After I posted gratuitous post-fabric-purchase photos the other day, Nancy wrote to ask me how I decide how much fabric to buy:
“Hi Rae, When you are looking at fabric and you may or may not have an idea in mind at the time for what you are going to use it for, how much of the fabric do you purchase? That is always the hardest decision for me b/c I don’t want to not have enough for when I decide what I’m going to use it for but then can you get too much? I was just wondering if you have a system that you use or a minimum yardage purchase, etc? Thanks. I’m loving the summersville prints.”
It’s a great question. So I thought it might be a good idea to share my “rules” for buying fabric with you, developed over many, many years of fabric purchasing, in hopes you’ll find them useful. I always chuckle inwardly a bit at the people who walk up to the cutting table with a pattern envelope in hand and ask for 2 3/8 yards of something. Newsflash, Everyone: It’s not going to kill you to pony up and buy that extra 1/8 of a yard and call it an even 2.5 so you have a little room for shrinkage/error!!!
Rae’s Fabric-Buying Rules:
- If no idea but have to have it, 1/2 yd
- If it could be a kids garment, 1 yd (small kids only)
- If it could be a short sleeved top for me, 1.5 yd
- If it could be a long sleeved top for me, 2 yd
- If it could be a skirt for me (fitted), 1.5 yd
- If it could be a skirt for me (longer/fuller), 2 yd
- If it could be a shirt for Mr Rae, 3 yd
- If it could be a dress for me, 3 yd
Those are my usual amounts…I usually regret not buying enough of something, but I still have way too much fabric. Go figure. I tend to “pat-on-the-back” buy after I sew something…case in point: I already bought more of the Washi tape print. Ack! (that link is from Instagram [madebyrae], by the way, where you can witness the gory play-by-play of my fabric purchases).
And for a really, really fantastic post about how to estimate yardage for various types of garments, you really must check out my friend LiER’s post over on Ikatbag called “How I Estimate Yardage.” It comes complete with nifty diagrams, you will not be sorry I promise.
How much do you buy?