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Thread: how do you buy (and use) fabric?

  1. #26
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    I buy fabric if I like the pattern in addition for specific projects. I buy batiks and quilt cottons and occasionally apparel fabric. I have mounds of folded fabric. I need to purge. I have kits in QIAD zippered plastic totes that have not been opened. It will take my life time + to piece and quilt them. I purchase fabric in 3 yard increments when not buying for a project. I tell my daughters do not purchase fabric, just come to my house and take what you want. I love fabric and yes, it makes me happy knowing I have a lot of it and purchased at reasonable prices over the last eight years.
    I have quality quilt fabrics now selling for $12 or more per yard, that I paid less than $6.

  2. #27
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    I buy for a specific project, more than the pattern calls for as Most patterns I find are for smaller quilts than I like to make. Any scraps left from the project is sorted by color and saved for scrap quilts; of which I have made 5 now.

  3. #28
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    When my LQS closed a few years ago, I became an on-line only buyer. This means I end up with quite a bit of fabric that is not quite what I thought it would be, and which I would probably not have bought had I been seeing it in person. So I consider that my quilting destiny has been essentially changed by the fact that I can't buy in person. I think I bought more haphazardly and impulsively when buying in person, buying things I liked with no purpose in mind.

    Now I mostly buy for a specific project, except for neutrals, which I'm always on the look-out for. As an on-line buyer, this often means that some of what I bought isn't quite right for the intended purpose, and goes in the stash. Occasionally there is still the impromptu purchase when I feel a fabric and I are meant for each other.

    We have a small house and I have not yet been able to figure out where the heck to set up a scrap storage system, so my scraps are currently in plastic grocery bags here and there, unused.

    edit to add, I'm a terrible sucker for bargains. I'll buy a fabric I wouldn't ordinarily consider if it's on sale, which I think is pretty dumb, so hoping to stop that practice.
    Last edited by joe'smom; 02-06-2019 at 08:13 AM.
    Lisa

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by zozee View Post
    Iíd say 75% of what I buy is for a planned project whether or not the project is immediate. I buy specific fabrics if Iím making a quilt for a specific person . But since I donate most every quilt or pillowcase for kidsí charities, I buy cute fabric for usually under $6/yd.

    I will buy pricier fabric if I love it and itís also for a planned project. I have bought maybe 2% of my stash impulsively so itís not really a self-control problem. My problem is not using it fast enough.

    As for scraps, I tend to use them till Iím tired of the same ones. Then out they go to giveaways here.
    Could you explain about giveaways on the board? Where do they happen?
    Lisa

  5. #30
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    I have a fairly healthy stash from when I was working (retired 18 mos ago). Now, lower income and no more room have slowed me down. Well, also I have learned to say to myself "Will I really use it? Do I really love it?" I buy mostly for a specific need, but also if I love something. I learned the hard way that if I love it, I should just get it. A few years ago, Minnick and Simpson had a line called "Midwinter Reds" that I loved, looked at several times, and just didn't get it. I still regret that, lol.

    Specific need is kind of broad for me. For example, I bought the APQS kit for "Journey to Fall Paducah" because it reminds me so much of the Light Bright I played with as a child, and because I want to do a quilt in solids (they really intimidate me). Normally, I'm quite comfortable pulling fabrics, but not solids! So while I don't often buy kits, this was one that I wanted. Now, I know it'll be a while before this gets done - I have UFO's I need to finish or at least make good progress on before I start something new. While it's waiting, I'm watching for a great sale on solid black, as I will need over 10 yards to complete the kit. I found the perfect backing through MSQC, so once I find the background black, I'll have everything I need. It'll get done. Someday!

  6. #31
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    I buy it now, with no particular need in mind mostly. If I'm making a specific quilt, for a specific need, I buy for that need. I am careful, but often buy because the fabric "speaks" to me. I haven't figured out what to do with my ever growing pile of scraps. Besides applique, I don't like working with small squares, scraps. I don't have the patience!

