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Conversational Threads

Stocking up on fabrics?

jatman | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

This may be a silly question but I’m just curious – I’m assuming that I’m not the only person who will buy a fabric when I find it and not have a particular use for it at the time I purchase it?  So if other people do this – how much do you usually buy?  2 meters?  3?  4?  What fabrics do you buy and in what increments?

I’m going to be doing some fabric shopping out of town and I’m curious what other people do.



  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    Yes, you are the only person who ever buys without knowing what you will use it for.

    Ha Ha Ha, about 80% of my purchases are because it's pretty and/or a good buy...and I have only vague ideas of what I will do with it.  I'm seldom happy with what I find if I go searching for a specific thing.  It seems to work out better for me to find a great fabric...and THEN decide what to do with it.

    I usually determine the amount  by what general terms I see it made up in my mind...pants, blouse, coat, suit, etc.  I know by now  how much I will need for any of those items. 

    People like us are the reason there are bumper stickers that say He who dies with the most fabric wins.

    1. user-51823 | | #2

      LOL, right, i've never heard of anyone doing that.
      at age 50, i am desperately trying to find ways to use that surplus stashed in the attic, tops of closets, under beds that i've had dating back into the 70's. i am SOO bad. my problem is that too often, my tastes would change faster that i could get to a project and it wound up unused (but still saved). i am currently in progress of joining an episcopal church with a good outreach program and a large sewing circle. i don't curently have time to join the circle, but am compiling some cottons suitable for quilting to donate. will be donationg lots more as they name other projects. also have started a bin of fabric in bigger pieces that i am inventorying and making sample cards to pass out to a couple of local thearter groups. i'm stapling a 2" square of fabric and writing available amount. when done, i hope i'll get an occasional phone call to take some of it.
      Beware the growing mound.

      1. Svelte | | #8

        I  love fabrics in all the colors.  I wear only cotton or silk.  Cannot wear man made fiber especially spandex, due to allergies.  I am a seamstress and also an avid quilter.  Yes, I have a lot of fabric.  I decided to do a project of smaller quilts for children in a hospice.  I have made many large quilts.  I have one that is unfinished.  Now I sometimes hand quilt and sometimes machine quilt.  Machine quilting is a bit faster, but sometimes hand quilting gives a nicer effect.  In any event I have a lot of fabric with which to choose from.  I design my own quilts.  

        In the 1970's, I did custom sewing and alterations to help put my spouse through the university.

        I still sew garments sometimes but am mainly using my senses and energy to quilt.

        1. adelinarose | | #44

          Hi Svelte,

          I don't quilt, but I am thinking of trying it  out. I have some of that boucle fabric that was in the threads issue a couple months back and I want to make a jacket with it. I am planning on quilting it. Can you advise me where to start, so I am not going too wrong on that. (No this is just quilting the fabric itself as opposed to joining pieces...) Thanks.



    2. jatman | | #3

      Yeah, I thought I was the only one....but if you WERE going to do that....what would you buy for:








      1. user-51823 | | #4

        i know you directed the question to someone else, but i really really really would caution against intentional stockpiling. for me anyway, the impulse buys aer moer than enough.
        unless you are privvy to some secret info we aren't-- is the fabric industry planning on permanently shutting down worldwide?

        Edited 12/21/2006 2:02 pm ET by msm-s

        1. jatman | | #5

          I'm actually going to London and would like to get some fabrics for future projects.  Where I live things are really expensive (probably more so than in London!).


          1. user-51823 | | #6

            okay, i accept that excuse. special trips aer an exception. although, i do still have more than half left of fabric i bought on a trip to new york city in '94.
            i'm sure you have better judgement than i do!

          2. jatman | | #7

            I just paid $21.95 USD per meter for t-shirt material (92% cotton 8% elastane).  Don't even ask how much silks and wools are.  If the prices aren't better (and with the weakening dollar, they may not be) I won't be buying anything.  So, my question to you is - how much material did you buy for jackets/blouses/skirts/dresses/pants or did you just buy a couple of meters of anything you found you liked?



            Edited 12/21/2006 2:46 pm ET by jatman

          3. thehat | | #107

            hi to have a stach is to have an mental insureance policy that you the cloth means that your thoughts of creation and the love of new and fun ideas are just around a coner  the fabric is and  out ward expression of ones feelings or they are the artist in you  the way you could say it [ to buy or not to buy that is the question? ]  a little shakespear with a twist .

          4. fabricholic | | #109

            Hello Thehat,That was beautifully put. I will have to remember that.Marcy

          5. kswolff | | #25

            Another thing to consider is coordinating the new fabrics with the ones you already have. I keep a credit card holder in my handbag with swatches of fabric from my stash. It's one of those clear plastic accordion style credit card holders you can find at most department or men's stores in the furnishings department. I cut a piece of fabric that just slides into one card section and put a small sticky note on the back noting the width and yardage I have. That way I have a safety net when fabric shopping. It makes talking myself out of buying something much easier if I am shamed into coordinating it with something I have. The other thing you can do with the card holder is to write notes directly on the plastic with a dry-erase pen. When you are done, just wipe off with a tissue. Having said all that, since I had a custom floor to ceiling cabinet built last year just to hold my fabrics, this method clearly does not work all the time but - well, it's still cheaper than some other addictions we could have!

          6. Ralphetta | | #26

            Your plastic holder idea is really good.  When I take swatches to buy notions, etc.  I've tried various methods, but I'm sure I've got an extra one of those plastic things around here and I'm going to start doing that.  You should submit that to Threads and get $ for it.

          7. JanF | | #45

            Sorry to butt into this thread - why do you think fabrics in London will be cheaper? I live in the North of Uk (sorry middle really but everyone in London thinks anyone north of Watford Gap comes from "Up North!)
            Unless you know of some cost effective places to go to (in which case let me know)I think you might find that fabrics here are just as expensive as over in USA. In fact I think you might be able to buy cheaper than we can!
            However, after saying that, I must say that you can always buy cheap fabric off market stalls or seconds shops, but a lot you might find isn't worth it!
            Also, if u go to places such as Liberty's off Oxford street - you will see fantastic fabric - but be prepared to pay quite a lot!
            I realise this sounds off putting - but perhaps I'm wrong in thinking your prices are cheaper than ours?
            Good wool fabric expect to pay at least upwards of approx. £25 per metre - is that about $18 - 20 per metre? and bridal type fabric (good stuff) starts about £40 per metre!
            Of course I'm generalising here - lots of fancy fabrics abound - mostly synthetics which look really interesting if you like to use them - depends what stuff u do really?
            Happy shopping - and I'm serious if u find somewhere here thats good value - I would appreciate you dropping me "the nod" as we say!!

          8. jatman | | #46

            Hi JanF!  Actually, I don't live in the US.  I just thought it might be cheaper than where I do live.  But, since I went to London over the holidays I found that a few places were closed the entire week between Christmas and New Years (the very week that I was there).  I also found that there was such an after Christmas shopping frenzy that I didn't care to get anywhere close to Oxford Street.  I was mainly just curious as to what sort of quality was out there.  Maybe next time.  Know any good places in Portugal?  That's my next trip!


          9. JanF | | #47

            No - a novice to Portugal - but as it happens - in the process of buying a motorhome to travel around Portugal in the coming year, with an idea to purchase a small place for retirement(when I can get the husband away from his business!!that is)
            So if you find any good places please pass on the info?
            Thanks Jan

          10. jatman | | #48

            Will do!


          11. stitchintime | | #49

            £25  is  $48 US.  I suppose if you came to the States you'd think fabric shopping was a real bargain!  We were in England a few weeks ago and all I bought was Cadbury's, on sale and good English tea.

          12. Teaf5 | | #50

            You're right; we don't have to pay that much in the States as a rule. However, fabric stores are becoming scarce, and the few that are still around are pretty much one of two large chains that always have about the same fabrics in them. Still, I rarely pay more than $5 per yard(short meter) for anything because there's always something interesting left on the clearance racks. Friends returning from Asia often bring me luscious fabrics they got for a song, though....

      2. Ralphetta | | #9

        The person who said stockpiling was not a very good idea makes a really good point.  They are right that it can become a bad habit.

        I am guilty and it's a bad habit, but I love having the fabric on hand when I get an urge to create.  It seems that if I do it the other way and try to find fabric for a preconceived idea...I either can't find it or can't afford it when I do find it and end up being very frustrated.

        I would suggest you look at some of the patterns you have used and been happy with.  Then note how much fabric they required, (I think they always state more than necessary.)  Since we probably aren't the same size, my figures wouldn't be of much help to you.  When in doubt, just glance at a pattern book.  You'll notice that in most cases they require about the same amount for basic shapes.  Then, add a little more if you're buying plaids or something that has to be matched, or if it's sheer and you "see" it gathered and swirly. 

        The other person is right that it isn't a very efficient method.  However, I have convinced myself that taking advantage of surprise bargains offsets the fact that I frequently buy a little too much yardage, (to be safe.) 

        Here is the biggest mistake that I finally realized I was making.  I finally realized that I would often decide I didn't want to "waste" a really special piece for whatever I was making and go buy something of a lesser quality. Then, it hit me that  I was thinking NOT in terms of how much I paid for the fabric...but in terms of how much it would cost to replace it. 

        Things quit lingering so long in my sewing room once I started thinking in those terms.  Make sure you sew...instead of just accumulate.


    3. adelinarose | | #43

      Too Funny Ralphetta. Too true. I am convinced I will be the winner of the stacks of fabric, though. There has to be an addiction term for the like of those who purchase fabric on spontaniety, imagining that someday we are going to finish the ever building stores in our homes.


  2. From my Stash.... | | #10

    well, count me in with all the others who can't resist a beautiful fabric or a really good price.

    Like some of the other respondents, I have a list of yardages (on a 3" x 5" card that stays in my purse at all times) showing for the two most popular widths what I would need for (a) a straight skirt, (b) a short sleeve blouse, (c) a long sleeve shirt, (d) pants, and (e) a jacket.

    I can't suggest what lengths would work for you since it depends on your size and what you normally purchase for your favourite patterns. I have found that in good fabric stores (not the local chains), knowledgeable sales people can help you if you can't think of the amounts - you can discuss what you think you might make from the material i.e. this fabric would be a good jacket, and then recommend the amount to purchase. Just so you know, they aren't doing it for commissions since I have had several recommend a little less than a pattern company would because they know which pattern lines have generous yardages.

    A knowledgeable sales person will also help you convert when you are faced with unusual widths - for example, I have a standard yardage for a jacket (2 yards) which needed to be converted because the chinese brocade that I was looking at was only 28" wide.

    Hope you have a lot of fun shopping and a great trip,


  3. HeartFire2 | | #11

    Can we start a 12 step program here?????

    Please, Hurry up, My best friend is taking me to NYC (my Birthplace, but I no longer live there) for my 50th birthday (in a month) to go fabric shopping!! 'have credit card, will buy fabric??' helllllpppppp.....I'm melting.....

    LOL!!! I've been told it helps insulate the house in the winter! all those shelfs full of fabric.

    1. Ralphetta | | #12

      I loved your note! 

      My name is.......and I am a fabriholic.

      I think it is hereditary, and now I am  the owner of all the fabric my mother left behind.

