Who’s Buying? Huh?

Fabric Stash

Here is a total random thought, but its one I think of rather often. I was at Joann the other day and spotted a rather dashing piece of cotton lawn. That particular day, I didn’t have enough money to buy it and so I mentally reminded myself that I would check to make sure that the next time I had a few extra dollars, I would go and buy a length. I was pretty in love with it. The day came when I had a little extra pocket change and I went in to purchase some yardage of the beloved cotton lawn only to find that the bolt had but 1 1/2 yards left. Really not enough to suit the purpose for which I wanted the fabric in the first place (a dress). Sadly, I declined getting the 1 1/2 yards – my stash is enormous and getting a measly 1 1/2 yards to add to it without knowing what to do with it, is just plain silly.

This has happened on several occasions. Just recently with a pair of shoes too. All the size 8’s were gone. So here’s my question: Who’s buyin? You see, the weirdest thing is that I never see people wearing those same shoes that I wanted, or sewing up that fabric that I wanted either. Ever wonder that? Who are you and why when you’ve bought the cutest fabric and shoes, aren’t you utilizing them? I really want to know, because at least if I saw some of the really sweet things that I wish I could buy on someone else, I might feel a tiny bit better about loosing my chance at having them. Come now, its time to show yourselves. You know who you are. I want to know who you are too!

Ever found yourself thinking this predicament? Ever seen anyone actually utilizing that fabric you just couldn’t live without? Do tell!


  • Stephanie - I’ve had that happen before! I leave a nice full roll of fabric and come back to find it magically gone! The quilters better not be stealing my garment fabric! :p I figure a lot of it ends up in other people’s stashes for extended periods of time, seeing as that is what happens with a lot of stuff that I cart away from Joann’s.ReplyCancel

    • Samantha - I would have to agree. I have a huge stash of fabric and many times I just buy fabric because I like it, even if I don’t really have any plans for it at the time.ReplyCancel

  • Casey - This happens to me (I kid you not) CONSTANTLY. Mostly because I go between either something being wildly out of my budget (and by the time I’ve saved my pennies for a month, the coveted object is gone) or being terribly indecisive/suffering from guilt over buying more of something (e.g. fabric, shoes, jewelry, etc.) that I already have lots of. lol. I try to be really realistic about my purchases, and sometimes that day or weeks-long contemplation over “do I really need this?” costs me. lol. I too wonder who has snapped up all these lovely bits and pieces I’ve eyed over the years–especially the shoes I hesitate on and then regret! (Still kicking myself for a pair of Seychelles suede heels I missed out on last winter…)ReplyCancel

  • Samantha - I have a different question. When I am in a fabric store like Joann’s or Hancock and I can’t find anything I like, I wonder why they stock so much ugly fabric. Who buys all of this vomit inducing fabric? Sometimes I get so frustrated when I’m trying to find something modern and all I can find is something even my grandma wouldn’t wear. Sorry for the rant.ReplyCancel

    • Shawnta - Walls and walls of novelty fleece! I live in a pretty small town and the Hancock’s always have people in it but I never see any of those prints out and about.ReplyCancel

      • LeahR - Ugh… the novelty fleece! Who does buy that stuff?! You are right though, an entire wall of it. Puke.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - i must have questionable taste, because i don’t think i’ve ever experienced that. haha! as far as RTW & shoes, i tend to shop where the average buyer is a different size than me, so i get the best pickins’ in the clearance rack. hm i hope i didn’t just give away my best shopping secret.ReplyCancel

  • Samantha - I know what you mean Shawnta. Hancock’s is the worst. I actually get a little angry when I look at all that fleece. Why do they have so much of it? Who uses it?ReplyCancel

  • melissa - ha! No, I don’t know who’s buying, but I did try and do my bit to encourage others to sew up those gorgeous “too good to sew” fabrics in their stash a while back… Not that I know whether it worked or not!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - An awesome post! I just went back and re-read it. I have several of those lying around, though I am happy to report that I just used one in a dress that I’m dying to show you all!ReplyCancel

  • SA - With the shoes ….well they all go to these Ebay sellers who would do anything for a buck

    Fabric? not sure.Maybe it stays in their stash?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Yes, very good point. I really should be pointing the finger at myself in that case. Gah!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - That would be me. I’m guilty of being shoe and fabric collector. Although it’s funny, when some shoes I want are sold out I go ahead and *assume* that people bought them to sell on ebay (not hoard away for special occasions like me, noooo). Maybe it makes me feel better?ReplyCancel

  • Claire - This just happened to me, and I know where my fabric went! Lil’ Vintage Homemaker snagged it (http://lilvintagehomemaker.blogspot.com/2011/07/flock-together.html) while I was waiting for a better sale. Nevermind that we don’t live in the same town – so she’s not realllly to blame for there only 1.5 yards when I returned to Joann’s for it – I’m blaming it on her anyway. But she made a totally cute dress from it, so I guess I can’t be too mad.

