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Conversational Threads

IFabric Shopping-Impuse or with Purpose

SewFit | Posted in General Discussion on

Just last Saturday after my hair appointment I “remembered” that I needed PJ elastic to complete my pj’s. (I had been at the fabric store on Friday)  I breezed  in, grab 3 pkgs of elastic and headed for the checkout—RIGHT!

NOT!–I was inexplicably drawn to the back far right corner of the store where  the quilting cottons are displayed.  (I don’t quilt)  It was love at first sight- 100% cotton, tropical floral print….yellow gold background with shades of red, aqua, turquoise and green…all my favorite colors.   It actually spoke to me…”I will look great as a shirt with white slacks and your lime green straw tote.”    “But, I don’t NEED you, I replied.”  “I’m on sale at 40% off and you’ve got to go see the buttons that will make earrings to match me.”    

 I’m too easy…..This piece will not become part of my stash….I’m going to make it up next week after I return from the beach….not sure which pattern yet…it could become a skirt or capris or…..(maybe it’ll tell me what it wants to be.)

Sorry….I’m not off my rocker….I just love fabric…

My question is this…do most of us purchase on impulse (like I do) because we love the fabric or do you go pattern in hand, looking for the perfect fabric.

Edited 5/2/2007 8:28 am ET by SewFit


  1. jatman | | #1

    Hi SewFit!  I'm like you are - I let the fabric 'speak to me'!  As a matter of fact, the only time I think I've ever gotten a pattern then gone to the fabric store with it in my hand to purchase all that I needed was the sole project we did in home-ec way back in high school.  Last week I went to 2 fabric markets - bought some incredible fabrics at wonderful prices.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with some of the fabrics that I purchased but they are stacked up in my living room for me to see and think about and as I figure out what I want to do with them, I will go about getting the pattern/notions/thread etc. together to start my project!

    So - you are not alone!



    1. SewFit | | #2

      I love this Threads forum...it's great to meet folks from all over the world who have a common love for fabrics and sewing. 


      1. MaryinColorado | | #3

        In the past, I always bought fabric I loved and then decided what to do with it.  Downsizing has put the breaks on that favorite passtime.  Self discipline is so hard!  boo hoo!  Now it is one project at a time and trying to use up the stash.

        You new fabric made me think of Hawaiian style shirts!  Which, in turn, reminded me that I want to order dh a pattern from http://www.clotilde.com .  I used to make him Hawaiian shirts for summer but haven't been able to find large enough patterns for him.   These go up to 4X.  Thanks for rattling my brain!  Now I have an excuse to shop for fabric again!  Ya hoo and whoopie!!!!


  2. fabricholic | | #4

    I pick fabric just like you. I know instantly, that I have to have it. Sometimes, I wait till it goes on sell, but I never forget about it. The change of seasons is the worst. New fabrics call me.


  3. Ralphetta | | #5

    If I see fabric that excites me and it's a bargain, I buy it.  From past experience I know that it's easier for me to create a style for the fabric than the other way around. When I try to find fabric for a specific pattern/style it seems I never find what I want, or it's way, way too expensive and I have to use lesser quality fabric. 

    But then again....maybe I'm just rationalizing.

  4. Born2Bead | | #6

    I'm with you!  Fabric is like eye candy.  I find it very relaxing to walk around in a fabric store and image what a particular piece of fabric could be made into.  And some of those fabrics definitely call to me!

    I think it's that creative side of my brain that kicks into gear thinking of all of the possibilities for making something unique that I can't just pull off a rack somewhere.

    And, yes I have a large fabric stash but I make it a point to actually do something with my stash.  I'm taking a sewing class at a local fabric shop which forces me to work on something plus pick up tips and tricks.

    Happy sewing everyone!


    (Fashionista and Shoe-aholic)

  5. Crazy K | | #7

    I have been known to fill the trunk of the car.......and maybe have it spill over into the back seat as well and had not one single garment in mind!!  Oh, I may have had general ideas.....flannel shirts for the boys, flannel pj pants for someone, kid print knits for shirts, pj's, etc. or sweatshirt material for a new sweatsuit for a grandkid.........but no pattern in hand and nothing specific.  Fabric speaks to me but it's usually a more general conversation................'hey, take me home........I will look good mixed in with your stash'!!  If it just whispers, I buy 2 yards, if it really yells at me I might buy 4 or more yards!!  Crazy, huh?


