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Episode 111

6 Fabric Shopping Rules Everyone Should Know

If you buy too much fabric, have yards of unused fabric getting dusty in your stash, or you aren’t sure if you’re buying the right fabric for your projects, here are 6 fabric shopping rules to help you only buy fabric you'll actually sew.

Podcast Transcript

Sarai
I’m Sarai.

Haley
And I’m Haley.

Sarai
And this is Seamwork Radio. Welcome back to Seamwork Radio, where we share practical ideas for building a creative process so you can sew with intention and joy. Today we’re talking about six fabric shopping rules that everyone should know, and we’re going to cover how to avoid making expensive impulse decisions while you’re shopping, how to avoid buying fabric you won’t actually want to wear, and how to tell what a fabric will look like on your body and not just on the bolt.

So these tips are going to be really helpful whether you’re buying online or if you’re buying in a store. And at the end, we’re also going to share a way for you to get discounts on fabric, so stick around until then. All right, so getting into our icebreaker for today, Haley, this one comes from Seamwork member Anne, and Anne writes, “What advice did you initially dismiss that you now subscribe to?”

Haley
That is a great icebreaker. I think that I shrugged off a lot of good advice, honestly, when I first started sewing, because I was just, like, in a hurry. And the advice I shrugged off pertains to that. I had this pattern making and sewing instructor named Anna, and she was like, this stern Russian woman, but very maternal and loving. I have very fond memories of her. Anyway, she told me she’s like, you’re always in a rush. You need to stop worrying about sewing fast or even sewing good, and just something along the lines of, like, and just try to enjoy sewing, because if you enjoy it, then the rest will come easily. And I was like, easy for you to say. You don’t have 8 hours of sewing homework to do every day. It kind of blew it off. But now I have really come to appreciate that advice, and it is something that I definitely live by when it comes to sewing.

Sarai
That’s such great advice. It’s true in so many aspects of life, not just sewing, that if you enjoy something, you’re going to be better at it and you get to enjoy it at the same time.

Haley
Yeah, shout out to Anna. Really great advice. Thanks for that. What about you, Sarai? What is some advice that you dismissed?

Sarai
I think the advice that I dismissed early on was to invest in good fabric and especially buying fabric that’s really intended for clothing, like garment fabric. When I first started sewing, I would just use whatever looked cute, and sometimes it was upholstery fabric, which sometimes upholstery fabric can work. You can use it for clothing sometimes, but not always. And quilting fabric, which, again, sometimes quilting fabric can be used for clothing. So I’m not totally dismissing it, but I chose it with no rhyme or reason for the actual garment that it was going to end up as. I had some really wacky projects early on because of that, and I don’t regret that, but I think now I definitely look for fabric that matches the design intent of whatever I’m creating. And that’s a big part of the sort of design and planning process that goes into sewing that I think I didn’t really value early on. Early on, it was just about whatever looks cute, put it together with a pattern that looks cute and make it. And I think everybody goes through that phase, but it’s different now that I have a lot more experience with it.

Great ice breaker, Anne. Thank you so much for the question. So if you have an ice breaker for us for a future episode and you’re a Seamwork member, you can go to Seamwork.com/go/icebreakers, and that will take you to a post on our community where you can share your idea for a future icebreaker.

All right, so getting into our topic for today so it’s really easy to get distracted by pretty things when you go fabric shopping and just to forget about what you actually want to make, what your sewing plans are, what you’re actually going to wear, what your real life is like, because there’s just so many beautiful things that you can buy at the fabric store. So it’s just very easy to get lost in the fantasy of it all and all the aesthetic choices. I know for me, the more choice I have, the harder it is to make a decision and make a smart decision. So at least when I go to our local fabric store, there are a lot of choices, and it’s also really easy to buy more than you could possibly use. I think most people who sell probably are people who have a fabric stash at home that they, on some level, know they’re never really going to get through.

So that’s another issue, is just buying more than you need. And there’s just a lot to consider when you’re thinking about fabric and you’re thinking about how to match fabric and patterns together and actually create something out of it. So because there’s just so much to consider and there’s so many choice at the same time, and it’s also beautiful, that is a recipe for disaster for me. That makes it really hard to shop for fabric, even more so, I think, than shopping for clothing most of the time. So it’s an issue for a lot of us, I think.

Haley
I think so. I definitely go in and out of phases of struggling with it. I’m curious, how often do you buy fabric?

Sarai
Do you think so? I used to buy fabric a lot. I would say I’ve drastically cut down the amount of fabric I buy because I’m more into planning my projects now, and we’ll talk about that a little bit, a little bit more. But I would say I buy fabric now maybe every couple of months, every two to three months. So not really that often compared to what I used to do, which was probably at least once a month, I would say, in the past. What about you?

Haley
Yeah, I’m kind of similar. I used to work in a fabric store, and that was dangerous because I would just anytime a beautiful fabric came in, which was often, I was like, I need to buy that. But now I definitely buy a lot less. The most recent fabric I bought, I bought something from Blackbird like, two months ago, and before that, I think it had been like six months since I had bought any fabric. I don’t have a huge stash, but I have a more substantial stash. Lots of times. I can pull from that if there’s something that I want to make. And I plan my wardrobe and my sewing a lot more now. So I just don’t tend to make as many impulsive decisions. Although my last fabric purchase was impulsive. But I have no regrets because you got to live your life sometimes. Are there particular types of fabric that you find really hard to turn down?

Sarai
Yeah, I would say so. I think the fabrics that I have a hard time turning down, well, first of all, prints, they’re usually prints, and that’s because when you see a print and it really speaks to you or it speaks to your personal style, there’s just this feeling that you’re never going to see it again. Whereas I think with solids, even if it’s a really beautiful color, I feel like for some reason, there’s just this sense that, well, I could probably find that sometime in the future, a color that’s similar to that or that will work in the same way.

Whereas with the print, it’s like, wow, that’s so cool. I buy it now or I’m never going to see it again. So for me, it’s prints specifically on fabrics like silk or rayon that are more slinky, because I really like those kinds of sewing with those kinds of fabrics and making garments that are a little bit more floaty and slinky a lot of the time, like dresses. And those are a little bit harder to find compared to beautiful prints that are on, like, a cotton wall or something like that. So when I see that, I have a hard time saying no.

And if it’s in a color that I wear a lot, then even more so. What about you?

Haley
I definitely agree with what you said. If I see a print that really speaks to my personal style and really fits into my wardrobe, I am going to buy it. And that was the case with the most recent fabric I bought. It was just a really beautiful floral print, but it was more of like a line work kind of floral print. And so I was like, that’s really amazing, and I need to have it. I think that the other thing that I’m a sucker for is I wear a lot of neutral colors, but I have kind of my five colors that I mix in with the neutrals a lot. And if I find something that is in the middle of the Venn diagram, has the colors that I like and is a fiber that I really like to wear, then I probably am going to buy it because I know that even if I don’t have a specific plan for it, it’s going to fit into the bigger picture of my wardrobe.

Sarai
Yeah, and I think that’s one of those cases where impulse buying is not necessary. I just want to be clear, we’re not saying impulse buying is a bad thing either.

Haley
Yeah, totally.

Sarai
I think when you’re buying things that you see and that immediately strike you, then sometimes that’s a great thing that can lead to all kinds of creative ideas and new projects. And I think that’s really cool too. I think sometimes there are just too many of those happening and you’re not actually going to be able to use it all that’s when it’s a problem.

Haley
Yeah, these are just great tools or strategies to kind of implement for you so that you can buy more of the stuff that’s going to be really useful to you. Sarah, do you prefer having a large stash or a small stash of fabric?

Sarai
Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t know. It depends on how you would define large and small, I guess. I don’t know if my stash is large or small personally compared to other people. I don’t know if I think about times I’ve had a larger stash, times I’ve had a smaller stash. I prefer it when it’s on the smaller side, I would say because I know what I have and how I can use it and it’s easier to keep track of. And I don’t feel like I have a bunch of fabric that I’ve had for years that is just going to baste. So I’d say small but not tiny. I like to have something to have those fabrics to go back to that I can look through and get new ideas. And I think it’s nice to have a stash when it’s really big and you feel like you’re spending time organizing it, and that gets a little bit overwhelming to me. What about you?

