Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stashing It Up :)

I went to JoAnn's the other day to pick up some Perler Beads for the kiddo's for Christmas.  I decided to just waltz on over to check out the clearance section to see if there might be some fabric I could use to make my front room curtains.  There normally isn't that great of a selection but every once and a while you get lucky.

And this day was a lucky day. (Not for the curtains mind you, but quilting lucky :)   It just so happened that they were taking an additional 50% off of the clearance price and had just stuffed the shelves with  ton of the cotton prints that they were clearing out. (including a bunch of Fall prints, yippee skippee!!)  At $1.50 to $2.00 a yard you just can't pass up these stash builders.


So that leads me to a discussion.  What's your take on Designer Lines (Moda, Riley Blake, Westminster, ect.)  verses Fabric Stores (JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, Hancock) ??  And this is just purely my curiosity.

My take - I love working with the Designer line fabrics.  Especially pre-cuts.  They are so much fun and you get such a great variety of prints.  And I do think the quality of the designer lines are better as well.   They are easier to work with, feel better, and hold up better after washing.  And often, I can find great sales at on-line stores that make them very reasonably priced.  So basically, I reach for the designer fabrics first.

However, with that said,  I am not above scoring some "good quality" fabrics at a killer deal. I use these fabrics for all kinds of projects and even though they are not quite as nice to work with and might not hold up as long, I still like the end results.

So that's my take (and it's just my personal opinion, I don't want to open a can of worms here :)

 . . .  What's yours???
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35 comments:

  1. As long as the quality is good and they're colour fast I'm all for it. Don't get me wrong I love the designer fabrics and follow the latest trends. However, I think there can be too much designer snobbery in the quilting community.

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  2. I agree with you. I know people who will only use designer fabrics, but I'm not one of them. I find fabric here and there and buy it if the price is right and I really like the fabric. I'd love to be able to afford only designer fabric, but right now that's just not realistic. Besides that I've never know anyone to turn down a quilt because it's not designer fabric and all quilts that are used eventually wear out, even ones made with designer fabric.

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  3. Nice stack! I use designer fabrics for quilts and purses because in most cases they are thicker and the colors tend to last longer. Anything for the kids I buy as cheap as I can. They don't mind although sometimes I curse myself for doing it when I start sewing and it frays all over. Obviously that doesn't apply to all non-designer fabrics.

    What I usually do is search online. Almost always I can find designer prints for very little money. I also LOVE Kona and Moda solids which are usually cheaper.

    Oh and I'll use anything for quilt bindings. :)

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  4. The majority of my quilts are made from fabric from JoAnn's, and not one recipient has ever complained! When I do have designer fabric, it usually gets mixed in with my JoAnn's fabric (oh no, the quit snobs are coming with pitchforks!).
    Personally, a quilt is made to be used, to be warm, to be loved. Clearance fabric keeps me just as warm as fancy pants fabric, and I'm not afraid to drool on it, either.

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  5. I would like to use more designer fabric, but I think i am too cheap..lol I can go to fabric land and the a 15/yd for 50% off or go to my LQS and pay 25/yd with no discount for designer.

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  6. I often start with a designer fabric (precut bundle, etc) then fill in with purchases from JoAnn. My backgrounds/ sashing/ backing/ binding are usually all JoAnn.

    I also love their remnant bin! Great for small or scrappy projects!

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  7. This is a personal quandary for me... Almost a journey. I used to be a JoAnn's clearance guru, my rule of thumb was "don't buy it unless it's $2 a yard or under." Hence, I have a great (meaning giant) stash of fabric-cheap fabric. About 2 years ago, I was introduced to the world of designer (and dare I say more "quality") fabric. As I have used a higher quality fabric, I have found things to last longer, look better, and make me more excited about sewing in general. That said, there are still some great deals for quality at big box fabric stores, like the DS prints at Jo-Ann's...love them! And sometimes Alexander Henry can be found there too, with a coupon, it's awesome! I can't say that I've become a total fabric snob, but I am more picky about what I'm buying to make sure it's quality. But when you find that $3/yard Heidi Grace on the clearance rack...score!

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  8. If you love it go for it! But I always stick to the rules of a swap.

