A Pattern of Plenty: Fabrics for Quilt Makers at BJ’s

They come clutching directions from a quilter’s guide book, exuberant at the discovery of this much touted place down a winding country road, packed with thousands of bolts of fabric and patterns beyond numbering. Set in the south end of Tillamook county in Cloverdale, BJ’s Fabrics & Quilts may just be the holy grail of quilt shops on the Oregon Coast.

“Once people see the sign on Highway 101 or see our webpage, they make it an effort to find us,” says Barbara “BJ” Lewis. “We’ve had visitors from all over the U.S. and Canada, Alaska, New Zealand. The other day there were people here from Germany, and they were only here for a week yet they took the time to find us. We’re a tourist attraction.”

And so much more. Inside the “itty bitty” shop BJ guesses to be about 700-square-feet, visitors can browse through some 4,000 bolts of fabric and close to 200 patterns, including the much sought after designs of Laurel Burch.

 BJ started the shop 20 years ago this month after moving from California to the property that was once her grandfather’s. Prior to moving here, BJ, who has a degree in apparel design, worked as a seamstress in Berkeley where many people wore suits, and alterations were in demand. But in this country community, there wasn’t much need for that kind of work, so she reinvented herself.

 “I said, ‘OK, I’ll try a little switch here,’” BJ recalls. “I had made a few quilts before. I took all the classes I could, and we just kept enlarging our shop.”

 Her patterns include designs of Multnomah Falls, iconic lighthouses and, popular right now, a barn quilt pattern and fabric that could very well have been inspired by the barns of Tillamook.

 “A lot of people will buy five or six patterns because they can’t find them at other stores,” BJ says. “It’s one of those things, I laugh because we have stuff on the ceilings, stuff on the walls… We just have so much stuff crammed in here.”

 BJ’s Fabrics & Quilts is at 38105 U.S. 101 S, Cloverdale (just north of Pacific City) and open 10am-5pm, seven days a week. Call 503 392-6195.

 More fabrics, quilts and discovery

Tillamook County also has two other fabric stores, both popular with quilters and the annual Quilt Run 101. In Wheeler, stop at Creative Fabrics, 475 Hwy. 101, and in Tillamook, shop at Jane’s Fabric Patch, 1110 Main Ave. For even more quilt and textile inspiration, visit the Latimer Quilt and Textile Museum in Tillamook, and tour the countryside through the lens of the Tillamook County Quilt Trail, where you’ll discover 104 historic and colorful quilt blocks on buildings and barns.

Garden-Chain-Quilt

Garden Chain Quilt

Lori Tobias
Lori Tobias is a journalist of more than 25 years, most recently as a staff writer for The Oregonian for which she covered the Oregon Coast for a decade. She currently writes a regular column for Oregon Coast Today and freelances for numerous other local, state and national publications. Her novel "Wander" is due out from Red Hen Press in 2016.

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