      1. LSC | | #51

        I understand what you mean when you say...Hello, my name Linda and I am a fabriholic. You see I come by that statement through my family,my mother is a fabriholic as well as my sisters and sister-in-law. My 19 year old daughter is becoming a fabriholic too. I agree it must be in our DNA, at least in our family.
        My daughter and I are living historians doing early Victorian (Civil War years 1860-1865) and mid 20th century (WWII). When we end up looking at fabric it often ends up being 8-10 yards of fabric for a period gown. Also it has to be quality natural fabrics of cotton, linen, wool and silk. This gets pretty pricey so when we find quality goods at a great price you better bet we end up taking it home and adding it to the stash. My stash seems to be growing faster than I can dig into it and complete the projects in my mind's eye.If I should die before I deplete my fabric stash you'll have to fight my daughter because she will inherit it and add it to her stash. Here is our theme song based on the children's tune " It Is The Song That Never Ends" It is the stash that never ends
        and it goes on and on my friend,
        my Momma started adding to it every chance she got,
        and now it keeps on growing 'cause I don't know how to stop,
        it in the stash that never ends
        and it goes on and on my friend... etc. etc..Does anyone else know this song? Come on gals sing along with me 1,2,3....It is the stash etc......Linda Sue

        1. fabricholic | | #52

          My name is Marcy and I have a pattern problem. I can't stop buying them. It's actually worse than my fabric problem. Anyone else out there a fabricholic and a patternholic?

          1. Ralphetta | | #53

            OHhhh,  yeah, although I have much better self-control about it in recent years.  With adults, you can possibly use them sometime in the future.  With children, it isn't long until they've outgrown them.

          2. LSC | | #54

            Yes Marcy, count me as a pattern-a-holic as well as a fabriholic. Maybe we do need a 12 step program.Linda Sue

          3. fabricholic | | #55

            Hi LSC,You know I find it comforting having all those patterns. Kind of like having all those patterns sewn up and hanging in my closet. In the back of my mind I think, if I need it, I have it. All I have to do is sew it. LOLMarcy

          4. Teaf5 | | #56

            Oh, yes! But I can't tell you how many times my pattern stash bailed out me or my neighbors whose children/relatives/friends told us at the last minute that they needed a costume/a prom dress/a man's tuxedo vest/a baby gift/a pioneer shirt!

          5. fabricholic | | #57

            Well, don't feel bad, then. It really has helped you out. I just can't stop looking at the designs. I don't think it has ever bailed anyone out before. It doesn't help that I go to Hancock's on my lunch hour to kill time and they have 99 cent pattern sales and Vogue's for 75% off. I plan more than I sew. That is my problem. I do enjoy it, though.Marcy

          6. Teaf5 | | #62

            Compared to almost any other addiction, fabric and patterns are pretty victimless vices.  For the last few years, I've been sewing for other people more than for myself, and somehow it seems to justify all the planning and balance the stash.

          7. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #63

            Hi everyone I know it has been awhile since I have been around...Wow how time has flown. Anyway I wanted to jump in and say Yes I too am a Fabriholic/Patternolic as well as I get my kicks on Trim.....I know that is weird but I love trims and I can stand for hours just looking and seeing what I could make with the trims..Is that sick or what!! So there you go my confession. my dark dark secret with trims.Anyway it is great to be back on the board I will really try to see what is what with everyone. Life is getting me and I want my time for sewing. Have a great Week everyone and thanks for all the smiles with this thread I love the conversation and the fabric confessionsConnie

          8. fabricholic | | #65

            Hi Connie,Come back, come back to the sewing world. Don't let the world eat up all your sewing time. LOL Where do you shop for your trims. I love trims, also.Marcy

          9. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #71

            Hey Marcy,Where do I shop for my trims..........well that is the question!Just everywhere. When I go to Expos and shows I am always pawing over the booths with trims. I sometimes go on line though rarely I love to see and touch in person. Then of course I go to the usual fabric stores like the chains and such.But I get the most thrill when I find those booths at the Expos with all the unusual and different trims I haven't seen before. I go absolutely bonkers. I really love it if they have great prices too!! Do you have great places for trims?Connie

          10. fabricholic | | #72

            No, I don't. I only know of M J Trims online. I have only seen one Expo that came close to wear I live. Which ones do you go to?Marcy

          11. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #73

            We have two really close at the Puyallup Fair Grounds her in WA StateThe Rusty Barn with is in usually November sometime and then our Big Sewing Expo which is coming up in March 1-4 I thinkPlus we also get alot of different shows down there at the Fair like Doll shows (which I haven't been to but that might be a great resource for trims too now that I am thinkin of it)I know there is a Quilting thing too somewhere here in the state as well but I am not much into quilting so I don't pay attention. There was a thread a while back about this Expo coming up and someone was wondering about it I posted that I lived right near ( Like I can walk if I want) But I didn't hear anymore. I am one of the few fortunate ones to be so close!! I will have to look at MJ Trims more closly ThanksConnieYou just need to come to the expo and we can shop for Trims together haha ha Connie

          12. MarshaK | | #74

            Hello, my name is Marsha and I am a fabriholic, patternholic, button-holic, yarnaholic, trimaholic etc.

            I usually buy at least one piece of fabric whenever we go into the city, (about 100 miles away,) often with no plan as to what it will be used for. I have a list of patterns that interest me, so when each brand comes up on sale I will purchase them. I also have an enormous stash of old patterns that I've picked up at auction sales, sometimes there are thirty + patterns in a bag or box for a buck or two. Some of the old patterns have design styles that are interesting, and the instruction sheets show how to sew them. Anytime I see funky yarns, ribbons and trims that would look good couched or woven into a new piece of fabric I just have to add to my stash. Help!

          13. fabricholic | | #77

            Hello MarshaK,I'm sorry, but there is no hope for you. You will just have to learn to live with it, like the rest of us. I don't blame you for buying fabric every time you go into town, especially if it is 100 miles away. I walked into Hancock Fabrics yesterday, and one of the ladies that works there, looked at me and said, "You have been on vacation, haven't you?". I told her no, that I had just been waiting on the sale. That's pretty bad when they think you have been on vacation, because you don't go in for a week. I love my hobbies, though.Marcy

          14. MarshaK | | #80

            No hope, huh? Oh well, since I don't smoke, gamble, or drink in excess I can support my sewing vices! Had to laugh when you mentioned the gal at Hancock's asking if you had been away. We drive down to Great Falls, Montana two or three times a year, (nine hour drive from here) and spend several days shopping for all the goodies I can't find up here. There was one clerk at Hancock's who always remembered me and that I was Canadian. Soon everyone in the store would be chatting and asking about the price differences in shopping in the US versus Canada. I've read that quite a few ladies complain about the quality of Hancock's and Joanns fabrics, I've found that if you look around you can find some good stuff. I just wish they would throw out all the home dec accessories like wrought iron candles sticks they all seem to be stocking. MarshaK.

          15. Josefly | | #82

            I agree about the wrought iron candlesticks at Hancock's. The space set aside for all that stuff is just something I have to navigate my way through on the way to the fabrics. I found a gorgeous light, fine red merino wool at my local Hancocks, 60 " wide, $17 a yard but so pretty and with such a wonderful hand I didn't hesitate to buy it for my daughter as a Christmas gift. But they had it in no other color at all - it was just one of those rare finds you can take advantage of if you're not looking for something particular. Wish they had more.

          16. MarshaK | | #85

            I have noticed that our Canadian Fabricland is now following the home dec accessories trend, up til now they just carried fabrics, and sewing notions like thread, zips, buttons etc. Fanny's Fabrics closed their stores in Edmonton, they used to have at least a quarter of the floor space given over to 'crates and vases'. At least if they had been the kind you could use to cover with fabric to co-ordinate with furniture you already had, it may have made sense as to why this stuff was in the store. Perhaps they think if a non-sewer comes in they would buy some of these items. In my opinion people who sew go into these stores to buy fabric, not furnishings. Right?


          17. JanF | | #91

            Gosh - hope u don't mind - ive been browsing other posts - you mention buying merino wool at $17 for 60 wide. I cant believe it! You lucky so and so!
            Do you think this store mails to outside the USA - cos if it does I would love to know about it!
            I dread to think how much that would have cost over here. Fine Merino would be anything from £40 upwards ( which i think equates to about $60??) sorry maths not my strong point- really I'm probably being conservative at that price too!
            I'm not even sure if i could source that sort of fabric locally either - especially as I went yesterday to our local supplier, only to find that they are having a move around - and seem to be stocking loads more furnishing fabric at the expense of the dressmaking stuff. That or all the stuff for making your own cards/stamping etc.
            I felt quite depressed after my visit - mind u could have been my heavy cold - which is why today i'm at home recuperating! Should really be at school!

          18. Josefly | | #95

            Yes, it was lucky wasn't it? It was a Hancock's Fabrics store, and they have a web site, but judging by another posting in this same thread, they don't ship to Canada, so I doubt they ship to UK. They just had this one bolt of fabulous wool.I'm grateful for my local Hancock's. They do occasionally have a find like this, so I shouldn't complain, I suppose, about all the space they devote to knick-knacks and such. I just wish for more interesting fabrics, like some of the new things - Modal, Onionskin, Buttermilk, some of the poly-rayon-spandex blends, more silk, some more variety in slinky-knits, and some other fabrics I only see on-line. I'm still stubborn about wanting to put my hands on the fabric before I buy, so I haven't gotten into buying on-line. Also, I want to support the fabric store near me, so I don't lose it like we've lost so many of the independent fabric stores.Hope your cold is better.

            Edited 1/30/2007 9:09 pm ET by Josefly

          19. JanF | | #97

            I sympathise - I wouldn't/couldn't feel comfortable buying fabric on line - though it may come to this after my last visit to the local store. Like you I need to feel a fabric and as its usually colour that attracts me first - I'm never sure how accurately they are portrayed on screen!
            There are still some things better the old way!
            yes - cold better today thank you- been to work - but woolly thinking - and my "name forgetting" was just hopeless - worse than ever - but at least I could blame my cold!
            B in touch Jan

          20. fabricholic | | #84

            Yes, what is it with all the home dec. items? I don't see much that catches my eye and when I do, the price is way more than I want to spend. I actually, find a lot at Hancock's. That isn't to say that I don't enjoy looking at Fashion Fabric Club or Manhattan Fabrics. Hey, Connie lives in Washington and she said they have a Sewing Expo. I would love to see it. I have a pen pal that lives in Billings Montana. I haven't written to her in ages, though. Hope you find lots of treasures on your next fabric shopping.Marcy

          21. MarshaK | | #75

            You are extremely fortunate to be so close to the Sewing Expo. I keep thinking and wishing----- "Some day". Here in Alberta we just have the Creative Stiches and Crafts Alive shows, one in Edmonton in the spring and one in Calgary in the fall. They seem to have been taken over by quilt shops selling their little bundles of fat quarters. It's been years since any of the big names in the sewing industry have come out and it seems there is less to see each year, but as it's the only game in town....