    1. SewFit | | #8

      There could be worse addictions to have!

      1. Crazy K | | #9

        Boy!  You've got that right!! 

  6. kiwianne | | #10

    Hi sewfit

    I'm with you.  If a fabric speaks to me, I buy it.  (See my other post in "Do you have a fabric stash?")  And anyhow, EVERYONE knows that if you go out with pattern in hand looking for something specific, you'll never find it.  Lol!

    Here in New Zealand, fabric stores are a vanishing breed so no matter where I go, I look for the fabric stores.  We go to visit our son in London UK each year and there are some gorgeous silk shops in Soho which are on my must-visit list. 

    One in particular has a great big bin of remnants, usually in a terrible mess, so I sit on the flooor and sort through them, folding them up as I go.  Even though I'm only there once a year, the woman there recognises me and says "Ah, the lady from New Zealand is back to tidy up our remnant bin" and gives me a discount on everything I buy which is great, given that the New Zealand dollar is worth only one third of a British pound. 

    I can't claim to have as big a stash as some, but I'm getting there.

    1. SewFit | | #11

      Hi from NC, USA...

      I love and have a "stash" of woolen fabrics that I've toted around through 7 moves....Some of them are 20 years old.   When I lived in the mountains of VA, I wore wool all winter.  Here in NC the winters are milder (better on the arthritis).  Still I keep my stash.  I know New Zealand has a large sheep population...I guess most of the wool is exported or are there woolen mills there?

      Edited 5/2/2007 6:47 pm ET by SewFit

      1. kiwianne | | #12

        Yes, there are some mills but not as many as there used to be.  For some insane reason, we seem to sell a lot of our wool to other countries for them to add value to, but we can buy beautiful merino fabric which is lightweight and oh so soft at some fabric stores.

        We live in Auckland which doesn't get cold winters anymore (if it gets below 45deg during the day, we consider ourselves hard done by) so like you I have some lovely wool fabrics that I really don't need.

    2. User avater
      elizhard32 | | #16

      Hi Kiwianne,Could you tell me where the silk shop is in Soho? I'm going back in August and would like to take a list of shops with me. Fabric shops in London are fast disappearing too, I used to buy at Liberty's but they have discontinued their fabric section and another old favorite was on Sloane Street, it's gone too!

      1. dotty | | #17

        Liberty's has discontioned their fabric section? That's tragic! I hope they'll continue to make their lovely fabrics. I treasure the 2 blouses I've made from my London souvineers. They were in my stash for a very long time before I actually used them. I wanted to be I'd make something I'd be comfotable in.

        1. SewFit | | #18

          FYI-  http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/ is having a 50% off sale.

        2. User avater
          elizhard32 | | #20

          Dotty,They still might carry their own line of Liberty lawns, I'll check when I go back. They used to have an extensive fabric selection of silks, solids and prints and some of the most beautiful laces I've ever seen. Four years ago I blew my whole shopping budget in an afternoon there! They eliminated the fabrics with their new remodeling a couple of years ago. I miss the old creaky floors too!

          1. Sew Biz | | #21

            Sometimes the "Buy fabric" voices have to compete with the "Buy chocolate" voices!! I will often times go in the fabric store for thread, or buttons, or something to complete a project, but since I'm there....will take a peek at the fabric. If I see something I like, I'll buy it, with a vague idea of what I plan to make.  Then, when I start on that new piece, I'll need thread, or button, or something, and the cycle begins all over again!!!!

      2. ella | | #23

        Hello from the UK! Suggest you have a look at  http://www.jasonsfabrics.com, and http://www.macculloch-wallis.co.uk. The Soho area is actually quite compact, sort of in the angle between Oxford st. and Regent st. at the back of Libertys. Berwick st. and Broadwick st. are the main 'fabricy' ones.     Do hope this will help.

