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Saturday, 24 March 2018

Replenishing My Fabric Stash — Every Three & a Half Years!

image courtesy of Pixabay.com... (LOL — this is not mine!)
It was the last week of February and I was in a creative slump.

Even though the worst of winter seemed to be behind us and days were getting longer (or, I should say, we were seeing more hours of actual daylight), I went through four or five days of feeling like nothing was working.

I had projects that I wanted to start (and in fact, did start) and even saw something new that I wanted to make, but I just wasn't FEELING IT. Very odd, since (at the time) I had recently been away from both computer and sewing machine for two whole weeks. I should have been filled with inspiration and creative energy and raring to get back into action!

As I sat wondering what to do about it, a little voice in the back of my head said, "Fabric shopping."

I didn't recognize that voice. It could very well have been mine, but the fact is, I've rarely said those words.

However, I have heard that when people find themselves in a sewing slump, shopping for fabric is a great way to break out of it. So....

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Here's the thing about me and fabric shops. I've been to so few, that to be in one makes me feel like a fish out of water. Back in the old days when I would go into a department store to look for fabric, it was always with a purpose. Even when I purchased fabric for the first time in many years in September of 2012, it was for a specific project.

I have no experience doing what other sewing enthusiasts do so often: buy fabric just to have it. With no end result in mind, it's frankly intimidating to step into a fabric shop and see these massive bolts of material looming over me like some sort of fabric Stonehenge. It's not a scene that invites me to browse.

image courtesy of Pixabay.com... (Still not mine!)
It might be different if we had a discount warehouse type of fabric store, where one can scoop up yardage for a few dollars. In that case, I might be convinced to brave the stacks and go digging for bargains.

In the big picture, however, it was probably high time for me to re-inspire myself with new fabric. Apart from occasionally buying some of my own stuff from Spoonflower, I hadn't purchased any real fabric since my Robert Kaufman Mystery Box in September of 2014. Those selections (as well as others from a similar collection) have served me well over the past three and a half years.

That's right. Can you imagine shopping for fabric only once every three and a half years? NO FREAKIN' WAY, I hear you saying.

Since I've established that I had no real desire to hunt for fabric in a store, my solution was Craftsy. That particular weekend, they were featuring 50% off sewing and quilting supplies. (By the way, an even better sale offering up to 60% off is on this weekend.) After an hour of browsing online, here's what ended up in my cart.

Boundless DECOdent Earthtone Stash Builder (Neutrals/Gold)

Boundless is a brand exclusive to Craftsy. This collection called DECOdent — inspired by 1920s Art Deco — is a clearance bundle of nine fabrics (in assorted size cuts totaling nine yards), marked down to $52.22 from $149.19 (all pricing in Canadian dollars).

image courtesy of Craftsy...

There is one each in a 1/4 yard, a 2 yard, and a 2 3/8 yard cut; two 3/4 yard cuts, and four 5/8 yard cuts. (And as it turns out, they are almost in order of how you see them in the above picture, with the exception that the 1/4 yard is the small sample on the far right.)

Robert Kaufman Remix Metallic Bundle

I've always liked this RK collection by Anne Kelle (she's the one who designed the Dubstepper messenger bag pattern that I customized for myself) and am happy now to have some of it to inspire me.

image courtesy of Craftsy...

This clearance bundle consists of five different one yard cuts, marked down to $32.11 from $71.35. It's even cheaper today, at $28.54 last I checked!

[By the way, Craftsy often has some decent clearance deals on fabric; i.e., discounts beyond any sale pricing that might be in effect. To see what's currently available, click here.]

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Coats Eclectic Elements Precuts

Ever since I first saw this collection by Tim Holtz featured in a tutorial on Sew4Home, I've been lusting after it. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw that the collection was available in a fat quarter bundle at half price, $55.13.

image courtesy of Craftsy...

I don't know how many different selections there are in the entire collection, but this bundle features twenty-five fat quarters in total.

image courtesy of Craftsy...

You know, if I could name a collection of fabric that has really "spoken" to me since I started this journey, this would be it. I love the whole nostalgic imagery and the text-y prints. (And while these are all fat quarters, I'm pretty sure some creative mixing and matching can meet project requirements for yardage.)

Here are my actual fabrics, with one pulled out that I didn't think belonged. (In fact, if it hadn't been included in the picture above, I would have thought it was a misplaced design!) It's a predominantly soft-focused floral print that I didn't find all that appealing.

Having said that, just wait 'til you see what I made with it.

My bundle of Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements fat quarters...

Total cost to replenish my fabric stash — with just over twenty yards — was $162.34. Fabric itself was $139.46; shipping was $15.15 and import tax was $7.73. (By the way, Crafty's shipping time to Canada has greatly improved since my last experience with them; I got my order within ten days instead of three weeks.) More than I originally intended to spend, but with shipping being more or less a flat rate to a certain degree, it was beneficial to maximize my order.

And the thing is, I found the Tim Holtz collection last and couldn't pass on it once I saw it. More significantly, if I don't buy fabric for another three and a half years, that's less than $50 a year. ;-)

Furthermore, I can't put a price on the fact that later that very evening, my personal foggy cloud started to lift. Within a couple of days, I made this inspired five pocket pouch (with relatively new fabrics from my existing stash) that was quite popular in terms of being pinned. In the following two weeks, I was actually on quite a creative roll.

On the other hand — as testament to my weird relationship with fabric — now that I have all of this new stuff in my possession, I'm feeling the stress of how the heck am I going to use this up??

I'm sure that the majority of you are quite different from me. In fact, is your fabric stash so extensive that its value should be added to your homeowners' insurance policy?


  1. I go into fabric stores, but rarely buy anything unless it is on clearance. The regular prices just don't fit my budget. To me, the price of fabric is depressing and makes me want to find another hobby. I figure right now I have enough fabric to take me through retirement.

  2. Be careful - you might join the rest of us with more frequent fabric shopping. Don't stess about how you're going to use up your acquisitions. The right project will come up for each fabric, even if it's years away. I have 22 fat quarters of Eclectic Elements, and have no definite idea how I'll use it. I just LOVE it. That floral print doesn't look like it belongs in there at all.

  3. Oh I do like that Tim Holtz fabric collection and yes that floral looks like an odd one in that mix. I mostly buy on sale and clearance when I buy fabric. I have been given fabric from friends and at our guild people unload stuff they don't want and us vultures swoop down and grab up scraps and yardage. The freebie stuff sustains me from any need to go to a quilt or fabric shop. It can be overwhelming indeed! Where do you start because there can be 100's of bolt of blue alone. So that's when buying cheap pays off. I rarely buy with a project in mind because I like to use a lot of different fabrics. But I do sometimes buy something not on sale if someone wants me to make them a bag in a certain fabric that I don't have. Even if I do buy enough yardage thinking I will make such and such with it, by the time I get around to making it either I have changed my mind about making it, or found a different use for the fabric. Fabric to us quilters is like crack, lol!!! We got to have it, even if it's a tiny new piece. I have purchased fabric on sale once from Craftsy and it was nice stuff. Looking forward to seeing how you use the fabric you purchased.


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