Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Fabric Flea Market, 2010 edition

I’m embroiled in the thick of organizing this … again … for the 16th time, actually.  Which is the partial explanation for why not much sewing is getting done chez The Sewing Lawyer.  Too much phoning, e-mailing, and keeping of The Lists – of vendors, of buyers, of hundreds of e-mail addresses of the FFM Fans who must be notified.

So what exactly is this event?  Why, it’s a sale of fabric, patterns, yarn, notions, books and anything else you might imagine that could be sewn, knitted, crocheted or otherwise stuck with a needle.  Our slogan?  “You Never Know What You Will Find!”

The proceeds come from the door (where we charge $2 to get in); the vendors (who pay us 15% of what they sell, or a minimum of $25); and from selling donations of fabric, patterns etc.  We give the proceeds to a local public school whose student population is largely from new Canadian families.  Their families don’t have much extra money or time to devote to fundraising for the little extras (extracurricular activities, school outings, breakfast program, etc.) that the boards won’t pay for any more. 

The vendors are a combination of:
  • Sewists and knitters who have reached or are worried about reaching SABLE (that’s Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy for the uninitiated) and need to unload some (perhaps so they can buy more);
  • Vintage textile specialists:  who knows where they find what they sell – always fascinating!  Last year, one vendor was selling feathers gleaned from the estate of a milliner;
  • Notion specialists:  one of our vendors sells extremely fancy dog leashes out of the most amazingly beautiful braids - she brings the braid itself to the Fabric Flea Market; another deals exclusively in vintage buttons;
  • People who are selling donated stuff to raise money for their own charities:  one vendor always brings a huge team to raise money for the Humane Society; we’ve also had people raising money for churches and an orchestra; and
  • People who have cottage sewing or other businesses who are either selling off ends or closing up shop.
Every year we ask ourselves the same questions.  Can we get the word out?  Will we get donations?  Will we be able to sign up vendors to fill the hall?  Will everyone show up to sell?  Will anyone show up to buy?  Will we raise as much as last year?  Can we do it – one – more – time for the kids?

For anyone in Ottawa, come to the Glebe Community Centre for 10AM on Saturday October 16.  It’ll be an intense four hours!

A picture (or several) tell the story best.  Here’s  a sampling from last year’s sale.


  1. Very informative, Kay. Quite a venture for you and your team. Good luck with it. I always enjoy your posts, BTW!

  2. Best of luck on this fundraising effort! Having worked in public ed until my retirement, I know how difficult some kids have it.

    Wish I could be there to snag some goodies :-)

  3. I wish it were on at the Glebe Community Centre in Sydney. Good luck with your efforts.

  4. Oh wow....this looks like so much fun! What finds you all must come up with. Have fun!

  5. I'm sending this to my sister (she's in Nepean) - she won't want to miss this event.

  6. Wish I could make it but have a breast cancer knit-a-thon. Wishing you lots of success.