Haley
I think that I’m kind of more like small to mid. I want some options to be able to pull from, but I don’t want it to be so big that it is an obstacle to my sewing. And the last question, which types of fabric do you sew with most often?

Sarai
Well, I sew with a lot of natural fibers, for sure. I like making things with silk, but I wouldn’t say it’s one of the fabrics I sew with the most often. I’d say the fabric I probably sew with the most often would be all kinds of cottons because they are widely available. And I also like that cotton lawn, cotton voile, a double gauze. They are all very casual fabrics, so I know that I’ll actually wear them. Whereas if I make something that’s really beautiful out of silk, silk charmeuse or something like that, it will look great, and it will sit in my closet most of the time because it’s not something I’m going to wear when I’m working from home or just day to day. But I do so with a lot of cotton lawn, cotton wall, that sort of thing. What about you?

Haley
I’m a cotton girl through and through. We should be in a cotton commercial. Remember those? Like, I’m singing and living my life in my cotton.

Sarai
It’s like the fabric of your life or something.

Haley
Yes, that’s what about the tagline? What’s the hook there? Just the fabric of my life. Yeah, it’s definitely the fabric I wear most often, I sew with most often. I think my favorite fabric to sew with is I like sewing with cotton fine enough, but I love sewing with wool. I think it’s just like the most delightful to sew with, but not the one that I sew or wear most often. I think it’s important to know the difference.

Sarai
Yeah. I would also say I sew with knits quite a bit for same kinds of reasons. Knits are easy to sew and they’re fast to sew, which is also another bonus, but they’re also very easy to wear. And I think all of us wear knits quite a bit day to day, so it’s something that is very practical. So I do so with nits quite a bit too.

Well, this brings us to our tips that we want to share with you. So we have six rules today to help you shop for fabric, and if you have issues with buying too much fabric or not sure that you’re choosing the right fabric, just how to put fabric and patterns together, these tips are going to help you out.

So the first one I really like, this tip don’t buy on a whim unless you’d sew it on a whim. So if it’s the kind of thing that you would just grab out of your stash and sew it on a whim, then maybe it’s okay to buy that impulse fabrics. We were talking a couple of minutes ago about buying on impulse not necessarily being a bad thing because it can spark these kinds of very spur of the moment creative ideas.

And so if it’s the kind of thing that might do that for you, maybe that’s a better contender for an impulse purchase. So one of the ways to work with this rule is to have a list of fabrics that you sew with regularly. So these are fabrics that you sew often and that you wear often. So Haley and I mentioned a few of them. We mentioned cottons are things that both of us tend to sew with a lot, and we also tend to wear them a lot. And then knits are another thing that we tend to wear a lot and are easy to sew on a whim. So those might be good categories for you. Or maybe you have another category of fabrics that you tend to wear a lot and you sew a lot. And so if you have those kinds of things, like maybe it’s linen for you, maybe you sew linen all the time. You wear linen all the time. And if you see a linen out in the world that really speaks to you, that might be a fabric that you do want to pick up because you know that you’re going to sew it, and you’re going to wear it.

So if there’s a fabric that you want, you then decide whether it falls in this category before making the purchase. So if you’ve got this list of these fabrics that you sew with and you wear often, then it makes it a lot easier to make that decision. The exception of this is if you have a specific project in mind. So if there’s something that’s kind of bubbling in your head and you know that there’s this project you want to make and you see the perfect fabric for it, maybe that’s a good one to just pick up when you see it. But if you have this kind of rule in your mind about fabrics that you’re actually going to use, you’re actually going to wear, that’s a good kind of filter for making these more impulse decisions. And I really like this rule because it kind of gives you a guideline. It doesn’t say don’t make impulse decisions, don’t pick up this fabric, or don’t do it if you already have a stash of a certain size. It’s not that restrictive. It’s more like, is this going to be something that’s practical for me in my life? And is it likely to be used? Like, what’s the probability that it’s going to be actually used? So I really like this rule because of that.

Haley
It makes me think of my Venn diagram.

Sarai
Yes, exactly. When we were talking earlier about fabrics that we tend to not be able to resist, I think that’s kind of what this is, speaking to these fabrics that you just know that you’re going to love no matter what. So that’s the first rule we have for buying fabric, and I like that we’re starting with one that allows you to make some impulse purchases.

