Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Must-have Scientific Sewing Resource (Giveaway)!

Have you ever been in a fabric store, spotted a bolt of pricey to-die-for good stuff, and thought "I'd love a shirt/pants/skirt made out of this, but how much fabric should I get?" You don't want to buy too much, because the $$$ can add up quickly at the cutting table, but of course there is nothing worse that NOT having enough fabric for your project. I usually err on the side of caution and overbuy, and that is why I have bins stuffed with wads of chenille, fleece, and wrinkled-up satin. Well, a group of amazingly bright, talented, and practical seamstresses have come up with a great solution for yardage conundrums:


The "How Much Fabric?" Reference cards by GwynHug are portable resource packed with yardage information for the savviest of fabric shoppers. I had the opportunity to check out a set of these cards and was blown away by how comprehensive and accurate they are. Over 2,000 patterns were used to generate all kinds of cool statistical data, which are presented in a cute, easy to follow format.



I cross checked the yardages from some of my patterns, and was thrilled to see that they were spot on consistent with the card set's recommendation. Even though I come up with the yardage charts for my own patterns, I can never remember how much fabric to get for a tunic, peasant, etc. Having these babies on hand takes out all the guesswork. In fact, I'm taking them with me to the Sis Boom Holiday Sale, where I will be working the cutting table on Thursday and part of Friday. If you are in the CT area, come see me and check out the cards in person!

*****GIVEAWAY******

You can win a full set of these great "How Much Fabric?" cards! Post one of your experiences with buying the WRONG amount of fabric (way too much or way too little). Come on, we've all done it ;) ! Next Wednesday, December 9th, I'll pick the winner of the cards by random drawing. The commenter with the funniest tale gets a free eBook of their choosing!

34 comments:

Nini Morris said...

Since I have been quilting/sewing since I was 3....I have MANY tales of purchasing the wrong fabrics. (I still have quite a few of them in my stash now!)

Lately this problems seems to happen more and more on my quilt backs. But I am convinced a gremlin is coming in at night and whacking off 6 inches from my finished length! I would NEVER put a back on the frame 6 inches too short!

I can't tell you the number of garments that have a different fabric for sleeves, cuffs, collars, something! Then of course there are those dresses that became tops...

Of course on Friday, Joann's was having a great sale on flannel...so why could I not remember which people needed two yards, which ones needed 3 yards, and which ones needed one yard. hmmm do you think I can convince my 32 year old son that princess fabric makes great pjs? After all, his daughter will love the camo ones ...right?

Karamat said...

How cool are those cards?!?

When I was pregnant with my daughter I decided that I wanted to make the bumper pads for her crib. I found the cutest cat fabric (Loralie Tossed Cats), and a store in Galveston had it in stock. So after the hour drive there I had to decide how much fabric I needed. What's a girl to do when she can't decide how much fabric she needs... why of course buy the rest of the bolt. I walked out of the store with 9 yards of fabric!!

And how much did I end up using? Maybe 3-4 yards. I hope to use the fabric one of these days, but for now it sits with the rest of my stash (and I laugh at myself every time I see it).

ginger said...

These cards sound amazing. Just the other day I was at the fabric store and bought 3 yards of 60" wide fabric for pajama pants I am making. I am making them for my two girls, who are 3 and 6, so I definitely overbought, but the fabric is so adorable I was afraid they would sell out before I could make it back to the store!
Thanks for the giveaway!

marshmallowkidsdesigns said...

A few years ago, I was contacted by a person who wanted some baby items made with a frog theme. I ended up figuring out how much I needed for each individual item she said she wanted, and went ahead and bought all the fabrics and notions. However, I only ended up sewing a diaper bag and none of the other items! Needless to say, even though I've made several things out of those fabrics for my daughter, it still looks like I'm suffering from a plague of frogs whenever I open the cabinet where that darn fabric is stored!!!

AdronsCatherine said...

I never know how much fabric I need - and, as a result, am quite used to the ladies at a couple of local fabric stores rolling their eyes at me!