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  9. And my Joann's has some really nice quilting fabrics now. They just started carrying them in the last couple of years. And some of them were on that clearance table! With an extra 25% off so I got bunches for very little moolah

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  10. I use both. I've got quilts that are about 20 years old, made from JoAnn's fabric. They were my kids', so they've had lots of years of being washed and dragged around. The fabric is still fine except for one batik print that started disintegrating after 3 years. I am not sure I beleive that quilt-shop quality fabric holds up better than 'lesser' quilting cottons.

    I think we should use what we love and use what we can afford.

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  11. I'm slightly picky - there's some fabrics at Joann's and Hobby Lobby that you can just feel aren't quality - stiff and sort of scratchy. DSQ at Joann's, on the other hand, feels like a designer fabric. I actually have the fifth fall print down in your photo, the big flowers, to back a quilt made from Hobby Lobby Kona and quilt store prints. So obviously I use a mix!

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  12. I got some great fabric at that same clearance sale. I use a mix of fabrics...I love designer fabric but I think I can find some nice quality cottons at Joann's also and they work really well for making bags and gifts for a reasonable price. Love all the goodies you got!

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  13. Just so long as the fabric is of great quality, i will buy from the chain stores. when i first started quilting, i didn't pay attention to that kind of thing, and my first few quilts really show it. they are quickly falling apart.

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  14. I've been sewing for a very long time and I always buy good quality fabric that I like where ever I find it. If anything I'm snobby the other way. I can't see paying extra money for designer pre-cuts. It's not worth it to me, I'll cut my own fabric or purchase from Connecting Threads because they don't charge for cutting.

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  15. I am a newbie to this quilting world and have built a stash off of designer and chain store fabrics, some even bought in thrift stores!;) I guess my philosophy is that my Great Great Grandma and so on down through the lines made some awesome quilts from worn out clothes and scrap fabrics. They are still in my house displayed proudly. Do I want to buy thin thready fabric that I can see through? No. Have I fell in love and bought designer fabric? You betcha. But to me personally, wasn't the true beginnings of quilting that any fabric attainable went in? One look in the quilting history books will answer that question. These ladies were frugal and thrifty. I am proud to say that it lives on in me. :)

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  16. I use what I can afford which is almost always Joann's, and I absolutely cannot stand people that make me feel like less of a quilter for doing so. We can't all afford to shop at Barney's. The oldest quilts were made from old clothes and any fabric they could find.
    I think sometimes we get so caught up with finishing a thousand projects and buying the latest designs that we forget to truly enjoy what we are doing and appreciate it.
    Such a great question! Sorry for being defensive, blog world can be overwhelming sometimes... AWESOME finds! Totally jealous!

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  17. My favorite to work with is the designer fabrics because they feel so much better. However I am a college student so I don't have much money...no money. However i do use joann supplementary especially with batiks because its harder to feel a difference in those. But i still love some joann fabrics that is what my first quilts were made of.

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  18. I'm with you - I can't afford fancy designer fabrics, and I LOVE checking out the 1/2-off-red-tag fabric sales at Joann's! The fabric in there can be pretty awful sometimes, I'll admit, but other times I have no idea how other people haven't scooped it up already! I'm so excited for Joann's black Friday sale - tons of things already discounted, and the flyers are going to have 25% off your purchase coupons again!

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  19. Melissa -- I am new to quilting this year. I just can't see spending over $10/yd on fabrics on which I am learning a new skill. My skills have come a long way this year, but I have a ways to go. I love a great deal. I too stocked up at the clearance aisle at JoAnn's this week and then hit another JoAnn's. I am also learning to work with vintage sheets. I have a "moda" quilt in the works. I got a garbage bag of Moda stuff at a garage sale or $20 and it was a killing! But bottom line, is I LOVE fabric. I can make something beautiful for $10 a quilt top!

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  20. With no JoAnns, Hobby Lobby or Hancocks to shop at, I can't compare, but Isisjem, say is just perfectly, as with all things, you can't beat quality :) Great question melissa!

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  21. I have been finding that some - not all and I am not going to point fingers - but some designers fabrics are not the quality they used to be/should be. Plus not every project can have the expensive fabrics. For kids, charities and other like projects, these items are not built to last in most cases so I like to use the affordable fabrics. If its something really special, then of course you want to use the best. I just know I have ordered designer fabrics for a special project and received fabric of lesser quality then the affordable fabric store in my city. To buy designer fabric in my city - you are paying at the very least 18 dollars a metre (3" more then a yard), our "cheaper" fabric costs what you pay for the best fabrics in the states. I do a lot of shopping online to try and find it affordable. I have found that some of the fabrics in the affordable store are of very good quality - and some are not. Long babble short - at prices that low - just buy it!!
    Cheers,
    carolyn

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  22. I prefer the designer fabrics, but I'm not a snob about it. I also shop JoAnn's and Hancocks, and occasionally Hobby Lobby for the cheaper "utility" fabrics which I use for doll clothes, treat bags, etc. But I can feel the difference, and for most of my quilts and nearly all of my children's clothing I buy the "good stuff"--on sale whenever possible!