          22. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #78

            I am so with you on the quilting. I know I see these wonderful creations but wow!! I attend a Sew Fun Club and of course I am like maybe the youngest one there most times. And of course I see these incredible Quilts amazing talent. I make my blankets and I did have one posted I believe in the photo section...well I joked about it because the ladies at my sew fun say you quilt..I have to really laugh. Ya right!! I love to sew and create but quilting is really not anything I am interested in. Of course with some of my projects I can say I pieced fabric together so in a way I think we all quilt bits here and there. But I am with you all the shows on TV are about Quilting. You can only have so many and then you run out of beds and people and space..But then again you can say that with most anything. I do however sometimes watch or read they do have some techniques that we can use as sewers. I do wish we had a lot more specialty trim shops around I guess I am one of the more fortunate ones I have access to JoAnns, Hanncocks, Pacific Fabrics. And the oooodles of Quilt shops all over the place if I am in the market for great Cotton. Then that is only local I know up in Seattle area we have more I just haven't ventured that far or sought them out yetOk there you go my book for yaOn to get my 5 year old off to KindergartenConnie

          23. MarshaK | | #81

            The closest I come to quilting is crazy quilting garments. Well, I did do a block a couple of years ago that was sewn up into a memorial quilt by a group of us from all over the world who were all penpals of a gal in South Africa whose son had been killed. The crazy quilting is one reason I collect all the embellishments, or so I tell myself.

            As I mentioned previously we go down to Great Falls, Montana to do some shopping, so I am familiar with Joanns, am on their mailing list, and Hancocks, Ben Franklin and of course there's a quilt shop or two. I should start a search of fabric shops in Spokane, Wa. as we will probably be making a visit to my mother this summer.


          24. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #83

            I am on the other Side of the mountains.....actually I was born in Spokane. I know it has grown up over the years. Spokane is like a 5 hour drive from wear I am. sounds like a plan I am sure there is a bit more then just JoAnnsThat Quilt that you were a apart of sounds just wonderful.. I made a Blanket (others may say it is a quilt) I actually called it a Healing Blanket for a wonderful dear lady whom both my girls have had the privilege to have as their teacher in Preschool. This past 2006 summer my youngest that was her last year there at the school Her Teacher's , Co Teacher/Assistant of many many years they were like married if you will, they just ran that classroom without a hitch that is how close they were. Well Mrs G had passed away due to a long fight with Cancer. What a wonderful lady she was. So I gathered up all those wonderful Preschool T-shirts that the kids wore....I had 4 since I had 2 kids both 2 years in that school. Then I searched other parents for them.....then I also was able to get Mrs G's Apron from the school to put it in as well!! I just blocked it out and then on one piece of her apron I had someone embroider some words for me like "For all of us who have had the privilege of you caring for our kids so many years and then the dates of when she was teaching. Your smiles and laughter will be greatly missed We love you Ricka Gillispie" Then on the back I bought 2 different types of Cotton Butterfly fabric and striped it then of course just put it together with batting and there you go...I serged the blocks together. Then I gave it to the wonderful Teacher whom I love as a Healing blanket for her...I told her she and her husband could go on Picnics with it or she could have the other classes of hers picnic with her too!!So you did a wonderful thing for your PenPal what a wonderful Healing Quilt you gave her!! Connie

          25. MarshaK | | #86

            Your healing quilt sounds wonderful, I'm sure your time and thoughtfulness was well appreciated. An article with photo of the quilt I contributed to was supposed to be sent in to Quilters Newsletter magazine and The New Zealand Quilter, but I haven't heard from anyone if it had. I no longer subscribe to QNM, and just occassionally glance at NZQ in the bookstore.

            When we travel to Spokane I usually do all my major shopping in Montana, as yet there is no state sales tax there, and there is always something I can spend the 6% or whatever it would be on. I do like the Joanns sales when they have all threads 50% off. Sulky rayon thread is quite pricy up here. Yes, I know I missed one of those sales a week or so ago.


          26. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #87

            That is wonderful having your quilt published let me know if you do find out anything!! I would love to take a peak!! Did you happen to have a picture of it you could post? I of course like alot of my items forget to take the pics before I give them away!! I meant to take a pic of my blanket but again didn't I think I will just so I could keep inspired by my creation call her up and ask her if I could take a few pics of it I am sure she wouldn't mind.On to JoAnns yes I was in there again the other day and what do you know walked out with somemore fabric!! One does have purpose one well time will tell that purpose ha ha. I did however take advantage of some of the 50% off of thread. For me and my daughter. Like I need more but ya know. It is nice to have colors on hand for anything that might just pop up. I went to Hancocks as well yesterday after my daughters Sewing club (they made a fleece hat too cute) And they had flannel on sale.......so well after four different cuts of flannel later.....but this time all that does have a purpose as well!! So it really wasn't an impulse buy if you don't count that if I didn't go in there I would have probably waited for the flannel.......Like the rest on this thread I am sick and addicted and well My husband has hunting and I have sewing so I think we are even in that matter!! But really that doesn't matter to me this is my passion whether he had one or not. But I believe everyone should have a passion and with us sewers it is a great one and more should see what it it all about. I find going into fabric stores just peaceful and joyful to be around wonderful colors textures and soon they (fabric) will be out and breathing life in something that we did!!!Just some thoughts!!Smiles

          27. MarshaK | | #88

            Hi Connie,

            I was sent a photo of the finished quilt via e-mail, but that was on my old computer when I wasn't all that computer-savvy, I printed the photo out but it's not all that clear. As for posting it or any other that proccess is a complete mystery to me.

            I receive Joanns sales flyers by mail, but read that they send e-mail newsletters that have coupons that can be printed out. I filled out the online forms, received a welcome to The Cutting Edge Newsletter e-mail and that's it. Do you get this newsletter from them? It would be nice to have extra coupons, especially since there are times when we are going down south and my sales flyer doesn't arrive until a day or two after we leave home. MarshaK.

          28. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #89

            Hi MarshaKAs for the online flyers and coupons I just printed and used one todayIt was a Valentine's one..40% off too but what I noticed about those coupons they have a shorter expire date on them.The one on my flyer was good till Feb 14th and the one I printed out was good till Feb 3rd. Another note was the one I printed out on line was good for in store or online.But that is the first I took advantage of it. I used it for interfacing and such since it wasn't on sale......But I just started getting the emails online I too just registered with them. So I really don't know all the ins....I am wondering if I can print out several and then use them? I was thinking about that today!!I know though thru one of the staff there at JoAnns that bringing in my flyer to scan my address over and over and over again like each time I am there gets me more frequent flyers......So I take that with me ever time or just rip that part out.So I am hoping I am helping you with my rambling. Sorry if I didn't answer your question. I am embarking on my next project..kinda scared but here I go I am making me a Bag. A purse bag type. So we will see. That is what I needed more interfacing for the cotton type (never used it before so this will be new too) Recommended for purses and bags and such for the wear and tear of it.Connie

          29. victoria0001 | | #90

            Heaven help me.  I've just finished my home dec. project.  Used up all the beautiful fabric I had and my project looks smashing but I have this incredible urge to go out and purchase some more fabric for whatever project might just come along in the future.  There must be a 12 step program somewhere for fabriholics!!!  Now I will have to look at my stash and really focus on making something with another beautiful piece of fabric...........still can't hear the Liberty cotton calling me yet.  Perhaps a tote bag or five would be worthwhile.  I could use up some scraps and trims and store the rest!!!

          30. fabricholic | | #106

            Oh, please post pictures of your finished projects. Lucky you. If I had used up all of my stash, I would definitely, be buying more.Marcy

          31. victoria0001 | | #108

            So you found out what I was doing today!!!  While DH was watching football I just had to go out and top up that stash.  Actually I'm proud of myself for using so many of my fabrics.  I took a few years choosing the right textures and colours and have satisfied myself that all looks good and the choices were excellent.  They all fitted into my home dec. plans and the clothing fabrics are all ones I love and shall soon start to make something for myself for a change.  The problem is that I don't need anything at the moment.  Got lots of notions, tapes and all that kind of basic stuff at 50% off today.  Such simple pleasures we fabriholics indulge in.  Another one is to hit grocery stores in foreign countries for spices and different goodies.  That is an equal delight!!!

          32. fabricholic | | #110

            Don't you just love it when you get your notions at 50% off. I am happy for you that you have your house decor just like you want it. About these spices, are they really that much different than what you can find in the grocery stores?Marcy

          33. MarshaK | | #92

            Hi Connie,

            I've gotten an e-mail from Joanns with an online coupon, doesn't do much good to me as neither Joanns or Hancocks does mail-order to Canada. Hancocks does not even send their flyers here, but I can print some of the coupons from the online flyer when they have one on their web-site. And they are quite generous with the store flyer when I go in. I guess you'll have to try printing out more than one of the Joanns coupons and take them in and see what happens. Depends on who is in charge of the store, I've been to four Joanns stores in Montana and Washington, and the attitudes are all different, knowledge of fabrics too. In one store when I asked for Bemberg lining I was met with a blank look, this from the manager, when I told her it was a rayon lining. Finally found some myself, she was very surprised that they even had any in stock. Another was extremely surprised that I was going to make a jacket from some upholstery fabric. Said she didn't know you could do that. Wouldn't she be bowled over if she ever saw Linda MacPhee's jacket made from shopping bags!

            When you said you get Joanns flyers more frequently the more times you get your address label scanned do you mean they would send out two or three at a time for the same sale period?


          34. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #93

            I will clarify,No I don't get like 2 or 3...don't I wish. But I do get them very regular in the past I noticed when I didn't get my address scanned I would maybe get one a quarter...I think by scanning them then they send out all the major sale flyers then I do get a smaller ones. But I could be wrong this is just what I have been told by the sales people. I do know that when they scan your coupons that tells them how frequent you come in too. Now you got me curious I will have to document when I receive them and how often to see. Maybe it is just marketing ploy who knows. All I know is that every time they ask me if I want to scan my address label and it makes a difference!!Now that you got me thinking oh yeah they also said that sometimes you will get an extra coupon here or there by doing so. So who knows.Sorry I am no help with this infoI am really sorry to hear that JoAnn's and Hancocks are not tapping the Canadian market!!! Their loss. even with mail order on line!! Again that is such a loss for them!! Connie

          35. Gloriasews | | #99

            You're absolutely right!  I live in Edmonton & the last good Creative Threads (they changed their name) expo here was in 1997!  I took classes the whole day I was there from the big names & enjoyed every minute.  I also spent $400 on fabric, books, trims, gadgets, etc. - was an expensive day, but I loved it!  You're right about the quilt shops - & the fat quarter bundles are expensive.  I usually buy my fabrics at Fabricland during the sales.  I haven't heard of any sewing clubs here, though. 

            And to you all, yes, I, too, have a huge stash kept in rubbermaid tubs (labelled) in my closet & in the spare room closet, & in drawers, shelves, niches, etc.  I have the same problem with books.  The trims are hidden in decorative tins, buttons, etc. in baskets . . .  But, they're there when I need them.  It's all so tactile & eye candy, eh?  I, too, have fabric that I've had for awhile & hesitate to cut, but haven't felt life-threatening about it yet, just chicken.  Maybe there's still hope for me...

          36. MarshaK | | #100

            Great to hear from another Albertan! Especially one who has an idea of what I'm going on about. I never did take any of the classes that were offered, I'd have liked to do the Kenneth King one when he was in Edmonton that one time, I did see him though. Not a very tall guy, that one. For several years I was never sure I'd have a ride into the city to attend the show, so didn't plan on the classes. I just like to pop into the 'free lectures' if there's enough time, as I can never stay the whole day, my husband usually drops me off at 9 and comes back at1:30 or so. Fortunately this year he has the weekend off when the show's in the city so I will be attending on Friday. Do you plan to go?