The next one is to buy in your color palette. So Haley spoke to us a little bit already, but buying within your color palette is a great way to kind of, again, filter and make better decisions about what you actually take home with you. The fabrics that we don’t use are often in colors that we don’t wear. So I don’t know about you, Haley, but when I see a fabric in a really beautiful color or print, but often in a really cool color, I sometimes will not think about whether that’s actually a color that I wear whether it goes with other things that I have, whether I will actually take it out of my closet or know what to pair with it. So if it’s a color that you wear, I think that’s a really good preexisting filter because if you’re judging by your past behavior I think it gives a more realistic view of what you will actually put on in the future.

So I think a lot of times you see something in a color that works really well on somebody else or that just looks great on the hanger or on the boat and you fall in love with it and you get it home and you don’t have any clue what to do with it. You don’t feel right in it. I know recently I got an email from this retailer. They’re having a sale and I’ve bought some clothes from this retailer before and I really like them. I think they’re really like high quality, really nice. And I was taking a look and there was this dress and it was really beautiful. And I know that the cut is something that I wear all the time and that I would feel great in but the color was sort of like this not a mossy green, but almost like a muted chartreuse kind of color, like a brighter olive. And I thought, well, it’s a really beautiful color. It’s really beautiful for fall. I don’t own anything in that color though and I don’t wear that color. I definitely wear green, but I don’t wear that color. I started thinking maybe I need more of that color in my wardrobe.

Maybe I could start wearing that color. But the reality is, if I don’t wear it, it’s because it’s just not a color that I’m really drawn to wearing. And if I had it in my closet, I might not actually feel right in it. So I think when it comes to fabric, looking at your closet and determining what colors you actually wear is good for creating some guidelines about what to buy in the future. Not that you can’t take risks with color once in a while but I think if you’re really trying to maximize what you’re actually going to wear and if it’s a question in your mind whether you’ll wear it, then this is kind of something to think about. So that is also a good way to find colors that go well with what you already have. So I think returning to your wardrobe, returning to what colors you have colors you actually wear is great for both making decisions about whether you’ll wear this particular color or whether it’ll go with stuff that you already own. I’m curious, Halley, because you were talking about how you have you wear a lot of neutrals and then you sprinkle in these other colors.

Are those things that you feel like go together, those colors? Do you feel like it’s easy to swap them in with everything else.

Haley
Yeah. This is something that I’ve been kind of working on this year, is really, like, honing in on my color palette. Not necessarily like, the colors that are, like, make me sparkle or all of that stuff is great stuff. If things make you feel good, I say go for it. If you subscribe to, like, color seasons or whatever. But I’ve been really trying to figure out the colors that I like to wear, the colors that go well together and that I can mix and match, and I’ve kind of, like, settled on this more defined palette that I feel really good about. And I’ve been really strict with myself about only buying or making things in this palette, and it has made my wardrobe so much more functional, really. I’ve kind of engineered the color palette so that most colors go with each other, so I get the most out of it.

Sarai
I like that idea. I tend to design by season, so I usually go through Design Your Wardrobe when we do it as a group. Twice a year, I do develop a new color palette for the season, but it’s usually kind of based on colors that I actually wear, so it’s not starting fresh every single time. But I feel like having just a handful of colors like that that you incorporate year round would be even more helpful if you’re trying to really hone your wardrobe like that.

Haley
Yeah. And I’m not saying that I never would wear anything outside. I’m not really strict with it. But 95% of my clothing and the fabric that I’ve purchased this year, which, honestly, is not very much fabric, has all fit into this category, and it’s really helps me.

Sarai
That’s cool. I feel like I could put something together like that pretty easily based on what I actually wear, although I think I would have more colors, and it probably would be end up with a few more. Well, that is a great tip.

