Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Toni's Tuesday Tip

Triple T for short :)  Since I've been instructing again, I get a lot of questions on how to do various techniques and other short cuts.  So, I figured it was time to share it with everyone.

My goal is every Tuesday, share one of my favorite tips.  Now I'm not going to tell you it is the only or bestest way to do something, but just how I do it.  I also invited anyone to try something once and see if it "fits" with your style of sewing/quilting.  If it does - bonus, if not no worries.  But you'll never know or learn something new if you don't try it.

This week tip/question:  "When shopping how much fabric do you purchase?"

This question came from one of my students and I have been asked this several times.

I look at fabric in 3 caterogies when I purchase.  Being most fabric is purchase on spontaneous window shopping - I keep these things in mind:
  1. Blendables/Tonals/Tone on Tones -  These fabrics I'll purchase from a fat quarter up to 1 yard - depending a lot on price (sale fabric I'll easily get a yard).  These are great fillers for quilts, swap projects, applique work.  A nice rounded stash of ALL colors in blendables is a good thing to have.
  2. Backgrounds  - fabric has the perfect feel for a background, creams with small prints, whites with polka dots, etc. easily purchase 3 yards.  If you look at any pattern up to a twin size, you will tend to need 3 yards just for background fabric.
  3. The Most Perfect Gorgeous Print EVER -  So, you just spied your most perfect gorgeous print you have ever seen and you HAVE to have it ---now why would you get a fat quarter?  The reality of ever being able to use it into a nice project won't happen at a 18" x 22" piece.  I will get 3 - 5 yards.  Fabrics that scream to be purchase I use normally for borders.

I rarely pre-purchase enough fabric for backings.  Now if a shop has a good sale and I find that most perfect fabric for a backing, then I'll get 5 - 7 yards.

I also rarely purchase fat quarters anymore - I prefer 1/2 yard pieces.  The fact is I've been there done that and not happy with a workable stash.  While I am a fabric collector, I want to be able to have a usable stash.  Most of my fat quarters are blenderables or seasonal fabrics.

I have learned over the past 3 year to purchase good backgrounds as i see them (they never see to be around when you need/want them) and of course I am a batik collector - so I do purchase batiks by 3 yards pieces.

I do have a smaller stash then I have had in the past, but my stash is very workable within my normal color preferences.

Another thing to consider when just randomly purchasing fabrics, think of the balance of tones in your stash.  We all tend to be drawn to medium tones - be sure to pick up some dark and light tones are you build your stash.

What are your fabric purchasing preferences?
(fyi, images are from my old stash - I need to take some current images :))
I know everyone has great tips and helpful techniques - if you would like to join along with your own Tuesday Tip (I'll work on making a button for you to use) just add your link here with Mr. Linky:


  1. Just stopped by to say how much I valued your comment on Maxabella blog (patting the elephant in the room)in a "sea of judgement" that seemed to be going on about peoples' misfortunes. I was saddened by her blog subject choice, I was even more saddened that many people did not respond in a compassionate or human way. I thought your comment was brave and understanding.

  2. This is a GrEat idea. Now that I know what you've got planned I'll make sure I link up with my contibution (if I have any) next week.

  3. I have found that I too if I really like the fabric will buy 2 to 3 yards, other than that...no preference really...I am a fly by nighter....

  4. Since Hubbykins retired I purchase fabric for a project only.

  5. What a great idea!! Thank you!!