I am sewing a lot of gifts this Christmas, and since I was buying the fabric online, I knew I had to get enough. Um, yeah. I totally bought 2 yards more than I needed of one fabric, and 1 1/2 yards extra of another!

Ah well, I'm good with extra lol!

teresajoy said...

I will start out by stating the obvious, there is no such thing as TOO MUCH fabric!! Silly Carla!

When I made the girls' Anastasia and Drizella dresses (from Carla's Precious Dress pattern) I was VERY careful with the amount of fabric I bought. Which, for me is odd! I ended up having the exact right amount for the Drizella dress, but for Anastasia, I had not figured in the amount I needed for a sash, so I had to piece together scraps of fabric. I don't think it was noticeable when I was done, thank goodness!

When I made the same dresses again for two girls going on a Wish Trip, I figured the yardage exactly the same as I had for Arminda and Lyida, however this time, I had quite a bit of excess material. How does that happen??

I might make my girls outfits for their American Girl dolls with the leftovers.

Anyway, I think I need those cards! Thanks for telling us about them Carla!

amydoliver said...

I have twins, so when I over buy, I REALLY over buy!!!

Missy Melissy said...

These look so handy. My local quilt shop is KNOWN for pushing fabric. My mom once ended up with five yards extra for a quilt backing. But that's not funny, just evil.
Hmm, funny. Okay. This year I made a shirt, but when it came time to put on the sleeves, I was out of fabric. So I cut off the top and made it into a tank top. Boy your cards would have helped me.

Come over and enter my giveaway too!

teresajoy said...

Are these only available for Women's sizes? That's all I saw on her site. I'm wondering if she had these for kids, or plans to. I love this idea!

Tabitha said...

I don't really have a funny comment but I will say that I always tend to overbuy fabric when making clothes for my girls because they INSIST on growing and they are not as little as I want them to be

and I buy too little when I make things for myself because I am not as little as I was 20 years ago how I imagine myself to be

Amy Belmont said...

Those cards would be SO handy! Although, they probably would not have helped me with the yardage on my fabric mishap. Last year on Black Friday I went to JoAnn's on my way to work for some flannel for the kids' Christmas PJ's. I picked out a cute Christmas print, did my time in the cutting line, then the line at the register only to find out that the Christmas flannel was not included in the sale GRRRR oh well, I'll just get it - it's only 2 1/2 yds. Then, when I get ready to cut it I realize that it is only 40 wide and not 45, thus I can't cut both pieces side by side - GRRR!!! So back I go to JoAnn's for 2 more yards. Thankfully they still had some and I was able to use a coupon.

Aimee said...

Ugh! I have been known to buy a little too much fabric here and there! ;)

I think my worst over buy was with dear sweet Wall-e. In 2008 when the movie came out I decided to buy a little Wall-e fabric. Well it was around the time that I was seriously ISO of some Disney prints. I decided to buy a little extra fabric because I have two girls. I ended up with about ten yards of fabric. I have two or three prints and pillowcase panals.

I made one stripwork skirt and only used about a foot. Then my darling daughters declared Wall-e was for boys and refused to wear anything with Wall-e on it.

Mindy said...

What a great idea these cards are!!! I always usually buy plenty of fabric, but before our trip to Disney I was making a vida and had cut out all of the pieces, so I thought, and had left out 1 bottom panel! I did not have enough to cut it out so I had to piece together enough fabric to cut it out!!!!!! So I had a patchwork bottom panel!LOL

Anita said...

I was making a quilt top in a quilting class. I purchased twice as much fabric that was required for the top. Fortunately the fabric is fairly neutral but I'm still using it and the class was about 8 years ago.

Margaret said...

What a cool idea!

My overbuy was for a maternity coat I made when I was pregnant with my second child. It was going to be reversible and in fleece. I bought enough of each color to make both sides the same. I am still making things with my leftover fleece 4 years later!

kaiolohiakids said...

