Why Too Much Fabric is Never Enough

When I sat down to write a post today I had fully intended to write about some of my makes from the Peaks 6 retreat last weekend. Then I realised I couldn’t find my camera cable and that most of the photos I wanted to use were still on my camera.  So, instead I thought I’d share a few thoughts on my stash and a problem I’m sure effects many of us – the problem that too much fabric is never quite enough.

My latest frustrations arose when I decided I was going to join in the Bright Sky QAL that Alyce over at Blossom Heat Quilts is currently hosting. Alyce’s Bright Sky quilt pattern is a large single star quilt that is fat quarter friendly. Perfect I thought. I love large block quilts, and this is most certainly one of those, and my satsh has a large selection of fat quarters so I should have no problem finding fabrics to use. Boy, was I wrong! I started by getting the pattern. Then I did what I so often do with patterns, I drew up my own version in EQ7 so I could audition fabrics. And that was where the problems started.

SpainGrungeI found a nice Kate Spain and Grunge combination that I liked but then discovered I was going to be a little short on one of the Grunge fabrics. Now, for many that wouldn’t be a problem, a quick trip to the local quilt store would fix that. Me, I have to get online and order it from abroad and at the moment I am trying to avoid ordering fabric unless absolutley necessay.

So back to the drawing board I went. For myself, I couldn’t come up with any combinations that appealed to me and so I dediced to try some fabrics I have stashed away to use for quilts for the boys. I started with some of Robert Kaufman Stargazers – I have a fat quarter bundle and while there is technically enough fabric I feel I am one fat quarter short of the layout that best appeals to me.

StargazersThe same goes for the One Bizillion BC fabrics that I have stashed away. There just doesn’t seem to be the right combination in the mix, even when I factor in all of the coordinating fabrics I have in my blenders stash.

BizillionIt’s quite a shame really as I had great notions of piecing these two guys into the central block. I guess they are going to just have to wait a little longer to be used.

DinosAll of this has got me to wondering if I should start buying more larger cuts of fabric. I do tend to buy yard (and larger) cuts of the solids and background fabrics that I use, but for the rest it is usually half yards or fat quarters. For the most part this works well for me as it gives me a large selection of fabrics to work with and as I usually prefer to work from my own desings I find that I design projects with my stash in mind. There are plusses and minues to buying more. On the plus side I would have more flexibility as to what I could sew. On the down side I would probably have a lot less variation in my stash. Buying larger cuts of fabric would mean cutting back on the number of different designs I could buy as neither my budget nor the storage space I have available to me would allow me to buy significantly more volume.

At the end of the day, however, it is the variation in my stash that appeals to me most so I am doubtful about ever changing my buying habits. While I may not be able to join the QAL right now there is absolutely no reason why I can’t make up the pattern at a later date when I have the right fabrics available to me. I would much prefer to make a version of the quilt that I really like rather than making one that is okayish just for the sake of joining in, a version that I know would never be my ideal. For now I’ll find another project to work on that works with what I have and I’ll be more than happy that I can do just that.

What about you? How do you prefer to buy fabric? Do you like to buy it on a project by project basis or do you keep a stash of favourite fabrics that you add to as necessary for each new project that you begin? I’d love for you to share what works best for you.

6 thoughts on “Why Too Much Fabric is Never Enough

  1. I tend to purchase a half yard of fabric if I don’t have an exact plan in mind, because I know that fat quarters are rarely enough for me! And if I don’t have a plan but like a certain mix of fabrics together (4-6 fabrics), I will buy a yard of each.

  2. I’ve been buying fabrics on a project to project basis. I’m fairly new at this as I’ve just started sewing this year. I’m really wishing I had a “stash” to pull from but for now I just buy what’s needed. I hope to start building a solids stash soon though. I find if I don’t buy enough of something I end up wishing I had some solids to mix in to stretch it. Lol. And solids are a lil bit cheaper! I’m not sure if this is a good idea yet though. Still just too new.

  3. I’m starting to wish that fat quarters were an option of a cut size as well as the half yard from more online stores.

    I’ve seen talk before that buying your favourite prints from a collection rather than the whole FQ bundle can work better as there are always prints in a collection that you don’t like as much. But then I find when I choose my favourite prints, because I’m having to buy half yards, it costs just as much as the whole fat quarter bundle anyway. If I bought the bundle, then I’d get the prints I want, plus extras to fill up in my stash. When I do pick my favourites from a collection, I tend to go for the feature prints and ignore the basics as spots and stripes and things are pretty generic and are easy to find in sale bins etc, even if they’re made by someone else. Essentially, this means my stash ends up lacing in some of these basic blenders!

    I’ve been trying to look at how I use my stash, and half yards do come in handy because there’s more fabric, but I don’t think I personally really use my stash to make my own quilt pulls. When I do, I end up picking patterns, or choosing a whole range of fabrics, where a fat quarter would be enough; so I don’t really need the half yard all the time!

  4. I still do the fat quarter thing from time to time but I’m buying 1/2 yards more and more. Discovered when making a medallion quilt that FQ’s just aren’t big enough!

  5. While I’m pretty much buying fabric on a project-by-project basis, if there is something that I really want I’ll buy a FQ since I like scrappy quilts or a half yard if it’s a larg design. If there is something that I think I could later create a quilt around and I could use this fabric for borders or backing, I’ll buy 3 or 4 yards. It tends to be a *very* special fabric for me to buy that much w/out having already having a plan.

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