Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fabric Buying 101

Fabric can be divided into catagories:  Basics and Trending.

Basics:  These fabrics are exactly like the name implies, basic coordinates.  Kona Solids, Moda Marbles, and RJR Handspray are examples of basics.

Trending Fabrics:  These are collections with prints and colors in the latest style and current trends.  Trending Fabrics are always a limited production run.

Why is this important?  Basics are always re-orderable, and available, higher quality basics will have little or no deviation between production runs.  Trending Fabrics have a life span, and you better get what you need while it's available.  Flip side to that, is that you rarely see Basics at closeout prices or steep discounts, it is a fixed supply at a fixed price.

Trending Fabrics sometimes end up at deep discount if by the end of the product life cycle there is a lot of overage, the manufacturer will blow out the remaining yardage to recover what money they can from it, this brings me to our next to important concepts in fabric buying:  Order vs. Speculation.

Production based on Orders:   The manufacturer only produces as much of a new line as has been ordered.  This is how Moda does it, which is why if a fabric shop does not order the collection a few months ahead of time the odds of that shop getting the collection after it is released is minimal at best.

Production based on Speculation:  This is how most manufacturers produce fabric.  Somebody decides how popular they think a line will be then produce based on that assumption.  Some calculate this better than others, but this is where closeouts and bargains come from.  When they miscalculate and over produce they drop the price to move it out and recover some of their investment.

Why am I telling you all this?  An educated shopper is a better shopper.  The real price of quality cotton fabric  about 10 bucks a yard when you find quality fabric at about half that price, it is because somebody screwed up.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Sewing Cave

With the new year beginning I am sure at least one, maybe two of you out there made some sort of New Years promise to yourself that you are going to sew more.  In the words of my brother "I want to help you be successful".  So lets talk about the most important thing that promotes personal sewing/quilting, the Sewing Cave.

It could be a sewing room, but that sounds so bland, when I think of a sewing room I picture a table, mounds of fabric and a sewing machine.  A sewing Cave is all that and more.  A kicking music system, a few posters for inspiration, and if you are lucky a deadbolt so you can lock yourself in.  There is lots of stuff involved in the creation of an inspiring sewing cave, so here are some of my ideas:

Music:  Music always makes it better.  No need for a fancy ipod, a second rate CD player works just fine to get the good vibes flowing.

Table:  It does not need to be a fancy custom made sewing table.  Just something good and solid with a decent work area.  Second hand desks and old dining room tables work well, card tables and plastic folding tables not so much.

Privacy:  This is important in any cave.  You need to be able to escape.  Sure people can come in when invited, but you want to be able to shut the world out when your mojo is flowing.

Embellishments:  Normally you think of buttons and pretty thread when you hear embellishments, but for your cave this refers to all the cool stuff that gives your space personality.  Posters are cool, Jango Fett can over see your cave if that is what you are into.  Bumper stickers give personality to cars, think of what stickers could do for your sewing machine.  Keep Out and Radio Active signs on the door might be fun too.

Television:  Not a good idea.  It will do nothing but distract you.

Storage: Storage and organization is important. When you have a mess that is out of control it can be discouraging.  A place for everything and everything in its place.

Waste Basket:  This goes along with organization.  Get a decent trash receptacle and don't be afraid to use it. When in doubt throw it out.

These are some of what I would consider basics for a decent sewing cave.  Everyone is a little different so adjust accordingly.  Remember the whole idea behind a sewing cave is to inspire and make quilting fun.  Because like I have said before if you ain't having fun you are doing it wrong.