Have you ever run out of a fabric when you were in the midst of a project? Have you ever been fabric shopping and fallen in love with a fabric but, just couldn’t make up your mind about buying it — and then when you returned it was gone?
I have had so many quilt shop owners tell me about customers who call and write who are desperately seeking a special fabric. Sometimes they only have a description like, “it’s white with pink flowers and a squiggle.” Sometimes they have a one inch square of fabric to match. The shop owners try to help, but often they just don’t have enough information to work from. When they have thousands of bolts of fabrics in their stores, finding “a white fabric with pink flowers and a squiggle” is like hunting the proverbial “needle in a haystack.”
Here are some hints for making your fabric searches easier. First, always carry a small notebook when you go fabric shopping. (I always have one in my purse– because you never know when that fabric shopping urge may hit.) While you are at your fabric store, jot down as much of the following information as you can from the label at the top of the bolt: manufacturer’s name (ex: Hoffman, Moda, Northcott), item # (ex: 1622-410056-413), and the color name, if given. Then write a short description of the fabric.
Even if you decide not to buy the fabric right then, if you come back later and it’s gone, you will be able to tell the shop owner exactly what you are looking for. You will also be able to look the fabric manufacturer up on-line and possibly be able to print a picture of the fabric you were looking at. This will make it much easier for the shop owner to try and reorder the fabric for you.
If you do buy the fabric take another step which may seem like a lot of trouble, but will really pay off in the long run. Cut a swatch of the fabric big enough to show the color and motif and permanently affix it to the back of an index card. A fabric glue stick works great for this. On the front of the card, put the information from the bolt end, how much you bought, from where, and the date. You will find the information invaluable if you ever need to buy the fabric again.
When you complete your quilt or project, take the fabric cards that you used in the quilt and group them together. You will have a complete record of the fabrics used and the yardage you bought, as well as future historical documentation of your quilt.
Do you have other favorite ways to keep track of your fabrics? Looking forward to hearing from you.
Suzan @ AQS