• Marlene Starkman

A Fabric Playhouse in the Making

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

As many of you know, I closed Flare Fabrics, the store, Oct 31, 2020. But I discovered I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to all of you and the online world. :) So I'm hoping you'll join me in my retirement as I explore sewing and craft my extensive stash with the launch of this new quilting blog.

My dreams for this building have been in development for many years, ever since we purchased our land in Lanark County, in Eastern Ontario outside of the small town of Perth. The shape and size of the building have changed since COVID—when we realized we would be spending more time here than our house in Toronto. It now includes a workshop and an art studio for my husband.

Flare Fabrics in the beginning— our Toronto backyard

I started Flare Fabrics in a small studio in our backyard in Toronto. Eventually my 300 bolts of fabric grew to 1000 plus, my mother died in 2013, then two years later my 55-year-old brother died of cancer. I decided it was time to take the leap and make the move I had wanted almost my entire life. I was never a Toronto fan and so, at long last, I moved myself, and the business, to the county.

So on January 1, 2016 I rented a house in Brooke Valley in Tay Valley Township, close to the property we owned. You'll notice I said "I". My husband and family were still in Toronto. Lots of highway driving to stay connected. It was a lovely spot, with peacocks for neighbours!

Moving a fabric business is not easy task, but two years later I moved again. A space came up next to a Canada Post office, in a gorgeous 100-year-old building and how could I resist? So in July 2018, I moved more than 4,000 items!

21980 Highway 7, Maberly

2020 has certainly been a challenging year. The arrival of a pandemic made me pause and take stock. My husband retired and I turned 65. I operated Flare Fabrics for 12 years. No one opens a fabric store without loving fabric—and I've had a blast. But the work was all encompassing.

Now I'm looking forward to having time to play—hence the Flare Fabrics Playhouse!

We are in the process of building an extra-large studio on our country property and I'm so looking forward to time to sew. But for now — in case you're wondering what I've been doing since "retirement"!

I'd rather be sewing!

I have an Amara HandiQuilter longarm to play with. And dozens of UFOs to finish. I have a Juki industrial machine to explore my bag making passion. And a serger I haven't used in years but would like to try making clothes that fit!

I hope you'll join me as I write about my projects, share my successes and failures, talk about what I'm learning, and generally my sewing life. I may also segue into construction now or then!

The website address will stay the same: and if you want to follow my journey, please sign up for blog updates as I will not be importing my customer list.

The new site launched December 1, 2020. It may take me a while, or many whiles, to get myself organized in this new beautiful space. I'll share pictures as soon as I can get back in the front door.

Thanks for reading and joining me on my new adventure. Take care and stay safe. Marlene

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