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Monday, January 16, 2012

Hoffman Fabrics

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a tour of Hoffman Fabrics, in Mission Viejo, California.   I am happy to be able to share some insights, from this tour, with you today.


Michelle Flores, a very talented and enthusiastic Marketing Coordinator, at Hoffman Fabrics, was our tour guide.  And, all attendees agreed, Michelle did an excellent job and we also enjoyed meeting many super friendly and happy employees at Hoffman Fabrics. 


One might wonder in today's economic times, how does a company like Hoffman Fabrics have such truly happy employees?  To answer this, I think you need to understand a couple of things.  First, Hoffman Fabrics was founded in 1924, by Rube Hoffman,  when good work ethics, values,  leadership, wanting to produce quality products, and honest concern about customers were common values of any successful business.   Rube's values for Hoffman Fabrics have clearly been able to grow and florish.  I also think that their employees simply enjoy creating beautiful, high quality fabric, that quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts love to work with.    While I don't know all of Hoffman's core values, it is clear that Hoffman Fabrics deserves to be proud as a leader in the industry, as well as a role model that many companies could learn from.

Today, there are actually three generations of the Hoffman family actively involved in the company, which turns 88 years old in 2012!  Plus, this company has many longtime employees who have been with Hoffman Fabrics from 12 to 30 years! 

While Hoffman manufacturers fabrics, it is difficult for me to use the word "manufacturer" when I think of Hoffman, especially after going on this tour.   I think of Hoffman Fabrics of being in the business to  "create beauty".  They create original, authentic and 100% handmade Hoffman Bali Batiks, Hoffman Hand-dyes and Hoffman Bali Pops®. They also create beautiful screenprinted fabrics, specializing in Asian, holiday/Christmas, tropical/Aloha, children's, contemporary, and novelty themes.  I think every quilting, sewing, and embroidery enthusiast loves working with Hoffman Fabrics!  Who wouldn't?

{above} Video by Pam Holland, shared on The Daily Blog, from The Quilt Show.

Unlike some Batiks and hand dyed fabrics, Hoffman Bali Batiks and Bali Handpaints will not bleed or rub off on other fabrics.  Sandy Muckenthaler  (Sales & Marketing Director for Hoffman Fabrics) advises if you are using these fabrics for a wallhanging it is ok to skip prewashing, which has already gone thru several rinses to remove excess dyes and waxes, before it is sold.  However, if you decide you want to prewash, before sewing a lap or bed quilt, be sure to use a low-phosphate detergent (e.g. Orvis), wash in cold water, move to the dryer as soon as the wash cycle is complete. Never use detergents with bleach or chlorine.  Avoid displaying your quilt or wallhanging in strong sunlight in order to preserve the vibrancy of the colors.  Lastly, never dryclean.

Many quilters are familiar with Hoffman fabrics that they can find in their local quilt shops and through online stores, but you may not be aware that Hoffman also provides a service to design custom fabrics.  Such fabrics may be for schools, special clothing lines, quilt runs, etc.  While they have a talented group of in-house designers, they also work with a number of designers to turn their artwork into fabric lines.  And, there are also a many art houses, that represent various artists, that Hoffman also buys artwork from.  To clarify, Hoffman may establish a licensee agreement with an artist or may purchase artwork, as well as use in-house artists, to design their fabrics.

You are probably familiar with Hoffman licensed artists, such as 
McKenna Ryan, Rennie Rau MarquezYo Gabba Gabba!, and Punch Studio.  They are all very talented artists that Hoffman has worked with to create spectacular lines of fabric.

Hoffman introduces new fabrics a couple of times a year, with their biggest introductions scheduled in time for the Spring and the Fall Quilt Markets.  Plus they release "seasonal" batiks (e.g. hliday motifs like snowflakes and pinecones) are released in January, and another small group in late August.  Fabric introductions, or "releases for sales" first go into distribution and appear in quilt shops a few months later. 

New introductions could easily exceeds 200+ fabrics, spread out over a large number of fabric lines.

Each season's collection will consist of 15-20 groups of fabrics, with each group having ~6-7 designs, each offered in ~3 - 5 color ways.  Most of the screenprinting is done in Japan, which provides worldclass printing of metallics, pearl or lacquer.  For simpler designs, such as novelty or children's fabric, the printing will typically happen in Korea or Indonesia.  Overall, new introductions could easily exceed 200+ fabric designs, spread out over a large number of fabric lines, each with their own name.  And, to my amazement, Michele knew the name of every fabric (old and new).

