sewing school, sewing 101

When you’re a newbie in the world of sewing, shopping at the fabric store can be a REAL HASSLE! If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume that you’ve had your share of bad experiences and would love to conquer the fabric store.

How was your last shopping trip? Were the aisles crowded? Were the fabric table line and check-out lines too long? Did you leave frustrated or frazzled? If so, you don’t have to feel that way! Shopping at the fabric store shouldn’t feel like the madness of shopping on Black Friday. You can use these 5 simple ways to conquer the fabric store:

1.  Avoid Prime Time Shopping

Because there are so few fabric stores and so many DIYers, and crafters, these stores are super busy, MOST of the time. And around here, are best options for fabrics are- Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabrics.

If at all possible, avoid the middle of the day and weekends. Saturdays are their busiest days and Sundays can be too. The best times to go (during the week and weekends) are: EARLY- right after they open or LATE- a few hours before they close.

Some Walmart stores sell fabric. However, from my experience, since there isn’t usually a dedicated person in the department, you’ll have to wait for someone to come cut for you.

2. Do Your Homework

The last thing you want to do is go to the store and not REALLY know/understand what you need to buy. This will lead to wandering around and wasting your precious time. If you are using a pattern and you already have it, make sure you take the time to read the back of the envelope. Also, highlight your size and fabric yardage.

If you aren’t familiar with the fabrics or notions suggested on the back of the pattern, do a little research and Google them or use this fabric dictionary from Mood Fabrics.

If you are shopping at JoAnn Fabrics, check out this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Melly Sews. Melly includes tips and pictures that will help you navigate the store more efficiently. And, she wrote this post specifically for beginners.

3. Check Your Stash

After you know what you’ll need for your project, check to see what you already have. Check Materials and Tools- fabric, notions (thread, elastic, buttons, zippers, needles, scissors). Some projects require special tools.  For example, if you are making a skirt with darts, you may need to get tracing paper or marking pins.

4. Don’t Leave Home Without This

Going to the fabric store can be like going to the grocery store. You forget the ONE thing you needed the most. It’s nice to know what you need, but don’t leave home without a list. Even if you only need a couple of things, write it down. I like to use the notes feature on my iPhone.  That way, I have my list, but I don’t have a piece of paper to keep up with.

5. Ask Questions

I know this may sound unnecessary, but I just wanted to remind you that it’s ok to ask questions.  When the line is long and you thinking it’s too busy to ask your questions, ASK ANYWAY!  I shop at both Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabrics, and I know that the ladies at the cutting table are happy to help when they can.  And, if they can’t, you can contact me. I may not be available, right at that moment, but I will get back with you as soon as possible.

Just Like That, Ta-Da!     

Imagine your drive home from the fabric store. You’re thrilled because you didn’t go during peak time. You’re excited because you had your list and you got everything on your list. And, you used a few coupons!

You’re delighted because you checked your stash beforehand and didn’t waste money buying things you already had! And, most importantly, you’re not frustrated or frazzled. Now, this is what shopping at the fabric store should feel like!  Ta-Da, you just conquered the fabric store!

If you need assistance with a new sewing project, classes, or private lessons, just let us know. We are happy to help!