Bundles of fabric or singles?

K8OrlandoMay 8, 2014

I tend to buy one piece of fabric that I find and love. Then when I'm ready to use it, I have to hunt for colors that match up. My two best quilting friends both tend to buy either bundles or at the least, several pieces from a line. When they're ready to use their purchase, they have almost everything they need.

Which type of fabric buyer are you? Bundles or singles?

Do you buy for a project or just buy because you like the fabric?

Fat quarters, half yards or larger cuts? Or pre-cuts like jellies, charms or layer cakes?

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I buy just like you, I'll get a gift certificate and look for something I love, then have to pull it together with what I have. I have never bought a "bundle" that I can remember, but have had them gifted to me. Although the bundles are well coordinated and look good put into a quilt, I really like the originality I get when I pull it together myself. Sometimes it doesn't quite work, but usually comes out pretty well. Many times the quilts made from specific color lines look like they were bought ready-made and that to me defeats the purpose of being creative and original. Usually the only time I go to buy fabric specifically is when I need just one more fabric to finish a project because nothing in my stash will work (rarely) or because I need backing yardage. I also hardly ever follow a pattern completely, I will see something I want to do and tweak it, change sizes, add or delete borders or sashings, and always use my own color choices. I often use EQ6 to plan and design quilts.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:04AM
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In recent years, if I buy a really great fabric that I'm just crazy about (like the Donkeys in Wellies) I will get 1 or 2 yards of that fabric and then get maybe 3 half yard cuts of go-with fabrics in that line. When I get home, I comb my stash to find other bits of fabrics that play well with my purchases and keep all the fabrics together in a bag so I'll know not to use them in other projects. This method is most often for baby quilts as I don't do large bed quilts that often.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 8:09AM
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Well, I've done both. I hardly ever buy fabric specifically for a project; usually only if I am taking a class. And I'm a sucker for kits at quilt shows. LOL

Lately I have been very good and have not been buying much fabric at all. :) I've been working from my stash, and when I find I am in need of a specific color I will buy it when it's on sale (I recently bought yardage of a couple of greens).


    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 9:20AM
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I've done both but usually I buy yardage of a fabric I really like. Then, when I'm ready to use it, I find co-ordinates. I try very hard to wait for sale prices on yardage.

II have never bought a kit but lately I have been thinking about it.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 11:21AM
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I always buy fabric for a particular project, rarely for my stash. The only exception that comes to mind is when I bought some WOW and natural muslin to keep handy for lotto blocks. In fact, I don't really have a stash; I have a bunch of leftover scraps and a few rejects. I don't really have room for a large stash either.

A large stash would stress me out, as I would consider it just tons of UFOs. Right now I have one kit I bought in Hawaii and fabric and patterns to make an Asian quilt, a OBW and a wedding quilt for my niece. I will also travel to Madison, Wisconsin, next month to buy fabric with my sister for a queen quilt for her son and DIL. She's buying the fabric and I'm making the quilt. I'm really looking forward to that.

Sometimes I wish I could just buy a fabric I like. In 2012 we traveled to Ketchikan, Alaska, and visited a great quilt shop. There were some wonderful batiks with indigenous symbols and designs - totems, orcas, etc. Since I didn't have a pattern or anyone to make such a quilt for, I didn't buy anything. We're going again this July, and maybe I'll succumb this time.

I have bought one charm pack to make the pinwheels and prairie points baby quilt. I also have a jelly roll I just bought to make another baby quilt that I have the pattern for. I do love looking for fabric, so bundles don't have as much appeal to me usually. I spent several hours last Monday looking for a light, a medium and a dark in six different colors for my nieces wedding quilt. I'm really happy with my choices, but I noticed that I was perspiring by the time I finished. Evidently choosing fabric is hard work. LOL

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 12:26PM
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First I have to fall in love with a print. Buy 1yd. Every time I am in a fabric store I look for companion fabrics for it that are special in their own right and get half yards. I give a title to the collection by color or element in the first piece. I seem to be able to carry around a mental image of the fabrics with their title so I continue the treasure hunt every fabric store visit. As the image comes clearer I start to look for specific colors, values and textures to round out the image. I have done this for the past 10 years in preparation for retirements freedom to sew. I now have fabric in my own formed collections for about 12 quilts yet to go and 4 already top pieced this winter. With my first competed. I take the collection and look for elements of block patterns to combine to design the quilt. The fabric hunt, the designing are so much fun, it is what for me carries me through all the work involved in making the quilt. What ever works for you, what ever gets you to the cutting,sewing and quilting. Just got a vintage 15-91 Singer to do free motion quilting. Now I will have fun designing the quilting patterns too, with so much more possible

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 12:40PM
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I used to just buy fabric on a whim because I liked it, but then after years passed and I had not used those fabric quarters I then gifted it to my S-I-L who uses it for her embroidery business projects. So now for ongoing projects I buy either neons or muted tone more natural colors by the yard.

Best to you,

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 7:25PM
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Lois, I was in the quilt shop in Ketchikan and I did succumb to the temptation! Also in Anchorage and Fairbanks and Skagway. Apparently I don't have much self-control. Guess that's not a big secret, is it!?!

