May 25, 2020
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Maine quilt shop celebrates 40 years, beginning with open house May 5

Community Author: C. Murphy
Post Date:
Celia Murphy | BDN
Celia Murphy | BDN

The Fabric Garden in Madison, Maine is celebrating their 40th year in business, with anniversary sales and events running May 5 thru May 19.

When The Fabric Garden opened its doors in 1978, the country was in a recession, lending rates were in the 16% range, oil prices were very high, and the blizzard of ’78 was a fresh memory in the minds of co-founders Michaela Murphy, her late aunt Marie Priebe, and late sister Beth Swain.  Those early days of the business were lean ones – the shop had just a few hundred bolts of fabric and no employees.  

Back then, people routinely sewed their own clothes, drapes, and home goods including quilts.  Over the years as home sewing waned, quilting surged – and the shop slowly transformed exclusively into a quilt shop.  Now the store is filled with over 10,000 bolts of quilting fabric, offers a website for online shopping, has six employees, and is one of the top 25 Janome sewing machine dealers in the United States out of 700 or so dealers.  Events are planned May 5 through May 19, 2018 in celebration. 

Owner Michaela Murphy has seen a lot of trends come and go in her 40 years in the business, the most substantial being the rise in popularity of quilting.  Michaela remembers when quilting was more a niche – the real focus was on garment and home décor sewing.  Currently, there are an estimated 7-10 million quilters in the United States, making it one of the more popular and enduring hobbies in America. 

 Their website has transformed over the years as well.  Michaela and her late sister Beth Swain launched in the 90’s, when there were very few fabric shops selling online. Beth worked with a person across the country to help write custom code for a shopping cart to enable online purchases.  Now the website is tailor-made for fabric, and offers several thousand fabrics and products for online purchase.

 Events and sales are planned from May 5 thru May 19, including an open house on Saturday May 5, to thank all those who have helped The Fabric Garden reach this 40-year milestone. Visit store or website for details