Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do You Shop for Fabric, or Fabric Shop?

It's an interesting question when you really think about it. Not everyone has the luxury of living near a huge metropolitan fashion center like New York City or Los Angeles where the sky’s the limit when it comes to shopping for fabric.  Many cities, like where I live, offer few options for buying fabric beyond the local Joann’s or Hobby Lobby stores. For buying really good fabric, well, that almost doesn’t exist.  I can’t tell you how many times I have an image and/or a pattern of something I am dying to make and can’t come close to finding the right fabric to satisfy that craving. It’s extremely frustrating and I have to believe I am not alone. 

My latest 50% off purchases
As a result, I rarely shop for fabric. Instead, I fabric shop. What's the difference? Think of it as the way Europeans are known to shop for food. Their meal of the day is based on what they find at the open market that morning.  So rather than shop for items to fit a predetermined menu, the food they create from their purchases becomes the menu.

I find this method is sometimes a better approach when it comes to shopping for fabric as well. When I find a beautiful piece of fabric I buy 2, sometimes 2 ½ yards or more of it even if I have no specific pattern or garment in mind. I do, however, contemplate what type of garment is best suited to the fabric, which helps determine the amount of fabric I buy. When material goes on sale 50% off, I stock up.  What I make from my purchases comes later. It has become easier these days to match a pattern to the fabric than to match the fabric to a pattern. 

While this may not always be the most economical way to shop for fabric, it keeps things real. Real, in the sense that this is what’s available for me to work with.  There have been many instances when I have passed up an opportunity to buy a beautiful piece of fabric because I had no specific pattern in mind and later regretted that decision when it was no longer available.

As you can see, this is a recipe for accumulating lots of fabric and I admit, I do.  To keep  track of what I've purchased, I document my finds before I stash them away in bins in my studio.  I pin a pre-designed label to the fabric which identifies what kind of fabric it is, fiber content, care instructions, and the fabric width and yardage.  Not too long ago I wrote a post  on the subject -- see my post on Fabric Stash Organization:;postID=3196290962237856201;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=24;src=postname 
So, do you shop for fabric or  fabric shop?  

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