Virtual Shop Hop: The Little Shop, Haddonfield, N.J.

Debbie Hagy, owner of The Little Shop, holding a swatch of Amy Butler wallpaper she recently hung in her hallway. Amy Butler is one of her favorite fabric designers.
Debbie Hagy, owner of The Little Shop, holding a swatch of Amy Butler wallpaper she recently hung in her hallway. Amy Butler is one of her favorite fabric designers.

Debbie Hagy has been a sewer all her life but quilting wasn’t a part of her family’s tradition. So when she wanted to make a quilt for the first time, she enrolled in a class at The Little Shop in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

The quaint quilt shop in a charming main street community, has been a sewing store since the 1960s. In the 80’s the then-owner saw the way sewing trends were going, and made the move to focusing on quilting.

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“I wanted a quilt and in our family if there was something that you wanted that you could do yourself you learned how to do it and made it,” Hagy said. “So I came here and took a class and I got so hooked in that I just never left.”

Hagy started by stitching cross stitch samples for the owner to pay for her quilting classes, until she was good enough to start teaching classes herself. From there she joined the staff and eventually became the third owner of The Little Shop in 1996.

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Under her direction the shop gained national acclaim, with a recognition as one of Quilt Sampler’s Top 10 Shops in 2007. The quilt the shop created for the magazine featured Civil War reproduction prints, including one fabric that was used as a focal piece that Hagy still gets calls about nearly a decade later.

“It was from a mid-19th Century collection and yet it had a very modern look to it,” Hagy said. “It was spectacular and people still want it. They’ll be browsing through old magazines, they’ll come across it and say, ‘Wow, I wonder if you can still get that?’ ”

While the fabric is long gone, Hagy did save some in a green colorway to use in a special project someday.

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Hagy’s favorite fabrics are bright, fun prints such as Amy Butler and Kaffe Fassett, but there just isn’t enough interest in the area to specialize in just colorful fabrics. So she carries as assortment contemporary fabrics with some modern prints mixed in.

Fabric trends tend to change from region to region. In New Jersey, Hagy said the country look has come and gone, solids are back, although the peppered fabrics that have more texture than flat solids are preferred. In general tastes are trending more modern all around, with an appreciation for soft and pretty. The changes are especially obvious in baby quilt trends, where cutesy diaper pin fabric has pretty much gone the way of the dodo.

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“They want a more modern look,” Hagy said. “They want babyish. They might want funky cute, but they don’t want old fashioned baby look.”

Hagy hosts a mystery quilt design every year and is very big into making sure every customer’s quilt has its own uniqueness and flair. That is evident in the Power Packs she and her staff create. A collection of 12 fat quarters, the Power Packs are coordinated around a theme fabric. Hagy has developed patterns that call for 12 fat quarters, but she only cuts four of each fabric combination, so no quilt looks exactly the same.

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“They’re called Power Packs because they empower you to make something wonderful,” Hagy said. “I only make four and once they’re gone, they’re gone. The next power pack may have a few of these fabrics in it but it is going to have a different mixture so your quilt doesn’t look like everyone else’s quilt because to me that is a little bit dull.”

One of the most rewarding aspects of running a quilt shop to Hagy, is watching people develop friendships because of their love of quilting.

“There are people who have made lifelong friendships because they met here,” Hagy said. “And they’re my friends, but they’re friends with each other because they met here and we made the environment here a place where they will be able to make friends and enjoy themselves and be creative and be encouraged.”

The Little Shop is located at 143 Kings Highway E., Haddonfield, NJ. Click here to visit its website for more information.

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