So the next one we have is kind of similar. It’s to buy fibers that you’ll actually wear. So if you’re somebody who only wears natural fibers and you see a beautiful fabric, but it’s in polyester, for example, that might not be a fabric that you’re actually going to use and you’re actually going to wear. So that’s something to really consider when you’re looking at fabric and what makes you comfortable, what do you feel good in both? In terms of physically, I think also mentally, though, I think when I go through the trouble of making a garment for myself, but it’s made in a fabric that’s not quite up to snuff or that doesn’t have the qualities that I prefer in a fabric, then it feels like a little bit of a waste. It feels like I spent all this time making something, but it’s not exactly what I want. It’s got one of the things I like, like the color or the print, but it doesn’t have that third element that is important to me, which is the actual fibers and how it feels on my body, how it looks, how it presses, all those kinds of things that I care about.

They may not be things that you care about, but if you do have fibers that you actually wear more than others, I think that’s really something to consider.

I think also a thing to consider is the seasonality and whether the fiber matches your wardrobe for that particular season. So if it’s spring, summer, it’s warm, you might want to be wearing more cotton or you might want to wear more linen or some of those lighter weight fabrics, rayon. And then if it’s moving into winter, you might be thinking more about wool and things like that. So that’s another thing to think about when it comes to fiber is does it match what you prefer? And then it doesn’t match the actual circumstances of your life, including the season. So I think that’s a really important thing. It’s very easy to choose a fabric that you love that is not actually all that practical for yourself or your circumstances.

Haley
Yes, I think it’s also kind of an interesting thing to look at the seasonality of a fabric alongside the color. For instance, maybe there are certain colors that you really love wearing in the summer but you never wear in the winter. So maybe you might question buying a wool coating out that’s the same color. Or maybe you would love to introduce that color into a different season and you just haven’t had a chance to, so just kind of thinking critically about it.

Sarai
Yeah, that’s a really good point, is matching those things altogether because I think sometimes it’s really smart to buy fabrics out of season. So if you’re not, it’s maybe the middle of spring, but you see a wool that you really love and it’s in a color that you’re really drawn to in the spring. Like thinking about whether that’s something that you’re going to be drawn to, it’s going to fit your wardrobe in the winter is maybe a way to think a little bit more critically about it. I love blue, all shades of blue, and in the spring I’m wearing them a lot more lighter blue, kind of chambray blues, those kinds of things. And that might not be something that I’m not into in the middle of winter when things are a little bit darker and I wear more jewel tones and things like that.

Haley
All right, we have three more tips and I am going to share those with you. So tip number four is to give yourself some time and some distance by taking some swatches home with you. So this can apply to whether you are shopping in person in a fabric store. If you are very drawn to a fabric, but maybe feeling on the fence about it. Not totally sure if it fits into your criteria, whatever that criteria may be. Most fabric stores are going to cut swatches for you for free or a very small charge, and it’s totally worth it to take some notches home with you. It can be a really good way to feel like you are being proactive about something you’re drawn to, but not have that FOMO. If you are shopping online, you can also oftentimes request a swatch at a very small fee. And something I like about taking swatches home with me is that I cannot tell you how many times I’ve bought a fabric either online or in person. And I think it’s one color because the fluorescent lights are weird or the photograph on the website is not totally true to color.

And then you get it home or it gets delivered, and it is not the color you thought it was. There’s a fabric store here in Portland that I always have this issue with. It’s Mill End. I don’t think that it’s hopefully not bad to say. It’s just a really big store and lots of big stores. It’s hard to have windows in. And when I’m at the back of the store, I’m always like, yeah, this is a great color. And I get it out to the parking lot and I’m like, that’s not a bad color. It’s just different. Just different than what I thought it was.

Sarai
Yeah, that happens to me at Mill End all the time. It’s a huge store, and they have fluorescent lights, and they also have skylights in addition to that. So even just taking the fabric from one part of the store to another part of the store, it looks completely different. That’s happened to me many times.

Haley
I’m always, like, schlepping the fabric over to the skylight. And we live in the Pacific Northwest, so, like, certain times of year, there’s lots of debris and rain over the skylight. So even being under the skylight is not necessarily a surefire way of making sure the color is correct. But there’s lots of times I could have avoided that if I just would have slowed my role and taken a swatch home. It’s a very obvious tip, but it’s a tip that if I lived by it more frequently, I would save myself lots of money.

Sarai
Yeah, I think one of the hard things that stops people from taking swatches is just again, that FOMO you were just talking about, that you’re going to get the swatch, you’re going to take it home, you’re going to fall in love with it, make a plan with it, and then you’re going to go back and the fabric is going to be gone.

