Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fabric Shopping

Anyone who reads this blog understands that I love sewing, and I have since I was a very small child!  I enjoy the process from beginning to end.  I was strictly a garment sewist for a very long time.  I started quilting when we were expecting the arrival of our first grandchild in 2001. 

My very favorite part of the process has to be picking out the fabrics.  I love the planning stage of any type of project.  Coming up with a pattern and having a picture in my mind of the finished product, and then trying to come up with the materials just makes my juices flow!

One of my favorite places to be is any fabric department of any store... but of course I have my favorites!! 
These days, I shop for garment fabric from my stash, and when I can't find the right thing there, I have to travel out of town, or shop the Internet.  <Sigh>

Sewists are by nature tactile beings.  We need to touch and feel.  We see as much with our fingers as with our eyes.  I dare anyone who sews even a little to walk through their local fabric source and not touch SOMETHING while they're walking the aisles!!  Nope, can't do it!

So learning to shop on the Internet has been a challenge for me.  For quilting cottons, it's not so bad.  You can learn a fabric line or buy a designer, and you just have to be a little concerned that the colors on the screen are what you really want. 

With garment fabric it's a bit more challenging.  You can learn the various types of fabric, and what they are expected to feel like, or how they would drape.  Books like Fabric Savvy and More Fabric Savvy from Sandra Betzina can help.

But if you really want to know how the fabric will FEEL, if that's important to you before you buy, shopping on line can be very hard.  That's why it's so important to find out some things about your on line retailer.  What is their return policy if the fabric is just not what you thought it would be?  And can you order a swatch, and will it be large enough for you to determine whether it's suitable?

Soapbox warning!!  If you work for a chain store you can turn away for a few second...

I am a big believer in supporting local merchants!  If there's a store in the area that carries what I need, I don't buy on line, even if I can get something a little cheaper.  Because if I'm not helping to support those local stores all the time, sooner or later they close up.  Then we're stuck with fabric from whoever stays in the area, and the choices dry up!  So shop your local merchants, and thank them for being in business in your area!

OK, off the soapbox now.  You can look again.

Enjoy your next fabric shopping trip.  Look around, you might see me there!

Sew On.

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