By Léo Azambuja
The iconic Vicky’s Fabric in Old Kapa‘a Town has been serving the community for 36 years. This family-owned and operated fabric store has long ago established itself as a point of reference in the same commercial strip housing other long-lasting businesses such as Pono Market, Ono Family Restaurant and Jim Saylor Jewelry.
“We provide goods for any kind of sewing project you want to do. If you want to do clothing, if you want to do quilts, if you want to do crafts, we have patterns, we have notions, we have unique gift items,” said owner Maile Bloxom. “We also do classes for sewing and quilting.”
For those who love to sew, walking into Vicky’s Fabrics is the equivalent of a child walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. They have a large inventory of fabrics for pretty much any taste and purpose. You don’t have a sewing machine? No problem; you can rent one at Vicky’s Fabrics. Do you want to make a quilt? Sign up for a class. Your kids want to try sewing? Weeklong spring break classes will do. Do you want to pick a locally made gift? Vicky’s Fabrics represents several local crafters.
Maile’s mother, Vicky Masuoka, opened Vicky’s Fabrics as a fabric and dress-making store in 1982.
“She really was a full-time seamstress,” Maile said of her mother. “When we first opened, we didn’t have this much fabric. She had this sewing machines, a cutting table, and that’s what she did for 25 years.”
About 10 years ago, Vicky started transitioning the business to mainly sell fabric and crafts from local artists, plus offer sewing classes.
At that time, Maile was living on the Mainland. She had left Kaua‘i at 17 years old to attend college. After graduating, she found a job on the Mainland and got married. But when Vicky decided to retire, Maile planned to move back home for good. She finally returned to Kaua‘i six years ago to take over the business. But despite Vicky’s retirement, she never really walked away from the business.
“She’s usually here a couple times a week, she still sows, does projects, makes bags, some quilts; she likes to be in the shop and see people,” Maile said of her mother.
Maile says Vicky’s Fabrics is very involved in the quilting and crafting community. Almost 100 percent of Maile’s sewing is creating quilts. Making a quilt can be a laborious project; some of the quilts have 4,000 pieces stitched on them. But if quilting is as fun as Maile says, the large amount of labor is hardly a burden. Rather, it’s added happiness.
Then there’s the network. Quilting is pretty much everywhere in the world, Maile said. Here on Kaua‘i, there are a number of local groups. Many quilters exhibit their art at the annual quilt show at the Kaua‘i Society of Artists at Kukui Grove Center. And quilters, Maile said, are just good people.
The roots of quilting come from when women would get together to quilt. Back in the day, they used to bring old clothes, cut them into pieces and repurpose them as blankets, often working together to create a single quilt. Everything was done by hand, in a very time-consuming endeavor. Nowadays, most quilts are made with the help of a sewing machine. Without a sewing machine, it could take months to finish a quilt. But even with a sewing machine, quilting can quite laborious.
“I just want people to know we are here, we’ve been here a long time, we want to continue to be part of Old Kapa‘a Town, the community of Kaua‘i,” Maile said. “We’ve been here for 36 years. It’s a long time, and we are very grateful we’ve had local support, tourist support to stay open, and hopefully be able to educate and share the art of clothing and quilting with people.
Find Vicky’s Farbics Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Old Kapa‘a Town across the highway from First Hawaiian Church, more precisely at 4-1326 Kuhio Hwy.
Visit Vicky’s Fabrics, or call or visit www.vickysfabrics.com for more information and a list of all upcoming classes.