I don't usually mind buying too much because I can usually find a good use eventually for the rest. It's too little that gripes me! I sew for my granddaughters a lot and can't seem to remember that the 9 yr old needs more fabric than the 4 yr old

KiraLynB said...

Just last week I was making a blouse for my daughter. I used some pima lawn that was very expensive from my local shop. When fabric is 14 dollars a yard I tend to try to be thrifty. I sat there and figured out what I thought I needed. I was altering the blouse pattern as I went so I cut out the pieces as I go. When it came time for me to cut out the second sleeve I didn't have enough fabric left! I had to drive back to the local store and get more fabric and ended up getting a yard just to be safe.. a yard for a sleeve.. ouch! At least I didn't run out again.

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

A few months back I thought I would try the Patrica Tunic for myself. I had already made one for my Mum and now it was my turn. As I stood in the fabric shop I calculated over and over again in my mind as I had forgot to check before going out. Once home I checked and yes I had got the correct amount.

I left it for a while and then found the perfect time to cut this GORGEOUS fabric for "my" tunic. I was completely baffled when I was short two side panels!?!?!?!?!

Yes, for the ONE time in my life I did not follow the layout and YES I cut it wrong and there was not enough room for all my pieces.
I tried to get more but it was gone. I purchased some co-ordinating fabric but I was never happy with the match so it has sat in my cupboard since. I just it put it down to a very good lesson.
I realise my story was not a disaster because I did know the right amount BUT still I could really do with those cards LOL.

craftmom said...

Oh how I would love to win a set of these cards. Often times I buy a little bit extra because I am a beginner and leave a little bit extra for a mistake and don't remember to bring the pattern to the store with me. This would be great, as I am trying to save money and also not grow a fabric stash. I went to make a teepee for my daughter and bought 10 yards of fabric when I only need 4 yards, so now I have this heavy weight duck twill fabric that I don't know what I am going to do with.These cards could really help me out.

Also thank you for making the most adorable patterns that a beginner can tackle!

Ginger said...

I've been sewing for a long time so I have a few stories, but I'll share just one. A few years ago I purchased a pattern making software program. In theory it sounds good, put in your measurements, print out custom patterns that fit with no alternating. In reality it was a disaster (the program had too many bugs) and the company is now out of business. One of the bugs in the program was that it didn't estimate fabric correctly. So I designed myself a suit (pants, skit, and jacket) saw how much fabric I needed and bought fabric. It looked like a lot of fabric but having never purchased for 3 garments at once and (stupidly) trusting the software I bought what it said. I've now made 6 things from that fabric and still had some left. I was so tired of seeing it I ended up giving it away to a friend.

Kellie Staton said...

I don't think I can pick just one time. I am horrible at under buying. It never fails that the one I buy is out if I go back to get more or I bought it online. Then I am stuck with a fabric that I am not sure what to do with. So I have a LOT of pieces that I really wanted for one certain project that are sitting here waiting for me to think of something else that takes less fabric.

Amanda said...

Hmmm... let's just say that toddlers grow fast, so my daughters pj pants "suddenly" became pj capris. =P

This is awesome! I would LOVE to have one!! Thanks for the chance to win!

steffany said...

My most recent snafu involved running out of trim for an apron that I was making for a birthday gift. I raced back over to the store because, of course, I was sewing the afternoon before the party. I was out of time! Unfortunately, I also forgot that it was the Gathering Place's (the best quilt shop)twice annual sale. Lines, lines, lines. I ended up finishing the apron by hand on the way to the party and then "pressing" it under my leg (btw, that doesn't really work).

Jamie said...

I usually overbuy as I find fabric that I like and think it would make a great dress, though without a pattern in mind, I'm left to guess. No really funny stories, just piles of 1/2-1 yard cuts of unused fabric!

Jen said...

