I keep hearing over and over that “You just can’t buy good fashion fabric any longer.” Well – fashion fabric independent stores (such as I used to have myself) ARE a rare thing to find these days, but really, there IS some quite nice quality fashion fabric available – even at your local JoAnn’s Fabric Store. Yep – JoAnn’s and even some at Hobby Lobby! Mind you, not ALL of it, but if you learn textile terminology and educate your fingers to the ‘feel’ and eyes to the ‘drape’ of fabrics, you’ll be excited and find it hard to buy only what you ‘need’ – even at the local chain store. For learning Textile Terminology, I worked VERY hard on a PDF product: Textiles for the Seamstress – a great buy at $12.95. Order it HERE.
I am joined in my feelings by a well-respected gentleman in today’s sewing circles: Christopher Nejman. Inspiring this blog post, find Chris’ on the same topic can be found HERE.
I snapped many pics on my visit there – and share them with you here to give you the ‘tour’ of what caught MY eye.
THREE ’rounders’ of Nicole Miller fabric – each prettier than the next, and top quality – and at 40% off the day of my visit. The pricing is reasonable in the first place, then with the sales and coupons for non-sale pieces – you can’t beat it. Independent retailers, such as myself in the past, could never afford to offer sale pricing like the chainstores do on a regular basis! Let’s look closer at some of those Nicole Miller fabrics.
I’m always ‘on the lookout’ for fabrics with 2 useable sides. This black and white stick-type texture had a nice reverse. Then, I found a tan with a black ‘reverse’ and a 2 tone aqua. These are ‘double cloths’ that would make the loose, swingy, cascade front jacket effects beautifully!
The day I was there – these were regularly $16.99 and 40% off.
Especially attractive were the full-bodied poly/lycra prints for activewear. If you are ‘into’ the tights-type pants, these would be great pants. Personally, I don’t leave the house in them, but for those with shapely young legs and ‘behinds’, these are perfect.
There were some GORGEOUS, texture-rich outer-wear prints as I’ve shown below. A single layer in a simple jacket would suffice for ‘winter’ here in TN (or it better be!).
The Nicole Miller fabric displays had beautiful coordinating pieces as well as shown here. Most of these were full-bodied double knits, perfect for fall/winter separates. The one on the right..I see as a lovely long skirt worn with black boots.
My eye did a huge double-take at the piece shown below. It is actually a satin print with a sheer print over top, ‘hooked’ together with a weave in a regular pattern. I’m not sure what I would make, but it is a truly beautiful fabric. In the 2nd photo, I tried to ‘pull’ the sheer fabric away from the base so you could see the ‘feather’ effect. There was also a 2nd fabric like this in a colorful print.
This next one seemed to be die-cut black fabric layered and stuck to an interesting base.
This next reversible piece is a knit – striped on one side, with a lace effect on the other. I already bought this piece earlier in the summer ‘for business use’ – and it ended up in a kit for creative sewing. Too bad I don’t need more clothes right now. Funny thing – when you move from one community to another in a new state, ALL your clothes are ‘new’ to your new friends. At 40% off, it was tempting….
In my own ‘stash’ I do have a piece like the one shown below, except mine is navy. Again, this is a double knit. Fairly stable and reversible. Though the ‘stripe’ effect is horizontal, when I used a fabric almost exactly like this, I simply turned it the other direction so the ‘stripe’ went vertical. Just check the stretch factor to make sure you still have enough give in the horizontal grain across the garment. My garment is from my ‘Twin Set Tweaks’ Talking Pattern.
The close-up photo below shows creative use of a 2-sided fabric.
Shoulder seam: stitch WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, then topstitch in place.
1″ crossgrain strips adorn the edges and trim the sleeves, tied to finish.
Center front and neckline edges are finished on BOTH sides with 1″ wide crossgrain strips – which curl.
Edge and hemline edges of sleeves and jacket body are actually selvages!
I was tickled to see the same stretch lace that I used for my daughter’s casual wedding top still available. It has scattered sequins, it’s not expensive, and quite pretty. HERE is my Blog on that top that I made her, Modesty Lining for a Lace Knit Top.
Talk about texture! This piece shown above is a matelasse. The texture is very rich and would make a beautiful sheath dress or nice top.
On the other side of ‘classic’ as above, is this ‘raggy’ piece was also there – hiding in the Halloween fabrics! How about a long skirt? Honestly, there are many intriguing fabrics in the Halloween section! One year, I found this gold foil net – and promptly returned to buy up the entire bolt – cut into 3″ strips and sold at my show booth and online. Sew…..go shop the Halloween aisle!
And – for evening wear – LOTS to chose! Even if it might not be TOP Quality, for the little wear that evening clothes get, why spend more money than you have to?
Across the street of ‘chain store strip’ here in Jackson, is Hobby Lobby. While they don’t have near as much fashion fabric, what I did find was exciting – I could have purchased all 3 pieces I found.
Rosey Gold sequin knit – beautiful on blondes!
White scalloped edge ruffle fabric
Then, ALWAYS stroll through the ‘home dec’ fabric – at ANY store. Washing any of them can make them softer and more ‘garment-like’. You can ALWAYS find a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby online – so look at it like you are almost buying ‘at cost’ at least one piece every time you make a purchase there.
GREAT for a tote – embossed vinyl.
Chenille – a great coat!
I see……A beautiful skirt for the Holidays.
One of those heavier cotton jacquards, but washed several times – it will soften up and make a great skirt or jacket.
Sew……I hope I have made my case – SHOP at your local stores – whatever those may be. Honestly, I find more at the chains for garment sewing than even the best ‘quilt’ shops. While they have great cottons – usually that is ALL they have, and in my opinion, other than for children’s clothes, or mens-like shirts, campshirts, 100% cotton has no ‘drape’ – and is NOT what I personally seek for garment sewing. Be sure to ‘sign up’ for the online and mailed coupons. Set up a ‘folder’ at your email location for ‘Coupons’ and designate a place in your purse for Coupons.
And again – learn your textile terminology for shopping online. Order my Textiles for the Seamstress HERE.