Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh Yeah, I've Died and Gone to Fabric Heaven

It's quite unbelievable that with all the trips to North Carolina that I've never stepped foot into Mary Jo's. With the recent trip, that was now my priority. Luckily, my husband was agreeable. It helps that he's so busy with work and stayed at the hotel to be on his laptop. We needed to check out of the hotel at noon. I knew that I would be limited with time. I was going to go to Mary Jo's and Long Creek Mills which is pretty much across town in Gastonia, NC. Check out time was approaching and Jeff had brought the luggage downstairs and started to work in the hotel lobby. The front desk lady started to talk to Jeff. The conversation went like this:
Lady: You know, your wife left here before 9:00.
Jeff: Yes, I know.
Lady: Where did she go?
Jeff: She went to the fabric store.
Lady: Did she go to Mary Jo's?
Jeff: Yes she did.
Lady: You know, some women never return when they go to Mary Jo's.
Jeff: Great.

Have you ever had butterflies in your stomach because you knew that the adventure would be fantastic. Well, I got up early to make sure that I would get to Mary Jo's early. The parking lot already had lots of cars in it. As you can see, the place isn't upscale. This is one way I'm sure that helps to keep her prices low. When I walked in and saw the expanse of the store, I decided to spend time casing the joint. I spent about 20-30 minutes walking thru the store and developing my plan of attack. I didn't bring any information on my home dec needs so the home dec department was out. I can tell you that the home dec fabric takes up about half of the store. The fabric of course is just beautiful. Lot's of shoppers in this department.

I decided to concentrate on lace. I was looking for heirloom laces and bridal laces. I came away with lots of heirloom laces but no bridal lace. I was very specific about what I wanted. I needed a 3-6 inch flounce of schiffli lace for bridal garters. I've made so many garters over the years that my bridal stash is severely limited. As you can see, there was certainly tons of lace, just not what I was looking for. I think I spent an hour in the heirloom lace dept deciding on the laces and having them cut. Look at the rows of rick rack that was in the trim department. I've never seen such choices before. I wanted to buy some but needed to spend my time (and money) elsewhere.

I think the two biggest draws to Mary Jo's is the home dec fabric and the bridal fabric. I can see why. Both departments were quite busy. There were several brides shopping. It was very hard not to touch all that beautiful lace. You just don't see the quality of alencon lace around here. Well, pretty much you don't see this lace in any store where I live. The prices for the beaded alencon lace ran up to $165.00/yard I think. Not too bad.

Next stop was the cotton department. I held strong and didn't buy any quilting fabrics. Mary Jo's has the best prices around on quilting fabrics. She also carries all the big names. What I usually pay is about $9.50/yard. At Mary Jo's, $6.49/yard. Believe me, it was hard to turn that down. I ended up with three pieces of very soft cottons for heirloom sewing. One is an Imperial Batiste which I can get around here but once again, the price was right. The other two pieces were sweet little girl prints. Hopefully someday I'll have a granddaughter that will have a dress out of this fabric. The store does an excellent job of organizing the fabrics. Batiks were all together, reds, blues, beige, etc all together. She even had polka dots together.

When I tell people that I spent two hours at Mary Jo's they can't believe that is all the time that I was there. Believe me, on my next visit I'll try to schedule more time. I can't wait to go back to Mary Jo's. For anyone that is interested, she does have a website, Her website isn't like others because she can't possibly show all the fabrics, trims and notions. You can call the store and place an order over the phone. Now, onward to Long Creek Mills.


  1. Ellen, It sounds like a quilters paradise!!

  2. Yes, it is a quilters paradise. Put that in your memory bank if you ever get down near Charlotte. It's a tough price to beat for current fabric lines.