How much is too much? Planning for shopping

My muslin of Burda 132-04-2011 is still sitting there, looking at me accusingly. And I’m still pretending I can’t see it. Ever have a pattern you just can’t seem to get started with?

I don’t think there’s anything really wrong with the pattern, I know I like this style and I love the fabric. I’m just too tired right now to work on anything new. So it’s obviously the right time to start planning for fabric shopping at the weekend. I always try to take a list with me when fabric shopping because otherwise I get completely overwhelmed by the choice and make really bad decisions. But of course I will make exceptions for fabric that I fall in love with.

What I do have trouble with is buying the right amount of yardage. I make a list of the patterns I want to make, and their approximate yardage requirements. Fabric in the UK is sold by the metre not by the yard, but as I always need to lengthen patterns I just look at the number of yards the pattern calls for and then buy that many metres. And then I add a bit more on, to be certain. Can you see where this is going? My stash is full of small pieces between half a metre and a metre in length that are left over from projects where I bought far too much fabric, and my mother is never short of fabric for her quilting. On the plus side, when I do mess something up I almost always find I have enough fabric to cut the problem pieces out again. This has saved a couple of projects in the past.

Do you always buy the exact yardage? Does it work out for you? I have a couple of patterns with huge yardage requirements to buy fabric for this time around, so I am going to make more of an effort to get the amount right – just buying the yards in metres would be silly when the pattern calls for four and half yards to start with.

6 thoughts on “How much is too much? Planning for shopping

  1. First, I can’t wait to see that dress pattern made up.
    I usually have about half a yard of fabric left after a lot of my projects that don’t want to get rid of, but I think that’s because I’m always really skimpy and cram the pieces in as close as possible. But as far as shopping goes, if I have a pattern in mind I just buy the length they recommend. Other wise I buy 2 yard for blouses or 3-4 yards for dresses.

  2. Are you in my head? I use the same procrastination techniques, especially ignoring. Regarding the how much to buy question… I usually only buy enough for the pattern. sometimes I have leftovers, most times just enough. When I buy fabric just because, with no pattern in mind, I usually buy 2 yds. If I know it’s going to have a fuller skirt and/or long sleeves I’ll buy 3 or 4 yds. I am usually happy to have scraps in case I want to make something else for myself or a scarf or make something for my little nieces. Quilting is never on my mind. 😉

  3. It’s pretty rare that I buy fabric with a specific project in mind. Sometimes I am ruthless and bin the scraps but I also have a large bag full of pieces I will “do something creative with one day” which currently functions as a cat bed!

  4. I rarely buy for a specific project in mind (ask me why I have 200 + metres in stash!).

    I tend to buy fabric when the opportunity arises or I’ve got a vague idea about what I want to make (ask me again why I have 200 + metres in stash!).

    For fabric I think will be a skirt I’ll buy 1.5 to 2 metres unless I’m sure it will be a straight skirt, then I buy 1 metre.
    For jacket or top fabric its 2 to 2.5 metres and for dresses its either 3 or 4 metres.
    The meterage depends on the style that I think, at the time, might suit the fabric, and the price.

    As you could guess, I usually have fabric leftover after cutting out (and a large stash, did I say that already?). I have a friend who makes quilts, bags, pot holders etc etc to sell for charity events, church and school fairs, so all my scraps go to her, unless they are clearly unsuitable for her projects.

    I am trying very hard to not keep small pieces anymore. They can bring back fond memories, but storage space is not infinite!

  5. I mostly buy for stash so I get generic amounts like 1.5 meters for a t-shirt and 2.5 meters for a pair of pants. If a garment requires more than generic amounts, then I buy specifically for that garment but, even then, often I’ve bought extended yardage of a really good deal – like the 22.00 paisley lace for 2.00 – that I can use for those projects. Lately, I’ve been sewing a lot from my stash. That feels good.

  6. I usually buy the amount instructed on the back of the pattern, or a little more to be on the safe side, but I pretty much always end up with spare bits of fabric; like you, anything between half a metre and a metre. I HATE wasting fabric though, so I try to use it up making dresses for my daughter. Any scraps that co-ordinate well I cut into squares for future quilts, and the rest of the scraps I save to make bunting. One day, I will have enough scraps to make bunting long enough to go around the whole world!

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