Fabricate, my local fabric shop in Boulder, is a magical place. I’m hesitant to call it my local quilt shop, even though it carries tons and tons of modern quilting fabric, because it also focuses very strongly on garment sewing. Fabricate’s owners, Linda Spillman and Corey Strohmeyer, are both super talented sewists, and can often be found modeling their latest creations from behind the cash register or cutting table.
The shop is located off of historic Pearl Street, in the cozy, converted home of Boulder’s first pharmacist (random, huh?). Even though they’ve recently expanded the shop to add more studio space, every nook and cranny is full of notions, patterns, and class samples. On any given day, customers walking into the shop will hear the bustle of the two sewing studios in the back, where Fabricate keeps a full class schedule for adults, as well as camps and after-school sewing groups for kids. Tons of teachers (including me, even!) lead students in garments, embroidery, quilting, home decor, and more. The shop is truly alive, and it’s wonderful to see handmade craft taking such a strong hold of a vibrant community like Boulder.
Corey somehow found time in her crazy schedule to share her experiences as a fabric shop owner, and we’re honored to have her here!
What inspired you to open a fabric shop?
I’m a lifelong sewer! I’ve been doing it since I was old enough to reach the foot pedal on one of my Oma’s machines…. In addition to just bringing great fabric choices to Boulder, the idea of sharing a passion with other people who “get it” seemed like the culmination of everything I’ve always loved doing. Most sewing is a fairly solitary activity–it’s hard to haul a machine and all your supplies around!–and we wanted to make it more of a community activity.
What is your shop’s aesthetic? What do you love to sell?
We love fresh and modern, in both the colors and the prints. We definitely make note of what people come in looking for that we might not have a wide variety of, but a lot of the time we just pick out what we love and hope that others love it too! We have such a variety of interests from our customers, from hard-core quilters to apparel sewists to general crafters. We find that no matter what we get, someone will want to use it for something!
What has been the biggest surprise in owning and operating a fabric shop?
Honestly, the biggest surprise has been how many people out there are sewing. We knew there seemed to be a kind of movement piggy-backing on the whole DIY renaissance, but the number of people who were already toiling away in their craft rooms, and the people who wanted to learn, was surprising–and inspiring! I also learned that you can’t anticipate anything; we’re always left guessing what is going to come next in terms of volume and interest in projects and classes.
What makes your shop unique?
I like to think it’s the people who work for us….we have an amazing staff who are all impressive creatives in their own right and very knowledgeable and helpful to boot. I think in addition to what we carry in the shop, people come in for the ideas and conversations. And it doesn’t hurt that we have what is arguably the cutest, most charming little building downtown!
If you could give one piece of advice to sewists everywhere, what would it be?
STICK WITH IT! Sewing can seem like a lot at first and every project can seem like it takes forever, but the more you do, the faster and more confident you will get. And never be afraid to ask for help! We seasoned sewists love nothing more than to see someone else fall in love with the art and we are only happy to answer a question. Trust me: it will be worth it.