9 February 2008
When buying patchwork fabric for patchwork/ quilting projects, it is important to ensure that you buy enough for the project with perhaps a little to spare.
Most of the patchwork fabric in shops or on ebay will only be around for a limited time. Although all the patchwork fabric producers have their 'basics' lines; usually the solids, the blendables and the muslins etc. It is their 'fashion' lines that tend to catch the eye and although you may use the blendables as supporting fabrics, often the main part of the quilt is made up of the 'fashion' lines. These fashion lines tend to be around for a maximum of 18 months.
Now if you buy your fabric when it has been out for nearly a year, and then you take a few months to create your quilt and you want to modify your quilt or you have a bad day and your cutter slips. when you return to your stockist to buy more fabric there's none left!! Now what do you do? you've spent hours and hours creating your mastepiece you're on the homeward stretch and you run out of fabric and no-one has any!!!
This can be very frustrating and it happens all the time, and you don't even have to buy your fabric late for it to happen, if you choose a popular collection, the quilt shops could be out of stock within months or some cases weeks.
This is particularly true of Moda fabrics, because quilt shops have to make their selections and buy the fabric 3-4 months in advance, that is the only window they have to purchase that particular collection. If the fabric arrives and it is popular or it is featured in a patchwork magazine, then the quilt shops could be out of stock within weeks, with no chance of re-ordering!!!!
I am telling you this because i think it's important that everyone is aware of the limited availability of most pathwork fabric. I think it is a crying shame that some one could be three quarters of the way through a quilt only to run out of fabric, be unable to find any and then either give up on their handiwork or settle for something that's not quite what they wanted!!
The only fool proof way around this dilemma is to always buy more than you think you need (it's far better to have a few extra fat quarters in your stash that you can put to better use than an incomplete project). I think it would be helpful if quilt shop owners informed their customers of the availability of their cloth, either by telling them when they make their initial purchase, or by warning customers when their stocks are getting low, that there's little or no chance of re-ordering, encouraging them to purchase what they need whilst they can. I know how frustrating it can be to run out of fabric when it's too late to modify the quilt successfully.
Incidentally, the first run of a print for patchwork has to be a minimum of 3,000 metres, occasionally they will do a reprint of 2,000 metres. Bearing in mind quantities like that it's no wonder that patchwork fabric manufacturers aren't terribly interested in that extra fat quarter that we need to finish our masterpieces!!!!!!