            I wish The Sewing Workshop, I think that was the name, would come back with their patterns and garments, I really like to check out how the 'professionals' sew. Threads is another booth that I miss, not just for their great red bags but they too brought garments that had been featured in the magazine. I had a nice chat with David Page Coffin there, I think that was Threads' last appearance in Edmonton.


          37. Gloriasews | | #104

            I haven't seen any advertising about this year's expo - when is it on?  Before they changed their name (& I think their sponsor or management company), I was notified months ahead with a list of classes, demos, etc. & could sign up for them & pay in advance - that's how I attended Kenneth King's class (was actually a slide show, but was very good - all about embellishments, of course). 

            As for the chambray shirt, you could colour-block it or embellish it if the faded strip shows too much.  Happy sewing!

          38. MarshaK | | #111

            This year's Creative Stitches and Crafts Alive Show will be on April 13th and 14th at Northlands Sportex, more info can be found at http://www.canwestshows.com . This company puts on several other shows, since they stopped having the longer classes and lectures they don't send out the brochures early as they used to. Guess they feel no one needs the info in advance, but we do want to see what is available so our day at the show can be planned, right? Nearer to the end of March they'll have the brochure online, at least they have had the ones for the past two years shows, but I still prefer to have one sent out. MarshaK.

          39. Gloriasews | | #116

            Thanks so much for the info & the website - will definitely check it out.  You're right - the info usually just shows up in the paper a few days ahead - I need to know further ahead in order to plan & put aside some $ - it always costs $$$ at these shows, eh?  At the 1997 show I mentioned earlier, I found tapestry fabrics (for vests or totes) at $50/metre (which I thought was too expensive!).  I did buy 1 metre - beautiful stuff that I just couldn't resist (for a vest for my son) - he gets compliments every time he wears it & I haven't seen it anywhere else since, so I have never regretted buying it (it also washes beautifully).  Hope there is more there this year.  Guess we'll see what there is, eh? 

          40. fabricholic | | #76

            Hi Connie,AL to WA. That's quite a distance. I would if I could. I can't get into quilting, either. I think they are gorgeous, but I can't devote that much time into it. We had one Sewing Expo in Pelham, AL one year, but that was the only one I have been to. That is where I got to try out the Husqvarna Viking 1+ embroidery machine. I ended up buying that very one. They gave me a good price because it was a demo. I won a steaming iron from the same place. It was a great day. Marcy

          41. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #79

            Wow I wish I could be as lucky!! You were meant to be at that Expo!! I purchased my Daughters upgraded sewing machine for her it was a Demo too. There is something to say about that!! They don't use them for much!!That is an uptapped resource alot of people don't think about!!Connie

          42. WandaJ | | #58

            Hello, my name is Wanda and I am a fabriholic, as well as, a patternholic.

            (Take on the intro at AA Meetings!)

          43. ctirish | | #60

            Hi, my name is jane and I am a fabriholic...I seem to acquire fabric and patterns in my sleep. I have lots of fabric and lots of patterns. I keep buying costume patterns so when my grandchildren want a costume they can have a choice. I have about 50 in all sizes.. The DGC are 6 mths, 15 mths, and 2.8 yrs. I have doubles of many children's patterns. My other downfall is Banksville Fabric in Stamford, CT - I have to drive by on my way to my daughters; the car just seems to get off the highway and into the parking lot. Their prices are great so I have a hard time not buying lots of fabric. I definitely need a 12 step program....

    2. jatman | | #13

      Thank you Everyone for the advice.  I was looking for a quick and lazy guideline but it looks like I need to get out my favorite patterns and do some sort of averaging of material used for jackets, blouses, etc.  Seems like a while back I had seen a rough guideline for this sort of thing but I can't recall where I saw it. 

      Thank you for the help!


      1. User avater
        blondie2sew | | #14

        Hey all wow I loved hearing all those who have fabric out there..Well I must say you all put my stash to shame (or what I thought was a huge stash!! ha ha ha)I would love to hear from you all on how you know what you have. That is my biggest problem I forget what I have.I know one of you stated you inventoried it all..I would love to know more on that too!!I had heard or even saw somewhere I think isn't there even a computer software program for inventorying fabric scan it in so you see it too? I know there is a thread one out there.I know all my questions.Thanks

        1. user-51823 | | #18

          meant to say i'm in the *process* of inventorying it, only the yardage i am pretty certain i won't need again. anything more than a yard. generally i buy 5 yds if i want a dress or outfit and 2 1/2 if i want a separate, size 6, 8 or 10. i buy more if the price is right :-(
          so there's LOTs in the attic when i don't follow through.

          Edited 12/22/2006 11:29 am ET by msm-s

          1. deldios | | #61

            What method have you developed for inventorying?  I want to sort fabric as to what I WILL use, what is outdated by advances is fabric manufacture (no, I don't have any '70s polyester), and what would be good to donate, so an inventory methodology would really help me.

        2. WandaJ | | #31

          As far as cataloguing what's in my stash, somehow I keep it in my mind. What I cannot keep there is what box a specific piece of fabric is in. Yes, I do have it in my mind what I purchased. I just picture my (mounds) fabric as it was before I last moved, and then I know what I have with me (the most expensive and loved fabrics), and what is in storage!

          1. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #32

            I keep some in my mind however if it is been awhile I sometimes just spend sometime and look through and that seams to suck up alot of my time....A computer program would be great to scan in fabric and have it listed with all the stats..then you can see it. What would be even better is if we could some how with that program transfer it to our palm pilots so when we go to the stores we can just look it up right then and there!! Wow maybe I should get on that in invent it if there isn't something like that out there for us!! hmmm Connie

          2. Teaf5 | | #34

            What a great idea!  You could probably use a database program from any common office software, plus a scanner or digital camera, to create a computerized catalog of your stash.  Once it's on a computer file, it could be added to a palm pilot. 

            Of course, in my case, I'd have to spend so much time setting up and entering all the data that I'd never get around to sewing--but maybe I can get one of my computer-savvy kids to do it for me?

          3. User avater
            blondie2sew | | #35

            Awesome! That was what I was thinkin. I don't want to have to spend my precious sewing time for this venture but I would surely love to reap the benefits from it!!I might have to ask my brother too he is a computer geek himself. I know he knows all the right people too..Happy New Year and Happy New Year of Sewing Projects as well!! Connie

          4. user-51823 | | #33

            i had it in my mind for nearly 30 years too. but by now i have SO much, and i have a child, and i HAVE to get rid of some of it. that's why i'm doing the cards with samples so i can share the info with others who i hope can use it.

      2. jatman | | #15

        OK, this is what I was looking for - I had printed it out when I came across it the first time and just now was able to find it.  For anyone who is looking for this same information, this article gives you a basic guideline for fabric yardages with only a few measurements taken:


        Thank you!



        1. myca99 | | #19

          JT,  You sure got a lot of emails in this thread to have to answer your own question! 

          Even if you don't know how you will use the fabric, you will probably have an idea whether you would make a top or a bottom out of it.  I generally buy 2 yards for a top, and 3 yards for a bottom whether it is a 54" or 60" bolt.  I generally cut a 14-16 size pattern. 

          One note, if you think you will cut it on the bias, I would add 1 yard for that. 

          Have fun in London,


          1. jatman | | #20

            When I started this topic I didn't think I was inviting a lecture on stockpiling fabric!  Silly me.  Thank you for your advice.  That's what I'm looking for.  You're absolutely right - when I see a fabric, I know what I'd like to do with it (blouse, jacket, dress) but not necessarily the exact style.  The fabric usually drives the inspiration for me.

            Thank you!  Happy Holidays!


          2. user-51823 | | #21

            no lectures, we are just sinners testifying, sister! heed my tale of woe!
            LOL- ditto have fun on your trip!

          3. jatman | | #22

            MSM-S - I'll try not to succumb to the evil!  Not too much, anyway!

            Thank you!  Happy Holidays!


            Edited 12/22/2006 12:02 pm ET by jatman

          4. georgiagg | | #27

            I see that we are all discussing the stash we have and what to do with it.  I have fabric that I bought and just had to have and cannot seem to take the scissors to cut it to make something.  A friend ask me if I ever had a piece that I just could not cut and my reply was "only one? I have several."  As for the amounts to buy she just buys the bolt and we are always giving her a time about it.

            Great shopping in London.  DH just returned and said the prices there for everything are so high.  Found this true this past summer too.

          5. starzoe | | #162

            I just got into trouble mentioning at the fabric store today that it could rain or snow now, I will have time to sew and not feel guilty leaving the yardwork/housework undone. I am on the west coast, lots of rain and hardly any snow but everyone wants the sunshine even if it is cooler (5C).How many of you have fabric on hand that is "too good to use?" I have some fab stuff in the stash that is lovely to look at, lovely to hold but too good to put into a garment - mostly because those pieces are far too dressy for my lifestyle. I have started using the lightweight ones for lining jackets or skirts or trim or camisoles.

          6. jatman | | #164

            There was a store here that only sold silks.  When it went out of business earlier this year I bought some beautiful fabrics.  I've yet to cut into them because, like you, I don't really need anything that nice.  Next year I'll very likely go back to work and before I do I think I'll sew up some blouses and maybe even a suit for when I do need to wear something other than my jeans!


          7. Ckbklady | | #165

            Hiya Starzoe,

            I have fabric that is "too good to use" by which I mean I'm afraid of cutting into it! To combat my reluctance, I often serge around the entire piece and use the fabric as a dressing table cloth until it no longer feels too fancy/scary to use. Or, if the fabric is too dressy for my lifestyle anymore, I make the fabric up into little evening bags or fringed scarves and give them away as gifts. I like your idea to use the fabrics as linings!

            I'm on the West Coast too (in the USA - I think you're in Canada because you used Celsius? or maybe you're on the West Coast of England?) and love that the rain and darkness eliminates the need for yardwork! :)

            :) Mary

          8. starzoe | | #166

            Yes, I am on southern Vancouver Island...lots of dark rainy days here in the winter, but it is warm compared to the rest of the northern portion of the continent!I am a knitter too and have trained myself not to buy on spec. but it is more difficult to do that with fabric. Right now I am refining a pattern for some lovely stuff with help from the Margolis book which is a much thumbed source.And I almost never get rid of remnants and scraps, not if they are large enough to do anything with and they have saved me a lot of trips to the fabric store and I even supply my sewing friends now and then with the perfect vest lining, trim or embellishment fabric.

            Edited 11/24/2007 7:17 pm ET by starzoe

          9. stitchagain | | #167

            I love this!

            Your tactic on "too good to use" fabrics.  I might actually use this. serge and table.  My "too good to use" fabrics include alot of remnant size pieces and it would make me happy to figure out how to use them.




          10. Ckbklady | | #168

            That's great! I've really conquered my fear of fancy fabrics this way, and my dressing table has had some pretty makeovers over the years with the various "can't cut cloth" pieces on it.

            :) Mary

          11. Teaf5 | | #169

            Ah, you've caught my weakness: gorgeous fabrics I can't bear to cut! Among them is a 15-yard length of pure silk from about 1901 and a 2 m length of Thai silk given to me by a student. I don't really want to make garments out of them, as size and fashion will limit their use, but I love running into them when I'm looking through my stash for something else!

