Our Story

Old store photographs

When I fell in love…

When I was 5 I fell in love with my mother’s clothes. I can still see two of her dresses to this day. One was my favorite color – red. It was highly constructed, made of wool crepe with broad shoulders, a narrow waist and a peplum. The other was a bright, kelly green that I couldn’t take my little eyes off of. I should have known then that color, shape and texture would become a lifelong passion. At age 6, I sat at my mother’s feet as she sewed, cutting fabric for my Barbie’s new ensemble. At 10, I made my first real garment. It was a simple skirt: in a blue and white checked fabric, which I painstakingly aligned, with an elastic waist and patch pockets. I still have that skirt. In high school my skills had improved so much that my handmade wardrobe landed me the nomination as “best dressed”.

I always knew I wanted to be an “artist”, I just didn’t know exactly how to make a career out of my passion. After several years working in retail fabrics I found that my love of people was as strong as my love for the arts! I also knew I was good with numbers, so I could do the math required to figure yardage for customers. So with the encouragement of my friends, and in partnership with my lifelong mentor, my mother, I decided to take a leap of faith and we opened our own fabric store. In 1978, A Bazaar, Fabrics Etc. opened in Lovingston, Virginia, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now celebrating our 33rd year in business, our labor of love, renamed Les Fabriques, is still thriving. Though my mom, Charlotte, has long since retired, I still benefit from her constant influence and interest. And now my two beautiful daughters, both accomplished artists on their own, are bringing their own fresh approach to our family business. You need only to come visit our amazing new storefront in Charlottesville, Virginia to recognize the next generation’s aesthetics. The fine “art” of changing with the world of fashion while maintaining our own style (and passion) is Les Fabriques’ secret of success. Well, one of the many!

Carla Quenneville Signature