    I did buy the remaining fabric, and while it’s not enough for the bombshell dress from Gertie’s online class, it should be plenty for a bustier top. So there.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Didn’t she do just a fantastic job! Flamingos never looked quite so fabulous! She totally used it though – way to go because at least you know one person who has used the fabric (even if its not in the same vicinity).ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - Don’t speak to me of Hancock’s or Joann’s. The ones here are stocked to the rafters with FLEECE and horrid polyester “silkies”. I live in TEXAS, man! Who is using this stuff? It’s 103 degrees outside.ReplyCancel

  • Emma - Well I just think that they buy for the same reason as us, and that’s why we never see it. Gets into our stash never to see the light of day again.

    but if you’d like to lighten your stash – I’d happily take that black with the wee white flower/dot things off your hands. (yes I’m deadly serious!!!)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Its actually all cut up for a shift dress that is sitting in the formidable UFO pile. EEEEK!ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - Hi, This happens to me with shoes ALL OF THE TIME. I wear what I guess is a popular size (8.5), and sure enough I see a shoe I like, ask for it in my size, and believe it or not the salesperson comes out with a size 7 and a 9.5 and says, “well we don’t have these in your size, but I thought you might want to try one of these sizes on?” What! Hello, I wear a size 8.5, so you do the math, oh ya crab the calculator first this may be a tough one for you to figure out. With material, yes that has happened to me too. I am yet to see someone wearing the shoes or fabric that I had a crush on and couldn’t or didn’t buy.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Yes, I do get the same thing – the sales associate always comes out with a 7.5 or an 8.5 and its always the same story. Kind of weird that they do that because it is so rare that I’m a different size (size 8 here). Oh well! I still never see those shoes I’m coveting on someone else though. Now where do those people hang out?ReplyCancel

  • Judith E. Hoover - This rarely happens to me because I have a very large foot size. It usually so happens that the retailer does not carry items in my size because they simply don’t make the cutsie shoes in my size. I secretly love this because it is rare that I see my “hoped for shoes” strolling by.

    However, I do sympathize with all of the other commenters. I hate hate hate the yucky fleece I see in the retail chain stores. I have now sworn them off and wait to by fabric when I have court appearances in downtown los angeles. If anyone here plans on coming out to Cali there are awesome fabric stores on Maple Street between 8th and 9th in downtown Los Angeles. Down with the yucky fleece and up with the fabric you actually want!ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Hi, this isn’t about fabric, but I really wanted to point out that you mean “WHO’S buying” (short for who is, you see. That’s why there is an apostrophe). This is meant as constructive criticism so I hope you don’t get offended. It’s just that I keep seeing little mistakes on your blog. It makes it less fun to read. You have also misspelled “losing” as “loosing”.
    Again, no intention to offend or be obnoxious. Just thought you ought to know given you obviously put a lot of work into your blog 🙂
    Thanks for all the cool stuff you do. Sorry if I’m a jerk!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Jo!
      Thanks for pointing this out to me. I do try to proof read and go through my posts several times before I put them on the blog, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. It sounds like it was more offensive to you in the end though – sorry it makes for a less fun read. My apologies. xoxo, SunniReplyCancel

  • Tee - Wow, we must be kindred souls. My husband always says “what are you going to make with that” I always “who knows, but I just got to have it.” Funny story that a lady at work told me. Most people know I sew, she began to tell me she went to Joann’s to buy buttons to replace some that she didn’t like. She was astonished that so many people were buying fabric, etc. She said what are all those people buying fabric for, she said “I had no idea that many people still sewed.” I found this remark really funny. If people didn’t sew, why did she think JoAnn’s even existed. LOLReplyCancel

