able to donate to one of the schools.  You could probably get a tax break for the value of the donation.

    Just a thought,


    p.s. wish I was closer, I'd purchase some from you.

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