Urban Burp – The Most Extraordinary Fabric Store

What, you ask dear readers, is an urban burp?

Is it like a regular burp only more metropolitan? Is is a burp you only have in a big city?

NO! It is when you go to this amazing fabric store in San Francisco and you see a vintage fabric that startles you like a friendly ghost of the past. It might be a floral print that Granny had for her kitchen curtains, it might be a 70’s fabric from a skirt that you had, or it might be a fabric that you had in your bedroom growing up in the little house in the big woods. When you see it at the store you exclaim something along the lines of, “Holy cow; that’s the couch fabric from my weird Uncle Melvin’s cabin in the Ozarks.” That’s the burp – that zing of emotion you feel when you have that blast from the past.

See George Washington shake hands
See George Washington shake hands

My burp came on my first visit to the store two years ago, when I spied George Washington peeking out of a large print that I recognized from a maverick 1960’s quilt that I bought at an antique store. It is a strange Dresden Plate pattern made out of decorator fabrics attached with large stitches on to a bubble-gum-pink field. It is tied with several colors of acrylic yarn that has stiffened over the years.

Funky Dresden Plate Quilt, c. 1960's
Funky Dresden Plate Quilt, c. 1960's

You might be wondering how I recognized this image from such a small piece of fabric in an old quilt that I didn’t even make. All I can say is, That Is The Power Of The Burp!

You are going to have to go – it is truly an amazing experience!

Urban Burp owner, Electra Skilandat
Urban Burp owner, Electra Skilandat

Urban Burp is the creation of Electra Skilandat, who offers fabrics from Arts & Crafts movement to Mid Century Modern and beyond. She has been collecting vintage fabrics since she was a teenager, and is now willing to share them with us lucky buyers at her store in SF’s cool North Beach.

Electra can tell you about each fabric in the store and she knows more about fabric than anyone I have ever met – times ten! She has an encyclopedic knowledge of fabrics, designers, and fabric companies.

And she is very kind and helpful.

Wall of bolts from bygone eras
Wall of bolts from bygone eras

The walls are lined with bolts which have been saved for decades or even generations. This creates a strange feeling as you move through the store or hold a piece of fabric in your hands. You have thoughts like: This fabric is older than I am. This is possibly the last piece of this fabric on the whole entire earth. The creator of this fabric painted this image fifty years ago.

You'll find fabrics and colors to dream on...
You'll find fabrics and colors to dream on...

One of the most delicious thing about being in Urban Burp is the colors. They really don’t make fabric like this any more.

I can just feel you quilters out there getting excited and nervous at the same time. You are wondering what you could make out of these fabrics. You don’t want to wreck it. You don’t want to waste it.  I say, “Cow Poop.”

And I say, “Go forth and make a Maverick Quilt, silly.”

Buy it – Cut it – Use it!  Just Strap on Your Spurs, and Get Started.

So long as you love the fabric and make something to look at, you are honoring and preserving the fabric. You  honor the work the designers did all those years ago. And you are honoring Electra for keeping it safe for us until now. This is one of the pieces that I bought. It is about 20 inches square and cost me only $12.00. It is heavy fabric like upholstery fabric or bark cloth. I washed it and it didn’t bleed or run and I am featuring it in the center of a quilt.

Here is what I have added so far (below). Stay tuned for more.

Vintage Magnolia quit - first steps
Vintage Magnolia quit - first steps

Here is a photo gallery of other fabrics that I found (bought!) at Urban Burp.

Wonderful red and green plants
Wonderful red and green plants
Wonderful red and green plants - detail
Wonderful red and green plants - detail
Wonderful cotton fabric
Wonderful cotton fabric
Waxed Batik from Africa (modern)
Waxed Batik from Africa (modern)
Zodiac panel - 1960's
Zodiac panel - 1960's
Large-scale decorator fabric - incredible colors!
Large-scale decorator fabric - incredible colors!
Unbelievable Rayon fabric - got it in two colors!
Unbelievable Rayon fabric - got it in two colors!

Now – I don’t want you to think that red, orange and green are the only colors in the store – that’s just me these days!

I was delighted to be able to take my dear friend Ashley to this wonderful store – she was on her first trip to California (from North Carolina) and I drove her directly to Urban Burp, without passing go or collecting $200. (Well – we did drive down Lombard Street on the way. Really!)

A very happy customer!
A very happy customer!

I did let Ashley buy fabrics in any color she liked! We had a wonderful time.

I know you will all want to go there, now. Here are two sources for more information about the store:

Check out Urban Burp’s Website. Be sure to look at the services offered. Electra offers her expertise in using fabrics and will work with your furniture for the perfect new look for a beloved piece.

You might also want to read this interesting review of the store at an exciting blog for fabric fans, True Up.

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4 thoughts on “Urban Burp – The Most Extraordinary Fabric Store

  1. I read this and it made my eyes mist heavily!! The importance of enjoying these fabrics now is exactly how I feel. You and they are alive now! Enjoy them; make them part of your sanctuary to support and make you happy. Warmest regards

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