The Story of Farmhouse Fabrics

Farmhouse Fabrics Shop

If you’ve never been to Farmhouse, it’s difficult to describe. Until you walk through our door you can’t fully appreciate the shelves jam-packed with fabric and the hundreds of rolls of trims-not to mention the walls covered with notions and dozens of drawers stuffed with patterns! Whenever new customers come to visit us, we can see the look of excitement mixed with intimidation as they try to take it all in. During the years we have been in business, Farmhouse Fabrics has made quite a few changes.

It all began with Miss Sally.Miss Sally of Farmhouse Fabrics

Sally Whinghter was born and raised on a dairy farm in Michigan where her mother taught her how to sew and her father taught her all about hard work and honest dealing. Sally moved from MI after graduating college with a degree in occupational therapy and joined the army. She met her husband Joe at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA and they ended up settling down just across the river in Beech Island, SC.

With the arrival of her first child, Miss Sally knew she wanted to be able to work from home. She wanted to contribute to the family income in a way that would not take her away from her children, so she began a custom sewing business for locals. Sally had always enjoyed sewing, but now she was in the home of Southern heirloom sewing and she found a new love. Miss Sally could not get enough of the fine fabrics and exquisite laces she began to use in her new line of work. She especially loved sewing for children, so naturally she searched more for children’s sewing elements. Miss Sally has fantastic stories of her amazing “hunting” trips around the country. On visits to see her sister in Lancaster County, PA, she had a favorite stop. Sally had come across a lady selling vintage sewing supplies. This woman sold out of an old barn on her property. When Sally came to her home, she would run down to the barn to turn on the lights and Sally would be allowed to go through the rows of chests-of-drawers stuffed to bursting with spools of silk thread and cards of mother of pearl buttons. One time while Sally was rummaging in the barn, she came across cards of antique French laces, some of them still tagged with their original prices of 17.5 cents per yard! When the woman who was selling the trims saw Sally’s face, she laughed and said, “It seems like Christmas, doesn’t it!” She didn’t even know the half of it.

Farmhouse Fabrics Heirloom Sewing Shop

On the porch with some of our exquisite heirloom dresses! This is one of our favorite spots to take photos of our model garments.

As Miss Sally accumulated more beautiful finds, she began to wonder if she could find a way to take what she loved so much and turn it into a business. She officially began Farmhouse Fabrics in 1994 and gradually transitioned away from custom sewing into selling her fabulous finds online. The more Miss Sally got involved in the heirloom sewing world, the more she enjoyed what she did. Her whole business philosophy was to find things she loved. Sometimes she didn’t even mind if no one bought her merchandise…she wanted to keep it herself! One of Sally’s friends liked to tell her, “Don’t make love to your fabric…sell it!” She still needs to be told that sometimes!

There’s an expression: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Sally certainly loves what she does, however, she worked hard to get there and she continues to work hard. The fun part is, she would do this even if it didn’t bring in a dime. Miss Sally has an insatiable appetite for finding beautiful things and it truly is amazing how she has been able to bring this love to others through her work.

So the next time you come to Farmhouse and take a look at our jam-packed shelves, you can know that all the products  you see have been chosen by Miss Sally with love. From sewing up at the house to selling Swiss lace online a lot has changed, but something that has stayed the same is Miss Sally’s mindset. She’s still doing what she loves.

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9 thoughts on “The Story of Farmhouse Fabrics

  1. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the story on how it all began. I sewed for my grandchildren until a couple of years ago and have ordered from y’all several times. Maybe I’ll just drive up if the ‘sewing bug’ ever bites again!


  2. Jean Aleshire says:

    What a wonderful story. You certainly have come a long way from when you had bolts of fabric everywhere even in the bathtub, I wish I still had small children to sew for, I miss it. I am so happy for you and you beautiful grands. Keep up the great work, and now the next chapter,you and Cindy and patterns. Congratulations and love, Jean


    • farmhousefabrics says:

      Thank you so much Jean! That was a pretty hilarious year at Sewing at the Beach, with the rolls of linen in the bathtub, wasn’t it? We are still cramming fabric into every little nook and cranny that we can find! Not much has changed in that regard.


  3. Eva says:

    Sally, I love your life accomplishments! This store is WONDERFUL ! I was there for 4 days of sewing and shopping and got lost every day in all of the many sections of fabrics and notions and trims, oh my! Of course, I filled my arms and bags with as many of the fabulous things I would come across while trying to make my way back to my sewing machine. Haha

    You were so kind to share one of your ‘finds’ with me. I have not given it to my granddaughter yet, but I know she will love it.

    I look forward to returning soon. Thanks , Eva


  4. Starla Peacock says:

    Farmhouse Fabrics reminds me of the “Needle in a Haystack” saying. But oh, the journey to finding the needle is absolutely wonderful! New discoveries everywhere you look! Sally, I have never enjoyed a visit and class as much as the one with Kari Mecca last October. Such warm hospitality from you and your staff. And the food! I wish I lived closer, I’d be there all the time!


  5. Janet says:

    This history has made me fall even more in love with Farmhouse Fabrics. I live in California and will probably never be able to see it myself but I love seeing the photos! I was lucky enough to meet a lady at our local JoAnns and she is the one who told me about you! I am so glad she did. I don’t really do heirloom sewing any more (though I do have a smocking machine) and don’t enjoy sewing for myself (now if I could only lose about 50 lbs!) but I do sew for my grand niece’s American Girl dolls. I keep buying but I need to have the time to sit down and sew. This summer it is my goal to schedule my life a bit better to be able to do everything I want to do….especially sew! Thank you for all the beautiful “finds” at Farmhouse Fabrics!!! Love everything I have bought from there!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandra Thurston says:

    Thankyou Sally n Farmhouse Fabrics.! I love going to market at sewing at the beach and going to your place first!! Just love seeing all the fabric., kits and finds!! Last year I saw a few items n the pile was so high I said next year to myself but went back and it was gone. So I hope to see u again in 2017 at satb!!
    Love all ur stuff and tell all my friends about you!! Many thanks for all ur intesting sewing posts. Really enjoy them😁 Sincerely, Sandi T


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