        1. User avater
          elizhard32 | | #36

          Thanks Ella,
          Between you and Kiwianne I now have quite a list. Now I just have to weedle my stash down a bit to justify some serious shopping. :-)Thanks again,

        2. User avater
          elizhard32 | | #48

          Hi,I have been away for a few days and didn't get the chance to thank you for the store names....THANKS. I have aready been online to Macculluhs where I found the most beautiful linen embroidered trim for a linen jacket that was unfinished for lack of finding the perfect trim. I can't wait to visit the store in person. Thanks again.Elizabeth

      3. kiwianne | | #34

        Hi there

        Always happy to share the good places.  Here are the directions for the Soho shops.

        Get off the Tube at Oxford Street, walk east along Oxford Street past Borders bookshop, the fourth or fifth street on your right is Berwick Street (street before it is Poland Street).  Walk down Berwick Street and after about 50 yards or so, the fabric shops start.  They are dotted along both sides of the road for about 100 yards.  My favourite that I referred to in my posting is Broadwick Silks which is in a side street on the left about halfway down.  There are lots of trimmings shops down Berwick Street as well.

        Another one is MacCulloch and Wallis in Dering Street.  Get off Tube at Oxford Circus and walk west on left hand side of road.  Dering Street is the third street on the left.  MacC & W is about 25 yards down on the left.  They too have trims on their second floor.

        There's also Joel's Fabrics which is in Church Street off the Edgware Road.  Take the Bakerloo Tube to Edgware Road and take the exit that lets you on to Edgware Road itself. It's a horrible road junction so if you get the wrong exit, it'll take you a while to work out where you are and where you want to go. Walk up the right hand side of Edgware Road and the fourth turning on the right is Church Street.  Joel's is about 100 yards along on the right hand side.  Their fabrics are a little pricey for a Kiwi but great to have a look through for a bargain.

        There's also one down Bond Street on the left hand side going from Oxford Street.  Can't remember what it's called though and as one has to push a buzzer to get in, I have taken it as a sign that their fabrics are too expensive for me.

        I was disappointed to hear that Liberty have closed down the whole of their fabric department.  When I was there last year, I got several pieces of pretty lawn for my granddaughter and also some nice trims.  John Lewis has gone the same way.  They used to have a great haberdashery department on the ground floor and fabric on the fourth.  They have now amalgamated both on the fourth floor to the detriment of both departments.

        You don't say when you are going but if you happen to be in London early October, the Stitch and Craft show at Alexandra Palace is definitely worth a visit.

        Whenever you're there, have a great time and I hope you find some great bargains.

        Regards, Anne

        1. User avater
          elizhard32 | | #35

          Thanks so much for taking the time to print out locations and names for all those places, I go so often yet you know about so many more fabric shops than I do! I'll be there the last week in August and the first week in October, I'll be sure to check the Stitch and Craft Show dates and go if I can.
          Thanks again, I've printed out your note and it's already in my travel folder.Elizabeth

          1. kiwianne | | #38

            You're very welcome, Elizabeth.  Info given on the understanding that if you find any new fabric shops, that you pass them on.  :-)

            The Ally Pally Stitch and Craft show starts on Thursday 11 October - maybe you can hang on till then.  They also have one in Birmingham 13-16 September if you are in the UK then.  Website for checking all this is http://www.twistedthread.com/index.asp

            Regards, Anne

    3. berniejh | | #52

      Hi Kiwianne, this Kiwi Bernie. I just read the comment about the fabric markets and now I'm salivating!!!!! I went to fabric market in Melbourne years ago and have dreamed about it since.
      Pity about the demise of the fabric shops in NZ - they used to be so good.

      1. kiwianne | | #53

        Hi Kiwi Bernie

        Don't know where in NZ you are, but I'm in Auckland and have to battle the traffic to get to the few remaining good stores on the city side of the bridge, otherwise it's Spotlight by default.

        Regards, KA

        1. berniejh | | #54

          We've just recently moved from Ak to Cambridge where there are no fabric stores. There's a pretty good but small one in Te Awamutu and in Hamilton a pretty bad Spotlight and a not so good Fabric Barn. The only thing I miss about Ak is the fabric shops and bead shops!
          I wonder if Global Fabrics would open in Hamilton????