Haley
And to which I say, as someone who’s worked in a fabric store, you can most of the time call a fabric store and tell them, hey, I was just in there was this fabric. Can you set it aside for me? I’m going to be in tomorrow morning or in a few hours. And lots of times, that’s something that they would be able to do for you. So it never hurts to ask. If you get home and you, like, are just so desperately in love, then, you know, then it’s a sign. Yeah, it’s probably the right fabric.

Sarai
You could also take into account how much fabric is on the bolt as well. Maybe if there’s only a couple of yards left on the boat, that’s a consideration. But if there’s 1520 yards left, the chances are somebody’s not going to come by 15 or 20 yards of fabric within a day or two.

Haley
Yeah, probably not. All right, tip number five. This is one of my most favorite tips, and that is to drape the fabric on your body. You might feel, like, a little bit awkward doing this. I’m going to tell you, don’t feel awkward. I do this all the time. Maybe it is awkward and I’m just an awkward person.

Sarai
It doesn’t matter.

Haley
I don’t care. I have zero problems with that. So what I’m talking about is take the bolt of fabric, and even better, if you can find a mirror in the fabric store. I think all fabric stores should have mirrors. I think it’s pretty non negotiable. You can take your phone and you can prop it up on a fabric display and turn the video on just to get a better sense. And I like to drape the fabric on my body, and this does a couple of things. It shows me how the fabric is going to drape on my body, which is really telling and might give you some information on what kinds of garments are going to work really well for this. If you like the feel of it on your body, if you think that it is falling in a way that you feel good about, maybe it’s really clingy and you don’t like cleaning things, then maybe you’d want to pass on that. The other thing it’s really great at doing is if it’s a color or if it’s a print, you can see if you like a large kind of swap of that color or print so you can roll it out and see how you like it as a top.

Is that much of the print or the color working for you? Do you like it as a dress? Maybe it’s something you feel better about if it’s further away from your face and you wear on the lower half of your body. And I think this is such a useful exercise for visualizing the fabric and getting a better sense of scale. I do it all the time. I’ve gone fabric shopping with you before, so I know that you do too.

Sarai
Yeah, I do. That’s. One thing I’m really grateful that Mill End has is big mirrors throughout the store. They have this really beautiful, huge, old, ancient armoire in their store that I always walk things over to and I’m always draping fabric around my body to see what it looks like, the color, what the print looks like, how it actually drapes, and you really do get a good sense of what it would look like as a finished garment and what kind of finished garment? Like, if you take a silk charmeuse and drape it around your body, you see a slinky dress. You don’t see a shirt dress or something like that, although, well, depends on the shirt dress, but you know what I’m saying? You don’t see something, like, highly structured. So it really helps to train your eye to match pattern and style together. And if that’s something you’re not used to doing or you don’t have a lot of experience with, it’s a really great way to start training your eye.

Haley
Yeah, I’ve totally done this. I do this pretty much any time I buy a fabric that is maybe outside of my typical. If I’m buying, like, a jersey, I know what I’m going to make out of it, or I have a pretty decent idea, maybe I’ll skip it. But I do this often. I’ve been known to do it with my front facing camera in a Joanns because lots of times these big box stores don’t necessarily have mirrors. But a great tip I highly recommend.

Sarai
Joann doesn’t have mirrors because they need that space for Christmas decorations.

Haley
Yes. And end caps with, like, I don’t know, all the seasonal stuff.

Sarai
Yeah. Scented pine cones, all that cinnamon brooms. Cinnamon broom, yeah.

Haley
All of that kind of stuff.

Sarai
We just saw cinnamon brooms at our local Fred Meyer, which is like, one of our local grocery chains here in Oregon. And Kenn was like, what? Is that, a cinnamon broom? He didn’t know about cinnamon brooms.

Haley
Oh, my gosh. My mom always used to keep one behind a chair in our living room. And, like, the fall in winter, as you know, as most people probably know, they’re very fragrant to make your eyes water kind of fragrance. So as soon as they put them on the grocery store, wherever you walk in the door and you’re inundated with the smell of this, dare I say stench, it is strong. It’s not unpleasant. It’s just a lot.