  7. #32
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I have 2 kinds of buying. One is to buy for a specific project. I have a lot of fabric, but usually not enough of a particular color or fabric to finish the project. The other kind of buying is totally impulsive. We travel a lot. I end up in a lot of quilt shops. There are very nice people there, which spurs me to want to spend money there. Or, I go into a new shop and pick out things because I find fabrics/kits/patterns inspiring.
    Lori

    *********

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggramma View Post
    I have 2 kinds of buying. One is to buy for a specific project. I have a lot of fabric, but usually not enough of a particular color or fabric to finish the project. The other kind of buying is totally impulsive. We travel a lot. I end up in a lot of quilt shops. There are very nice people there, which spurs me to want to spend money there. Or, I go into a new shop and pick out things because I find fabrics/kits/patterns inspiring.
    Yes I have done a lot of the traveling buying too but have slowed down on both the traveling and shopping without needing something specific.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Diana View Post
    I buy fabric if I like the pattern in addition for specific projects. I buy batiks and quilt cottons and occasionally apparel fabric. I have mounds of folded fabric. I need to purge. I have kits in QIAD zippered plastic totes that have not been opened. It will take my life time + to piece and quilt them. I purchase fabric in 3 yard increments when not buying for a project. I tell my daughters do not purchase fabric, just come to my house and take what you want. I love fabric and yes, it makes me happy knowing I have a lot of it and purchased at reasonable prices over the last eight years.
    I have quality quilt fabrics now selling for $12 or more per yard, that I paid less than $6.
    Can I ask why 3 yards? I'm new to quilting and stash building. Are 3 yards typical to what a pattern asks for?

  10. #35
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I am bad at buying fabric I love and buying some to go with it and keeping it until I find a pattern to go with it. If I find a pattern I like I go to the fabric I have first and if I can't find the right fabric I go shopping. I never buy less than three yards and five of the ones I really fall in love with.

  11. #36
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    For years now, I buy most of my fabric at thrift stores, estate sales, etc. I will also buy new fabric but I try to limit that to specific purposes, not just buying it for the joy... but sometimes joy wins. Many of us quilters have that moment when we see the pattern or the fabric or whatever it is that triggers us into the next project (or maybe the project after that). So sometimes I can go look for the fabric that does what I want, other times I look at the fabric and see what does it want to do.

    Mostly I make scrap/charm quilts so I do need a wide variety of fabric, but I'm really starting to realize I don't need the yardage I have so I have been giving away some fabric recently. I've also been organizing my stash better but it's time to make up some projects/cut some fabric/make a new mess out of the order it's taken so long to almost achieve

    The thing is about thrift stores is you can only get what you get, not more and not less. So maybe I do have to buy an entire bag of scraps just for that one piece that is calling me, or with my postcard blocks where all I wanted was a tiny little square but had to buy the entire piece of yardage to get it. Most importantly, you have to go regularly and if you see something you want, or think you might want, you need to grab it!

    I've had several projects lately that required large collections of fabric. I do try and give away scraps from such things and will hopefully finish that postcard quilt soon and declare a substantial stack as surplus and time to set free.

  12. #37
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    I am working on culling my stash. *And, not in the best way.* I am just overwhelmed and paralyzed by just too much. So, I have been working quickly through my sewing room, touch it once, make a decision, bag it up and take it the next day to the thrift store. (Definitely in the buyer's remorse category.) And, this is not the first time I've done it this way either. I'm an impulse buyer. But, I have joined the Fabric Moratorium here on the QB to try to get a handle on my buying and hoarding habit. I would love to get all my fabric into one single chest of drawers in my sewing room. Right now, is not the best time to go quite that drastic. But, maybe for the future. I would eventually like to get in the habit of buying for a project or two at a time. I do hold onto my scraps a little too tightly. But, I do like to make fabric postcards and string blocks. I just don't think I need as many as I have saved. That will be a purge for a future date. I don't usually buy large amounts at a time. That has been a problem in the past. I do like to scrap quilt for the most part. But, lately, I have liked to have a limited color and fabric choices. That is a challenge at times because of my buying habits. But, I'm making it work with what I have. I don't piece and quilt nearly fast enough. (At the moment, I'm kind of in and out of a sewing slump on a regular basis.) I'm fighting with that also. Maybe when my sewing room is a little more manageable I will feel more motivated.

    Good question through. My family and I have all figured things we all have in common. We tend to be compulsive and obsessive. Some days, lol, the struggle is real. But, with enough practice and restraint, we can change.

    If I die before DH, I have visions of him just tossing lots of good stuff that could be donated. So, I'm working on donating good stuff I can't or probably will never get to right now. My kids won't be interested in it either. The struggle is to not go back and buy it again. Yep, I've done that a time or two. But, have been really strict on my purchasing habits of late.