I do buy fabric on every vacation and I love using it in projects. Every time I see the fabric or the finished quilt, it brings back memories of the trip.

I have bought a few jelly rolls and enjoy creating quilts with those, too.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 8:39PM
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I've done both. I started out buying fabric I love and then looking for coordinating / complimentary pieces to go with the inspiration piece. More and more I'm leaning towards collections which I accent with pieces from my stash. I'm beginning to feel like a fabric holic...me stash continues to grow! However, when I'm ready to sew...I look at the stash and find I have most of what I need...it's a fun treasure hunt!

The reason I've gravitated to collections is two fold: I'm not inclined to drive much on the weekends to fabric shop...I spend too much time in the car during the week, so weekend are downtime for me, I don't want to drive much. As a result, I order fabric on line and it's easy to go with a collection accented with whatever else I may have on hand. (It's also fun to come home from work and find a brown paper package tied up in a string! with my name on it!) Secondly, I've discovered a real difference in fabric quality, and now find myself drawn towards certain brands or manufacturers that the local Joanne's doesn't carry. A few other reasons come to mind...I have favorite on line shops and tend to purchase from a select few...there's always a sale bin so I tend not to pay full or regular price. Once you become an on line customer, there are sometimes specials sent via email...love those...yes, I'm a sucker for good discount...LOL

I feel like I could write on and on...but that's enough!!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 7:29AM
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I try not to buy for "someday" unless I have some project or direction. I never want to have a huge amount of fabric ever again - it is such a mental burden.

I love Jelly rolls and try to keep a few on hand for when I need a quilt made quickly or for a gift. I usually pull out a few from the collection I don't like and add other fabric if necessary. Jelly rolls also travel easily.
I have a very hard time using up Charm Packs - but I have been buying them.
And Layer Cakes--I have an even harder time using those. I'm struggling now trying to find the right pattern to showcase the lovely prints. I could have made a quilt by now!
Bundled fabrics are an easy way to get a variety, so I like that, but I almost always add my own fabrics to the collection. They are easy to buy online and get great quality.
I like "theme" quilts for gifts - so collections are a great starting point.
I visit a wonderful quilt shop in SC where they have 1 yards pieces folded beautifully in bags for $6.00 and I always buy at least 10 just because I like them! I have used many of the pieces.
A shop owner once told me that you can't go wrong buying 1 1/2 yards of a fabric you love, because it can be used for a border. I keep that in mind if I "love" a fabric.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:28AM
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I tend to do both ... and the boxes and bins of fabric in my stash prove it! I do tend to think in terms of a focal fabric then adding coordinating fabrics and usually end up with loads - then I end up pulling this one or that one for something else because it really worked!

I have purchased some bundles and jelly rolls, but have not gone with any charm packs or layer cakes. I tend to go more with fat quarters if I just want small amounts.

I, too, love to buy fabric when we travel - I bought a kit in Skagway four years ago and it is still sitting in the kit. Probably won't do that again!

Just like boys with their toys - quilters with the most fabrics win!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 10:37PM
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I do both. My main problem later is to try and match with other fabrics, or not have a pattern in mind when buying and end up needing more of something that you can't find later.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 5:46PM
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I've done both, but finally realized that I so much prefer to make scrappy-type quilts, large cuts just sat around and glared at me. They are gradually becoming borders, but even there, I like pieced ones more than a single fabric.

For a while I went bonkers (and nearly broke) over charms: whoooie, all those different patterns/colors in one neat package. Then I noticed that I didn't use them much because A) a single united bundle usually wasn't sufficient for the size quilt I wanted, and 2 identical bundles were just ... boring to cut and sew. B) they are a PIA to prime (prewash/shrink). C) they too often shrank so that patterns based on 5" squares or 2 1/2" strips had to be re-sized to be usable by the smallest shrunken charm. and D) they were dern expensive. The cost of one bundle is usually more than the cost of 4 shirts at the thrift store or 8+ shirts at yard sales. Those shirt fabrics may not be the latest thing offered by the fabric store but they ARE preshrunk, colorfast (I've never had red, purple or navy run), and with a great variety of prints and patterns.

On the rare -very, very, very rare- occasion that I buy new yardage now, it's either something that I am totally in love with or WoW. A couple years ago I bought 2 yards of a gorgeous butterfly print and wish I had bought more. I buy WoW only for specific quilts, 5 1/2 yards at a time.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Years ago I bought 10 yards of Vintage White by Chanticlere because it goes well with my 1930's reproduction prints. I used it to make my bed quilt a few years ago and I still have quite a lot of it left. I put it in its own hot pink plastic bag and labeled it so I can keep up with it. I'm glad I made this purchase because now it doesn't seem to be available. :o(


    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 12:58PM
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I envy those who buy fabric for a particular project. Maybe my stash wouldn't be so out of control if I did that! I used to buy yardage by what ever tickled my fancy and sometimes I still do if I see a piece I just have to have. I do buy a lot of precuts and collections lately. I like being able to start a quilt without too much fret of matching fabrics. However, scrappy is good too. :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:57AM
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