Saturday, 21 November 2009

I love this fabric

Elizabeth has pointed out to me that of my most recent projects, the materials for my trial version cost me more than the materials for my ultimate version.
This shows me straight away that I do not find the cost of my fabrics much of a factor in whether or not I love them. That should be good for the sewing budget. (It isn’t!). I like the more costly embroidered linen, but I don't love it.

I am sure there is some sort of cut off here. I find it difficult to imagine falling in love with a polyester fabric, for example, and I have vowed to never enter Spotlight again because of my many disappointments with fabric quality.
It did make me wonder what draws me to particular textiles, because I do enjoy fabric in general, but some have much more appeal than others.
Texture, has to be high on the list, and colour, although I know I am generally tame here, but there is definitely a personal association factor. Gifts are particularly emotive.
My favourite fabric of all time is the fabric my Dad bought me in Hong Kong, ivory silk charmeuse that he thought I might use for my wedding dress. It looks lovely, feels gorgeous, and reminds me of my Dad’s generosity, and that he knew absolutely nothing about sewing, but thought I could achieve anything. I actually used some of this last year, but had to wait for 17 years or so before I felt up to it. It may be another 17 years before I feel able to use the rest of it.
I have other sentimental fabric – a lace section that belonged to my great grandmother. She died (aged 99) when I was 3 years old, but when I was 10, my mother gave me her sewing box, and inside was her tape measure, some rusty pins, and a little piece of lace that she had been mending. I will never use this, and never throw it out. No one else in my family sews garments from choice, but apparently my great grandmother was a terrific seamstress.

There are some quilting cottons from my last 6 weeks in the United States. I don’t love all of these, but using them always reminds me of our time there. I will miss them when they are all gone.

I have a piece of Liberty lawn, just over a metre long, that I found in a tiny general store in central Queensland – next to old fashioned moleskin and a roll of burlap. It cost me $15. It will be hard to cut that. There is a certain aura of successful gatherer about it that seems to be resisting the scissors.

Buying fabric over the internet has been wonderful for me. I have access to beautiful fabrics that I would never see or hear of otherwise, but there is not nearly so much emotion involved in my purchases. There are no associations. It is more difficult to fall in love with fabric over the internet. This does not seem to stop me buying it, but I am much more likely to buy sensible, practical fabrics from on-line shops than I am when I enter a fabric shop.

My less expensive materials still needed more care than my more expensive trial materials– I wanted to show Sharon that I appreciated her gift, so associations made it high on my list. I couldn’t get any more, scarcity made it high on my list. It also gave me more of a challenge, mojo enhancing qualities made it high on my list. I sewed it within a week of receiving the fabric. Other fabrics lurk in my stash for years.

It is amusing that I had not even thought about the difference in cost when I described the garments, there is not much accountant in me when it comes to fabric.
Why do you love one particular fabric over another?
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BetsyV said...

This has to be the most loaded blog question I have yet seen.

Texture - very very difficult to appreciate with online shopping.
Colors - it's hard to love a color one can't wear. Not impossible, but I am unlikely to buy a fabric in a color I can't wear.
Associations - special trip; special shopping buddy; gift ...

Mary Nanna said...

Great to be able to see your dresses - lovely job with the construction.

I do fall in love with fabrics, but sometimes they can turn out just to be crushes. A little while after I bought them, I wonder what I thought was so irresistible. Another reason why I try not to have much of a stash, actually.

KID, MD said...

I've been thinking about this post since I read it yesterday. Sunday is my day to stare into the depths of my fabric closet and contemplate it all. I was really thinking about what all that fabric was worth, versus what it was worth to me. The two really don't have anything to do with each other! The fabrics that I agonize over cutting generally have some sort of sentimental value, or would be difficult to replace for some reason. Usually those aren't the ones I've spent to most on.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

For me it's generally print and color that are most important, although it has to have the right hand/texture. You're right that the most expensive fabrics are not always the most treasured, and the least expensive the least treasured. It's all about how I feel!