Monday, 14 October 2013

Fabric Fast - The Home Stretch.

I did a little fabric swap with a friend of mine recently. She needed 4 yds of my solid bone fabric, and offered in return, a little fabric shopping online where she was putting in an order. Fabric shopping you say? I didn't look twice at my solid cotton in bone.

I have let myself look online a few times this year. I've even let myself put some things in a cart. And then I've closed my laptop. There's been times where all I felt like was some online shopping therapy, some seeing what's out there. And I'm glad to say I haven't folded. It's always actually renewed my resolved to keep my year long fast.

I opened up the fabric store site and started clicking things into my cart. I always use my cart as a wishlist first, and then start to cull. I started with the sale section and was glad to see Shelbourne Falls by Denyse Schmidt and some Sarah Jane and even some Hand Drawn Garden by Anna Maria. Note to self: if you wait, it will always go on special. I went looking for some text prints, some other basics...and soon I had about 20 yards in my cart. Well that was fun! Now to narrow it down to four.

I started with the easy ones. The "I'm only buying this because it's $5/yd" prints. Now I had about 15yds. Starting with the reminder that the end of the year would come around quick enough, I asked myself what I actually really like. I could have asked myself, "What will I use?" which also would have been a helpful way of narrowing it down. A simple dot print is one I usually pass up for something more elaborate, but always end up finishing first. But hey. I was shopping for fabric for the first time in months. What would I like? Here's what I chose:

The blue egg print for a quilt back I have planned and the rest just for fun. The text prints got shelved, along with the dots. There's always next year for those.
And what did I learn? (because there's always a lesson in experiences like this!)

- The whole psychology of sales totally works on me. It takes a bit of convincing to let go of something for $5 that I would never buy for 10.
- Because of this, I don't always take the time to really look at prints to decide if I like them or not. I am influenced by value, popularity, scarcity.
- Designs that I couldn't believe I was missing out on when they first came out this year, have faded in their desirability.
- When I have to choose only one or two prints, rather than get a whole bundle of a line, I become much more critical/aware of what I actually like. 


I've kind of been imagining this massive shopping spree in the new year. To have that delicious feeling again of ordering, waiting, arriving, washing, folding, putting away. The expense justified by all that money I've saved. But this little tiny shopping experience showed me that if I started the year that way, well, I haven't really learned anything from this fast. I just took a break, without actually changing my shopping habits. I did want them to change, for the sake of simplicity, but also to learn what I really loved and used. I will still enjoy that new year shopping spree (only 11 weeks away!!), but hopefully with eyes open to what's really me.

And these other fabric photos? They are my current stash. I was hoping I would get to October and I'd have to pull out some serious creativity to keep making with what's left of my meagre collection. But no. This could keep me going another year. And I'm not saying that out of shame for how much I have, but surprise at how far it goes! Turns out a small bookshelf of yardage and about 200 dresses worth of scraps can make a heck of a lot of quilts.


  1. I have drooled over online fabric stores many times as well but just like yours, they often just stayed in the cart due to the postage prices mostly. I love fabric shopping and I think I know how you felt while making your order. Great choices by the way.

  2. Oh, you have such restraint. I'm curious to know which Sarah Jane print ended up being culled? I can never resist anything by her, I'm a shameless SJ groupie.

  3. I love your systematic approach. I do the same thing, in and out of the cart it goes. Until one day where I just explode and buy one of everything. Um, yeah, we won't talk about that. ;-)

  4. wow - you still have so much left! I am thinking of doing a fabric fast next year - I don't actually have that much but I have bought enough this year that I haven't yet used and I have spent far too much money. Any hints on things I should stock up on for Christmas presents that will be useful before the fast begins? I also took note of your previous post where you said maybe allowing a buy at 6 months would make things a little easier!! I love that you have had the will power to see it through - it is so easy to give in to temptation when all you have to do is click a button on the computer!

  5. Good for you Jodi! I wondered if you could do it at the beginning of the year, but you sure have shown resolve! It's a cool accomplishment for sure!

  6. I'm thinking of doing this in 2014 and really focusing on the things I love in my stash. The Mr is already buying my favorite fabric designers newest line coming out in Nov for Christmas and I think I need to just stop after that. Mmmm, is it possible??? Agh!

  7. Love this post, Jodi! So much wisdom in here...

  8. Wow, Jodi, you have really persevered! Your fast is something to be proud of for sure. I agree with all your reflection points at the end of your post. I have been trying to cut down on buying more fabric too, and I do find that if I wait to buy a new collection, its desirability fades for me too. The most effective way for me to buy less is to unsubscribe to a lot of store newsletters. I almost always end up clicking to see something on sale and end up getting stuff. So as long as I don't look...

    Congratulations on 10 months of deliberate change. I wonder what fabric is first on your list come January?

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I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx