Who Else Loves Fabric Shopping?

Does anyone else love fabric shopping as much as I do? For me, the thought of all the beautiful bolts and endless choices at a fabric store makes me feel like a kid on Christmas.


The fabric I picked for my Christmas tree skirt.

I went fabric shopping on Saturday, with list in hand. I needed fabric for some holiday gifts, and for a tree skirt. My husband and I will have our first Christmas in our new house this year, and I want to sew a simple tree skirt we can use for years to come.

When I shop for fabric, I like to have an idea ahead of time of what color and style I’m looking for. But despite what’s in my mind, wandering the aisles often leads me in unexpected—and often better—directions.

I was picturing a dark red fabric for my skirt top, and a green fabric for the back. I started in the green aisle and was drawn to a bold color with dots and lines. I liked it, but wasn’t sure it was right. Next, in the red aisle, nothing really jumped out at me. I pulled a few bolts, but continued my search.

A little wandering later, I saw it: a black fabric with tiny red Christmas trees and yellow stars. Nearby, I found another black fabric with yellow-gold dots. I hadn’t imagined using so much—or any—black in my tree skirt, but I loved the combo and that it was festive but didn’t scream Christmas. I also picked out a vibrant red for the binding.

I went with my gut, made my purchase, and I’m so happy I did. The skirt will look crisp and modern, and add a great handmade touch to my living room this Christmas. It’s not going to be the red and green creation I imagined, but I think it’ll be even better.

Are you looking for ideas for holiday gifts or home décor items? Stitch Craft Create Gifts 2013 has some really neat projects to sew.

What about you? What do you love about trips to the fabric store? Do you tend to buy fabrics you had in mind, or do you get inspired at the store and buy colors or patterns you never imagined? I can’t wait to hear.

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Abby Kaufman

About Abby Kaufman

Abby Kaufman is assistant editor of Stitch magazine. When she's not scoping out new fabrics for her collection, Abby enjoys outdoor activities, and spending time with her husband and two dogs. 

11 thoughts on “Who Else Loves Fabric Shopping?

  1. I wish I could feel this way about fabric shopping. More often than not, I come away with empty hands because the selection of fabric (specifically for apparel sewing) is so poor and I think I’ll have to order something online, but then never do that either because I would want to touch and feel before buying. I’d love to know where people have good luck finding fabric for their projects! I’d also love to sew a bedspread, but that type of fabric at our local Jo-Ann Fabrics is non-existent, as far as I can tell.

  2. I wish I could feel this way about fabric shopping. More often than not, I come away with empty hands because the selection of fabric (specifically for apparel sewing) is so poor and I think I’ll have to order something online, but then never do that either because I would want to touch and feel before buying. I’d love to know where people have good luck finding fabric for their projects! I’d also love to sew a bedspread, but that type of fabric at our local Jo-Ann Fabrics is non-existent, as far as I can tell.

  3. Fabric is my inspiration and my damnation. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. I have tons of fabric stashes, but each piece brings to mind a picture of what it could be. I just wish I had more than 24 hours to sew.

    Shopping for fabric is hard. I agree with jkdobie about poor choices for apparel sewing. I remember fabric stores with silks, linens, wools, cottons and more…but that’s all gone. Where did all the real fabric stores go???

    Craft fabrics seem to dominate the fabric stores today and a person can only make so many crafts that sit around, never get “used” and, ultimately, end up being thrown out because it’s no longer someone’s “aesthetic.” But, the clothing I make gets worn and worn and THEN passed on.

    I wonder when the textile industry is going to get a clue??? I thought “Project Runway” would inspire a revival of real fabric stores, but it doesn’t seem like that has happened.

  4. I love fabric, so of course I love fabric shopping. I love to look at fabric, I love to touch fabric, and I always get inspired by fabric. I usually let the fabric inspire me when I’m shopping. I’ve also found that if I see a fabric that I absolutely love, I’ll buy it. And it always works out for me that when I buy a fabric I love, it always coordinates with fabrics in my stash. I am definitely addicted to fabric, and I’m proud of it!

  5. I love fabric shopping. We don’t have any family owned fabric shops in our area, so I get most of my fabric from Hobby Lobby or Joann’s. Our Joann’s has a nice selection of apparel fabric, however I don’t normally purchase those. But I do find they are not all alike. I love the selection of fun prints at Hobby Lobby. I mostly sew bags and crafty/decor type stuff. My mom makes quilts. We have totally different tastes in fabrics. She prefers traditional patterns, I like the trendy bright colors. But she is starting to like those as well. I have a lot of leftover pieces and just recently discovered quilt as you go. I am using my scraps to make some fun things with that technique.

  6. Abby –
    Going to a fabric store is something that makes me feel so good. I feel everything and get so many ideas. I love it, love it, love it and do try to go in with colors in mind or bring something this is supposed to work with.
    Toni B

  7. sojo I just love to shop for fabric , but I agree with the others that they do not have the nice fabrics like they use too. Everything is dark. I just go into a fabric store and look for something that inspires me and I like to shop at my Quilting store, Avon. In. I have to feel the fabric to see if it is something I’d like to a Jacket or skirt out of. Hope the fabric stores will bring back the good material. 11-27-13 3:43P.M.

  8. I love to improvise and buy fabrics I love but don’t have a plan for…but then, there they sit. I’m much better off looking/buying when I have a project in mind.

  9. RE: Favorite on-line fabric stores:

    I love to go to B&J Fabrics and Mood Fabrics in Manhattan. Both websites are easily found using your search engine.

    I’ve also been to Mood in LA, CA. Both stores are like a big fabric warehouse with fabric stacked from floor to almost the ceiling. Many fabrics in Mood are so high up that you can’t get to them to feel them and that’s one of the reasons that I’ve bought very little from Mood. They do charge for swatches.

    B&J Fabrics in person is like a wonderland of fabrics. It’s fascinating and you’re able to touch just about everything. They have just about any type of fabric you could want. On-line, they’re knowledgeable and willing to send swatches free. They carry so many types and weights of linen fabrics. I just love using linen for home dec projects. They also have one of the best selections of NICE silks that I’ve seen besides those I saw in China.

    There’s a wonderful on-line place out of Salt Lake City, Utah that has tons of specialty fabrics for weddings, proms, christenings, etc. It’s called Lace & Co., phone: 801-485-5400, website: http://www.laceco.com, e-mail: laceandcompany@gmail.com. They’re very good to work with and helpful. They do send samples free, but ask that they be returned (no problem). They even sent me an extra package of clear sequins (free) because Sue didn’t think I had ordered enough for my project.

    If you happen to be in Manhattan, try to find Sposabella Lace, website: http://www.sposabellalace.com, phone: 212-354-4729, e-mail: sltextil@aol.com, address: 252 W. 40th St., NY, NY. They specialize in bridal and specialty fabrics. Their Italian satin is luscious and so much nicer than most satins. It’s a great (slightly heavier) weight with more luster than most satins. It’s beautiful.

    jwgoggans, what types of fabrics do you like to work with?

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