15 Years Of Iconic Fabric Event

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2024 02:02 PM
Fabric-a-brac is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2024, with five new locations in New Zealand and a grand total of over $140,000 raised for hospice in New Zealand.
Fabric-a-brac is a market that is about ‘things to make things - focused on fabric and sewing-related items’. Stalls are available for people to sell items they no longer need and the local hospice also sells donated items. A pop-up cafe provides a space for those attending to share their new fabric and sewing purchases. All money raised at the stalls goes to the local Hospice.
The event was founded by Josie Brennan when her mother went into a rest home. Brennan says, “I looked around and realised that she had more fabric than I could ever use in my lifetime. I thought, if I am in this position, there are probably going to be other people too…”
And there was! The first event in Brooklyn, Wellington in 2009 was a huge success, with all stalls selling out and packing the tiny hall.
Since then events have also been held in Auckland, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Wairarapa and Marlborough and even Australia. In 2024 five new locations are joining the Fabric-a-brac family - Christchurch, Nelson, Dunedin, Queenstown and Napier - taking the total to 10 events.
Hospice New Zealand Chief Executive Wayne Naylor says Fabric-a-brac is a fabulous event that makes a valuable contribution to hospices around Aotearoa.
“It’s a unique event where people come together to share, not only their passion for fabric but their support for the work of hospice. Their generous efforts help ensure hospice care can remain available and free for all those who need it.”
The event is run by volunteers whose passion for sewing, fabric, and the work of Hospice really brings the event to life.
“It’s more than an event, it’s a meeting of like minds,” says Miriam Gibson, one of the Wellington coordinators. “It brings sewing lovers together to tell stories and share memories that the fabric evokes in them. It also serves an upcycling purpose, preventing beautiful, and often hard-to-find items from languishing in a sewer’s cupboard. They get a new lease of life from new owners - or added to an increasing stash!”
Every event is different, but there’s always a huge variety of items on sale: from vintage and modern fabric, patterns and buttons to antique lace and vintage sewing machines.
“Fabric-a-brac brings out fabric-a-holics from far and wide looking for inspiration for their next project,” says Tracy Johnston, Marlborough coordinator. “We love that the interior designers, upholsterers and sewing store owners also get on board donating fabulous fabric to support the event. It has also become the perfect place for family to sell on a loved one’s treasured collection knowing it is going to appreciative new homes. This means we have the ultimate combination of old and new on offer.”
As generations are passing on, some vintage items are showing up at the event less.
“We’ve noticed that 1950s/60s vintage fabrics are beginning to dwindle in our stallholder stashes,” says Grace Samuelson, Auckland coordinator. “With only a limited stock left, and these items in high demand, we’re bound to start seeing fewer vintage fabrics. Nonetheless, Fabric-A-Brac is a true treasure trove!"

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