    Good luck to all that are in the same boat as me. lol
    My little shinning stars. Brantley, Kaylynn, and Emmalee
    https://www.quiltinaday.com/eleanora...nontheFarm.asp

  13. #38
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    I also used to buy 2 or 3 yards of fabrics I loved. But over the years, I have found myself loving "scrap" quilts more and more. When I make them, I'm not usually using scraps, but cutting strips from several fabrics. If I were able to go back and do it over (keeping what I know, of course!), I'd buy smaller amounts. Rarely over a yard, unless it is for a border or backing.

  14. #39
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    Most of my stash was bought during the going out of business sales at hancock fabrics and ben franklin. They are wonderful fabrics and I am still very glad I got them. I can be much more creative with the choices those purchases afford me. I do have some stacks of fabrics I bought for specific quilts in my favorite colors and patterns. I also have a few quilt kits that are so fun and were a great price. So, no buyers remorse here.

    Where I am always short is in good quality white and neutrals. I like the kind that is good thread count and not thin stuff. I use so much of it that it is always in need of replacing. So, I am always in the market for those. I buy as much as I can afford at the time when the opportunity arises. Also, I need backings and I know which ones need what yardage to finish it up by carrying a little notebook with the amount recorded. (and any small amount needed for specific quilts I am lacking) I do carry a swatch ring and that helps keep me in the right colorways. I don't go out all that often to shop, so I try to be focused on my list of needs.

    But, every now and then, something flips my skirt and I buy it. I am a sucker for kitschy prints from the forties. I bought some golden yellow background with cherry bunches just last week. I think it will become a kitchen apron or the bottom edging on some embroidered tea towels.
    RedGarnet222

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    *Oliver Wendell Holms

  15. #40
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe'smom View Post
    Could you explain about giveaways on the board? Where do they happen?
    Lisa, Zozee has games quite often where you have to guess something and she will send you a little fabric gift. It's so addicting! You can play as often as you wish but if it's been less than a month (I think) you can play but you have to play for someone else. Her games are always fun and usually hard!
    The thread is near the bottom- I believe it's under Free Offers but I'm not certain. I do know that it's a category near the bottom of the main page.

  16. #41
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    StephanieR, I often purchase true bargains that I really like, in 3 to 4 yard cuts. I never use all the yardage in one quilt. Even a two color quilt does not use that much yardage of a single color. But a three yard cut will for sure give you enough for one quilt and some left over for another quilt. Oh, I should mention that you may use more of the fabric if you are making the binding out of that color or a really large quilt such as a queen size. In the end, 3 to 4 yards is just a nice easy amount but no rules apply. I hesitate to buy only 1 yard. I fear I may run short. As you make more quilts you will begin to know your own style of quilt, size of quilt and how much room you have to store extra fabric and scraps.

    Have fun with quilting and ask all the questions that pop into your head. Everyone here was once a newbie! There are so many really skilled and helpful quilters on the Quilting Board (QB) site of all ages. Take advantage of the experience of our members.
    Last edited by WMUTeach; 02-07-2019 at 04:02 AM.

  17. #42
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    I am trying to use what I have also. I have found I have to just not go into quilting shops for a while as the temptation is just too great. I know that is not good for our quilting shops but I have bought plenty in the past and there are other things to buy in the shops besides fabric.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    So this will be another of those survey type of questions-

    i just acquired another 50 ( or so) yards of fabric because i got a rand good deal on them. ( i actually do have good intentions for a lot of this batch!)

    anyway, do you buy only for a particular project - exact amounts - and use it before starting the next project?

    what do you do with your scraps- if any?

    i know there are a lot of " stashers" on this board - some with buyer's remorse - some still happy with their accumulations.

    this question is not about how much to buy - it' s more of a "do you buy only for the immediate need?" or are you sort of a " i think i will get this now because ...."? even if there is no immediate/definite need/ purpose for it?

