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Thread: What Criteria do you use when buying fabric?

  1. #1
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    I have often wondered what criteria people use when buying fabric. Sometimes a particular piece just 'jumps out and grabs me.' But other times... it takes forever to find a piece that works.

    Anyone care to share their technique?

  2. #2
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    if i'm searching for something specific, it takes me forever, too.

    i never have any trouble finding piles of things i like "just because".

    criteria?
    -do i like it?
    -is it reasonably priced?
    -do i have the money?
    -if i spend the money will i still be able to buy groceries, gas and pooch food?

    it's easy to see why i have a mountain of stash. :roll:

  3. #3
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    I'm the same as Patrice.
    I buy fabric that I like or whatever screams at me to buy.
    I think I've only walked out of a fabric store once and not bought anything......

  4. #4
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    Just grab and run :-)

  5. #5
    Super Member Mamagus's Avatar
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    I buy online special fabrics that I know I won't find around here - Beautiful Christmas collections, Eric Carle themes, Dick and Jane, etc.

    When I am shopping for fabric I take a sample book with me and in this sample book will be swatches I already own. EXAMPLE: - I was collecting roses and rose fabric for a while for an elegant log cabin and with just a quick comparison I could see if I should buy it.

    I also know what types of what I call "fillers" I will use... Tone on tones, mottles, certain colour groups... never pass up a good golden yellow ! It WILL get used! So if I see something I know I will use I get it.

    And then there is the "OMG" factor. Don't know what I will use it for but I just can't leave it there for someone else to buy because I KNOW what they won't love it and appreciate it like I will!

    AND having said all that... when I am looking for that last piece for a project, I can NEVER find what I want!!

  6. #6
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I buy lots of fabric that just calls to me. If I'm buying specific fabric for a project I can be in the fabric store for hours. My youngest used to laugh at me because it took so long.

  7. #7
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    I try to buy fabric for a specific project and what I want it to look like in my mind. But sometimes I see some that I just have to have for my stash. LOL

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Criteria? There was supposed to be a criteria? Maybe that 'splains things.

  9. #9
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I usually buy because I like it. If I defineately know that I am going to be using it for me personally I make sure I like the feel of the fabric. If it is an item I will definately be handquilting that is the most important part. I buy lots of cute or theme fabric for Linus quilts. They will be machine made so the appearance and price are the main criteria.

  10. #10
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I check out all my favorite websites frequently for thier 3 dollar a yard fabrics and buy whatever I like and at least one yard.
    For projects I check my stash first then go shopping if I dont have what I need.

  11. #11
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I generally buy fabric for a project I am working on right away. Sometimes things "jump out at me" and I will buy a yard of it.

  12. #12
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    I love working with color, it's my favorite part of quilting. I am also drawn to scrappy quilts with color/contrast themes. So when I'm going shopping, I tend to look for colors that I need for my various quilt projects. It takes time and planning to find a minimum of 40 prints for each quilt.

    For instance, two of my planned quilts need to have predominately browns/creams at the request of the recipient. I have my stash stacked by color on the shelf above my computer. I can tell by glancing at the folded pieces that I need more dark browns with warm undertones instead of cool to complete the full range I would like. On one particular quilt, any secondary colors should be cool blues or purples and play a very minor role. I can tolerate a wider range of secondary colors on the other "brown" quilt.

    Only after a print passes the "color" test do I consider the texture or print, and then I only consider density and shapes.

    I've also learned to shop for fabrics by looking at them at a distance. Computer screens and tiny shops sometimes force us to look too closely at fabrics. I don't have a LQS anymore, so unless I buy at JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics, I shop online. As we all know color sometimes isn't very accurate, so I end up with some rejects that are destined for a future "anything goes" scrappy quilt.

    Of course, my fixation on color sometimes means that I am drawn to a cheaper quality fabric or even something that is too expensive. Usually my need for a color wins out, and I accept the risk of working with the fabric.

