Thrifting fabric: Art Parts, Colorado

I’ve been stashing the most wonderful fabrics for quilts.

I dropped by Art Parts, a Boulder, Colorado creative reuse center founded in 2011. Donors drop off art supplies; Art Parts curates them into a brangle of creative opportunity; and buyers like me walk away with stacks of materials for our next projects. They carry all kinds of craft supplies—I saw metal gears, historic glass slides, hole punches, leather scraps, and how-to books—but I focused on the fabric. I stumbled onto a fabric sale generated from two estate donations.

Check out what I added to my stash:


  • A soft, thick weave with a scale pattern, perfect for a couch bolster
  • A fat quarter of woodland-themed tapestry
  • Deep blue jacquard
  • Some 1986 glazed chintz
  • 2 yards of evergreen microfiber, incredibly soft yet heavy enough for pants
  • 4 yards of peacock-colored silk
  • An assortment of fabulously patterned brocade men’s ties, already disassembled and ready for action
  • A pink silk Moroccan caftan, damaged but with its silver bullion embroidery intact

I left behind sets of new curtains (Pottery Barn tags still on), enough lamé scraps to clothe a disco, and acres of peach linen.

I’m imagining all sorts of projects I can finish or add to using these fantastic fabrics. I’m so much more inspired than I would have been going to a chain fabric store. I’m reclaiming items from the landfill and giving them useful second lives. And it doesn’t hurt that the cost for everything was $3 per pound.

As I’ve become more conscious of the environmental and social cost of new cotton, these reused resources seem like an enormous windfall to me. I’ve resolved to look toward my own stash and shared sources like Art Parts, thrift stores, and trading for inspiration and materials for my future projects. I’ll buy new fabric again, of course, but I want to do it deliberately and less. I’ll rely on reclaimed materials for the spark that animates new work.

Where do you find your fabric? Have you tried working with fabric from a relative’s cherished stash, or a thrift store’s racks? What was the result?




2 thoughts on “Thrifting fabric: Art Parts, Colorado

  1. I wish I had known you sooner. I gave away a lot of tapestry style fabrics a while back that looked a lot like the top piece in your photo.


    1. Ooh, I’m sorry I missed those – though perhaps it was a narrow escape from having a tall pile of (admittedly gorgeous) fabric on my tiny studio’s floor…


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