The Hoffman Challenge is celebrating their 25th year.  Every year, members of Hoffman California Fabrics' textile team selects fabrics for this challenge.  This year, lavender and pink roses showcase the them of this wonderful challenge.

SewCalGal definitely wants to encourge all quilters to enter the Hoffman 2012 Challenge.  This is a great way to expand your quilting skills. It is also a great honor to have your quilt selected in this challenge, as there are five traveling exhibits, comprised of the top 150 quilts, thirty garments and thirty dolls entered.  These exhibits spend the next year traveling the country, being displayed at quilt shops, national exhibits, and quilt shows.  To request a traveling exhibit for an event, guild meeting or shop, contact Julie Breidt, the Hoffman Challenge Curator, at Julie@HoffmanChallenge.com .  For more information on this challenge vist:  www.HoffmanChallenge.com 

J8670 70-Lavender

For those living in Southern California, or visiting, and interested in a group tour of Hoffman Fabrics, Michelle Flores is the appropriate contact.  Hoffman welcomes groups of ~20-30 for such tours.  For those that want schedule their own group tour, email Michelle at: Michellef@hoffmanfabrics.net   And, for those attending the IQF Long Beach Show, consider signing up thru this show, for a Hoffman Fabrics group tour.

Lasty, I also want to share that Hoffman Fabrics sponsors prizes at a number of quilt shows.  For the Road to California Conference and Quilt Show, which starts this week, Hoffman Fabrics is the Best of Show Diamond Sponsor, with a $3,000 grand prize! For those going to this show, be sure to see the display of the 2011 Hoffman Challenge entries and pick up brochures for the 2012 Hoffman Challenge too (you can also download your entry form). 

Thank you Hoffman Fabrics for all you do to make our world of quilting so wonderful!

Hoffman California Fabrics
25792 Obrero Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691-3140

hoffmanfabrics.com 800.547.0100


Hoffman Free Patterns


Editfolt said...

Beautiful fabrics. I looked at Hoffman website. Very much like the purple fabrics. You are lucky, that you can be useful with beautiful fabric like this :)

Purl Buttons said...

I LOVE Hoffman fabrics--all types! I still have Hoffman Challenge fabric in my stash. I think maybe 2013 is the year for me make a serious, timely attempt at an entry.

Jean(ie) said...

They make the best batiks! Love their fabrics. Thanks for taking us along!

krisgray said...

I love batiks and it just happens that 80% of the batiks I buy are Hoffman's. I don't set out to do this but when I get to the cutting table and read the bolts, they say "Hoffman."

Diane said...

I have loved Hoffman products since I began quilting many years ago. This post on your tour was very interesting. Thank you for sharing!

Vicki said...

I have to say I also love Hoffman fabrics, both their batiks and scren prints are top notch. I would suspect that more than 50% of my stash is made up of Hoffman fabrics. That must have been a most enjoyable tour to take especially from a quilter's perspective. I'm just thinking that working for Hoffman would be a dream job since you would get to see first hand all the new fabrics that were going to be released prior to them showing up in your LQS. Thanks for sharing.

Barb said...

Oh wow....I enjoyed this post. I love batiks and enjoyed the video. I was going to join the challenge last year but never did, got the fabric and that was that.

Vivian Helena said...

thanks for posting this blog about Hoffman.. I also love their fabrics and in the 1980's went on one of their tours as we lived very close by..It was fascinating, and the collection of surf boards would have intrigued my husband, he missed out.
I like using the PDF fabric also... Thank you for sharing.

Wacky Woman said...

Hoffman is such a great line of fabric and also a great company.

Barb N said...

I happened to have been emailing with you the day you were headed out for this tour, so it's very fun to read about it. Love these fabrics!

Diane Wild said...

Thank you for the tour. Hoffman always have a beautiful line of fabrics.

Sallie said...

I love Hoffman fabrics and love to see the Hoffman Challenge entries. Thanks for sharing!

Becky said...

Really interesting! Now I want to tour Hoffman:) Thanks for keeping us informed!

Mare said...

Hoffman fabrics are just beautiful and delicious to look at and lovely to sew with.