Sarai
It can be a little sickly.

Haley
I have one more tip for you, and that is like, a little mantra that I often repeat to myself when I’m stopping myself from spending, like, $500 at a fabric store. And that is, there is always going to be more fabric. It’s impossible. You can’t buy every single beautiful fabric you see, and even if you did, you probably cannot sew all of those beautiful fabrics. So you’re always going to be missing out on something, and that is totally okay. Chances are you have a stash full of some pretty cool fabrics at home, and you can console yourself by crying into that or I’m just kidding. You could go consoling yourself by sewing something beautiful with one of those fabrics instead. And just take a deep breath. It’s just fabric. There’s going to be more.

Sarai
Yeah, I forget this sometimes. I get emails from my personal favorite online fabric store. They always have such beautiful things. And when I look through it, it’s really hard to think, well, this is going to be gone in a week. But you’re right. There’s always more beautiful fabric. Recently, we’ve been thinking about getting a dog in the future. We’re not ready yet, but we’ve been thinking about it. So I was looking at Pet Finder, and there’s like, all these adorable dogs. And then I was talking to Wallis the other day, who was our pattern maker, and she was like, you know, there will always be more dogs coming in. There’s always going to be an adorable dog that’s ready for you to adopt so you don’t have to rush into anything. And I think it’s the same with fabric. There’s always going to be more beautiful fabric. There’s really no reason that you have to rush and get everything that you fall in love with. Because if I took that approach to dogs and cats, I would have a zoo. I would have a menagerie.

Haley
You would? I think I would at least, too.

Sarai
Yeah. In fact, this is a huge tangent, but we found a kitten in our yard two days ago, and it was hard not to keep this kitten, but we did not. We have a neighbor who does wildlife rehab and works with a lot of animals, and she got them checked out and got him to the vet and everything, and she’s going to keep him. So he’s got a nice home, but it was hard. He was a black kitten, and our cats are both white. So I was like, wouldn’t it be so cute of a black one and two white ones?

Haley
But no, you did not tell me. I was just telling you last week how I want a black cat.

Sarai
Yeah, I should have called you. You could probably still get him from my neighbor.

Haley
I don’t know if Eric would approve. He told me recently he’s like, we cannot get another animal until Charley is older.

Sarai
Well, Eric can thank me for not calling you then.

Haley
Well, Eric is like, literally snow white. All animals just love him. So he’s like the default animal parent. It is asking a lot of him.

Sarai
Well, I should have texted Eric with the cat.

Haley
Yeah.

Sarai
All right, so that wraps us up for today. I’m just going to recap really fast the six rules that we shared today. So you have them. One is don’t buy on a whim unless you’d sew it on a whim. So make a list of the fabrics that you sew it and that you wear often, and those are the ones that you’re more likely to sew on a whim. Wear on a whim, and maybe it’s okay to buy those on a whim. The second is to buy in your color palette. So take a look at the fabrics that you already have in your closet and that you actually wear, and make a list of what those are, and then make your purchases within that color palette. And number three, buy fibers that you’ll actually wear so similarly to the color, look at what fibers are actually in your closet, what you actually wear, what you enjoy wearing, and buy within that. And also think about seasonality and whether the fiber actually matches your wardrobe for that season. Next, give yourself some time and distance by taking swatches. So that’s rule number four. If you are shopping online or if you’re shopping in person in a store, swatches are a great way to both see what the fabric is actually going to look like outside of the store and think a little bit more deeply about how it’s going to fit with your sewing plans and with your wardrobe.

Number five is to drape the fabric. So if you’re in a store, you can do it on bolts, even if you can’t do it around your body, or if you can find a mirror, you can drape the fabric around your body and get a really good sense of what it’s going to look like as a finished garment. That’s a great way to help you make decisions about it. And if you have a fabric in your stash that you have questions about as well, you can do the same thing, and that can help you figure out how to use fabrics that are in your stash. And then, number six, remember that there is always more fabric. Whatever fabric you fall in love with, if you don’t buy it, it’s okay. You’ll find something else. There’s always going to be more fabric to buy, so that should take the pressure off and maybe relieve that sense of FOMO a little bit that you might have in the fabric store. All right, so what’s your takeaway from this episode?

