Gombar’s Fabrics

I’ve never been there, save passing through on a train ride from D.C. to New York, but I have a thing for Pennsylvania. If I had to take off and move somewhere, site unseen, it’d be there. I don’t know. I think it springs from my love of The Office and Penn Dutch … but I figure if Jan and Jay and Mary Beth and Spool and The Fabric Workshop and Museum live there, it’s got to be great. Anyway, an email I received recently really sealed the deal. Sophia Kelly Schulz wrote in to tell us about her friend Mary Beth Gombar’s shop, called Gombar’s Fabrics (and costumes and Western Union outlet, apparently) in Saint Clair, Pennsylvania:

This is a fabric store that has been in business for 50 years: They have not gotten new fabrics in since the early 1980s and the shelves are stocked full with vintage fabrics, most by the bolt — so she has a Default Vintage Fabric Store, and did not realize it till about a year and a half ago, when I started helping her clean and organize. She has flocked organzas, fabrics that fluoresce in black light, wild geometrics, upholstery fabrics, quilting cottons, and beautiful Lurex brocades–none of which have suffered dry rot. There is also a splendid selection of millinery supplies including feathers, flowers and hat forms. And buttons. Lots of buttons. Some of them may even be worth something. There are trims and appliques/patches that will drag you kicking and screaming back to the 70s.

Definitely worth a pilgrimage, at least! See lots of pictures of the fabrics and the shop on Sophia’s photobucket. And big thanks to Sophia for offering up these images to show in this post!


  1. Lindsay says:

    Hurrah for Pennsylvania! I took a quilting class at Spool in the Fall. They are so helpful and friendly! Thanks for letting me know about Gombar’s. They’re only about 2 hours from me. Perhaps a short roadtrip is in my future!

  2. Yeeha Pennsylvania! I checked the map; it’s about an hour from me. May have to roadtrip! The best part is I’d have to pass by the old Port Clinton Peanut and Candy Shop on my way. Any excuse (esp fabric) to stop in there is worth it. http://roadsidewonders.net/port-clinton-peanut-shop/

  3. ah, pennsylvania, though we are not all amish, it is pretty cool. spool? heck yeah, i teach there and i seriously don’t know what i did before i found that jewel. come see us sometime!

  4. Emma Nolley says:

    I am planning a trip in Pennsylvania in June- Putting this on the top of my list!

  5. it’s true….pennsylvania rocks! i am definitely going to have to check out gombar’s. it’s funny, i’ve never heard of it. darn…and i thought i knew all the best spots! thanks for posting!