    i am very selective about buying any fabric that is more than $ 8.00 per yard - but almost give-away prices on nice fabric - i am willing to look at - even though i know dh will give me the evil eye when i bring it in the door.
    I'm a scrap quilter so I use anything 100% cotton if at all possible. I have a large stash but - - In 2018 I was given 8 shipping boxes of fabric. I did a quick scan of what I would actually use and took it out. A friend came and we sorted for QOV, then sorted the rest in to colors. I sent out an email to a specific group of friends and said SHOP ME FIRST.
    that way I spread the wealth around. They have been happy to do so.
    Jackie
    Lover of Scrappy, Chocolate and Wine

  19. #44
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    About every quilt I make is for charity donation and I use only uncomplicated patterns. Mostly I buy the entire bolt or at least whatís left on the bolt and I feel thereís not as much waste this way as I make several quilts with same fabric but they donít look alike using different patterns.
    This winter I sewed up 4 Chinese Coin quilt tops using my scraps and donated scraps but the scrap bag looks like itís just as full again.

  20. #45
    Senior Member incoming2me's Avatar
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    I used to buy fabric when it was a steal.. anywhere I found it. Walmart, Jo-ann, Hobby Lobby, Hancock (before they closed) ...you name it. 90% of the time with no regard to what I was going to use it to make. Pure hoarder fashion.
    After years I realized that I didn't really like much of my fabric and would have to go out and buy more for projects.
    I've since become a fabric snob of sorts. Now I shop at my LQS for projects...and every blue moon, find something at Jo-Ann or Hobby Lobby. I found an Alexander Henry "Ghastlies" print at Hobby Lobby for a steal one time.. bought the entire bolt.
    Scraps under 1/4 yard at tossed in a big tote... (or four.) Those are a bit out of control, yeah. Understatement.
    The rest is folded and grouped by color and stored in 2 six foot freestanding cabinets on wheels.
    My DH just shakes his head. His mom is also a quilter... she trained him well to ignore the fabric.
    So many ideas... so many projects.. so little time!
    ~Phadrea

  21. #46
    Super Member luvstoquilt301's Avatar
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    I have a good sized stash and pass along my scraps and sometimes yardage I no longer need. I have certain amount of space for fabric and will never exceed that. I seldom buy fabric as I belong to a charity group that has a quilt store amount. I like picking from what I have and turn it into a great charity quilt.

  22. #47
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I have just about no stash. I win the fat quarter drawing at the shop a lot so have a lot of them. I try to pick similar ones because I have a quilt in mind for them. I buy very little. I love scrappy quilts and have made several of them from my bins of scraps and some background fabric. I buy for that purpose.
    Alyce

  23. #48
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I used to buy what I liked in 2 - 3 yard minimums and I have the stash to prove it. I now try to shop my stash and only buy if I need to fill in for a particular quilt. Most of the fabrics I buy in bulk now are the fabrics for backgrounds and borders -- I have been using sheets for backing since they are cheap. I have lots of scraps -- I bought an electric die cut machine a couple of years ago and I use it to cut up the scraps, then I play to see what I can make. (I have trouble following patterns exactly and so I like to play with layouts.)
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  24. #49
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I usually have a pattern in mind that I am going to make in the future and I pick up the fabric for that pattern as I see it. Usually, I haven't written down how much of each fabric I need and I end up with too much. Need to change that.

    Sometimes I see something I love and I'll buy 2 yards (metres). But, that doesn't happen too often and those fabrics often sit on the shelf because I like them too much to cut them up. (Figure that one out.)

    My current plan is to start picking up solids because that is something I don't have a lot of, so I'm going to write up a plan and start filling holes in my stash.

    Because I do collage, if I see a really neat patterned fat quarter that I think I could get a lot out of , I'll pick it up.

    I will buy whites and blacks in larger quantities if they are on a good deal because I seem to go through those quickly, but I try to always buy the same company/product so I know the scraps I have hanging around are going to be all the same shade, more or less so I can use them all together. (As in, always buy Kona White, for example.)

    Watson

  25. #50
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    I have so much stash that I Shouldn't buy on impulse.
    But I am also a sucker for a good deal -- yard sales, thrift shops, final clearance racks, etc.
    Right now, i am concentrating on using up scraps in charity quilts -- pink piano key border, red crazy scrapped "made-fabric", random batik log cabin,...
    There is an annual fundraiser in June with donated fabric, tools, notions, yarn, etc. at irresistable prices. I'm trying to use up enough stash before then to relieve the guilt of buying 40 lbs. more!
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 02-17-2019 at 07:46 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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    I CAN FIGURE IT OUT!

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