  • Jacqui - Hi Sunni I saw a lady atthepark one day who had made herself an atrocious mu mu from this lovely art deco satin I had in my stash, she had tied a finger knitted marroon belt around it too. It was diabolical. It was very very nearly bad enough to throw it away but scraped- a dress out of it that is short and un mu mu like. Phew.
    Btw I like spelling and punctuation mistakes. Carry on! I’d much rather be reading about fabric than thinking about punctuation.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I have this issue more with shoes than with fabrics =) But I do want to chime in about the atrocity that is the fabric selection at JoAnns! Bahhh! The mountains of printed fleece, the polyesters, the SEQUINED netting… sigh. Is it any wonder that people give me the squinty look when I say that I sew? Hehe. I currently live in Italy, and you would think that people would have more respect for the sewist. Um, no. I get the squinty look, plus the question “Ci riesci?” which essentially means “You can?” (But for some reason it always feels like they’re questioning my ability to sew at all. Hehe.) My go-to fabric shops here are amazing, though. A good friend took me to another new favorite last week. Most tend to be businesses run by the same family for generations, so salespeople (usually the owners themselves) really know their stuff. Walls of cotton toiles, silks, linens… =) Suffice it to say I’ve become much more snobby with my fabric selection, and when I go home and visit JoAnns now it’s only for their super cheap patterns.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - This is pretty funny! I work in a quilt store and have actually sold the last yardage of fabric that I forgot to buy… It’s so hard to hand it over! One time a friend of mine came in to work on a project with that last bit of something I didn’t get any of and I SO wanted to sneak her leftovers home with me! It’s a case of “you snooze you lose.” Working here has taught me if you want something get it when you can. And if you wait and it’s gone, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Just wait for the next pretty thing that comes out! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • claire - This happened to me once @ Hancock! I went during lunch break and saw a really cute eyelet with printed yellow bowties (it sounds juvenile but it..really…isn’t…!!) on clearance. But, it was a Wednesday (Senior Discount Day @ Hancock) and the cutting line was pretty long. I decided to go back after work, thinking that NO ONE would buy it, considering that there are two more colors of the fabric (blue & violet). Big mistake! I came back and it was gone. To this day, i’m still kicking myself for not braving the extra 30 minutes or so needed to get the fabric, because sometimes, it is more important than food.ReplyCancel

  • Candace - this happens constantly on etsy! If something is *just right* and at a decent price I have learned to buy because it’s typically gone in a few days. I just missed out on a beautiful mirror that I loved because I hesitated 🙁

    On the other hand I always wait a bit on shoes and if my size is still in stock I buy when they go on sale. I think of it as fate, if they wait for me, it’s meant to be! (if I didn’t I would be broke with millions of shoes!)ReplyCancel

  • Janice - This doesn’t happen to me as often since I shop at the garment district, but I have run out of fabric before, gone back to the store weeks later and they have run out too. I now know that when I like a certain fabric to always buy a yard extra (and make a muslin!)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Yes this has definitely happened to me! I’m so cheap that I wait to be able to use a 50% off coupon at Joann and therefore won’t buy if it’s, say on sale for 30% off! There was a gorgeous silk cotton blend that I coveted this spring and of course it was gone by the time I could afford it. There are so few beautiful fabrics at Joann that they get snatched up fast. I don’t have a local hanncock but there’s one by my mom and it actually has quite a nice fabric selection.ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Projects - I have not wondered that exact same thing but something similar. I always hope that what I buy I don’t see other people wear…it can always be a little sad when you go out and find that you and your best friend are twins.

    Thanks for the post!

    ~Living Dailies Sewing Publisher: JoannaReplyCancel

  • Saeriu - Last weekend I was visiting my parents and my mom and I went down to the nearby Hancock Fabrics…what a disappointment. In college I worked there and it was about 90% fabric and notions. Now, its about 30% fabric and the rest crafts and junk (picture frames and ottamans–in a fabric store?). I think they’re trying to compete with Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. But it stinks because they’re supposed to be a fabric store, hence their name.

    As far as where do all the pretties go? I enjoy buying fabric to have in my stash for “one day” just like all the vintage sewing patterns I buy to “one day” make all of them. It seems the apparel section of the fabric store is shrinking and the quilting and fleece sections are monopolizing the stores… booReplyCancel

  • prttynpnk - Ok, I’m starting to really wonder if I have the worst taste ever- I never have this happen! I even get the clerks cocking their heads to the side when I tell them it’s going to be a dress/hat/skirt/whatever! Oh, dear……ReplyCancel

  • Reana Louise - This never happens to me because I am a horrible impulsive buyer–but think of all the money you’re saving! I know that’s no consolation what-so-ever… just trying to help 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - Sounds like you have hit a nerve with this topic! IReplyCancel