QOTD-What has changed your fabric buying habits

karpetMarch 14, 2013

I was thinking this morning about how different my fabric buying habits are now from when I first started quilting, and why.

I have several fabrics that I thought would be perfect for this project or that project, but found out that I was woefully short on yardage - my first change in buying - buy more yardage!

I used to buy very matchy fabrics until I did some projects for friends and they picked the colors - my second change in buying - buy a full spectrum of colors, it makes for more interesting quilts.

And last, I never thought about the back, so I would have a finished quilt top in need of a backing. My third change in buying - look for fabrics on sale that would have enough yardage for a backing.

What about you?

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Gee, that's a good question. My fabric buying has evolved over a lifetime since I started sewing in earnest. Before the bottom fell out of the economy and I retired, I mostly would hit fabric sales and buy what they were clearing out and it usually entailed finishing off bolts. Would also buy super cheap cottons, mostly if they were in a neutral shade. Ha! Can't tell you how many yards I got at JoAnns for a dollar a yard. Often in ten yard sections. I'm still using off them.

Now, the only times I buy material are when I need a specific yardage to finish off a quilt, pairing it off with what is already in my stash and I won't buy it unless it's on sale. The exception to that is when fabric basics like osnaburg or muslin goes on sale for backing. Will occasionally buy a whole bolt.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Now that my experience level has increased, I know what I'll need and watch to buy things on sale and in quantity. I buy batting on sale and at least ten yards at a time. I often see a wonderful fabric on the half off table and buy enough for a backing.

My color choices have also changed. I now use black and Civil War repro fabrics which didn't appeal to me years ago. I was always a bit subdued and now the brighter batik the better. But, I think we all evolve, don't we.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:24AM
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My color tastes have changed a lot over the years. :) I hardly ever buy a bunch of fabric intended for one quilt...usually only if I'm taking a class. I tend to buy fat quarters, but really should buy yardage as it costs less and sometimes a FQ isn't enough!

Since my hubby has a new job making less than half what he was making before, my "buy what I want when I want" habit has become "how much can I use from my stash?"


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:50AM
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I've gotten more persnickity when buying fabric. It has to be good fabric and on sale, but if I really like it and it isn't on sale, I'll get it anyway. Lately, not much has excited me to the point of making a purchase for no reason....my excitement is when I can use what is already in the house. I have never bought a bolt of anything, but would buy a bolt of white Kona if I could.......and, some day, I just might!


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:55PM
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I buy mostly from LQS now and with more thought to quality then when I first began to quilt. I still buy FQ and small pieces as I like scrappy quilts but yardage if there is a good sale and something I like. Have gotten muslin and fusible web by the bolt and have found that a good thing. Now it is more the "need" to use buying versus impulse buying.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:22PM
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When I first started quilting in the late 1990's I kept hearing people say I needed to build a stash. So .... I was doing mostly applique and it wasn't so bad to buy a few fat quarters, but then I as most, if not all, quilters started seeing patterns I wanted to make and bought fabric to make those quilts. Now, I have a stash of fabric for quilts I'll probably never make and some of that fabric I wonder why I bought -- I don't like it any more. If I had do-overs, I would buy fabric for the quilt I intend to make and finish before I bought more fabric. But since that is not the case, I'm trying to use up what I have. I'm told you can put that ugly fabric in a scrap quilt and not notice it. So, my purchasing trend is to buy any backing fabric I need and batting. When I do purchase fabric I buy at a fabric shop -- Moda is my favorite.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:37PM
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I used to buy at least a yard if it struck my fancy. I now have quite a large stash. I now shop from my stash first then buy only what I need for the project. I also used to use wide backing only and am now starting to piece my backs from leftovers. I find pieced backs can add interest to the quilt as a whole.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:55PM
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When I started quilting, I bought a lot of my fabric at JoAnn Fabrics. Now I buy most of my fabric from quilt shops. I try to work from my stash whenever possible and just buy new if I don't have the right color in my stash. I do get tempted by new lines of fabric. I buy precuts sometimes if I have a pattern that calls for it. I try to resist buying unless I know what I am going to make with it.
My taste in fabric has changed also. When I started in 2001, I bought florals and tried to match everything. I learned that makes a boring quilt. You need something to add spark.
Linda OH

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:28PM
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I used to buy at least 1 yard of fabric if I liked it, then shifted to collecting lots of fat quarters. Now, like Toolgranny, I still buy batting when it's on sale and tend to buy 5-6 yards of white-on-white to have on hand.For other fabrics, I have been shopping from my stash - seems like 10+ boxes is a pretty good store!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:30PM
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The economy also changed my buying habits as to where I buy fabric - almost all of it is 'pre-owned' now!

I had to laugh at myself because I was looking at a rose fabric that I've had awhile, and when I got it, it was meant to be the border on a specific project. I now know there is no way there is enough yardage there to use as a border!

There are still a couple patterns I want to make, but have been holding off on because the pattern calls for 5yds of certain fabric, and although I don't think it will take the whole 5 yds, I'm not ready to embark on cutting into a fabric that is less than what is called for and risk ending up short.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:27PM
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I never used to by fabric for my stash, but now if I find a great sale I stock up on my staples (blenders and neutrals) and fabrics that really speak to me. I have started making lap quilts instead of full bed size ones so they require less yardage and I can use up my bits easier (although you can't tell from looking at my sewing room). Three yards will usualy do the back for a lap quilt and leave enough for binding or use in another quilt.

I purchase my batting by the roll from JoAnn with a 50% off and free shipping coupon, that helps a lot.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Most of the quilts I have made in the past were all matching boring quilts. I have been making a matching fabric Cards Tricks queen-size quilt for family and have been hand-sewing the blocks since 2009, I now have 83 blocks out of 100 finished - I am so sick of looking at the same fabric! Over the past few years I have bought special fabric quarters that caught my eye and am trying to use up fabric from my stash, so in 10 years I don't have an out of date fabric style stash - so this year I have started making scrappy quilts with a large variety of colors - I am having fun this year quilting.

Best to you,

This post was edited by quiltingfox on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 20:43

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:53PM
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I haven't been quilting as long as many of you and I find it hard to resist a unique fabric that says..."you need me". However, i have stopping buying fabric at Joanne's, but do use the coupons for batting and muslin.. . It's usually a good deal. Most of my fabric purchases are like others, at quilt shops, but I'm also a fan of shoppong on line and have picked up some good deals when items are on sale. Living in the country, you get used to shopping on line and home delivery is a treat. I have learn to only buy name brands on line...it's a risk otherwise. I decided this year to focus more on reducing the stash and getting various projects started....so far I've got blocks for three quilts...now to assemble!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:52AM
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