How I buy Fabric for the shop.

A couple of weekends ago I attended a fabric trade fair,  now all the parcels are starting to arrive and it is so exciting. I am often asked how I make choices of fabric, everyone thinks that it must be so much fun … it is, but it can also be quite stressful as you can not buy what you like – you have to think what your customers will like.  When I first took over the shop I met two wonderful Sisters who made all their own clothes, and I mean everything, from coats to petticoats. They had completely different taste in colours, fabrics and designs, and they always looked impeccably turned out. To me they will always be the epitome of the fundamentals of the shop.  As I go round all the fabric agents i am thinking of Mrs D and Mrs M along with my friend who loves jersey. She requires a wardrobe to fit her challenging figure and wants to look sassy when she goes out, smart-casual for her job and relaxed and comfortable at weekends. All this is going through my head as I look at swatch after swatch of fabric. I also need to look at the composition, origin, width and care instructions, as I feel that is important to tell customers. Finally I look at price.

The other major consideration I have to think about, as instructed by my window dresser – the most wonderful Angie, what will I buy for the window.

As I go round all these wonderful suppliers, seeing some of the most amazing fabrics, I have to ensure that I do not overspend the budget … that takes a lot of the fun out of the shopping!

Another major consideration that is overlooked by many shops is Haberdashery. Do I have the correct inter-facings, lining, zip colours, thread? If not, can I get them? The shop has never been, and will not become, a place of speed disposable sewing, the fabrics deserve to be treated well and then they will reward you with joy when you wear then. Often I hear the cry that a wonderful project has become a disaster and the sewer blames themselves for not having the skills, but more often than not it is not the fault of the sewer’s skills, it’s more likely to be incorrect fabric choice or not stabilizing the fabric correctly. ( I openly admit that I have become obsessed with learning about interfacing and interlining, I find it fascinating how these products can affect the finish of a garment.)These choices all need to made when you enter a shop or buy on the internet. The clues are always on the back of the pattern, so be sure to read all this information. The benefit of being in a shop is you can feel the fabric, see the true colour and ask all the questions you need, we should all know the answers to your questions, if not then we should know how to find the answer, that is our job.

So just like me when I am buying fabric for the shop, you experience exactly all the same thought processes as me when you are purchasing for your project.

Until next time happy sewing, knitting and living a creative life

Love Sandra

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