    3. atragg | | #23

      Hi, I'm new to this place- but a bit of advice for you since you are going to NYC within a month...

      Bring cash too!  In many of the little fabric places you can bargain with cash.  That has worked well for me.  And if you think you will be buying a lot in one day you might consider bringing an empty rolling carry-on luggage piece.  I 've never done it, but I do remember one trip while running back to the train (to CT) with heavy fabrics and wishing I had!

      And one more thing- watch those small store keepers when they are measuring your fabric.  Make sure you get the right amount- and make sure it is not a second!

      Good luck!

      Edited 12/23/2006 12:08 pm ET by atragg

      1. HeartFire2 | | #24

        Thanks for the advice, I had thought I'd just bring a rather large back pack!

  4. victoria0001 | | #16

    If you click on 'Tips & Tricks' you will find fabric yardage guidelines which may help you choose the amount of fabric to purchase.  The best places to shop on holiday are fabric shops and grocery stores.  I did have to purge my stash and gave outdated fabrics to charity.  I still have some fabrics from Liberty in London and don't know what to do with them - since 1998 I think!!!  I think the minimum amount of fabric would be 1.5 meters if it is 60" fabric but personally I would increase that to 2 meters and hang the cost!! 

    1. jatman | | #17

      Thank you!  I just found that article (again!).   And thank you for the advice.  I would far rather have too much fabric for a project than not enough, especially since I will take anything leftover from one project and use it for embellishing and trimming another.



    2. ctirish | | #59

      I was just reading your posting on accumulating fabric and you said you have Liberty of London fabric that is not doing anything. May I ask you if anything is suitable for children?

      1. victoria0001 | | #64

        Ah ha - another lover of fine fabrics!!  The piece that I have is only 2 meters, a beautiful cotton, thinly striped with soft blue, beige, grey and black - the stripes are different widths.  It would probably be rather somber for children but great for a shirt or PJ's, summer skirt or some such garment.  I paid a fortune for it - have a great fear of putting scissors to it - need a shrink I think!!  I've only been sewing for over half a century and have purchased very expensive fabrics many times but this one doesn't seem to want to get close to scissors yet.  It is pre-washed and ready to go so now you all know why I need a shrink!  By the way, I am a lover of Threads magazine and still learn something new from every issue.

        1. fabricholic | | #66

          Hi Victoria0001,You sound like me, because I have so much fabric pre-washed and ready to go. I won't let myself start more than one extra project, until I finish the one I am working on. Ditto on the love of Threads magazine. Some of it is still way over my head, but I do believe I learn just from reading about new things and it does inspire me to try new techniques.Marcy

        2. Josefly | | #67

          I'm a sucker for beautiful cottons. Especially woven stripes, and I would love to get my hands on your fabric. But I, too, would get stuck at actually putting scissors to it. I have a great varied-width-vertically-striped cotton in my stash that sets me imagining every time I look at it, but can't bring myself to commit to what I want to make from it. The last project I just finished took me ages to complete, partly because I agonized over every stage of it - planning, cutting, stitching - so afraid I was going to ruin it and not achieve the vision I had for it. Isn't that silly? Part of my resolution for this year is to get over it! and sew.

        3. ctirish | | #68

          You are me, or I am you... I do the exact same thing when it comes to cutting out fabric that either: expensive, I found it on a trip, I just love it and can't find a worthy pattern, or some days I am just sure I will screw it up cutting or sewing or both. I even started having these little panic attacks when it came to cutting and sewing. I had to sit myself down and have a chat with myself to put sewing back into perspective. Had to remind myself I am making clothes or home dec or toys and this was not a life threatening problem if it didn't come out right or get finished. So, I am back to sewing and whenever I get discouraged I know it is time to make something for me that is not too difficult, when I am done I always feel better.
          Hang in there - some day you will cut it - and then we will see a beautiful somethings... Well, I have to get up at 5am and last night I went up at 3 am and got up at 5am. Made for a long day.

          1. victoria0001 | | #69

            I love this thread because you have all made me feel like I might be almost normal in a very strange way!!  What a group.  The phrase 'life threatening' with regard to cutting into fine fabrics took me over the top and I'm still laughing.  Today I am staying in and going to hit up on some of my stash starting with some home dec. stuff I've been wanting to do for a year.  I will now start to think about that Liberty cotton with great abandon.

          2. ctirish | | #70

            All things get finished in time, it might not be my lifetime but that's OK. I do know I come by my hoarding and procrastination genetically. When my mother died in 2001 I received a afghan she started when I was 6 or 7 and all her fabric she had not used yet. At least all of the yarn was with the afghan so I don't have to try and match colors from 1960. And no, I have not worked on it yet...who knows maybe I will leave it to my girls. I am enjoying my Christmas Tree until I finish the Advent Calendar I started in November. It is almost done, I just have to make cording to use on the little things you hang on the buttons on the calendar. I ordered black pearl crown rayon in black to make the cording. I am almost excited to get it finished. I did finish this wall hanging of something (I don't know what to call it) - it was either a technique of the month or a class (2-3 yrs ago) we made these squares with some fabric you sewed on as a pattern. The catch was you folded the fabric a specific way, if you make four of them and then sew them together, they show a circle in the middle of the square. Maybe tomorrow I can upload a picture of it.I think I had a point when I started this post but I have no idea what it is so I will just say sewing is good for you.jane

          3. zuwena | | #94

            Just to jump in to the fray--you are absolutely not alone. I had to stop buying to quell the obsession. Anyway, I've had two pieces of Liberty wool crepe for 20 years. I bring it out occasionally to make sure it is still all right--and it is. I had two pieces of Liberty wool that were prints. It took a while but I finally got up enough courage to use them. I made two skirts mainly because it involved the least amount of "cutting". I've enjoyed those skirts for years and given that they had simple lines they've always fit in with the newest fashionable jacket. So, think in terms of a blouse or other top that maximizes the fabric, limits the amount of cutting and maybe you can move forward.

          4. victoria0001 | | #96

            Zuwena you have at least given me hope!!!  I think I've had the Liberty fabric on hand for only 8 years and it's nice to know I'm not the only one hanging onto fabrics I love but don't know what it should be made into/or just to look at and love for the moment.  Actually, it is truly amazing how I put my stash to work most of the time and am very proud that my choices are ones which work for me!!  Happy sewing and stashing.

          5. Josefly | | #98

            Excuse me if I'm jumping in here. I finally made a skirt last summer after holding a cotton print for several years. Maybe as much as ten years! I washed the fabric again before cutting it out, made a very-flared, 7-gore, button-up skirt with elastic/drawstring waist, in-seam pockets, using a rtw skirt as a pattern. Loved the skirt, wore it once to contra-dance (an activity that makes me pretty sweaty), and washed it again. Guess what. It shredded in the washing machine. Aaargh! So, in future, I'll launder stored fabrics at least twice before I use them. I have some other fabrics I've kept as long, if not longer, but I'm very wary of putting much work into them, especially the cottons.

          6. zuwena | | #101

            Sorry to hear about your wasted efforts. I can imagine how disheartening that must of been. There is possibly a difference in the longevity of wools over cottons and, certainly, a difference in the quality among textile manufacturers. I just went to my closet and gave a tug and a pull on one of the Liberty wool skirts from the early 80's and it still seems to be holding up so I fully expect to get another season's wear out of it with the wool jacket I recently bought on sale. But everything is a learning opportunity and I will take to heart your experience. The next time I pull out something from my stash I will put it through the "care" experience/exposure to make sure it won't turn out to be a waste of time. Thank you. Z

          7. Gloriasews | | #103

            Thanks so much for your comments on your unfortunate experience with old fabric - I'll definitely check mine out, as I, too, have old fabrics on hand, although I usually wash them again prior to sewing them up - will definitely wash them twice before I cut.  What a waste of time & effort on your part though, making the garment & then having it fall apart - you poor baby!  I, too, would have been terribly disappointed (& really annoyed) after all that careful work!  Live & learn, eh?  Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.

          8. Josefly | | #105

            Thanks for your sympathy. I was sooo disappointed, yes because of the work I put into it, but also because it was one of those fabrics I had held onto so long because I couldn't find anything "good" enough to make with it. It hadn't faded or shown any signs of deterioration before or after the first washing - only after the second. Just shirt-weight cotton, but I loved it. At least I bought it on sale, didn't spend much on it at all. Hope this doesn't happen to others.

          9. ctirish | | #112

            Hi, I just read what happened to your beautiful skirt. How disappointing for you, I don't know what to say, I would be devastated. I read or saw an article on storing fabric - I think it was about storing clothing in general. You should not store fabric of any natural type in plastic. It should be stored in cardboard boxes. The chemicals in the plastic give off gases that damage the fabrics. They had a lot of reasons why but I can't remember them now. I will go do some research and get back to you. jane

          10. ctirish | | #113

            Hi. I Googled "store fabric" and came up with over 7 million hits. The majority of them are not for the storage of fabric. I did find this written by Susan Khalje. Here is the way Susan Khalje stores her fabric - she wrote this after cleaning out her stash and finding fabric she had not seen in years. * One friend has a large armoire which is filled with folded fabrics. The space is large and the armoire doors can be closed to keep dust and light away from the fabrics. She has to be careful to refold the fabrics from time to time -- creases can be hard to remove and fade lines can develop. * Inexpensive shelving also works well; fabrics are rarely very heavy. And it's essential to keep fabrics from direct sunlight -- they'll fade if they're exposed to the sun. Even heavy wools will fade, not just lightweight silks. * Another friend stores fabrics on hangers. It's a great method and the fabrics are easy to see and access. Don't use uncovered wire hangers; the dyes in the fabric can react with the metal and stain the fabric. Instead, ask your drycleaner if you can purchase some of the thick covered hangers used for draperies. * I like to store fabrics on long cardboard tubes -- fold lines are eliminated and the fabric is easy to see. It's essential to store heavy satins and taffetas this way, as lines and creases are very difficult to remove from them. Over time you'll build up quite a collection of these cardboard tubes. You can use small pieces of masking tape to join the fabric to the tube -- put one piece at each end and another in the middle, and roll the fabric on carefully, making sure that you're not creating any creases or small fold lines. The fabric usually has enough body to hold itself in place once wound; if not, you can again use small pieces of masking tape. I'm always reluctant to mar the fabric more than I have to. Instead, I like to do what many fine fabric stores do: After you've finished rolling the fabric onto the tube, wrap a piece of thin paper around the middle of the tube, over the fabric and tape the paper to itself. The fabric will still be visible and the paper will hold it in place. Don't use pins on the fabric for any length of time. They'll mark the fabric and, over time, may leave rust marks. If you don't have enough of these tubes yourself your local fabric store should be able to supply you with some.

          11. Josefly | | #114

            Nice research and summary. Thank you.

          12. ctirish | | #115

            You are welcome. I am glad we have this way of passing along info. Of course, you realize, all of my fabric is in the Rubbermaid plastic tubs in my basement of all places. I just couldn't stand it in my bedroom another day.
            And I have my mother and grandmother's wedding gowns hung in my closet - while I try to find heirloom quality boxes and paper at a price I can afford to box them up. we had my daughters wedding gowns treated after their weddings. Supposedly with this treatment they can take them out whenever they like and they should be fine. Assuming your home isn't a playground for toddlers. Take care, jane

          13. Gloriasews | | #117

            Yikes!  I have mine stored in 6 (so far) big Rubbermaid bins, stacked in a closet - have to admit they are unwieldy & heavy.  Previously, I did have them in cardboard file boxes (12 of them), & they were even more a nuisance to get to - so, thanks for the info - will have to rethink my storage.  Think shelves are actually the answer, except for the dust factor - will continue to ponder this.

