Visiting an Amish Fabric Shop
Visiting an Amish Fabric Shop
Visiting an Amish fabric shop is easier than what most American might think. The Amish communities in the Dutch country of Pennsylvania are well known and most numerous, but there are many more scattered across the states. At last count there were 22 different Amish fabric shops located near Lancaster, Pennsylvania alone. This is the greater concentration of this rare and high quality supply of fabrics anywhere in the world. Just next door in the Ohio Valley is another section of the country with a large number of Amish communities that also have fabric shops. If you visit these shops you may bump into Amish ladies picking out fabric for the custom quilting they are doing.
One item involving the Amish fabric shops that should be understood is that the Amish ladies do not hand weave the fabric themselves. This might have been done in the past; but the availability of high quality fabric has been around for over 100 years, if you know what to look for. The Amish ladies know fabric design, color and which ones will last the test of time. It comes from the years of experience of making all of their own cloths, drapes and bedding that their community and family will use.
For the personal choices in fabrics used for clothing by the Amish, absolutely no prints are used. They only wear med dark solid colors and white, although sometimes the children's clothes may be a bit brighter. The variations of patterns and other selections of fabrics are for the quilts, sheets and blankets they make, especially custom quilts. It is from these categories that most non-Amish prefer when they are visiting an Amish Fabric shop. The same quality the Amish look for in the fabrics they will use to make their quilts, they demand in all of the fabric they use. This is why clothing and bedding products made by the Amish ladies last for years.
When looking at most of the fabric products created by the Amish especially the custom made quilt, the use of solid colors in a wide assortment or arrangements will be notices. It is what they feel is appropriate for their life style and to Honor God. While polka doted and plaid patterns might be found at these Amish fabric shops, the Amish themselves will never make use of them, unless requested to in a custom made quilt they are making. They do like to use simple almost vintage patterns (many of which can't be found commercially today) that are attractive in a wide variety of uses around the home and use them appropriately.
When you enter an Amish fabric shop, you might notice that it may or may not be run by the Amish community. Do not be alarmed. The Amish wish to be cut off from the outside world if possible. Unfortunately for them they need the trade in commerce to earn hard cash, so you may see Amish, but most likely the shop will be run by Mennonite Ladies. It is exactly for this reason they have friends of the Amish, in most instances the Mennonites (but not always, some may be other plain women), to run the shops where items, including fabric are sold. These are small so called Mom and Pop stores that are preferred by the Amish.
The Amish Fabric shops are a great place to get the raw materials for you to make your own cloths, bedding and quilts. There will be a wide assortment of needles and threads of high quality. Just remember, the Amish mostly never use electrical machinery hooked up to the power grid, including sewing machines, but some may use battery operated sewing machines – the older Amish always use the treadle sewing machine.
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