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Don’t Buy Fabric in 2012 with The Boy Trifecta

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Hi everyone! I’m Emily, and I blog over at The Boy Trifecta.

I have three fantastic boys – Riley, Quinn, and Sawyer – and they are the reason I taught myself how to sew and crochet. I blog almost exclusively about making for boys. More than anything else, I love making unique, interesting clothes for little men. I try out just about every boy pattern I can get my hands on, and make up my own by trial and error (mostly error) whenever I can.

This year, I’m making what feels like an EPIC crafty New Year’s resolution.
In 2012, I am not buying ANY fabric.
 Yes, really. And let me tell you why.
I am a “stasher”. I’m a super visual person, so when I see a beautiful fabric, my inclination is to snatch it up, even if I don’t have a project in mind for it.  In addition, my crafty work-in-progress and to-do lists are long, and I already have the fabric I need for ALL of them, and then some. I don’t NEED any fabric. 
Also, (and I think we probably all do this), I have a stack of “special” fabrics. You know the ones – the $18/yard Echino prints, the hard-to-find Heather Ross goodies. They just sit, folded in my sewing room because I’m afraid to cut into them. Not so in 2012! I’m going to cut into those precious fabrics, and make things with them. What good are they doing just sitting on a shelf? 
I’m making a few preparations to help me succeed at this resolution.
1. I’m unsubscribing from all my fabric-related newsletters.  I get 1-3 fabric-related newsletters PER DAY, filled with gorgeous photos of the newest fabric lines, and tempting coupons to buy those fabrics at a discount. It’s like taking a person on a diet and sitting them down at the dessert table over and over again, but telling them not to eat. Uh, not the best strategy for success. So, no more newsletters for me.
2. I’m organizing my fabric stash.  I bought a pack ofthese comic book boards, and have been using them as mini-bolts, to wrap my yardage around. I got the idea here, and so far, it’s working great! Organizing my fabrics helps me see how much, and what types, of fabric I already have. As I’m organizing, I’m also attaching little notes to my fabrics with ideas for how I can use them in the upcoming year.
3. I’m stocking up on boring, but necessary fabrics.  I make a LOT of hoodies for my three boys. You can see some examples of them here, here, here, here, and here. (Did you think I was kidding when I said I made a LOT? I wasn’t. I’m hoodie-obsessed, and not afraid to admit it.) In advance of my person fabric embargo, I’m stocking up on sweatshirt fleece and rib knit. These fabrics are essential to my hoodie-making addiction, and I don’t want to run out.
3a. As a corollary to step 3, I’m buying dyeable apparel fabrics. Because I don’t know exactly what colors I will want this year, I purchased a bunch of “prepared for dye” rib knit from fabric.com. This way, when design inspiration strikes, I can use some dye to create whatever color rib knit I need without having to buy new (or stock up on a ton of different colors) fabric!
4. I’m buying fabrics I know I won’t be able to resist NOW.  You might think this sounds like cheating, but seriously, have you SEEN the new Anna Maria Horner velveteens? There is no way I would be able to resist those all year, so I’m purchasing some now. I like to think of this as setting myself up for success rather than cheating. 🙂

5.  I’m allowing myself to purchase fabric ONLY when given a gift certificate as a gift. My beautiful, lovely mother-in-law gifted me a very generous gift certificate to my favorite local fabric store for Christmas. I’m going to reserve it for “fabric purchase emergencies” throughout the year.

Have I convinced you yet that NO FABRIC PURCHASES (or really, only purchases with a gift card) is a reasonable, attainable goal? It is! Anyone want to join me? You can find me here, and also on Facebook and Twitter if you’re interested in playing along with me! I’m hoping it will be a fun challenge, will stretch my creativity, and save me lots of money in 2012!Happy New Year, everyone!!

Thanks for having me, Heidi, and congrats on your precious baby girl!


  1. As a fabric shop owner, I’m giving this a big, big thumbs down. I get it–she wants to use more of what she has on hand, which is a great goal. But congratulations, your blog has now endorsed, publicly in front of thousands, the message that one should pursue the admirable goal of boycotting fabric stores, which are very largely small businesses run by women just.like.yourself. What did our industry do to deserve a boycott?

    1. Hi Christy,

      I’m not suggesting, nor is Heidi, that anyone should “boycott” fabric stores. I told my local store owner about my resolution last week, and she was INCREDIBLY supportive. Her comments were that she wouldn’t ever want anyone to buy anything they didn’t need. I thought that was incredibly admirable of her – that, even though my choice would affect her in some way, she thought it was a great idea and was supportive. My personal choice to not buy fabric this year is a reflection on ME, not of you or your shop or fabric shops generally. For ME, I have more than I need. I have overpurchased in the past, this year, I’m choosing not to do that. It’s the right choice for myself and my family. I’m sorry that my personal decision has so offended you, but don’t blame Heidi. It’s not her choice – it’s mine.


    2. (Please know that I say this light heartedly.) If I were to say that in years past I have purchased far too many bulk packages of T.P. (always so afraid I will not have it on hand when I need it, or love having a T.P. variety at my disposal…soft, thick, padded, thin, big rolls, small rolls…), that now I look around and know I have more than enough of it to last me all year, and that I have run out of room to store more T.P., and it would be irresponsible of my budget to continue spending money on said T.P… that would then constitute a boycott? Or even if I said that I know there are others of you out there that complain of the same conditions all the time, do you want to join me in using the T.P. you have on hand before purchasing more (so we can support each other through this difficult task of restraining these T.P. desires); does that a boycott make? She is simply saying she has overbought and it would be irresponsible to buy more.

      I can understand that you are worried about yourself and your business, is she not using the same self-preservationist mindset when she makes this decision? There are always more fabric hoarders to buy from you, and newbies just getting hooked that are trying to build up their stash to replace those fabric lovers that are stocked full. There will always be up and comers getting bitten by this lovely fabric bug.

    3. Yikes, did someone sit on a stick pen. In no way shape or form did this post come off as a boycott. The only thing rude about this post was your comment.

  2. I wish I had that kind of stash! I’ve kept my fabric buying to a minimum where I buy ONLY when I have a project ready to go. I haven’t had a place to store it, though. With the completion of my sewing room getting SO close, though, I can see that changing soon! 😉 Good luck with your fabric embargo!

    1. Thanks! If I had your kind of restraint, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place! 🙂

  3. Wow, That is one ambitious resolution! I’m sure my husband would love it if I jumped on that band wagon, but with a baby due in the spring, and not a scrap of “boy” fabric in the stash, I wouldn’t make it very long. I think I’ll just try to reduce my stash to a suitable area instead of sprawling across 3 rooms ; ) Good Luck though!

    1. Thanks, and congrats on the baby boy! Boys are awesome. 🙂

  4. Number 4 is totally not cheating! It is actually very smart of you!! I think I need to follow your lead. 🙂 Good luck!

  5. So how did you do?! We are almost at the end of the year? I think your local fabric place told you to go for it, bc she thought maybe you couldn’t do it?! 🙂 I need to put myself on a scrapbook paper halt, starting with the fact that I don’t scrapbook!

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