Wandaful Quilts

Visit my blog shop https://wandafulquilts.blogspot.com for items for sale: wall art, mini art, quilt tops, fabric groupings. It is an ever changing group of items.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

How much fabric do I buy?.........

Wow, so many of you want to know how much of each fabric I buy (yesterday's comments).  First a little background.  I started working in a quilt shop in 1979, owned my own shop in the early 1980s, continued working at quilt shops through 2000.  I was the buyer, or the owner's helper/buyer at most of the shops.  This means I know how to stock a quilt shop with a terrific variety of styles and colors of fabric.

Now, my own collection is something like that too.  I don't own just one plaid, or 3 flannels, or only medium tone floral fabrics.  I have a full selection of color and value in all types of quilting fabric so my buying may be a little different than yours.  I am not building a stash as much as I'm filling in gaps.
I bought my first Keiko Goke prints in 2010 and they were $15.50 a yard at that time.  Pretty pricey!  I bought 1 yard pieces of a couple of them.  As time went on I bought half yards of more of them (all of these from gloriouscolor.com which is closing out the remainder of her fabrics at sale prices right now).  In the last few years I have picked up a few more on sale (40-45% off) at equilter.com.  I don't have every fabric in her many collections, just ones that appealed to me or were on sale at a good price.  I don't have any local quilt shops carrying her fabric so I had to go to the internet for it.  When buying on sale most locations have a 1 yard minimum cut so I have more of some than others.

If you are using a lot of different fabrics in a quilt, quarter yards are probably enough, but I still like half yards so I don't use it all up.  If you want it all gone when you are done cutting for a project, then buy quarter yards.  If I run out of a fabric I just look through my stash for a similar one to continue cutting.  I would rather use 5 reds than just 1 if the quilt calls for red.

Think of the kind of quilts you like to make.  I not only like a variety of color in my quilts, I also need a variety of values.  I don't just buy my favorite color in one value....but every color.....every value (from light to dark).

The main thing when shopping is to know the selection you already own.  Know what colors or values are  missing and be on a mission to fill in with them.  That means organizing your fabrics and having them where you can see them.  Don't keep fabric you have purchased in the bag from the store and toss it on the pile. (yes, some people do that!). 

Also, think about what type of quilts you like to make.  If you are always adding white (or any other light) as a contrast to every piece you sew you might not need as many values.  If you are doing a blend (colorwash, Trip Around the World) you need every step of value.  Know thyself is the key to having a good usable stash, a stash that you can shop at midnight and be ready to start a quilt the next day. 

I also addressed this subject back in 2007, the year I started my blog.  Here is one post and another.  The main thing that has changed since then is that my income is way down from what it was then so half yards and sale fabric are my 2 best choices now.

22 comments:

Sewing Junkie said...

Budget is a key factor. Not only is your spending power down as many of us have experienced the cost of fabric is way up also. Good explanation of a practical purchasing plan. I myself like a yard, but I don't buy designer fabrics. I buy for color. Every quilter should have a plan before buying. Many bad choices come from buying on a whim. Sales are great, but with my budget I have to be able to use it not just buy it because it is on sale. Good advise Wanda. Chris

Libby in TN said...

Very helpful, Wanda. Because of space and budget constraints, I've become a half-yard kinda gal. When FQs are on sale I try to get a large variety in a single color family. My purchases these days read like solids so that I can pair with the impulse print purchases from my early days.

Hedy Hahn said...

Loved reading today's entry about how you buy fabric. Right now I am only buying what I absolutely need for quilts and nothing more. I had to buy mint fabric for my niece's quilt and most of it was $10.98 a yard, went with 1/2 yard pieces. I think knowing what a quilter likes to make is very important. I have seen your stash and it's lovely.

Mary said...

What a fun and inspirational post.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

Love your organization of your fabric! Totally agree fabric should be out on shelves where you can see it so you know what you have.

Needled Mom said...

Great advice, Wanda.

Alice Turcotte said...

Thank you for the great lessons (I read the previous ones). You have shown me what I need to do. Better organization and knowing what I have. I like your open shelving. Mine is in closed cabinets and I see the drawbacks. You've given me many ideas. I have been buying when I see good sales and usually doing half yards. Thanks so much, Alice

Tami Von Zalez said...

Wow and double wow! I am looking for a unit so I can organize by color.
I rarely buy retail, usually only for backing material.

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing your methods and wisdom for us. Great info to know.

Lynda said...

I often times pass up a good sale if I am required to buy a one yard minimum - I prefer to have half yards of many fabrics. I have also found that shopping sales of "backings" for quilt kits is a good thing, This can give you not only backings for your own quilts, but with some fabrics, good yardage for backgrounds. Its all about what the budget will allow sadly.

tubakk said...

Thanks for your advice. So fun to read.

Anonymous said...

I tend to buy mostly fat quarters, but I am always on the lookout for potential backing fabrics....
Love the way you store/display your fabric inventory!!
Great post today....very informative!!
Do you pre-wash your fabrics? There are so many different thoughts on whether to, or not....I would love to hear what you do....
Sandra B
scb304@juno.com

Linda Swanekamp said...

Thank you for this post and reference back to the other two. It helps a lot. It would help if I had one wall to put all the fabric bins on, but they have to be separated. I try to keep batiks together, under a yard together and over a yard together all by color. I wish I had a store that I could routinely check, instead of online where I forget the stores.
Thanks so much!!

Nann said...

I like the analogy you used in your earlier post. You wrote that you cook/bake more if you have the ingredients on hand. The same goes for your quilts--by having a variety of fabric in your stash you are all set when inspiration strikes.

Elaine/Muddling Through said...

If you like to sew at night as I do, the stash shop is the only one open, so I do like it to be well stocked. I am so blessed to have had lots of fabric given to me. I also, back in the beginning of my stash building ran into a seller of ebay who was clearing out her store. I bought several box lots of whatever at a per pound rate. I'm still using some of it!

I have learned so much from you, Wanda, over the years of reading this blog, and I thank you for sharing your knowledge. From the bottom of my heart!

MariQuilts said...

Great post....am I the only one that has the reputation of buying the "whole bolt"?

patty a. said...

Your stash is wonderful! You are much more methodical than I am when it comes to buying fabric, but since our styles are so different it makes sense that our buying methods are different. I do love those KG fabrics you have.

MontyBear said...

Wow! This is such an informative post today. It was extremely helpful and gave me a starting place to analyze my stash (miniscule compared to the amount you have. ) Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Please put a tag on the sidebar for these articles. Thank you so much for posting them. :D

Anonymous said...

I am so glad the days of "calico" are in the past. I really hated those, but I love the batiks and contemporary fabrics. I do like some reproduction fabrics though. I should have had a career in fabrics and fibers. What was I thinking working in offices for so many years???

Mystic Quilter said...

This post is very timely! I have been buying lately, fabric arrived yesterday and another package should be here today. I used to be a quarter yard/metre buyer but found I really wanted to have a little more than just a small scrap left of my favourite fabrics, now buy 1/2 yard/metre, if I think I may use quite bait of it then it's a yard and if I adore it 3 yards. I do need to rationalise my stash of fabrics as I am a huge fan of KF collective I end up with big, bold and beautiful, but they can be used in so many ways.
Read your back posts too.

Jocelyn Thurston said...

What an insightful and interesting post, Wanda. Thank you for taking the time to write it.