Haley
Haley I think that my takeaway is I’ve been kind of reflecting over this conversation, and my fabric habits have really changed in the last couple of years, and that’s something I honestly feel really happy about. I used to have to put a lot more I don’t know, I used to buy so much more, and I think I feel like I was also putting more thought and less thought into it in a way where I was kind of lamenting over the choice in the moment, but not really doing a lot of future planning when it came to my sewing. And now planning my projects in advance has really changed the way I sew, and it changes the way that you shop, and that’s great, because I can’t spend all my money on fabric as much as I’d like to.

Sarai
Yeah, I think my big takeaway is to create a color palette that you can use year round. I tend to create seasonal color palettes. And I think they have some very common themes. But I think it would be really instructive and interesting to create a larger palette from maybe even looking back at my last few years of creating color palettes for seasonal wardrobes and creating one larger color palette that I can pull from year round and help create those more seasonal palettes or capsule wardrobes or whatever. I’m doing that season. And I think that would be really helpful for me.

Haley
Totally. I’ve really enjoyed the process. It’s been really fun and creative to have this kind of pared down palette. And yeah, I really love it. I highly recommend it. Maybe we should make a video about it.

Sarai
Yeah, it would be fun to go through the journey together. If you look at my closet, which is right over here, it’s pretty uniform in color, so I feel like it would be pretty easy to pick out the actual colors that I tend to wear. All right, well, this is a great episode, and if you want to learn more about this, we have some more resources for you. So we have an article called The Best Places to Buy Fabric for Clothing Online in 2022, which is a massive list of places that you can go to shop for fabric, specifically garment fabric. So if you are looking for some new places to browse, that’s a great place to go. It also has links to a lot of the fabric stores that are seamless partners and that you will get discounts on if you’re a Seamwork member, which I’ll talk about in a second. And then we also have an article that’s just called How to Buy Fabric Online that has some good tips for shopping online if that’s something that you’re interested in. We also have a Podcast episode called Our Ten Favorite Fabrics and Where to Find Them.

I love that episode. It’s a really good primer on the fabrics that we tend to use the most, and I think probably a lot of other sewers really enjoy sewing with. So take a look for that episode, that previous episode. Then. I also wanted to mention, which I just mentioned a second ago, that Seamwork members do get discounts at some of our favorite indie fabric stores, and you can save anywhere from 10% to 20% off your purchase if you’re a senior member. And a lot of people say that these discounts alone really pay for their entire membership. So if you are somebody who buys fabric pretty regularly and you do a lot of sewing, just that 10% to 20% off each fabric purchase can really save you a ton of money. So if you want to see a list of the participating fabric stores, you can find that at Seamwork.com/deals. And there are some amazing fabric stores in there. Some of our absolute favorite fabric stores to shop are in there. A lot of them you are going to recognize, and you might see some that you’ve never seen before, and they’re also worldwide.

So we have fabric stores that are in the US. And Canada, but we also have fabric stores in Australia and New Zealand and everywhere else in the world that you can probably think of that you’re listening from right now. Everywhere you can think of, but anywhere you’re listening from right now, it’s likely that you’ll find a fabric store there. So definitely check that out. And if you like this episode, please leave us a review. We love to hear from you, and we love to read your reviews. It really helps us also to get the word out about the podcast. It helps boost us on Apple podcasts, on Spotify, and wherever else that you listen. So we super, super appreciate you leaving those five star reviews. And you can also find us on YouTube at Seamworkvideo. You’ll find a lot of awesome videos there. We produce a new video every single week, and we love making YouTube videos. Haley and I are in a lot of those videos, so if you want to check those out, we often cover topics that don’t really work on a podcast where you need more visuals. So that is a great place to go if you want even more sewing goodness.

And you can also follow us on Instagram at Seamwork. And if you’d like to join Seamwork and become part of our private community, plus get access to hundreds of sewing patterns and dozens of sewing classes, our podcast listeners get a 50% off lifetime discount when you join at seamwork.com/go/podcast-50.

And that wraps us up for today. I’m Sarai.

Haley
And I’m Haley.

Sarai
And this is Seamwork Radio.

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