  7. solosmocker | | #13

    For myself, I have boucoup in my stash and rarely shop anymore for my own garments. I am trying to get that stash down. But since I make mostly children's garments now, my radar is finely tuned in to that product. I am always on the lookout for a bargain on heirloom fabrics or dupionis and if I find it, it time to spend, spend, spend.

  8. sewverne76 | | #14

    It is nice to see that I am not alone!!!!  I am new to the Threads website's discussion gathering, however, I have been 'sewing' since I was 10.  There was a time when every department store had a sewing department along with every 5&10 AND then, there were JUST fabric stores.  (Not to be confused with the fabric stores of today that lend themselves to everything including lollipops!)

    Yes, the fabric speaks to me! And when the patterns are on sale, they also have a voice!!!

    I need to live a long time to get this sewing finished!!!

    I am thinking of sending someone else for the notions AND I will shop in my stash!!

    1. Crazy K | | #15

      I laughed when I read your statement about having to live a long time.  I am the same way.  I also started sewing when I was a young girl.......about 9 I think.  Mom got a sewing machine for Christmas and I was the one that started sewing anything I could get my hands on.  My first 'sewing for pay' came in 6th grade when I made a culotte for a girlfriend.   Its a love that has continued throughout my life.  I took a break for a few years due to 'life issues' but when I started in in earnest, I have accumulated more fabric, thread, embroidery designs, and notions than any sane person needs!  I, too, need to live a very long time.............  Fortunately, I am retired now and turning 60 this summer.  I hope that gives me many good years ahead with nimble fingers and good enough eyesight to follow my dreams.............

      My sewing is mostly very casual, easy to sew and easy to wear items and kids play things, pj's, etc.  I don't do the couture or tailoring things that many of you do.  I do appreciate looking at the photos of all the beautiful things though.  Gives me inspiration!!


      1. SewFit | | #24

        You and I have a lot in common.  I began sewing at the age of 8.  Turned 60 last Oct. I remember making a vest for a school play when I was 11 or so.  It was black with bottonholes on each side of the center front  and laced up with a strand of black velvet ribbon.  My freshman year of HS, I made a pink taffeta strapless formal with white lace overlay.  When my children were little I made all of their clothes.   Now I'm sewing just for me and doing a few alterations and some costumes for church programs. 

        Edited 5/3/2007 7:33 pm ET by SewFit

        1. Crazy K | | #26

          We do have lots in common..........we're both short and with boobs!!  When I read your posting in the 5'4" and under thread I thought you, Mary and I could be sisters.......all just about the same age, all short and too much 'fluff' for our liking!!  I just looked back.........you are in North Carolina?  I live in Minnesota........where the north winds blow!!  Yes, it gets cold here but I guess we're a hardy bunch.  I do love the change of seasons.......although I must admit spring and fall are my favorites.

          Part of my impulse buying is that I also do sewing for charity when time allows.  I do fleece hats, scarves, blankets, etc. for the homeless in our area through the Salvation Army.  I hit sales whenever I can and right now have way too many full bolts of fleece just waiting to be cut and stitched.  My stash includes lots of flannel (most kid prints but some pretty plaids for the bigger kids), cotton/poly knits for t-s and pjs, some twills and denims for pants, chamois for flannel shirts and a few pieces of pretty floral dress/skirt weight for me.  I have a tub of Christmas fabric another of just stretch velour, another of micro fleece in the most beautiful colors...........oh yes, I could go on and on.  It's comforting to hear that I am not alone in my 'fabric addiction'.

          Crazy.........for fabric!!

          1. SewFit | | #27

            Ah ha....I didn't make the connection from the other posts.  I lost about 30 pounds this past year...would like to lose about 10 more.  Lost a couple of inches in the boob area but not enough to suit me.....teh heh    It's really wonderful that you make the items for the Salvation Army.  Our church runs a large food pantry that provides groceries for thousands of people annually in our area.  Each year at Thanksgiving, we provide turkeys and all the trimmings for 500 needy families.  By the way, my step-son has lived in  Minneapolis for a couple of years but I've never been there.