          14. ctirish | | #119

            I keep trying to figure out a way to store it and be able to get to it and keep the dust down. I was diagnosed last year with asthma - a mild case - I often wonder if it is just the fabric, between the dust and the chemicals. I am hoping for shelves in a closet and then cardboard boxes with samples stapled to the end of the box. jane

          15. thehat | | #118

            I was thinking about what you said and I have learned that if you don`t have a cloth bag and you plan on keeping it for a time the best is to take a bed sheet and wrape it up in it  my grand mother used to take boxesand between the different fabric she would put newspaper or paper bags that is a long time a go.

          16. ctirish | | #120

            That brings up different ideas. Maybe on the shelves I can put sheets under the fabric and leave enough to wrap around the fabric when I am not looking at it and touching it. I rereallyo like to feel the fabric and check the drape or the softness. I cringe when I see all the ads for how I could shrink it all down to 5 inches and have room again in my room.

          17. Gloriasews | | #121

            5 inches??? Huh!!! What were they thinking, eh?  I don't think that any of us could aspire to that lofty dream! 

            About your sheet idea, it would be a nuisance covering & uncovering all the time - you would still have the dust on the sheet every time you moved it, unless you  look at your stash really, really often (that would keep the dust down, maybe).  We'll have to keep thinking on this, eh?

          18. victoria0001 | | #122

            Hope you don't mind me jumping in here about preserving fabric stashes - I've been an experienced stasher for way, way too long!!  I think any fabrics with sizing in it should be pre-washed and prepared as usual for sewing then stored.  I have shelving and rearrange my fabrics from time to time.  (Just got to touch them now and again!)  I don't think that plastic containers are a bad thing at all as they keep out dust and bugs but perhaps they could be lined with washed muslin (don't bother ironing it) or old sheeting or pillow cases just to protect the fabric from the plastic.  Samples of fabric could be attached to the front of the bin for reference together with the size of that particular piece.  Even fabric stored in cupboards with shelving are prone to greasy/dusty air and need the occasional wash and refolding to keep them from rotting.  Any wool fabrics I have are stored on hangers in a closet.  I guess the fabric faerie has been good to me because after so many years I have only found one piece of fabric with a tiny 'bug' hole in it and it was stored for over 20 years.

            I'm sure others have better ideas on storage and we would all look forward to hearing from you.  I have learned to choose fabrics which I know I will use rather than just to 'gather'  but I am unable to resist great fabrics and notions and gizmos, patterns or whatever would be fun to use creatively.  Love sewing and any new ideas anyone has to offer.  Heck - it's a way of life and it's fun!!

          19. Cherrypops | | #123

            I like you have learned to choose fabrics i will use however, on the odd occasion i do buy the 'i just can't resist this piece, this pattern, this trim' with the  "i'm sure i will use it later on" view.

            I have lined my plastic storage boxes with old cotton fabric. I have made my own 'dress bags' from fabric too.

            I have an a4 paper sheet in a plastic insert blue-tacked to the front of my drawers. These have my swatches with labels on them. When I run out of one type of fabric I just take off the swatch stick the new swatch on and re-label.

            I carry with me a credit card holder which keeps my swatches in. This helps me remember what fabrics i have when i need to buy a matching /contrasting fabric.

            Wonderful to read your fabric faerie has taken care of you..I hope mine does too.


          20. tmorris1 | | #124

            Okay, this might be a little bit anal, but this is how I store and catalog my fabrics...1) To store my fabrics I buy clear plastic garbage bags. First I pre-wash the fabric and color set it with white vinegar and epsom salts (where applicable). I then place the folded fabric in the clear plastic bag and suck out all of the air with a vaccum cleaner and seal it shut with an elastic band.2) I catalog my fabrics by taking a digital camera with me to the fabric store. I will take a photo of the fabric and the information tag, that way I have all of the information regarding what the fiber content is, how much I paid, etc. I print off these photos in duplicate and put one in with the fabric and the other in a regular photo album, then all I have to note is the amount of yardage and voila. easy to see what you have and it will never pick up smells, etc. Just a note: you should probably wrap delicate fabrics like silks and linens in acid free paper first to avoid discoloration.

          21. Rubydarling | | #125

            Wow great tips!  Thanks.  My fabric lives in the plastics bags I bought it in on the floor in our lounge room.  Space restrictions prevent me having a dedicated sewing room - yet. <smile>

          22. tmorris1 | | #126

            The vaccum and clear plastic bag works just like those "space bags" you see on TV so it actually takes up less space this way too.

          23. Ralphetta | | #127

            I don't know anyone who's used those and have always wondered if things had terrible wrinkles in them when you took them out of the bags.  Don't they get smashed/crushed?

          24. tmorris1 | | #128

            Actually, they come out beautifully, aside from a little ironing of course. They take up less space this way, I don't have to worry about bugs, dirt, discoloration, etc and the fabric is so much easier to handle because it does not unfold, or fall halfway off of a shelf etc. Another plus is that I do not have to spend time refolding all of my "potentials" for a sewing project, just stack them up and put them away.Happy sewing

          25. Ralphetta | | #129

            My daughter has a bunch of stuff taking up space in my closets and I've wondered about those bags, but was hesitant.  I'm glad for the info.

          26. tmorris1 | | #130

            You are most welcome, and if you use the clear garbage bags, you do not have to spend all that money on "space bags" to see if it works. Just watch out, if you puncture a bag it will need to be replaced. * My pet bunny likes to bite at the bags and ride on them as they swell back up again * Annoying, but cute lol

            Edited 4/16/2007 8:01 pm ET by tmorris1

          27. Teaf5 | | #131

            Plastic may be o.k. for organized sewers who use their stash relatively quickly, but they could cause disaster for those of us who hang onto fabric for years! Many of the cheaper plastics exude toxic gases that will stain fine fabrics, and heirloom fabrics don't do well in airless storage. About a year ago, a poster on this forum was lamenting the shadowy stains on an expensive satin she'd stored in a plastic storage bin, and many others shared losses they'd experienced from using plastic bags to store fabrics.

          28. tmorris1 | | #132

            Teal;You do have to wrap your delicate fabrics in acid free paper so that it is not touching the fabric. Also, you are removing all of the air from the bag, which keeps the plastic from off gassing into the bag. I haven't had a problem yet, and I have been doing this for years. Those plastic bins really just keep the fabric from getting dusty, environmental factors will still effect the fabric until it is placed in a completely sealed environment.

          29. cree9 | | #133

            I have had fabrics for years and have saved some that were smoke damaged in a house fire - which led me to using cheap plastic boxes as the fabrics in boxes were much less damaged than some of the others. I try to keep things together so that one box will have stuff for a specific project - this also means that I have wonderful discoveries every so often when I open a box that I haven't looked at in a while. Plastic bags doesn't seem to work as well for me - and I have a second hand file cabinet that I use to store fat quarters - sorted by colors (I try at least) and I can find almost anything I need fairly quickly. My basic test is does it have holes and will it wash without falling apart - if it meets those requirements I can use it regardless of where it was stored.

          30. tmorris1 | | #134

            cree9;The reason that I use plastic bags without air in them is to reduce off-gassing from the plastics which discolor fabrics. The big plastic bins are great, but if you are going to store fabrics for a long time, I suggest that you line your bins or wrap your fabric with acid free paper. This will reduce your discoloration.Happy Sewing

          31. SewistKitty | | #135

            I stored some of my fabrics in large, clear plastic storage boxes in my home in a dark bedroom for a year or two. Many of the fabrics were discolored in areas. I have read that other people do this frequently with success. Maybe this storage method works for very short term storage? I no longer store my fabrics this way.

          32. solosmocker | | #136

            Martha Stewart did a thing on this on her show one day. She showed two different totes that looked alike. One was poly blah blah blah and the other was a different poly blah blah blah. Wish I could remember the names. They were very long. Anyhoo, she explained why one was horrendous for your fabric and the other was perfectly fine. Perhaps there is something on her website about this. Wish I could help more. solo

          33. starzoe | | #137

            In what category was one "horrendous"? Was she talking about the ecology and one was using our resources and the other was made from recycled products?

          34. solosmocker | | #140

            One gave off fumes that could damage the fabric. She was talking about storing linens and tablecloths in these totes. solo

          35. Teaf5 | | #138

            PVC or polyvinyl chloride is the horrendous one for fabrics or just about anything, but knowing that doesn't always help--the problem is that few plastics are ever labelled with the source plastic.  Several websites detail how to detect PVC and other hazardous plastics, but even my engineer sister has a hard time distinguishing them!

            Consequently, I never use any kind of plastic to store fabrics or clothing; I use acid-free cardboard boxes with a length of cedar in each.  There's a long, very good discussion of fabric storage in the archives of this forum about storage of fabrics in different climate conditions--it's very informative!

          36. MarshaK | | #102

            I just took out a piece of chambray from the stash to sew a shirt for my husband, it had been washed several times then folded and put aside. The color has changed on the folds, but just on one side so I'm still using it. It's for a work shirt so I don't think it will be that big a deal if the color is a bit off. If this had been a 'better' fabric I guess this is where we get creative and try to cover up the color differences, or make them more pronounceD. I just hope he gets to wear it a few times before it falls apart as your skirt did. How unfortunate. But, looking at some of the skirts and things being sold today, your skirt could be trendy!


  5. Teaf5 | | #28

    Lots of good suggestions on this topic!  I, too, always have a note card in my wallet with my favorite patterns' yardages on it.   If I know I'll be going to a fabric store, I also take my larger folder with the empty pattern packages and more specific information in it, including a list of my current interests, such as "blue wool for a jacket"or "embroidered sheer for dining room table" along with the yardages and notions needed for each.  I still buy beautiful pieces on impulse, but I'm more likely to use the fabric if I have something in mind as I buy it.

    By the way, visiting fabric stores is a great way to meet locals and find out a lot about the communities you are visiting.  Used bookstores are equally appealing to me, so now I have to deal with two stashes: fabrics and books!  To make my luggage lighter, I try to find a local post office to mail my vacation stash back home, and then I have yet another place to meet locals.


    1. jatman | | #38

      Thank you for the advice.  I think I will be carrying a card with yardage info from this point forward.  As for meeting people, you're right - what a great place to do so!


  6. amelita | | #29

    I'm like you. I purchase a lot of fabric and add it to the stash in my sewing room. As an avid sewer, I like to be surrounded by fabrics of all kind. On silks and cottons I'll usually purchase 3 yards which is enough for me to sew up a blouse or camisole on a weekend. All other fabrics I'll usually purchase 5 yards. Trust me, the fabric never goes to waste. I purchase 5 yards so I'll have enough to make a pant suit, or skirt and jacket. As a real estate agent, I don't have time to run to the fabric store every week, so for me to stockpile is perfect for me. Also I travel often to Portugal, and I alwayus bring back one suitcase full of silks and beautiful linens. I always purchase 5 yards of each, so I know I'll have plenty to construct an outfit. I use any leftover fabric to make clothes for my granddaughters barbies.

