Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hoffman California Fabrics Tour

           Hoffman California Fabrics Tour!

     Leaving at 6:45 am the other morning, our little group hit the freeway and went to Orange County to visit the Hoffman California Fabric headquarters.  As you can see here, fabric was everywhere!

     Hoffman is known for their batiks and their 'gold' fabric.  Our wonderful tour leader went through the process of producing batiks in Bali, from making the original design,

     placing the wax resist on the farbric, adding the dye, rinsing it out, and even piecing it together before placing on the tubes.

     This is one of the batik dyes that was used.  They dip this into wax and place it on the fabric so when the fabric is put in the dye (color), the wax works as a resist to keep the color from forming in that pattern.  Each color in a batik represents a seperate dying process.

     Hoffman also makes many fabrics that have gold accent lines.  We were told that these fabrics are printed in Japan, as the quality of their gold process is superior.  As a side note, the greige goods (undyed fabrics that they use) are milled in several places around the world, then sent to the processing plant for printing.

    New fabrics arriving and waiting to be cut for sample headers.  When a new fabric (print) is made, one tube is air shipped to Hoffman, where it is cut into samples and the fabric family is put into a header (stapled together on a hanger).  The headers are given to the fabric reps, which show them at the fabric markets (Houston Quilt Show inthe fall, LA Textile Show, etc.), as well as visiting shop owners, etc.

     Here are some headers that have been completed, ready to go!

     New fabrics in the foreground and many, many, MANY bolts of fabric stacked almost to the rafters of older bolts that have already been cut to make the sample headers!

     One of the guys rolling fabric from a tube onto a bolt.  Typical bolt size is 15 yards.  Batiks are usually made in 16 yard pieces and then sewn together in Bali before being wound onto the tube.  When they get here, they are wound on a bolt until the hit the seam.  It is cut off and that is the yardage on the bolt.  You can't see it, but to the right is a little meter that counts the yardage as it is rolled onto the bolt.

     The motiff at Hoffman is definately beach/Southern California.  Rube Hoffman, originally from NYC, started Hoffman Fabrics and his 2 sons were surfers.  The grandchildren are still very involved in surfing today and have won amny awards.
     It was a wonderful trip - we learned a lot!  I think the only down side was they are strictly wholesale (no, we did not get a chance to purchase any of their fabrics)! It was wonderful to see all of the fabrics - no store can carry every fabric of every line, so it was nice to see so many different patterns!

Happy Stitching,


  1. Thank you for posting these pictures. I am going to Hoffman tomorrow to pick out fabric for a quilt challenge for a retreat this summer. Hoffman is our sponsor so I will be leaving with fabric :)

  2. Have a great time and don't overload on fabrics!