          2. Crazy K | | #28

            Oh, you're losing your 'fluff'!!  I need to lose just about the same 40 lbs......but 30 would be great!  I'm short, have a very small frame and narrow shoulders.  I'm not really large but most standards but for my height and bone-structure I am way too heavy!  Eating less doesn't seem to cut it nowdays..........walking helps, Nordic track helps more but that all takes time.........time away from more fun things!! ha ha  I do walk quite regularly so by summer's end I will have toned up a little.  What did you do to lose the 30??

            Guess I'm getting away from sewing........but the body size and shape is a very important part of getting things to fit.  I don't like the real fitted styles......even when more slender I prefer more casual garments that skim rather than hug.

            Good to 'talk' to others facing the same fitting challenges.........

            Crazy K

          3. SewFit | | #29

            My husband passed away in Feb. 2006.   The first few weeks afterward sort of jump started my weight loss and I began eating more whole grains like brown rice, etc and lots of fruit.  Added Curves exercise program and walking.   I work as an administrative assistant at church and my job keeps me running between buildings and upstairs on Tuesdays each week so I get plenty walking it at work. My biggest pattern challenge is adapting the bust from the standard "B" cup to a "D".   And my shoulders have become more "rounded" so I have to adjust the back armhole area. I wish the pattern companies offered more patterns with the separate adjustment pieces included for the bust.  I know there are plenty of us "mature figures" around who are dealing with the pull of gravity.  Of course, I now choose patterns with bust darts or princess seaming which is somewhat easier to adjust.

          4. Crazy K | | #30

            I am sorry to hear of your loss.  That is often what starts weight loss.  Eating alone present its own set of challenges.  I have the same issues with more rounded shoulders, and the DD bustline.  Not easy sometimes.  My DH often tries to get me to shop and buy for myself but I try things on and so often I don't like the way they look or feel so I end up coming home empty handed.  I am seriously considering the pattern I've seen for the mature figure.  Pamela's T- shirt or some such thing.  I've seen it in Nancy's Notions catalog and it sounds like something that might just work.......its for those of us that are a big more round, forward shoulders, larger bust and hips.  It just might work. 

            I agree that with all of us 'baby boomers' the pattern companies need to pay attention and start featuring things that work for us.  Sewing is making a come-back and if they wish to be a part of the surge, they better get with the program!!!  If the major pattern companies don't, someone out there will...........at least I hope so!

            Since I'm retired (we owned our own business so I could dress casually there as well) and I help out at my daughter's in-home daycare business, I can dress in jeans and t-shirts or sweatshirts, etc.  Our lifestyle is the same so I don't have to dress up much. 

            Still Crazy..........

  9. ineedaserger329 | | #19

    BOTH!!!! there is nothing wrong with impulse, but there is always something to be said about planning.....I always wander into the quilting section and I make gowns...........out of place? NO WAY...

  10. cynthia2 | | #22

    Hi SewFit.  When I first started sewing about 15 years ago, I always chose my pattern first and then went in search of the perfect fabric.  I only worked on one project at a time and life was simple.  During the past ten years, though, I've thrown all discipline to the wind and developed a small stash of fabric and boxes and boxes of patterns.  St. Louis no longer has any great fabric stores for clothing -- lots of stores for quilting cottons, but none dedicated to fashion fabrics.  Fortunately, my work requires frequent travel and I always managed to allow at least a few hours for fabric shopping.  Most of my fabric buying now is definitely on impulse.  Cynthia

    1. SewFit | | #25

      If you travel to northern  VA or the Rockville MD area, G Street Fabrics is great.   In NC, there is a wonderful place called Mary Jo's which  is in Gastonia.  At one time there was a wonderful little shop in the Shenandoah Valley of VA which sold Pendleton woolens but it's been out of business for a number of years.

      1. cynthia2 | | #31

        Thanks for the leads. I've heard of G Street but have never been there. I'm in Washington DC quite frequently. Rockville is fairly close. I'll have to make a point to go there next time in DC.

        1. SewFit | | #32

          They also have a location in Centreville VA just off I66 on the VA side of DC

          Happy shopping and sewing!

  11. Alicia | | #33

    Hi Sewfit:

    I still stash. but not as much as I used to.  Too often I purchased,found a pattern only to find I didn't have enough fabric.  However, if I had made it up the year I purchased it I would have been able to purchase more of the same and make it up in that particular pattern.  Go for it.  Let us know when it is fini.

  12. User avater
    susannah_sews | | #37

    I tend to buy patterns and fabric independently of each other.  The city I live in does not have any good fabric shops for dressmaking fabrics, so when I get the opportunity to buy fabric that looks great, I just get it. 

    Also, they often don't have the pattern I want in stock (and it apparently takes 2 to 3 weeks minimum to order from somewhere else in Australia - curious when I can put the order in over the internet and get the pattern sent from the US in about a week). 

    I can ususally judge approximately how much I will need for a general item (ie just the length for a straight skirts, 2 metres if I think I will make a shirt, 3 if I am contemplating a dress).  I match up patterns and fabrics at home - or my daughter will empty out one of my stash boxes in search of a fabric she likes, then we will work out if there is enough for the item of clothing she wants.

    It does mean that I sometimes have smallish amounts left over - but it is so much nicer to know that I always have some fabric that I can use when the mood/opportunity strikes!  If I waited until I needed something to try to shop for a pattern and a suitable fabric to match, then it wouldn't work. 

    The end result of this is, of couse, that my stash is growing at an alarming rate, but at least when Emily (18 year old daughter) mentions on a Friday evening that she needs a new dress for Saturday night, we are fairly well placed to make a lot of progress without having to go shopping!



  13. Crazy K | | #39

    O.K.........I have been digging through my overwhelming stash of fabric.  I really, truly thought that some of my purchases were with purpose.  I, now however, am changing my story.................Holy Moly.........I just cleared out 8 very large yard and garden bags of fleece and DH put it in the rafters of the garage for me for the early summer.   Most of these are solid colors and some full bolts (still with the tape around!).  I guess they do have purpose but as they will mostly all go for hats, scarves and blankets for the homeless.  It's no wonder I felt so overwhelmed when I went into my sewing room!!!  I think part of my 'creativity' was totally shut-down with all the clutter!  On top of all of that down there (my 'studio' encompasses more than 75% of our basement) I have bolts of Minkee, terry velor and some flannel for my daughter's business.  Now her stuff is stacked in one spot and the rest of my many yards of various fabrics are stacked on 5 shelving units (full to ceiling) and in tubs not so neaty placed!  Now that I have recovered from carrying all of that up the stairs, I should go back and straighten things up and vacuum down there........Maybe then some of my creative juices can flow once again..............

    Crazy.............yep, that's me!

    1. solosmocker | | #40

      Being surrounded by organization is very liberating. It can really free the mind to create. I find after every project I have to really clean my workspace and get all re organized. Then my mind is free to concentrate on the next project. I have had the overwhelming sewing space, the semi organized space, and now my very organized studio. I am much more productive in my clean space. Just my little quirk and I know not all work that way and thats fine. While I am on a project all is hither and yon, but when I am done it is clean up time.

      1. Crazy K | | #41

        I had to laugh when I read your posting!!  I'm nearly as unproductive in too clean a space as when it gets too cluttered!  That's just me, however.  I truly understand that most folks like neat and orderly.  I think I once read/heard a saying something about a messy desk is the sign of genius..........well, if that's should be true I could be the next Vera Wang!!  LOL LOL LOL  Well, anyway, I have way too much 'stuff' to have my space truly neat and clear of any clutter but now at least I can see my floor and I can see most of my fabric.  My sewing tables are still too messy but that can be a project for another day!  I do periodically tidy things up but the little elves must go there at night and mess things up again...............my goodness.......it couldn't be me!!

        I am truly enjoying the entries.........good inspiration, a laugh or two and lots of commaradarie!


        P.S.  - I've peeked at some of the pix you've posted.........you do beautiful work!! 

      2. Ralphetta | | #43

        I think I might be more productive...if someone else cleaned  up for me!

        1. User avater
          Becky-book | | #44

          Clean-up imps... only if they put stuff back where YOU want it and don't hide it from you!!! LOL


          1. Ralphetta | | #45

            What sort of bait do I put out to attract thoses?