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  23. we LOVE perler beads, I grew up with them in Denmark, Perler means beads in danish! don't know if they actually ARE danish, but we also had these in teeny tiny, and the patterns were sort of like cross stitch, so cool! I need to hunt some down. my kids love the regular ones, we have an overflowing bucket full of creations... they are great in the craft room since I have the iron out and ready any time. my kids need MORE, let me check online :-)

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  24. I pretty much agree with you! If I didn't buy the discount fabrics when they are available I would be able to afford to do the charity quilts that I do and lots of other things like potholders and the like done need better quality fabric. I don't the Aussie soldiers in Afghanistan are going to complain because they dont have designer fabrics in their quilts! And with the conditions over there the quilts wont last anyway!

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  25. I think this is a personal preference. I have used both types of fabrics and for me, I would rather use designer fabrics. It doesn't matter to me whether it's something I'm selling, something I'm keeping or something I'm donating, I just prefer working with designer fabrics. I have a great online source where it's usually always 25-30% below retail, so I don't feel like it's a huge luxury. In the short time I've been quilting, I've never had a project with designer prints come apart, but it has happened with Jojo fabric.

    If you are happy with the quality and price, I say go for it!! That's all that really matters!

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  26. This is a great discussion, Melissa. I love the prints that can be found in designer lines. I read about them in quilting blogs. I drool over them when browsing online shops. I dream about what I could make with them.

    But... I'm a stay-at-home mom and we're on a shoestring budget. There's really no way for me to buy them at this point in my life. So I buy from JoAnn's when I have a little bit of spending money. *Gasp!* ;)

    As to quality, I think you can find some good quality prints at JoAnn's - you just have to look for them. And sometimes you can even find some modern, designer-ish prints if you look hard enough.

    I'm not a fan of a lot of their fabrics, but I really think that's a buying issue on their part. Their buyers are still often buying what many of us would consider to be old school prints. But perhaps they're wising up a bit - there are now some good quality, beautiful prints if you look.

    It's sad that there's a bit of snobbery about the whole thing. The implication seems to be that JoAnn (and other hobby store) fabrics are only suitable for charity quilts. This makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Are people who receive charity quilts not worthy of great fabrics? And are those of us who can only afford to use those fabrics less-worthy as quilters?

    In the end, I'd love to have those beautiful designer fabrics that many quilters have stock piled in their stashes. But it's just not going to happen. So, I'm going to make beautiful quilts out of what I have. :)

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  27. I admit it...I am a fabric snob. One of the reasons is that I don't have patience to 'shop around' for really good quality fabric at the big box stores. It's not just for fabric, I am that way about everything. So I only buy from manufacturers that I know produce top notch fabric and I think my quilts are all the better for this.

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  28. I prefer designer fabric, whether it is precuts or yardage. There are several reasons for this.

    1. I learned to sew through a parks and rec class nearly 5 years ago. I had a newborn at the time and wasn't able to attend all the classes, but once I learned the basics--like how to insert the bobbin and adjust the stitch length--I was on a roll at home. I learned to quilt from the amazing blogs Cluck Cluck Sew & Crazy Mom Quilts. Wow, I was lucky to find those sites right off the bat through sheer luck. The first quilt I made I picked out fabric from a magazine. I went to Joanns and asked for Erin Michaels's Funky Monkeys and Monkeyin' Around for Moda. The women I talked to had never heard of it, couldn't help me, and had no idea where I could buy it. Many of the ladies at Joanns (where I shop at least once a week) are super nice (and nice to my kids who are always in tow), but not many of them sew or are quilters. That's one advantage to shopping at the LQS and buying the designer fabric. When I was trying to learn how to bind, my LQS fixed me up with a quilt guild member who lived right across the road in my neighborhood. She taught me in her own house. That's something that probably wouldn't happen at Joanns.

