Back in the days before designer fabric became so popular, I used to scour through salvage bins at the craft stores for bargains on fabric I thought I could do something with. Most of what I bought was, well, interesting, but then again it was the early to mid nineties. Then I started working for Crapmart and began getting my fabric there mostly for the price and the employee discount. However, there were only so many deals to be had in the Dollar-a-Yard and Two-Dollars-a-Yard sections. Most of those fabrics were that in name only, but it didn’t stop me from getting entire bolts of stuff I thought I could use. Don’t get me wrong, they had a nice selection, but it seemed that once quilting was gaining popularity again, Crapmart wanted out of the business of By-The-Yard fabric. Whatever.
Anyway, now that I’m older, I get most of my fabric from a local quilt shop and a smaller fabric store. Most of that stems from my distaste of the big box retailers trying to quash any and all competition, but the biggest reason is quality. No more “100 percent cotton” which are actually 80/20 polyester blends or having to deal with someone who didn’t even work in the department trying to cut fabric and failing miserably. I mean, I knew how and volunteered to work the department while covering breaks and lunches and trained all of my employees how to do the same since my department was right next to it, but watching some guy from Automotive cut fabric after spending half the day doing oil changes was hilarious, not to mention a little messy, what with all those greasy fingers over-handling the fabric.
Even though I make less money now than I have in years (thanks economy!) I refuse to buy fabric based solely on price. Not so long ago I cringed at spending ten dollars a yard, but now if I know I will use it then I will get it. Sure, it’s nice when stuff is on sale, and my local quilt shop has a fantastic clearance room, but it’s also nice to know that you are purchasing something that isn’t going to fall apart in the washing machine or create havoc after it’s washed because the fibers aren’t similar and end up bunching in odd places because it indeed did have polyester in it when it said it didn’t and so it didn’t shrink while the rest of the quilt did and now you have a crappy looking quilt. Let’s just say I’m hesitant to wash The Uninspired Quilt for fear that those cotton fabrics aren’t all they say they are. But then again, I really don’t like the quilt in the first place, so perhaps washing it will improve its character.
Deals are great. Quality is better.