Fabrics on Mill Street moves into Dovetail Design space | TheUnion.com
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Fabrics on Mill Street moves into Dovetail Design space

About 30 loyal customers of Fabrics on Mill Street gathered in downtown Grass Valley over the weekend for a highly specialized operation:

With bolts of cloth cradled in their arms, they marched from No. 140 across the street to No. 115, the former home of furniture icon Dovetail Design, carrying the last 80 to their new home.

The move occupies a major retail space in the historic downtown that has been vacant since early May, left empty after the fine furniture store that had been there for 15 years closed its doors.



A retail milestone accomplished, the customers, mostly women, then retired to the fabric store’s new space for the heart of Saturday’s celebration: Shopping.

They absorbed the earthy scent of woven cottons from India and silk makta, shantung and brocades from Asia. They caressed velvety velour, delicious chiffon that drapes just so, double-sided quilting, humble toweling, vintage ribbon and hand-made lace, rich prints and seasonal goods that stimulate the senses and inspire the imagination.




Earin Pinkerton, of Penn Valley, pulled a length of mossy green 100 percent wool knit from a bolt.

“Ooh! I have a vintage Vogue coat pattern that I could use this for!”

Nearby, more than 2,000 buttons beckoned: Metal keys, hearts and stars, plastic surfboards and ladybugs, items shaped from agate, abalone and coconut shell, carved from wood and bone – and yes, plain round buttons for the times when such are needed.

Owners Susan Drown, sister Jennifer Davis and niece Taylor Davis presided in cheerful home-made smocks and wielded scissors and pens as they rang up yards of sleek black knits printed with shimmering gold flames and silver bats.

Steady customer Sabrina Simms congratulated Drown on her move.

“It’s nice to have a store that’s owned by a small, local business,” Simms said. She praised the store’s friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff and choice of unusual fabrics.

Mary Nies had raided the bargain shelves, and for $2 a yard, the Grass Valley woman had found a gold cotton woven and blue print for skirts and a yellow print for a paint smock for a little girl she cares for during the week. She carried an Amy Butler bag she had made herself of a green retro print paired with corduroy. At 26, Nies was among the youngest in the store.

By moving from a retail space of 1,200 square feet to about 3,800 square feet, Drown and the Davises hope to expand their clientele by offering classes in the loft upstairs – from basic sewing for beginners to dressmaking techniques and projects such as bags, curtains, gifts and holiday decor, Drown said.

Another regular came through the door with a bouquet of flowers for Drown, hugged her and congratulated her on the move.

After three years in business, Drown said, she was looking forward to the growth her larger space can afford.

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To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail tkleist@theunion.com or call 477-4230.


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