          2. User avater
            Becky-book | | #46

            Bait?   I have to put out bait?  Maybe that's why they do not clean up my room!! LOL


        2. Gloriasews | | #47

          Oh, can I ever relate to that!  Some days it's just too much effort to clean it up as it'll take too long & my creative juices will be all dried up by the time I'm finished.  Then, I hate to mess it up again.  Can't win!

          I could sure use some of those clean-up imps of Becky's - if we could only find out what the bait is . . .

          Edited 5/8/2007 5:48 pm by Gloriasews

  14. Lynnelle | | #42

    What a wonderful questions!  I totally buy fabric on impulse - hence the reason for my monster of a stash.  I buy fabric because I like the feel, look, and prospect that it will eventually be a garment that I will wear endlessly.  The first two reasons are usually enough for me to whip out some cash. =) 

    Recently, I went to the Hancock Fabrics sale and went nuts.  I am trying my best to not go back as I know I will shell out even more money for fabric that I just do not need.

    I also have quite a pattern stash.  When a nearby Joann store went out of business, they marked every pattern 1.99.  This was an excellent opportunity to stock up on Burda and Vogue patterns - which I did.


  15. Ckbklady | | #49

    Impulse - 100% impulse! I think we need a sewing super heroine - Random Sewer Girl!

    I think the factor that separates fabric/pattern/notions shopping from almost all other shopping is its wonderfully complete lack of purposefulness for me - in other words, it's what MAKES and KEEPS it a hobby/escape/creative "brain getaway".

    If I had to search for the right fabric with the same purposefulness I show when I hunt for items on my grocery list, it would take all the fun out of shopping for material and materials. I go on random "oooh, patterns are on sale, so buy fun ones" browsing trips and random "wow, that fabric caught my eye - I can turn it into SOMETHING" browsing trips - and rarely both on the same trip.

    The rare times I have gone into a fabric shop needing a specific thing, I have been disappointed by the outcome - not finding anything close enough to what I imagined. And what I have bought/compromised on takes the creative/random spirit out of the crafting of it. Dullsville.

    It's the browsing for all things sewing that MAKES it a creative, relaxing process and an extension of the "mind vacation" that sewing is for me. Fabric shopping with purpose would be as welcome as scheduling "chocolate eating days" on my calendar. I don't sew for a living, so I can afford to apply chaos theory to my fabric shopping habits. ;)

    I think that too much of our modern lives are devoted to "the hunt" - the focused search for a specific thing, whether it's the right job, house, laundry detergent, whatever. Heck, I do all that too. But to me, sewing is sacred. I try to keep sewing a browsy, random world to keep it relaxing and revitalizing. For me, "the hunt" is the fun of matching randomly bought patterns with randomly bought fabric. It's magic in my linen closet.

    Great question, SewFit. Thanks for giving me things to ponder.

    :) Mary

    1. Ralphetta | | #50

      I had already mentioned that when I went to find specific fabric AFTER choosing a design/pattern it never worked out.  I'd never thought of things in the terms you just describe, but I think you are absolutely right.  That IS what keeps it from being just another chore.

  16. Jeanette | | #51

    I never buy fabric with a pattern in hand.  I always let the fabric 'speak' to me.  Many times I look at a fabric and I think that is kind of nice but I always don't buy it as I know that unless I truely love the fabric I am not going to be happy with it. 

    I haven't bought fabric for a while, but  I do make an exception for any fabric that is apricot.  Apricot fabric is hard to find so whenever I see some that I like I just buy it as I know that it might be a long time before I see that colour again. My fabric stash is now down to about 4 fabrics, the lowest it has ever been.  I am the kind of person that lives for sewing and as soon as I finish one garment I pick up the next piece of fabric from the stash and start planning, however recently I have been having a re think about things.  I don't have any kids and my husband often makes comments about how many clothes does a women need ( I tell him never enough, just like shoes!) so I am thinking that I might start directing my sewing efforts towards those in need or to teach sewing to friends children who are interested as I will have to buy another wardrobe soon to accommodate the growing clothing collection!

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