Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Wonder of Fabric Stores

Even before I took up sewing, I loved to poke around in fabric stores. One of my favorite haunts was a quilt shop in a quaint village that’s being swallowed up by the city where I love.

Now, wandering among bolts of fabric may not seem fun to you. However, I recommend that every woman visit a fabric department now and again. Here are my top five reasons why.

Every home needs a good mending kit. You’ll save lots of time and money by keeping your clothing in repair. Since everyone has a different idea of what is essential to a mending kit, you will need to determine which items work for you. Browsing through a notions section will help you in this process. Also, notions manufacturers are constantly coming up with new treasures to make sewing and mending easier. While most aren’t necessary, it’s good to keep up with what’s new.

Every woman needs to understand fabrics. The Proverbs 31 woman selected quality wool and flax. She dressed in fine linen and purple. In her case, she sewed these materials into garments. Even if a woman doesn’t sew, however, it’s good for her to develop an eye for different fabrics, and a knowledge of their appropriate uses and what is involved in cleaning them. Throughout your lifetimes, you will purchase many items made of cloth, such as clothing, drapes and curtains, bedding, and upholstered furniture. A “basic education” in materials – obtained from observantly walking through a clothing store – can help you make wise selections.

Every woman needs to know which colors and fabric textures are most flattering to her. It is simple and economical to build your wardrobe around basic pieces one or two flattering neutrals and to add becoming accent colors in shirts, sweaters, and accessories. Also, some women look better in larger prints; others, in smaller, and some should avoid prints all together. Some women wear heavy fabrics well. Others need lighter, crisper fabrics or soft, drapey fabrics. A trip to the fabric store with a trusted friend is an easy way to try out which colors and textures suit you best. Hold up a bolt, glance in a mirror, and consult your friend’s opinion. If you see one or two colors in inexpensive materials that you particularly like, buy one eighth to one quarter of a yard to take home to use as swatches.

Fabric departments are a good place to pick up craft items or fun, no-sew projects. Fabric stores have always provided ideas for no-sew fabrics; the advent of polar fleece has taken this to a new level. At any rate, you are likely to find something fun to take home, even if you’ve never sewed a stitch in your life.

Fabric stores are good places to find gifts for someone who loves to sew. People who love sewing or crafts welcome gift certificates to places like Jo-Ann’s, Hancock’s or Hobby Lobby. Or, you can fill a gift bag with inexpensive sewing notions.



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