Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rocks, Paper, Scissor, Patterns, Pins, Threads...

Hello. My name is Marlo and I am addicted to fabric. Yes, I sew and quilt. Some. But, mostly I collect fabric. I grew up in a household with a mom that sewed all the time. A lot of my clothes were sewn, too. We were yelled at for stepping on quilts. I totally understood why after I made my first one. I spent may afternoon trips to Hancocks (when it was on Barrow), Clothworld and even the fabric store at the mall. Yes, boys and girls, the Mall of Abilene had a fabric store. It was high end, dressy stuff. So, we only actually shopped there for special occasions. We went to Alton’s on occasion, too. This was when it was on South 8th across the street from where I work now. (Currently, it is a fenced in yeard for a pool company. Also, another note of interest, our local Synagogue is on the other side of the lot. Most people do not realize we even have one. I was lucky enough to attend a service where to Torrah was brought out and the children danced down the aisle. As a Southern Baptist girl, I found this to be very unfair. But, I digress.) 

When other kids in elementary school were complaining that they were never going to have to add fractions, I just sat there and shook my head.  I had do fractions every time we shopped for a pattern. (Well, that and when we baked.) It's probably part of the reason I did well with fractions. Yes, I can sew. I have done crafty sewing, apparel sewing, quilting, and home decor sewing. I even sewed a formal, once. Never again. Satin and I do NOT get along. At all. I have boxes, baskets, drawers and crates of fabric. I hardly touch them anymore. I blame a lot of that on the house being a disaster. I am not even sure I can get to my machine right now. 

I even spent four years or so working at the local Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts. I miss the fabrics, notions and patterns. I also missed getting to help people choose patterns and fabrics for their designs. It's now like have a huge database of knowledge. But, I have enough basics that I pretty well know what I am talking about. I know when I am NOT doing something right. And, I know when I really need to. I know that when choosing a thread to match you need to go darker rather than light. There are some things I know because I was taught by my mother. There are some things I learned from working at the fabric store. And, there some things I have learned from my own experiences. I also learned from my theater experiences. 

I know that you get what you pay for when you pay for fabric. Yes, you can buy 100% cotton at the same place you buy groceries for $2.00 a yard. But, you get it will most likely not wash well. That or it will shrink or fade. Yes, the decent stuff is $6.00 and up a yard. The good stuff is far more. But, if this is a quilt that you want to keep for years, or a piece of clothing that will be worn over and over again, you will be glad you spent the extra money. So, when you see Moda or Alexander Henry prints at anything under $10.00 a yard, you will know you have quite the deal on your hands.

A few other things about fabric that some people do not know...

Always cut the selvage off! The selvages are the sides of the fabric where it is secured together. If you are making something that will NEVER be washed, you're probably ok. (tablecloths, costumes, some curtains, etc.) Otherwise, take the time to cut them off! They do not shrink. They have been heated and or glued to keep the fabric from unraveling. Besides the fact that they don't shrink, they are stiff and don't feel good.

Do not mix fabric types whenever avoidable. Most quilters will only use 100% cotton. Fabrics shrink. They all do when they are first washed. It maybe a small enough amount that you never noticed. But, not always. The more natural the fabrics, the more they will shrink. Keep in mind, good cotton will hardly shrink at all. But, different types of fabrics shrink at different rates. 

When it comes to whether to wash fabric be
fore you use it, you will get different opinions. Often from the same person. It depends of the fabric and what you are going to do with it. But, the key thing is that if you wash part of the fabric for a project first, then wash it all. There is one time I would make an exception. That would be when doing very small hand applique pieces. 

One day, I want to own my own fabric store. I have the name and theme in mind. And, even some of the advertising. There is a store in Fort Worth called Cabbage Rose Quilting. I have only been lucky enough to go once. My favorite thing about the store isn't the fantastic fabrics, great notions or delightful patterns. It isn't even the inviting, warm decor. It comes down to their employees. When you come into a store that sells quilt fabric, you expect a bunch of older ladies ranging from stuffy to old hippies. They have them there. But, they have all sorts of people working there. The day we went, it was all women. But, they were all sorts of ages, personalities and styles. I loved it! The girl that was our cashier was covered in tattoos. That would be hard to find here. I want to make it happen. I want a fabric store to make it happen! And, one day it will.

Oh! And, one more thing. NEVER, EVER under the threat of removal of your limbs with a pair of rusty pinking sheers should you use a person's fabric only scissors on anything but fabric. It will not end well. You have been warned.

No comments: