From ordinary to special
Spending time sewing with her grandmother and participating in 4-H projects in her youth, Dixie Dankworth Cope developed a passion for creating.
In 2015, she purchased the building that housed Durst Upholstery, and in 2016, she opened her store front, Dankworth Dry Goods.
“Before it was Durst Upholstery, it was a cabinet shop, so this building has always been a place where things were made,” Cope said.
Today she carries hundreds of different kinds of fabrics and furs, T-shirts, socks, dish towels and more.
Much of the material Cope has comes from the 1960s through 1990s or is vintage fabric she got from estate sales.
“Older fabrics are made better than they are in this day, and so I think repurposing is so important. Things should not just be thrown away,” Cope said.
Each of the fabrics contains the name of the pattern, the year it was made and the color palate used to make it, giving it a history and a story.
“Some of these fabrics are over 40 years old and they share who made it, the colors and it shows not only the progression of trends in fashion but also stories,” Cope said.
When not creating, Cope invests time learning the history of the fabrics she uses.
“We have fabric that was made in Italy that was screen printed in 1960, and it sold for over $200 a yard,” Cope said. “I want to be able to sell that quality fabric, but at more of the $10-$15 a yard price.”
Much of what Dankworth Dry Goods does is dependent on what a client wants. But Cope also has the opportunity to simply create things based on materials she has laying around.
“I just wake up and think of something I can create,” she said. “Sometimes people have an old shirt or an old piece of couch fabric and they want a way to remember it. So, I can create something new from something old and preserve that special fabric.”
Cope can create unique pillows using different kinds of fabrics, bedding for college dorm rooms, reupholster chairs or even turn an old wedding dress into four different pillows for a family to enjoy.
“It’s more fun when it has a story and then it creates a conversation, which I think we don’t do enough of today,” she said. “It sparks an interest. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to be expensive. There is so much value in preserving.”
She adds a personal touch by hand-sewing her tag onto her items.
Cope also has the ability to screen print and has started selling her items at the Pioneer Museum Christmas Market and at the new Luckenbach on Main store. She has also made T-shirts with peaches, windmills, tractors and the 78624 ZIP code.
In addition to sewing and creating, Cope uses the space for other activities.
Last year, she held classes on felting, hosted bachelorette parties, and used her space to house more than 400 dresses for the annual pop-up boutique re-dress.
“We have kind of lost the art of gathering and doing something, and I want people to gather and expel some creative energy,” she said.
Cope also shares the space with her aunt, Deb Hofmann, who runs a leather making business called Elegant SheepSkins.