Life is Too Short to Buy Cheap Fabric

That’s my signature over on a sewing forum. It’s actually my philosophy, and I try to apply it in life as well. I’m a Diva. I admit it; I’m proud of it, and anyone who thinks that calling me a Diva is an insult just doesn’t get it. The fact is that my philosophy has nothing to do with snobbishness, and everything to do with wringing the most you can out of life. There’s a wonderful quote from the movie “Auntie Mame”, where Mame takes her secretary, Agnes Gooch, by the hand and tells her “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live!!!!” That’s the way to approach fabric, life, and everything.

Sewing Diva MaryBeth inspired this post. She was talking about being frustrated with a batik of indeterminate age that she bought from a very reputable fabric vendor. She decided to give up on working with the fabric because it was causing her such grief. She also paid a lot of money for that fabric. It was expensive, but it wasn’t worth it. And therein lies the crux of this post.

When someone attacked me via email for my signature line, I told her, look, just because a fabric is expensive doesn’t mean it’s not cheap, and just because a fabric is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s inexpensive. I love a bargain on good fabric. The thrill of the hunt, you know.

Conversely, I have paid a lot of money for fabrics that were dreck. I’ll pick on one of the big nationals, who shall remain nameless, but they are the only one in the Boston area. They carry some velvets that they charge $24/yard for, and they’re crap, plain and simple. I have seen fabrics costing an arm and a leg that I wouldn’t let my worst enemy’s cat sleep on. Look at it this way. If you sew as a passion, regardless of whether it’s business or hobby, spend your money on the best you can. That doesn’t mean spend your life savings, but it does mean that you should get yourself educated about what makes a quality fabric, and find vendors that supply quality fabrics and patronize them. Oh, and the corollary to my philosophy? Life is too short to drink cheap wine. Speaking of which, dinner and a lovely glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are calling my name.

Happy sewing!

About Gorgeous Things

I own an online fabric store, www.gorgeousfabrics.com. Everything else you need to know about me is what I tell you on my blog, darlings!
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8 Responses to Life is Too Short to Buy Cheap Fabric

  1. Gigi says:

    It’s just no wonder that we get along so well!

  2. Karina says:

    Hear, Hear!!!

  3. Miss-G- says:

    I think from reading Patternreview, both you and Gigi have really influenced my fabric buying behaviour! Before I used to buy a lot of cheap stuff (which is fine for a beginner), but the better I’ve become, the more expensive my tastes! I’d rather buy a little of the quality as opposed to a lot of the cheap, and the garments I make look so much better for it too. Even if I make mistakes that would have looked rotten in cheap fabric, the quality stuff is much more forgiving. And it’s still cheaper for me to pay $24 a yard and have a pretty jacket, than it is to pay $200 for the RTW version. So a big thankyou to both, once you’ve seen the good stuff there is just no going back!

  4. Summerset says:

    This rule applies to interfacings (especially fusibles!), linings and underlinings, too, not just fashion fabric. These things really make the garment, and I have bought (and pitched!) some really bad fusibles and linings along the way. Live and learn.

  5. Els says:

    Wise words and so true. I would like to add some more like sbanks did already. Good quality thread and buttons.The quality remains long after the high price is forgotten.

  6. Mary Beth says:

    Ah, Diva Ann, would that I have given up on this project! But no-o-o-o, too stubborn to quit this muslin of a style I found interesting, I finished it last night. Why? Because “bad” is part of life. I decided that the creative act might turn all my negative energy around, even if the garment only last a season or two. It was just a smock for work anyway. So I finished it, modelled it for DH and got “approval”. If nothing else it will hang in my workroom as a symbol of acceptance of the terms of being alive. After all, there are no guarantees, right?Here’s the kicker: what attracted me to this fabric was that it has these words written all over it: love, laugh, create, play, learn, teach, reflect, listen, explore, teach and imagine!!!I only recommend this style of sewing if you are treating your work as an artistic expression. If not, it’s definitely not worth it!

  7. Erica B. says:

    This is why I like you and why I read your blog. I love Australian and New Zealand wines also. I’ve also been introduced to South African wines!

  8. cmarie12 says:

    I first read about your post on Mardel’s blog, Sew Distracted, and rushed over to read the original. At different times I have agreed and disagreed with both your tagline and Gigi’s. BUT, I understand how both of you have come to your conclusions and why you have them as taglines. I don’t think it is right of me or anyone else to tell you how to live your lives or what to say as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else. I believe we should celebrate our differences and understand that’s what makes the sewing community so diverse and fun!Now that said ~ I live for a great bargain on an expensive fabric! And feel like all is right in the sewing universe when I have accomplished that task! Maybe I should make that my tagline! *smile*Thanks for a very interesting and inspiring post!

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