I recently bought flannel to make PJ pants using your easy fits for adults pattern. I bought 8 different flannel prints in 2 yard cuts. Ooops! I needed 3 yards and only discovered this after cutting out the first leg of the first pair. Arghhhhhh! So I went back to the online store I'd bought the fabric from, only to find out that one and one other had been sold out. I made a second order of the same available prints in 2 yard cuts again (because 1 yard would make half-pants-half-shorts :)..... I did repurpose that one leg of flannel into a scarf. Do you want a pink frog scarf? Just kidding. I received one-half of the online order. Still waiting on the other half. So I could make a bunch of one-legged pants or else have a sewing frenzy right before Christmas. The moral of the story (and an old adage from my carpenter father): Measure twice, cut once. And I'd add: Don't guess! I need those cards Carla.

Emily said...

Oh geez. Could I just post a picture of my sewing room? It's stuffed full of fabric because I NEVER know and ALWAYS overbuy. Then what do I do? It just builds up and up and up.

And, I just want those cards.
Thanks!!!

Meg said...

Oh man...this happened to me this halloween. I was making a Cinderella dress for my 2 year old. Well, I didn't really remember the yardage, but thought it probably wasn't much more than a yard. I got home and layed out the pattern to cut, of course it called for 2 1/4 yds. I actually had some free time (unusual) so I started the dress anyway, and was short just 1 skirt panel.

So I pack up the cranky 2 year old, and go back the next day to find...yes, of course, the fabric was gone. What to do??? So I purchased the closest thing I could find AND 2 1/4 yds of sparkly chiffon to layer over the top to cover it.

It definitely turned out cuter than if I'd purchased the correct amount, BUT it was also a good $20 plus gas more expensive. So much for saving $$ by making my own Halloween costume!!

I NEED these cards:)

momsmess said...

What a great idea, I always see fabric I like, but never know how much to buy!

I usually buy an extra 1/4-1/2 yd of fabric, just to safe. But I was making a nursing pillow cover for a friend and I bought 1 yd of fabric, which is all the pattern should have taken, and when I got the fabric home both ends had been cut at terrible angles and one side of the fabric 38" long and the other was only 34". I ended up being 2" short and having to buy an entire extra yard to cut the cover out!

Melissa said...

That is such a fabulous idea - I *NEED* those in my purse!

Gosh I know there are so many fabric goofs in my history of fabric shopping, but most recently I didn't buy enough fabric for pj's for my son and was short by 1" (seriously - 1 stinkin' inch). So now I have to go back and buy a whole half yard more - ugg! It is so much worse to not have enough than to have too much. It's a balance, not to waste money but to make sure you get enough but not have gobs too much left over.

Tanya said...

I started sewing about 3 yrs ago and I was determined to make matching Christmas pajama pants for the entire family. Of course I didn't buy enough fabric so I had to ADD in some solids which is not so easy for the beginner sewer. Next year -- I did the SAME thing!! I couldn't believe it. I tried searching for the same fabric, but every Joann's was out of that particular farbic. Once again --- both hubby and I had "trim" at the bottom of our pants. This year I went to Joann's and told the cutter I wanted 9 yards -- we got to talking and once she was done cutting, she said "Here are your 8 yards". What?? I said 9. LOL!!!

Cathy said...

I don't have a particularly huge fabric stash. I have one shelf of new fabric and three shelves of left over fabric that is a yard or more and a huge bin of scraps less than a yard...I hate to be left with too little so now I just buy 3 or more yards of everything...surely not economical. These cards sound like an awesome idea!

Jan Richards said...

I buy too much fabric in general and have a huge stash. One of my mega yardage buys was a glow in the dark star fabric..think I bought 8 or 9 yards..don't know what I was thinking. I just used part of it to make Halloween pillowcases for our grandkids. The black background with glow in the dark stars looks lovely in the pink and peach bedrooms of our grandgirls, especially with their pretty chandeliers.

Leachlady said...

Oh! This is for me! I am guilty of overbuying and wasting (well, correction:saving scraps for and eternity with hopes I can use them!) What a treasure to have in my sewing kit!

Kings said...

For my girls Christmas dresses, I was at the quilt store & bought WAY too much expensive fabric--I can probably make each girl 2 more dresses! LOL