    1. jatman | | #39

      Ohhhh!  Portugal sounds nice.  Are there a lot of fabric places there?  What cities do you visit?  Portugal is on my list of places to visit in the next year or so, so I would be interested in where you go.  I'm still researching where to visit there.  I would far rather have too much than too little since I can use the excess for trimming, etc.


  7. WandaJ | | #30

    I normally do not have an exact garment in mind when I purchase the fabric. I too am one that purchases based on quality and price. For fabric that I have in mind as a suit I get 6 yards. For a jacket only, I get 3 yards. And, for anything else that I don't have a clue about I still purchase 6 yards. When all the remaining fabric is 3yds and a little over, I buy the little over. Sometimes this amounts to 4 yards. But, buying fabric with a specific design in mind is not my usual. I'm an admitted and confessed fabriholic. I have no shame for it, as my non-sewing friends and relatives will never understand how I feel about fabric, and it's ultimate usage.  Too, I don't believe that she who has the most fabric when they die will win, as when I die I will be unable to use the fabric, so what good to me will it be then? I just enjoy it now, particularly, the dreaming about having time to build a garment with it.

    1. jatman | | #40

      Thank you for the advice on yardages.  I always buy the over, too!  As a matter of fact, there is a store here who discounts the fabric if you do that, so I tend to look for rolls that are small, too.


  8. socalsewer | | #36

    Hi, I'm new to this board. But this stash question caught my attention. A side note to those stashes is that fabric is preserved in formaldehyde, as time passes the poison becomes a gas and if you have enough fabric, it can become a real problem to your health, especially if the stash is stored in a bedroom where you sleep.

    I heard this information at a college sewing course.

    My own motto is two yards if I can afford it, three if I have a few extra bucks.

    My other motto is fabric has to age before using, the stash is really fabric doing it's job (aging) and I do mine. I wait patiently until each piece is 'ready.


    1. jatman | | #41

      I never would have thought that storing the fabric would be a problem.  Thank you for sharing that - mine is currently in my bedroom but I may have to remedy that! 

      P.S.  Some of mine is aging quite well, too!  It's like fine wine, isn't it?


  9. GreenApple | | #37

    I generally buy 3 yards if I'm pretty sure that I'll want to use the fabric for a shirt or not-too-full skirt. If I don't know what I'll do with it, I'm more likely to go with 5 yards. If it's really cheap (two-dollar-a-yard seersucker, say) and/or I expect to make at least two pieces with it, I'll bump that up to seven.

    I'm in the lowish plus sizes, so you might cut half a yard to a yard off of that if you're smaller sized.

    When presented with a good price but no idea what I'll make with it, I tend to buy solid-colored pure linen, solid-colored wool crepe, solid-colored silk crepe, and 'way too much cotton batik. I figure that I'll use the first three eventually; the fourth is just an addiction that I'm trying to break. (Actually, I'm trying to break myself of stashing entirely for a while, but if I ever sew down my stash, it's the first three that I'd start re-buying.)

    Green Apple

    1. jatman | | #42

      Thank you for the advice on yardages.  Also, great idea to stick with some basics.  If I do see any batik - I may have to buy that too.  Not sure I've seen any in a while but summer is just around the corner....



  10. Ckbklady | | #139

    Having just returned from a trip down to Portland, Oregon (USA) to Fabric Depot for "birthday fabric" and now having nowhere to put it (yikes!) I can say that I agree with the poster who said that stockpiling can become a bad habit. I think the trick to it is to designate a smallish space, like a couple of shelves in a linen closet, and promise yourself to stop buying more and start sewing it up whenever those shelves are stuffed - you know, in the same way we stop filling freezers or pantries with grocery items when they're stuffed. I've been doing that for the last few years and it has saved me the guilty feelings that come with overbuying. Now I love "shopping in my linen closet" and making up something from items already on hand (except when I can make it to Portland and play fabric glutton for a day, LOL!)

    That said, you're going to London - wow! You will love every second of Soho's fabric district, and if you get to Kensington/Chelsea, there's a lovely home dec fabric shop called Thomas Ware. I bought a 10-metre length of silk at that shop and made my wedding dress with it!

    My rule of thumb, if I am buying fabrics destined for clothing, is to buy either 3 or 4 metres of the fabric, which is plenty to make one garment. If I love the fabric and think I might make, say, a suit jacket and skirt or pants, I get 5 -7 metres. As you can imagine, my linen closet is bursting.

    Enjoy every second of London - it's a lovely city.

    :) Mary

    Edited to add: Whoops - I just realized this is a revived thread from earlier in the year. You've surely been to London and back since. I hope it was delightful!

    Edited 11/17/2007 12:52 pm by Ckbklady

    1. Ralphetta | | #141

      Comparing fabrics to food in the pantry made me think of one thing that would help me.  If only fabric had an expiration date!  I would be forced to sew up the old before buying new.

      1. Ckbklady | | #142

        You know, you could clip little tags to your fabric lengths that read, "Use By....." and then write the list of them in use-up order in a datebook/organizer. It could be fun to pretend that you have a deadline.

        When I worked in restaurant kitchens we had a "last in, first out" rule (called the LIFO Inventory in Accounting) and organized the walk-in fridge so that we could see everything by date of arrival. There's no reason you shouldn't date your fabrics and use a LIFO system. You could still be flexible about the order, since the fabrics really won't go bad. If you substitute one for another, heck, at least you're using them up.

        For me, fabric control is all about the laws of physics. It's all about critical mass! I can barely close the linen closet - that tells me it's time to stay out of the fabric shops.

        :) Mary

    2. jatman | | #143

      Hi Ckbklady!  Yes, I actually did go to London in December 2006.  Unfortunately, we left on Christmas Eve and came back a day or so before New Years Eve which happened to correspond to a time when most of the fabric shops in Soho were closed.  I guess their busy time is pre-holiday and slowest time is post-holiday so most of them just closed the doors for that week (just an FYI for anyone thinking of going during that time!  Many things were closed or had off hours that entire week).  However, I did make it back there this summer and really enjoyed the fabric shops!  They had some very unique and beautiful things.  Very expensive but still incredible stuff.  Thank you for your advice regarding what to buy if you have something in mind but no pattern.  I will be getting one more trip to London in next year and I'll try to get to the Thomas Ware store, too.  I would LOVE to see a picture of your wedding dress!  As for limiting the amount of unsewn fabric I have - yes, it's a good idea.  I have really enjoyed shopping in my own stash when I feel like making something, though.  I'm like the other poster who has a hard time finding things when looking specifically for them.  I also have only one more year in Europe so I will probably continue to go nuts here until I leave since a lot of the things I see are very unique (I discovered a Friday Market in a city I get to frequently where they sell mostly fabrics - great cottons at 2 Euros per meter and 2 other traveling fabric markets with excellent prices, too - talk about yikes!).


      1. GailAnn | | #144

        I HAVE gone through my fabric stash, from time to time, thinking I'd weed out a few things.  Seems, though, that I hardly EVER buy weeds, only beautiful "flowers".  Rarely, can I part with any of my georgeous pieces, because I LOVE them so much!

        Eventually I do sew them or OCCASIONALLY I know someone who NEEDs a particular piece, I might part with it, for a friend in need.  I can't see myself sending a boxfull of fabric to the Goodwill, before, I myself am in a box.

        Would you be willing to compile a list of your favorite stores in your favourite european cities?  We can sit home this Winter, planning our dream vacations.  Gail

        1. jatman | | #145

          I would love to do that!  Give me a few days to ponder and gather info and I'll post back here.  From time to time I've posted websites but I think that the majority of posters on this site are from the US with the next portion maybe equally representing Australia and the UK.  There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of posters from central Europe and therefor maybe not a lot of interest in the stuff I've found but I'd love to post it for anyone who might find it useful.  Thank you for asking.  Talk with you in a few days!


          1. katina | | #146

            Yes, do please post that list.


          2. jatman | | #154

            Hi Katina!  I've now posted a very long and wordy list of things I've found in Europe.  Hope it's not Too Much Information!  Sorry!


          3. katina | | #156

            Fabulous - thanks very much. Can never be TMI, that's for sure.


        2. jatman | | #153

          Hi GailAnn!  I was thinking about this and I think I may have posted some of this info here and there. 

          My post about my London trip is 7191.1 (sorry, I can't seem to get the computer to link to it - just to the Gatherings page in general but if you do a search by thread number it will come up).  When I posted this I was hoping that other people who had traveled and purchased fabrics would post their findings, too, but no one did.  If you are going to London and looking for anything specific there is a link in that thread to a site called UpMyStreet that is fantastic for narrowing down what might be close to your hotel or a specific area.  Also, if you go - the Victoria and Albert museum has textile and costume exhibits that will take your breath away.

          My findings about the fabric markets throughout Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands is 6746.1.  This was fantastic.  It was really hard to keep from going nuts.  I only went to one but I plan to try to find another one close by our travels this spring.  They seem to have spring and fall sessions, shutting down for the Christmas Holidays and the middle of the summer so you will not find much listed right now but if you check back after the first of the year or so they should have the new agendas listed.  Some of these markets are in the city centers and some are in the expo sites on the outskirts of the cities.  I should mention that the Friday Market in Maastricht, Netherlands is not listed here but I'm almost positive that they run all year long.  I found that one by accident during one trip and I still can't find it mentioned anywhere online but I've been there several times and I know it exists!  If you've never been to The Netherlands it's fantastic.  And I love Maastricht.  Every Christmas they have a Christmas Market in their main square that is just incredible - but the Christmas Markets are a whole other story!

          I should mention that every city that I have been to in Belgium seemed to have beautiful fabric stores.  But one of my favorites is Gent and this fabric store:


          They have some pictures of their displays but I didn't see any of the inside of their store.  Click on Winkel and you'll get a picture of the outside of the store (beautiful older building).  This was by no means the only fabric store there - just the one I bought things from over and over again.  Gent also has a really upscale tiny fabric store in which I found a beaded silk chiffon that was just over 200 euros per meter.  I can't tell you the name of that one because I didn't buy anything there (go figure!) but if anyone is really curious I know where it's located and can find the name if you're looking to make a wedding dress or something special.  Their fabrics were absolutely spectacular.

          I also have to mention the names of two places where I live (I'm the luckiest person on the face of the Earth!) in Göteborg, Sweden.  The first is a fabric store called Gårda Textil and their site is:


          They have an incredible selection of fabrics from all sorts of silks to knits to wools to home decorating.  Fabulous stuff and absolutely beautiful.  I have never seen anything like a lot of the fabrics I've found here.  I was there yesterday (hmmmm - I could probably say that more often than I should admit) and bought a silk/wool blend that is stunning.  Nothing in Sweden is cheap (there is a 25% tax on almost everything) but the selection at this store is incredible and unique.

          Also, for notions there is Knapp-Carlssons:


          They don't sell fabric or patterns but they sell absolutely EVERYTHING else.  So, anything you could need to finish a garment (whether it's underwear, outerwear, everyday or special occasion), purses, upholstery or even sewing aids, they have it.  It's like you stepped back in time when you walk in there, too.  The countertops are glass and all scratched up because I believe they have been there for over 60 years (and in existence for over 100).  Last year I made holiday napkin rings and everything I needed to make them came from this store (the thread is 5980.1).

