Saturday, February 18, 2012

My fabric buying rules

I don't buy fabric full price. I can't. I'm unemployed, fresh out of school, applying to any job I can find that fits my skill set. Some people might consider buying fabric a little irresponsible at this point in my life. I consider it my link with sanity. Literally, on some days sewing and playing with fabric is the only thing keeping me from getting very upset with my job search.

So I have a couple fabric buying guidelines [keep in mind that I do 95% of my buying online]:

I will only buy if it's on sale or I have a coupon. Obviously, this leads to some sadness. I wanted some Echo SO bad when it came out, but of course it's been flying off the shelves and there probably won't be any left to go on sale.

Also, my coupons have to be good. So saying I can have $5 or $10 off a $100 purchase just doesn't work for me. Unfortunately. I can't afford to buy that much fabric at once. So I'd rather have a "20% off your total purchase" coupon. 

I also try to take advantage of free shipping when possible!

The one exception I have to my fabric buying rules is that if I am already purchasing sale items at a shop, sometimes I will throw in something I really want that's not on sale. Shhh, don't tell my budget. I don't do it often, just every once in a while!

I got this stack from Wondrous Wovens after I saw someone else's fabric laid out on Flickr. She had gotten the gray Front Row print from Silent Cinema and I immediately went to look because those are my favorite prints. The gray was sold out, but I got these other 3 colors for $3.95 a yard each and then I got the Across the Pond print for $5 a yard. So even though I had to pay shipping it still made this a cheap purchase!

I bought this stack yesterday at Joann's. I buy all my Kona white there, and stock up on solids if they have a good selection that week. It's closer than the one modern[ish] LQS I have around here. Anyways, Konas are 25% off this week, plus they're running a military special for President's Day that gives ID holders an extra 20% off, including sale items. That brought the solids to about $4.80 a yard. I got that purple linen blend to use for a SchoolhouseTunic [already 30%] off for $5.60 a yard, and the turquoise twill for a dress for $7.27 a yard after all the discounts.

So I don't know if I'm just nosy parker, but I always want to know how people buy fabric, which is why I decided to write this post. Yes, I'd love to have a big fabric stash. Yes, there are some fabrics that I won't be able to buy. But sometimes I'm glad that I probably only have 20 yards of fabric on hand around here. I'm afraid I'd be overwhelmed to have enough fabric to run my own shop just out of my stash. I don't even think I like that many prints out there to do that!

So do you have rules for buying fabric? Do you buy on a budget, on a whim, on your emotional mood that day? Do you wish your stash was larger or smaller?


  1. Oh gosh I know how you feel. I'm in exactly the same place right now. . . graduated, job hunting and noooo money for crafty supplies. So I have the no buying things full price with fabrics unless I'm making something for someone and it just won't work otherwise. Cross stitch supplies are harder, because designers don't have pattern sales often. So I just hold out for special occasions! Larger stash would be awesome. . . but on the other hand we're moving country with such regularity at the moment that it would be hard to handle.

    I'm Sarah by the way. . . I've been following for ages and absolutely love your blog, I've just been really bad and haven't commented! Have resolved to change though, so hi! :D

  2. I don't really have rules. I like sales, but if I really really neeeeeed something I don't pass it up. If I were jobless I'm sure I'd be more thrifty though. I guess food and shelter would come before fabric. Most of the time ;-)

  3. Oh man, I hear you! We are in a similar boat. I've been soooo good lately -the last purchase I made was actually fabric I needed for a project (:o). Anyway, whenever I hear of a good sale I'll look around, and I've gotten much better at saying, do I really want this? Am I ever going to use it?

  4. I'm with you on only buying stuff on sale. The LQS near me has a sale section for $5 / yard that I always hit first, they're usually pretty good about switching that stuff out so it's always different when I go, then if I need another print at only a half yard or so I might splurge on a full price item if it's for a particular project. Online I'll only buy what's on sale as well, and try for free shipping for sure. And my #1 rule is never pay full price at Joann! I am jealous they have Kona at your Joann though, there's no where here with Kona so if I want it I have to buy it online :(

  5. i have a huge stash..... not that i have TOO much fabric, i just don't have enough hours in a day to get to the fabric to make more use of it.
    i RARELY buy regular priced fabric; i find it ridiculously priced, and its no better quality than the stuff on sale. I'm not into "fad" buying in the rest of my life - so i can't see myself buying a new line of fabric, just because it's "in" at the moment - i just can't justify paying astronomical prices for fabric.
    You are amazing!!!


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