Nothing beats a good pile of fabric. These cozy knits all came from an especially fruitful Sunday at the G Street Fabrics $2.97 table. It’s hit-or-miss, but when it’s a hit you can’t beat $2.97/yd for a comfy apparel fabric. The pile is usually made up of bolt-ends, sometimes even factory rejects or misprints. They’re always tangled into a mess, and very rarely labeled. It’s fabric archaeology at its finest. Beyond all that, the cutters are generous, so if a piece is uneven, or there’s a run or a misprint, they’ll grant you a huge margin. Magical.
Since the fabrics aren’t marked for content, I end up smelling each of them, trying to detect the percentage of natural fibers. I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at the sniff test. For t-shirts, especially, I steer clear from 100% synthetic fabrics, since they don’t handle sweat well. Some of them even trap sweat+deodorant and it never washes out! I hate it when that happens to my store-bought clothes, and it’s even worse to make myself something with the same feature.
What this pile of fabric best represents, though, besides magic and a steal at under $30, is my most recent attempt to sew clothes that I will wear. I’ve realized that I like to buy pretty fabrics in bright colors and fun prints, and I like to dream about sewing dresses, skirts, and fancy shirts, but I like to wear neutral colors and dependable, casual tees with jeans. I think Sewaholic says it best: many of us are sewing Too Much Frosting, Not Enough Cake.
All the recent talk of “capsule wardrobes” and “defining your style” has given me a lot of thought on my personal style. I don’t have many clothes that I love, and I want to fill the gaps in my wardrobe with me-made garments. I want to sew clothes that are cute and stylish; while maintaining a classic, basic feel; while ensuring they’re easy to care for; while keeping them just unique enough that I know I made them myself. It’s a lot to ask, and it’s a little intimidating.
Just like eating healthy starts at the grocery store, sewing in a practical manner starts at the fabric store. Despite the $2.97 price tag, on that Sunday at G-Street, I held each fabric up in front of myself in the mirror, testing its practicality.
Neutral? Check. Easy to care for? Check. Comfy? Check. Cute? Check.
And I assembled a healthy stack of fabric from the “checks”.
The photo above is another from the stack, already removed and begun. This fabric, a lycra/spandex, was made to be a maxi skirt. When a fabric leaps out at me and I can instantly think of a project, it goes in the cart. And when I start the project as soon as the fabric is out of the wash? That’s an absolute win.
Of course, some fabrics don’t fit within the rules. They’re not neutral, and they’re not something I’d wear often. But it’s not the 2.97 table if there’s not a surprise. And camping forest animals on a stretchy pink knit? Hedgehogs roasting marshmallows with their birdie friends? That’s the best surprise of all. I see a pair of super soft pajama shorts in my future!
Is your sewing style the same as your personal style? How do you keep the two aligned? I’m still at the beginning of this journey and I need help staying on track!
Marie started wiwo wednesday: What I’m Working On. I try to join her as often as I can to give you a peek into my creative process and my works-in-progress. Feel free to join in! Comment with what you’re working on, or blog it and leave me a link! See all my wiwo wednesday posts here.