Friday, March 4, 2011

The New Age of Quilting... part 3... Shopping

One of my favorite parts of quilting is hunting down the fabric.

There was a time when the hunt was limited by the community you lived in.  I can remember the town I grew up in.  It had one fabric store, The Red Pincushion, and it was primarily a shop for purchasing items related to making clothes.  It was snuggled between the Ace Hardware store and the Western Auto.  We had a mill store too, but it was a bit further away.  I remember the smell of the fabric in the bargain basement and rows and rows of tables stacked with neatly folded yard goods each bundle marked with a prickly ticket.

Where I live now there is a fabric smorgasbord.  We have an outlet for home decor fabrics, and a Joanne's craft store.  Twenty minutes drive in just about any direction will take me to a local quilt shop.  Each shop unique, and reflective of the people who run it.
Local Shops...
   I know if I head East to McKinney I can shop at Happiness is Quilting  (  There I'll find a friendly down home bunch of women and a traditional collection of quilters cotton...with a few quirky surprised thrown in.  Not far from there is The Quilt Asylum (  This shop is more up beat and trendy.  They love Kaffe Fasset and batiks and making clothing and accessories out of them.  These ladies are game for any new adventure that I might toss at them.  If I head West I'm going to end up at Quilt Country ( where "Lime Green is the New Neutral!".  They have an awesome collection of brights, orientals, and batiks not to mention just about any embellishment you could think of.  I might also stop at The Quilter's Workshop ( if I need some construction advice.  I have to admit that I'm horribly spoiled when it come to local shopping.  Even so, there are times when I can't find what I need.

The Search... 
You've been there.  You finally finish up that UFO only to decide it would be oh so nice to have a bit more of that fabric.  If only you had it then....but it's been quite a while since you started the project and all of your local haunts are out of it.  Now what?

It's time to try some online shopping.  I know you like to feel the fabric before you buy it.  I do to.  But think of it this way - you already have.  You bought that fabric when you started  your project.  You know what it feels like already.  That's why you want more.  So go see if you don't have a piece of the selvage left over.  The part you cut off and throw away has the name and maker of the fabric printed on it.  You can use this information to search for it.

There are several ways to start your search.

You could just type the name and maker of your fabric into your browsers search engine.  I've done that.  You are bound to get a few hits that way.  My objection to this route is I'm not always sure of the character of the person you are connecting to.  The Internet isn't vetted.  You have no idea if the add is legitimate.  I use this method as a last resort.

Reliable sources....
You can also go straight to some online fabric shops.  One of my favorites is The Fat Quarter Shop.  (  Their service is always prompt and nicely packaged.  Their products are superior.  Another excellent online shop is Hancock's of Paducah.  (  This shop has a wider audience, selling fabric for a variety of uses.  Don't be put off by that - their quilting goods are just what you expect them to be.  (If you visit the site be sure to sign up for their catalogue - it is fantastic.) 

And last but not least try the fabric search engine associated with the Fab Shop Hop.  (  Yeah, it is what you think it is - an on-line shop hop - but that is a story for another day.  For now know that if you are looking for something specific, their search engine is fantastic.  Their shops have been vetted and you are sure to get what you pay for.

Have a great time shopping!  I hope my thoughts have helped.


Martha said...

oh I remember our home town fabric store - Fabric City in the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center. They had mechanical measuring devices that I thought were amazing. Now I'm really thrilled with what I can find on line, I can roam all over the world. I also like they have their own line of quilting cotton that has a nice hand and is very reasonably priced.

thiarenee said...

I have shopped at the Old Country Store Fabrics online and loved it. When I ordered, they cut and shipped the fabric the same day and sent an email to let me know. Their prices are good. And, if you ever get the chance, the actual store is nice as well!