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So Much Sewing Material, So Much Sewing Fabric, So Many Fabric Stores & So Little Time!

Elvis Elvis

I get so excited thinking about all the sewing material that’s around. Sewing fabric has really come a long way. Even the number of fabric stores is huge. Let me catch my breath so that I can go on.

All the fuss is over the fact that there is so much sewing material out there. Hundreds of types of sewing fabric to choose from and just as many fabric stores too. Cotton, linen, silks, Lycra, spandex, fleece, sheers, flannel, suede, polyesters, knits, velvet, taffeta, seersucker, and sew on and sew on… I could go on forever listing all the sewing material available today.

So Much Sewing Material, So Much Sewing Fabric, So Many Fabric Stores & So Little Time!

I remember my fledgling trip to the sewing goods store. Since my initiation into the sewing world…oh my, how things have changed! That was in 1966, I was 11 (no adding!) and my mom took me to the sewing shop. She thought that by choosing the sewing material and pattern for the dress I was going to make that I would remain excited through the course of my lessons as she taught me to sew. She was right! (as mothers usually are)

It was a small store, by today’s standards, stuck in between a dress shop and a bank; hardly noticeable really. You couldn’t get your sewing fabric anywhere else; there were no other fabric stores in town. It was barely perceived as even being a fabric shop, but it didn’t have to be. Sewing was not a big deal then. The sewers in town knew it was there and that was all that mattered. Factually back then, if you wore homemade clothes then you were thought of as borderline poverty.

Back then everything was made from natural fibers; the greatest in demand being cotton. Of course, we had linen (which had been made crease-resistant…yippee!) and woolens which, as amazing as it seemed then, were sometimes pre-shrunk and washable. I remember washing and drying something made of wool that wasn’t supposed to be washed and dried, but that’s another story…

The most “far-out” fabrics of the day were called knits. These were made from woven yarn and there were 3 basic kinds available: 1) jersey 2) double-knit and 3) tricot. These knits had no grain; what they had is called a rib. It is this rib that gives the material its lengthwise direction.

Also, there were two other materials which had no grain. They were lace and net. These were a very intricate sewing material and they were made on special machines. Because of this, they were also relatively expensive.

And there you had it! The world of sewing fabric was home to maybe 10 types of materials. No wonder there were no fabric stores. Really the only choices a home sewer had was in considering the color and print.

So Much Sewing Material, So Much Sewing Fabric, So Many Fabric Stores & So Little Time!

The shop was always busy though. I went back regularly. Once a person catches the sewing fever it can’t be stopped. It’s kind of like a snowballing affection that one gets for savoring the items in the fabric stores. Have you ever heard, “She who dies with the most fabric wins!” ? Well, that’s exactly how every sewer I know feels. It’s exciting!

NOW… look in fabric stores today! There are fabrics made from as many materials as there are leaves on a tree. Oh sure, there are still woolens and knits, cottons and lace, but geez….so many more…

Chastity and I went to Joann’s fabric store the other night. She wanted to make something for a friend and I went along to help her choose the pattern and the sewing material. As we were standing there waiting for our approach to the cutting table, which is why I prefer to shop on line, I was reading on the back of the pattern envelope that she needed a sewing material that we hadn’t gotten. Interfacing. I might add that it had already taken us an hour and a half to choose a sewing material; not to mention that we had probably walked two miles combing the aisles looking for “just the right one”.

“Oops, you need interfacing. It’s over there” I told her, pointing to the other side of the cutting table. “Get it while I save our place in line. It’s also known as Pellon–see it right there.” In a moment I heard her voice as she called back to me, “Mom, what kind?” I looked up to see her standing next to at least 15 bolts of interfacing. I just had to laugh! Boy, did I feel old!

There are many different types of interfacing for all sorts of applications. The sewing material you need will depend on the weight of your fabric. You want to choose the one which is closest in weight to the material you are lining it with.

So Much Sewing Material, So Much Sewing Fabric, So Many Fabric Stores & So Little Time!

So take a trip of your own. Visit the various shops, see the multitude of sewing material, notions, machines, accessories and other sewing goods. Then remember, “YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY!” So has SEWING FABRIC!

TIP:Let’s say you have in mind what you’d like the fabric to look like…but you’ve spent all day searching through the sewing shop in town and also the one at the mall and you can’t find it. “What am I going to do?” you ask yourself severely disappointed that your travels of searching for the perfect print have turned up zilch. Consider going on line. Visit some retailers of fabric on the web…I do it all the time and love it! It’s convenient, it’s easy and (the best part of all) you can find anything you want without leaving your home. That’s gotta save on the life of my shoes. And as an added benefit I can spend the gas money I save on a notion or two. And I always do. You gonna love it too!