          There are other places but these are the highlights (and the ones that I had the names for!).  My unsolicited advice to anyone coming to Europe and planning on shopping is 1) be prepared to walk, walk, walk 2) be prepared to pay cash in some of the fabric stores (contrary to advertising - American Express isn't accepted everywhere and sometimes your US Visa or Mastercard isn't accepted either even if they accept Visa or Mastercard and 3) bring an empty suitcase or be prepared to ship your fabrics back or pay an overlimit fee on your luggage.

          I'm so sorry this post is so long.  Apparently I have too much time on my hands.  Hope I haven't bored you to tears!


          1. scrubble4 | | #159

            Just thanks for your descriptions, enthusiasm and a peek at a world I will probably never experience.  I wonder if others could provide similar descriptions of fabric discoveries on the road.  Even pictures.  I am new to this discussion (although not to Threads) and I am not yet sure how to use the pics but I think it is an option.  For those of us who are anchored to one area of the world, these vicarious fabric journies through the eyes of a fellow fabricolic are a treat.  Scrubble4

          2. jatman | | #160

            I really appreciate that because when I finished writing and looked back at the enormous post I was afraid I'd bored everyone to tears.  Thank you!


          3. GailAnn | | #170

            Dear Miss Jatman:  Thank you so much for e-mailing me and directing me to your WONDERFUL post!  I certainly appreciate it.  I'm not very computer savvy and the Holidays have been, well, very Holidayish!  Hense, I had not read it and I'm sorry.

            You have had a wonderful opportunity to visit, shop and come to know our sewing sisters world wide.  We are happy you are willing to share with us.

            I have traveled some, and shopping for unusual fabric is the best part, and the part I most look forward too.

            Again, Thank you, Gail 

      2. Ckbklady | | #147

        What a shame that the shops were shut - that's awful!! I'm glad you made it back in the summer. The British pound is still a whopper, though, compared to the Euro and especially to the US dollar. You won't find Thomas Ware especially cheap - but they have a great little clearance section. Their fabrics are meant for home decorating, but their gossamer silks just beg to be made into dresses.

        That Friday Market sounds way too tempting! I wish we had that here in Seattle. I'd become a regular rather quickly!

        My wedding dress was an amalgamation of international "ingredients". The silk was from London, the buttons were from San Francisco, the lining was from New York, the beads were from Toronto and the lace was from Los Angeles. My fiance traveled on business a lot back then, so I went with him and collected the bits and pieces wherever we went. The dress was a bias-cut dress with lace sleeves and bodice. It was a Badgley Mischka pattern, Vogue 1864 - long out of print but here's one currently on eBay:


        I also made a little scallop-front bolero jacket in the same materials, from a simple little New Look (Simplicity) pattern 6130, also out of print. We got married at the end of September, and it was chilly enough to warrant a little cover-up. I wish I had photos loaded on the computer - I'm not that tech-savvy.

        Make sure if you get to any interesting Euro markets to report in here about your fabric buys. You'll have us all swooning.

        :) Mary


        1. jatman | | #148

          Oh, I bet your dress was beautiful!  Kind of nice to think of all the different places everything came from isn't it?  Thank you for the link.

          I'll report back on my findings!  I am keeping track of where others in the US go since I will end up back there so I enjoy hearing of good fabric places there too! 



          1. Ckbklady | | #149

            I can add a couple of "Don't Miss" stores to your list:

            If you're ever in Seattle:

            Seattle Fabrics - for outerwear, Gore-Tex, d-rings, etc - everything to make a tent, raincoat, fleece sweater or climb a mountain - you get the picture. It's a huge part of Seattle culture, right there with Subarus and Starbucks coffee.


            Pacific Fabrics - a smallish local chain with marvelous Indonesian batiks and silks. Not great prices but the most knowledgeable and friendly salesladies of any sewing store. I love the Bellevue store.


            And if you are ever in the area in time for the big sewing show in Puyallup, Washington (about an hour south of Seattle, pronounced "Pew-ALL-up"), which occurs around the first weekend of March (with weather much like London - rain and about 7-10 degrees Celsius), then check out the coming schedule for show times, exhibitor list and classes:


            This show beats the pants off the little one I just went to last weekend, which was still nice, of course.

            So there you go - there's a bit more for your sewing shopping list!

            :) Mary

          2. jatman | | #150

            Thank you so much!  I will keep that information!  I have not yet gone to any of the sewing expo's - I know there is also one in Novi, Michigan that is supposed to be fairly large.  I don't know how many there are throughout the US.  I can't wait to get to one.  Thank you for the info and the links!


          3. Elizard | | #151

            Fabric shops in Europe:

            Casa del Tessuto in Rome,Italy http://www.casadeltessuto.com/A very nice hard-core shop in southern rome, I bought 2 metres (2yards?) of black woolen material for a skirt here, I am stil considering whether I should line it or not. The attendent didn't speak any english, but by talking a bit, and showing pleating, he understood me.

            Macculloch and Wallis in London, England. http://www.macculloch-wallis.co.uk/

            Yet another hard-core fabric shop, just of Oxford Street, I've bought piping cord for a suit here, and some nice red and green flowery fabric.

            If you ever visit any of these cities, I would really recommend visiting these shops!


          4. maggiecoops | | #152

            If you are going to be in England or Europe for a while, consider the online sites like Abakhan, Whaleys of Bradford, the Mills themselves, practilly every large UK town has a market with fabric stalls. Birmingham has a good choice of fabric stores and Manchester has some fantastic ones. Then consider the Sari stores, they sell the most beautiful silks, cottons, cottons, crepes, well worth visiting. Just remember though, airport luggage weight restrictions. On a trip to Cyprus once I stocked up on fabrics in the Northern part of the island. I had to mail my cloths back by international express parcel post or pay excess baggage charges greater than the value of the fabric I'd purchased.

            I purchase fabric as I see it, not as I need it. My stash is not overly large, so when I want to throw something together I have a good selection of colours and fabrics. I've purchased a fabric in one place and found the perfect co-ordinating fabric for it in another place. I'm not a great follower of fashion styles as I don't suit most of them. I have found over the years what suits me and just alter small details to keep it fairly current. I've also found the colours that don't suit me, so stay away from them.

          5. jatman | | #155

            Hi Maggiecoops!  Could you tell me more about the fabric stalls?  Would I find something like that at the markets like Camden or Spitalfields? 


          6. maggiecoops | | #157

            Hi jatman, I will check with my daughter as she used to haunt Camden Market, I stay away from London except for when I take friends down to visit the sights and theatres. I speak with my daughter every day so will post her reply tonight. She knew London extremely well as she lived and worked in the city for a long time. If you have transport available to you, it's well worth doing a bit of "fabric sight seeing"


            The Edgeware road used to be a fabric mine but it is a decade since I wore my feet out walking it. If you're buying a fair bit, (I always buy about £300 worth when I visit a store,) and you're not living in uk, try to get a VAT discount as it is being exported, you don'tt always get it but you could get a discount. Frees up the pennies for a bit more fabric.

          7. jatman | | #158

            Thank you for checking with your daughter and thank you for posting that link!  Trying to get the VAT back is a great idea but I won't be leaving the EU with the fabric so I'm not sure they will go for it.  Definitely worth the try though!

            Thank you again.


          8. maggiecoops | | #161

            Hi Jatman, I'm sorry it took so long to answer you, unexpected visitors came , nice to see them, but delayed this. I soke with my daughter and her immediate response was "Camden Market is a tourist trap, the prices reflect it as well" what she also said was Soho for silks and bridal, which I think you already know, and Brick lane in the East End for less expensive fabrics.

            I don't know where you're living in Europe, but when I lived in Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen, there were a number of mills producing Velvets and Silk but it is over 20 years ago now and try as I might I can't remember the towns they were in. I used the nearest towns to us for buying fabric, from the equivalent of our high street names in Hardt and Monchengladbach. There were also plenty of small fabric shops, but then again there were as many in England, but now they are few and far between.


          9. jatman | | #163

            Thank you for that info!  One of the trips I took to London I did get to Camden market.  I don't remember buying anything there.  I got to one other market (and the name of that one escapes me) and it was mostly fruit, vegetables, bread, meats and beer (of all things!).  It was fun but crazy in there.  I have yet to get to Brick Lane but I will make a note of that for my visit next year!

            I actually live in Sweden and there is a city not too far from here called Borås that appears to have once had a textile manufacturing facility.  They have a textile museum that is really interesting.  They have gathered machines used in textile production from the 1700's through the mid-1900's and twice a day they take visitors through and run and explain each machine.  Very cool!  I will need to ask around to see if anyone still manufactures here or if it is all imported now.

            Thank you for the information!



          10. quixotesmom | | #171

            Thanks for the info. I'm from Seattle and was getting desperate to find a store with fabric. I went into JoAnns and struggled to find any fabric. I live in Bellevue and have known about Pacific for a ;long time but was afraid they had gone into crafts and quilting so will check them out. Do you know of a source for the good old double knits? I'm old, don't bend well and need another black skirt. Pat

          11. starzoe | | #172

            This store is in Vancouver, B.C. I don't know anything about it, but it looks as though they have a very good selection of quality fabrics.
            http://fabricana.com/fashion.phpAlso, some time ago someone posted another source in Vancouver with knits, I have the number of the posting 7667.2 but it comes up
            "this discussion does not exist". Can't think of the name but the firm sells their own patterns - is it Stretch and Sew? The owner's name also eludes me at the moment. Haven't been much help, have I, but someone will come up with it here!

          12. cafms | | #174

            Here is the site for Stretch and Sew.  Looks like they have fabrics as well as patterns.


          13. starzoe | | #175

            Actually, it is not stretch and sew. At 3:00 a.m. I will remember the name of the company and of the woman who owns it (she has TV shows in Canada). Does a lot of activity clothing and winter gear.

          14. quixotesmom | | #176

            please do send name when you remember. 3am's usually when I'm doing my work. Pat

          15. starzoe | | #179

            cafms has come to our rescue, see her message to me, it is http://www.macfeeworkshop.com.

            Edited 1/6/2008 2:51 pm ET by starzoe

          16. Ckbklady | | #180

            Actually, Starzoe, I think Linda MacPhee spells it like this:


            Not McFee, which might not be a workable link.

            :) Mary

            Edited to correct MY spelling, too! :)

            Edited 1/6/2008 6:43 pm by Ckbklady

          17. cafms | | #177

            Maybe Linda McPhee?  http://www.macpheeworkshop.com/

          18. starzoe | | #178

            BINGO. Thanks a lot, I've made a note of it this time!

          19. Ckbklady | | #173

            Well, howdy, neighbor!

            Pacific really does have a home-deccy, quilty emphasis, but they do still have some lovely silks and rayons. I haven't seen much there by way of double knits. There used to be that wonderfully weird store Jehlor Fashion Fabrics down in Tukwila that catered to figure skaters who sewed (or maybe sewers who figure skated?) that was a consistent source of knits (they weren't all lurid, jewel-encrusted things). They've been gone for some time, I think.

            I hesitate to suggest that chi-chi little fabric shop in Madison Park (VERY spendy), but maybe try calling Nancy's Sewing Basket in Queen Anne - they're known for their nice garment fabrics.

            :) Mary

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