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.
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.
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.