  13. #13
    Super Member charismah's Avatar
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    I work at my LQS ...which is kind of a problem because....my criteria is usually ..is it new? is it in my colors? How woudl I use it?
    I am really trying to get better because this could be a huge problem for storage in my house...so I am waiting and sometimes if there is a fabric I like..and I keep admiring it without having purchased any.....and the last of it is on teh shelves I may buy it so that I don't regret itlater...but I am really trying to wait to buy things unless I have a specific project for it because I am getting to many piles of fabric...oh did I just say that?

  14. #14
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    Does it catch my eye is #1 for me, Then if I am just buy8ing for my stash, is it something that can have several different pieces go with it. Also, i "try" to keep my self on a monthly budget.And I have to like the feel of it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlehud
    I buy lots of fabric that just calls to me. If I'm buying specific fabric for a project I can be in the fabric store for hours. My youngest used to laugh at me because it took so long.
    I, too, can spend lots of time looking for fabric for a certain project. However, there have been times when I've been shopping and a certain piece has screamed at me and I know exactly where/how I'm going to use it....so, either way, I've got fabric!

  16. #16
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    My criteria, after finding a fabric that just jumps out at me, is pretty much the same as the others. It has to be reasonably priced so I can afford it, but it also can't be thin!!!! If I pick up a fabric and I can see thru it, it isn't worth my time, effort, or money to buy! Trust me, quality matters as far as the end product is concerned.

    I will go to the LQS looking for a particular fabric, usually a background fabric or something for a particular quilt, but mostly I buy what appeals to me or what I need in order to round out my stash. Most people collect a lot of medium value prints and the lights and darks are neglected. I'm guilty of this and when I go to a quilt store I try to keep this in mind. At the next shop hop around here in May I plan to concentrate on buying mostly dark, dark fabrics to build up my stash. Otherwise, I don't really have a plan.

    I love the "Grab & Run" comment. :lol:

  17. #17
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I buy fabric that jumps out at me... Some of these will probably just sit on my shelves for me to do nothing more than look and touch because it makes me happy. I have several stacks that are for future quilts, I add to them as I find them, this could take years/decades LOL. Other fabric is bought for specific quilts that I am currently working on and blenders I pick up whenever I find a good deal.

    I think the hardest choice for me is how much of each to buy...I go with more is better for my longer range projects and the ones that really jump out at me. I know that when I do get around to using these, it may be impossible to find more, or I may have to pay high "ebay" prices once I do...

  18. #18
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
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    There is no method to my madness. I tend to shop better when I'm "in the mood" though. Unfortunately when I'm in the mood everything appeals to me. When I'm not really into it, nothing seems to appeal. What works best for me is to have a particular project and pattern in mind when I shop.

  19. #19
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    I love to buy pieces that just speak to me -- with no special intention in mind. One thing that causes me to try to go to the fabric dept. of the LQS when there are very few shopper around is this: When I see a pretty piece being cut for someone else, I find myself saying, "Cut a piece for me too." Yikes. That's dangerous.

  20. #20
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    If I like it, I must have some, BUT I will not get the cheap stuff anymore. I made a little quilt for my dog once, and after just 4 washings one fabric was ripping away from the others. I would rather pay a bit more and know that I got the good stuff.

  21. #21
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    It's fun to see what everyone has used as criteria..

    Thanks!

    (I'm glad I am not the only impulse buyer out here ;-))

  22. #22
    CRH
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    I don't like to buy fabric online unless I have to, have been disappointed too many times in color and quality.

    It's all in the FEEL of the fabric for me If its too thin, too coarse, or too stiff I just won't buy it!!

  23. #23
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRH
    I don't like to buy fabric online unless I have to, have been disappointed too many times in color and quality.

    It's all in the FEEL of the fabric for me If its too thin, too coarse, or too stiff I just won't buy it!!
    So, I'm in your neighborhood, maybe... Where do you go to purchase fabric?

  24. #24
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    :oops: My apologies. the last post was not a fair question.

    Thanks to all for your input.

  25. #25

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    If I see it and really like it, I buy it. Especially if on sale! Because for sure when I need a certain color etc., I won't be able to find it! (Just like finding an outfit for a special occasion - I always see things I like but have no use for. Then something special comes up and I can't find anything!!)

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