    2. Fabric quality. I can feel the difference. In fact, I bought some of the DS quilts Picnics and Fairgrounds and then some of both her subsequent lines, and I can tell a difference between them. Her first line for Joanns had a silky hand and was very much like designer fabric. The other two lines feel more cardboardy and have lots of pulls, snags, and even the selvage on one of the prints was misspelled "Frbric Traditions." It just feels cheaper than designer fabric.

    3. The precuts and the fact that all the fabric coordinates in a designer line appeals to my aesthetic and the types of [more modern] quilt designs that I prefer. I have attempted to put together fabrics from my stash, sometimes with success, but more often with disappointing results. Even if a person is on a budget, to me it makes more sense to get a variety of prints in a precut pack knowing that it will coordinate perfectly.

    4. I like the designers. I feel like I have a personal relationship with them. I love Glenna Hailey. I love Sandy Gervais. They are nice people and have a story behind what they design. I also like to buy patterns from designers and bloggers. I don't get a "community" feeling when I buy fabric or patterns at Joanns. I recently bought a book from Laurie Aaron Hird for my mom (I have her Farmer's Wife book and I bought my mom the Pony Club book). I probably could've gotten a book for my mom at Joanns and used a 40% off coupon, but I paid full price and Laurie even personally inscribed the book to my mom. She couldn't be nicer! And I like purchasing on Etsy. Again, I feel like part of a quilting community. I love the fabric from Connecting Threads and feel like I'm supporting the quilting community when I buy there as well. I have called and talked to their customer service reps before and they are super nice and friendly and ever so helpful, too.

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  29. Continuation...


    5. I don't quilt because I need a bedspread. If I did, I'd buy one of those Better Homes and Gardens quilts at Walmart which look very nice. I quilt because it's a creative outlet and I prefer the designer fabrics. I think they are prettier, way prettier. I agree with one of the other posts...Joanns fabric is getting more current, but again, they only carry one print that looks like Rainy Days and Mondays, whereas on Etsy I can buy a set of 10 designed-to-go-together Riley Blake fat quarters.

    I guess those are my main reasons. I do buy fabric at Joanns. I really like their Stone Hill fabric. In fact, when it's on clearance for $2 a yard and it's a good print, I'll buy the whole bolt so I have it on hand for backing.

    That is just my personal preference and why I prefer to shop at the LQS, at online shops, and on Etsy versus Joanns. I drool over seeing the blog posts from quilt market and my heart goes pitter patter if I find a charm pack on Etsy from a fabric line a few months before it officially debuts!

    I mostly only "know" quilters from the online quilting community and the several blogs I read, so I didn't really know people were actually snobby about it. That is too bad, because in reality, it's just personal preference. For me, the person behind the fabric is the number one reason I like to buy designer.

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  30. I used fabric from joanns when first learning to quilt. I have found the designer fabrics to be softer and much better quality. I sew for the fun of it - not to save money. Otherwise i would just buy the premade quilts from JC Pennneys.

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  31. I am like you. I love the higher end fabrics but I still go to Joann's at least twice a month! I love that store. I like being able to mix fabrics right there. I also like being able to a off the bolt. I don't mind having 40 different prints in a quilt but sometimes I like only three or four. I love the fabric you bought. Good for you!!

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  32. To be honest, while most of my fabric budget goes toward designer fabrics, I've found that I like the hand of most Joann's and Hobby Lobby fabric better. Most of what I have from there is softer. So far (my oldest quilt is 12 years), the stuff from Joann's has held up just fine. But you really can't beat "designer" fabric for just that, fabulous designs (which is why most of my budget goes to online shops)!! I figure either way, I'm quilting, so I'm happy :)

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  33. Wow...your Joanns has a much nicer mix of fabric than mine does! I hit Joanns two or three times a month. I love the DS fabrics there, and they carry Kona Cottons and Alexander Henry. Joanns also has those great 40% off coupons, so I can get Kona relatively inexpensively there. I live on a budget, so I'm careful about what I buy, both at the quilt store and Joanns. I have a mix of both in my stash. Having said that, I have noticed that *some* of Joanns fabrics seem to be stiffer and scratchier and I avoid those!

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  34. My grandfather was Scottish. In other words, I've got a cheap streak a mile wide :). I have done a LOT of scrap quilting using fabric scraps from my Mom's stash and the fabric that my grandma had in her stash when she passed away. I've bought some designer fabrics and I LOVE a lot of them, but I can't justify spending that kind of money all of the time.

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Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from each and every one of you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)

Melissa