Friday, November 28, 2008

Quilters By the Busload...

Did you know that Quilters come to Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Tour Buses? We love to see them pull up in the parking lot. The whole group enters the store chatting, laughing and they are ever so happy to be there. The buses come from Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and other far away locations. We are always so happy to welcome such a jovial group. Quilters and Mary Jo's are two words that just go together. These groups are often Quilt Guilds who have decided to make the "pilgrimage" to Mary Jo's. In the quilting department we have the standard cloth choices you have come to expect,
but the cool thing about Mary Jo's Cloth Store is that we stock seasonal colors and patterns. It is our policy to have as many choices as we can fit on the shelves at any given time. We have an incredible selection, in the store and on the website. Have you logged on lately? The choices and prices will excite you.
We also stock a wide variety of Trims, Ribbon and Rick Rack. We also work really hard to keep our prices not only affordable but also an outstanding value.

Now all of you Quilters who are planning a big bus trip, give us a call. It gives us a chance to be ready to welcome you. We can also make sure we have extra people to add to our regular helpful staff who will be available to make your visit fun, exciting and the adventure you are expecting.

I get letters weekly from many Quilters/Readers sharing their stories and projects. I love looking at all of the photos you send. WOW. The work is always so beautifully executed. I admire the skill and imagination that goes into each creation and I thank you for sharing so freely. My heart always skips a beat when I look upon a project that someone made with forethought, care and passion.

By the way, Quilters/Readers can you send some Christmas Quilt/Stockings/and other Holiday related projects my way (This Week!). I would love to feature your beautiful work in an upcoming article, before Christmas. Your work will inspire other quilters! Send an email today.
Thanks in advance.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Blast From The Past...

Hearing the stories and experiences that sometimes took place many years ago and how Mary Jo's Cloth Store is woven into the fabric of our customers lives makes my job priceless. Last week I received an email that tells a great story in a heartfelt way and yes, Mary Jo's Cloth Store made a difference!
Take a moment to read Miss Donna's story.
"Our daughter was still an infant when I decided that I would make her wedding gown. My husband is a retired Navy officer, a veteran of 26 years of active service. We had been stationed in many places that boasted wonderful fabric stores over the years but when our daughter and future son-in-law announced their engagement we happened not to find ourselves in one of those places. We were living in a small city in Northern California by then with only fairly passé fabric stores from which to shop. My daughter had picked out a pattern and wanted lace on her gown like the lace on the pattern picture. I called McCall’s Patterns and they very helpfully told me the lace manufacturer’s name and suggested stores in my state that might carry it. There was a well-known chain of fabric stores in northern California at that time that I was familiar with that happened to be one of the stores mentioned I called the flagship store, located in Pacific Grove, California near where we had been stationed last. I was told that they carried the brand of lace but if I wanted a specific lace they would have to order it and I would have to buy the entire bolt rather than just the amount I needed. So I called the fabric manufacturer in New York… They recommended calling Mary Jo’s and kindly provided me with the phone number. I called Mary Jo’s and my call was given to a very knowledgeable sale’s woman in the bridal department named Angie. (I know this because I still have the invoice along with remnants of that beautiful lace.) She assured me that, not only did the store carry a good quantity of the lace I wanted and in the color I wanted but they would sell me only the amount I needed. She asked if I would trust her to match the colors I needed for the various trims. The order was taken I was assured that she would mail them to me promptly. So she did. I was not disappointed. Thank you so much, Mary Jo’s. The gown was stunning and so was our daughter who was married on January 16, 1993. She’s still married to the same wonderful young man and is the mother of our ten year old grandson. And I’m still sewing…
Thanks for sharing Donna.
I had a conversation with Angie, yes the same Angie in the letter.She remembers this very transaction! "It was wonderful to hear from you! Talk about a trip down memory lane! At that time, I was in Mail Order and loved to work with our “Mail Order Brides”. It was so exciting putting together those dreamy dresses. I would get as nervous as the brides (and moms) when I picked their laces and fabrics for them. And now, after so many years, to think that maybe I was a part of something so wonderful and lasting is such a blessing. Thank you for sharing!"
After all those years Angie is still with us and is now the webmaster of She is always a joy and fun to work with.

I love my job as the Editor of MaryJo's Design Blog, hearing your stories is the best part! Do you have a story to tell? Please send an email and if you would like, include a few photographs of the project.

PS. We are working on the Community page, loading in your emails, projects and photographs. Check the website often, it will be up and running soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Bear, A Veteran & Mary Jo's Cloth Store...

We are blessed at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store. We receive letters and emails almost every day from our customers telling their stories. This past week on Veteran's day we received a note from a customer named Ron Lilly. It seems he and his wife have both been shopping at Mary Jo’s for decades. It is also interesting that as they were building their separate businesses,

they were using fabric from Mary Jo’s. He as a photographer and she as a designer of bears.
“I am writing to thank you for being such a valuable asset to the business community. Your staff has always been helpful and kind, willing to answer questions in a way that makes even the most inexperienced beginner feel as if they can make their project work.
Many years ago, my wife and I started a photography studio in Salisbury, NC. We bought our backdrop materials from Mary Jo’s. Years later, my wife started a designer teddy bear business online,, which she continues today. Of course, she bought the material and other supplies from your store. After countless trips back and forth to Mary Jo’s, we saw your store expand phenomenally as we grew two businesses of our own.
Thanks again for being an all-in-one resource for creative types like us. I am a man, a husband, a father and a veteran, and I shop at Mary Jo’s.”
Wow, thanks for the story, we are continuously inspired and happy to hear that we make a difference in the lives of our customers.

Do you have a story? We are launching our newest section, “The Community Page” next week. We have been working hard to create this very special section of our website. The goal is to create an online community for all of our customers. We are envisioning an online community where you can share tips, stories, thoughts and ideas. This new section is a place where you can view stories and pictures about how fellow Mary Jo’s customers (and you) are using cloth, fabric, trims and notions. We think our customers are clever and creative and we can’t wait to see all of your amazing projects.
Please send us your stories, photos, tips, tricks, and thoughts about what you are doing with the goods purchased at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store.
It is as easy as 1.2.3. Just email us today!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chic, Fun & Functional...

Mary Jo's Cloth Store has an amazing Drapery and Upholstery department. Our goal has always been to create one of the finest collections of Home Decor Fabrics in the Southeast! I have been guilty of spending hours just ruminating on the various colors, textures weights and ultimate possibilities for this truly inspirational collection. I particularly love the fancy Silks, Taffeta's, Brocades, Damasks, Paisley's as well as the earthier Tweeds, Cottons, Plaids and Prints. In the store the fabric is arranged by color which makes it easy to see what you need at a glance. Online we have photographed swatches of most of our Home Decor fabrics, it is easy and simple to choose, click and buy. The buyer for our Drapery and Upholstery department makes sure we have not only the latest in colors and material choices, she is also working on creating a selection of "Green Fabrics" which are good for the earth and a healthier home. Many manufacturers are now scurrying to get their collections together and into the marketplace. As the demand grows for these Green Fabrics they will become more readily available in all of the colors and patterns we so love. We will keep you posted on the availability of this new line.

A few weeks ago I was in York, South Carolina and happened upon a chic new Bistro. I got to chatting with Ashley who co-owns this dreamy little spot with her husband Colin. The Flynn's are a young couple who envisioned an intimate restaurant with local farm grown inspired dishes. They renovated a terrific antique antebellum house on the main street in this charming small town. The decor is simple but southern, with a color palette that is soft, light and sophisticated. She has a background in Art and Design, he is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef. I asked Ashley about the window valance in the main dining room. It was cleverly designed and well made. She said she picked up the fabric at Mary Jo's and that she has been shopping there since she was a girl. The fabric is a modern style print that looks fresh and arty, a perfect pick for this room.
If you would like to visit the valance in person and have a great meal or an amazing slice of Chocolate Cake head on over to "The Brandon House". It is located at 36 N. Congress Street in downtown York, South Carolina. The food (yummy) and atmosphere (inspiring) are worth the just under an hour drive from Uptown Charlotte.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Formal & Bridal, Dreamy Choices...

Beautiful Lace, Satins, Crepes and Sensuous Silks are just some of the fabrics you will always find in our Bridal and Formal Department. We work hard to make sure you have the finest selection of the best fabrics available today. We have become known as the “go-to” spot for anyone who is making a Wedding Dress, Bridesmaids Dresses or Fancy and Chic Party dresses.
People come and spend hours in this very inspiring department.
Over the years we have gotten to know quite a few seamstresses, some have been shopping with us for decades. We love their visits and enjoy hearing about the different projects they are working on. It is like catching up with old friends.

Melinda Waddell lives in Knoxville, Tennesee. She makes the big trip to Mary Jo’s several times a year.
Melinda’s Story…
I started making my own clothes when I was in high school. I have never had a sewing lesson. I have learned by many a mistake. In 1985 my neighbor asked me to make her wedding dress. I said yes and after I made hers I decided to start a business. During the process of making my neighbors dress I was lucky to meet Ann Knight, who was the seamstress for Clarence Brown Theater at the University of Tennessee. We be came immediate friends and cohorts in sewing. Over the years we made many a trip to Mary Jo's Cloth Store. Leaving Knoxville at 5:00am and returning home the same day. I can't say enough about all that Ann taught me. She gave me the confidence to try anything. Sadly she passed away 3-27-04. My last words to her were: When I need you, you better come to me...and she still does.

Why do I like to sew? I like to make people happy. When I see tears of joy in the bride's eyes while she is trying on her wedding dress, I know that I have done my job or when someone is hard to fit and for the first time ever, they have a garment that fits. I think I get more joy out of my job than my customers. I make wedding dresses, bridesmaid, mother of the bride/groom, prom, madrigal and impersonator costumes. I was the head seamstress for the T.V. show "Christly". and "Unsolved Mysteries."
Mary Jo’s Cloth Store is the best fabric store!!! I love everyone that works there. Angie and Maggie are WONDERFUL. I could not do my job without them.
Thanks, Melinda
It warms our hearts to hear such heartfelt stories from our customers. Everyone seems like family.

Do you have a Mary Jo’s story? Could you send it to us? We are working on a Community Page for the website, stay tuned for the launch date of our newest project! We then will have a wonderful collection from our customers of tips and tricks, inspirations, and lots of sewing advice. We believe our customers are the most talented and clever folks around. Think about being a part of it, all you have to do is email us your stories, tips and photos of your projects.