Drapery fabric? Rader's has that. Upholstery? Rader's has that. Padding, fringe, trim, lightweight and heavyweight fabrics and everything in-between in every color of the rainbow and even some God might not have intended... it's all in the stacks at Rader's Fabrics.
Most of you know me from this website and my appearances on television and radio. You know I love to travel and try things and that I've dined my way on pie across the state of Arkansas. You know I love hats and shirts with handkerchief sleeves, and I'm a take-charge kind of girl.
And then there's the SCA
. And let me tell you what, when I want to dress up like a Mughal grandmother, I can't exactly get those sort of clothes off the rack. No, I'm lucky because Grav is an excellent seamster (sewing dude? however you put that) and he makes some incredible outfits for me.
But first, you have to have fabric.
Which is only part of the reason I ended up walking into Rader's Fabrics on a Monday morning. I'd heard about the place here and there, seen a write-up for it on Little Indiana
, and when I mentioned it to Tracie at Marmalade Sky Bed and Breakfast, she pointed out that it was right down the street and I could just walk.
I didn't walk. I drove, because that's what you do in Little Rock. I really need to spend more time on foot. This time, though, I was quite happy I drove.
I parked on the Danville
square, shot some photos and then crossed the street and walked halfway down the block. I could see the sign from the intersection, but as I got closer I noticed something strange about the window facing me.
It was completely packed with rolls of fabric.
No, not partially, completely, top to bottom. This... hm. I suppose this boded well.
Before I continue, I should mention that I'm the sort of gal who loved old bookstores stacked to the rafters, antique malls and flea markets packed to the gills and anywhere where I'm on a bit of a scavenger hunt to find remarkable and interesting things. You could say searching for things is my modus operandi.
That's probably why the adrenaline hit the moment I opened the door at Rader's Fabrics. I had hit the motherlode.
A lovely lady by the name of Tina welcomed me in and, seeing me agape, came over and pointed out that the drapery was to the left and the upholstery was to the right, and if I needed quilting supplies I was in the wrong place. After I
got over the initial shock, I told Tina I do re-enactments, mentioned the SCA 50th Year event I had just attended and received nods back.
"We get a lot of those folks in here," Tina told me. "And we can find almost anything? What are you looking for?"
I couldn't answer for a moment. I really didn't know what I was looking for, but I'd know when I found it.
"I like silks. And linens. And really cool tapestry. And... actually, I like everything."
Tina smiled and proceeded to walk me around the main floor a bit, showing where the heavier stuff was located and pointing out some re-enactment favorites. "This one, I've probably sold 15 times," she noted, pointing at a gorgeous eggshell and blue paisley. It was gorgeous, but I immediately struck it off my list. After all, who wants to show up wearing the same fabric?
Tina took me back to look at Tudor-worthy taffetas and velvets, then walked me over to the trims. And then she let me go about my business.
I checked the time (I had an appointment) and got to searching. Which, in
this case, meant turning sideways and skittling down row after row, fondling the edges of fabrics, tilting out rolls and doing mental calculations. Almost every fabric is on a roll. When I found one I thought I couldn't do without, I took a photo with my cell phone.
It took me 30 minutes just to breeze through the main floor, and then I noticed the ramp. Indeed, there was a whole 'nother back section up that ramp, As I entered this second room, I noticed all the different thicknesses of foam padding in just
about every configuration imaginable, in many places touching the ceiling.
While I dug through, I heard Tina welcome another customer. This lady came in with a description of something
she had seen in the store months earlier, and she couldn't remember where it had been located. Well, Tina found it, and I mean she found it fast. I cannot express to you how amazing that is, considering this crazy store.
After another 20 minutes in the backroom, I knew what I wanted. Once Tina told me Rader's Fabrics shipped nationwide, I asked for samples of several of the fabrics I wanted. To save a little hassle, I looked at my notes and cell phone
photos and told her what I was looking for, and she knew where each was. And then I asked for four yards of one fabric so Grav or I could make a lovely dress. Well, Tina was there and Jerry, her boss, were there, and as Tina rolled out the fabric
to measure and cut, Jerry asked if there wasn't a lot left on that roll. There was seven yards, and they made me a bargain, offering me the remaining three yards for the price of one, and I took it. Because holy cow, that was amazing.
I could have spent all day in there. I suspect if I lived in Danville or close by I'd spend a lot of time there. I haven't been in a store that's even come close since the old Hancock's on University closed, and that was a bigger store with less than half what Rader's has.
Rader's Fabrics has been located for at least 45 years off the square in Danville, Indiana. If you're up that way and you have room in the car, prepare to take home a bolt or two. If you don't have the room or you flew, Rader's can ship it
home for you. You'll find it at 56 North Washington Street. For more information or to ask Tina or Jerry if they have something particular, call (317) 745-6023. There's also a Facebook page
for the store, and sometimes it has specials.
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