old lady lang and her crazy fabric collection

It's not my fault. It's the 80's fault. Do you remember fabric shops in the 80s? Do you remember riding your bike to Minnesota Fabrics and the best you could do was a pale pink striped seersucker? I cannot help it that I hoard fabric, that I buy fabric I'll probably never use, definitely way more than I'll need. But some day.. mark my words… it'll be the 80s again. Cool, hip designers won't be selling gorgeous fabrics online and then who will be laughing. And yes, I realize I sound like my depression-surviving grandma did when she was justifying her collecting habits. But just you wait…

and since I've already dated myself here… is it old age or just the 5 years of blogging that has me feeling like every single thing I write, I've written before?

40 thoughts on “old lady lang and her crazy fabric collection

  1. Lori says:

    I completely understand. And I so hoard, too, but I always rationalize that “It won’t be here when I come back! I HAVE to buy it now!” :) My husbands hates that logic, incidently. LOL

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m right there with ya on the whole amazing fabrics and the need to hoard and purchase all the time! I first started sewing as a child in the early 90s and gave it up b/c it was kinda country. And now that fabric is gorgeous again, I MUST buy it!

  3. jen says:

    i understand completely. at times, esp. as of late, i feel like i might have some kind of bona fide fabric addiction. now that i’ve been contemplating motherhood, i think it has gotten worse with all the cute prints out there! some designs are too cute to pass up and you may never see it again.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I told myself, “No more fabric.” Then the new Heather Ross came out. But your new fabrics are too beautiful to hoard, right? I decided that as long as I use the stuff, I don’t need an intervention. But I like your Old Lady Lang theory, too!

  5. melissa says:

    the new heather ross is amazing. as is the nani iro double gauze (of which, i’ve currently bought from miss matatabi…). oh, and the “if i don’t get it now, it won’t be there later” is sadly TRUE in the case of these fabrics. so, hoarding is TOTALLY justified!

  6. Liz says:

    I’ve bought pretty much the same stuff as you recently. All after I put a cap on my spending and totally bought into the idea that I was going to sew from the mounds of fabric that I already own. And then I started buying. A total of 6 yards of Nani Iro, plus a bunch of Heather Ross. And I’m about to get Momo’s Wonderland. But I do believe in buying something amazing while you can–there are too many fabrics that I still mourn not having!

  7. Kiddlebug says:

    I love that Heather Ross fabric. I have many projects that are sitting, ready to be started. At least that is what I tell myself every time I buy new fabric.

  8. Erin says:

    ha! we bought the same far far away prints. well, i bought fq’s of them all, but yardage of those 3 you have. it will be the 80’s again, indeed.

  9. Annie says:

    I don’t think that it takes five years of blogging to start writing all the same things again and again. I’ve only been at it a couple of years and I’m already doing it :)

  10. Donna says:

    Ha, I do remember biking to Minnesota Fabrics 😎 And the big binder with all the appliques that you had to look through and then ask an employee to get you what you picked out.
    I think the eighties were just an all around dud that hopefully won’t be repeated. Because there is plenty of great fabric from all the other decades. And while I do try to use what I buy, I’m really just getting used to the fact that so many things go out of print and I’m torn between hoarding and utilizing.

  11. Katy says:

    I am soooo with you – and not only will us hoarders be laughing when the fabric drought happens, but the world economy will be thanking us for bringing the world out of recession 😉 (at least that’s what I tell myself)

  12. susaninfrance/texas says:

    i’m there with you, completely! feeling so grandma with the fabric stuffed into every cabinet…no way i’ll EVER use it all, but it’s my o/c behavior–the only one I have (right). like one day I won’t be able to walk into my bedroom due to fabric overload. I dream that Oprah will have been called to do an intervention by my mom (the neat freak), who is convinced that I am a true hoarder. But no, i’m just a fabric freak!!

  13. Tara says:

    If it is old age, then rest assured that those of us reading are in the same boat and, therefore, won’t remember if you’ve duplicated any posts! Plus, we always enjoy what you have to say whether it’s once or 5 times (especially when you talk about your gorgeous fabric finds!)

  14. valerie says:

    ack! you don’t need an excuse. that fabric is out of control amazing. i saw the unicorn print last night and almost spit out a big gulp of water i was so shocked by its amazingness! and the frog prince? forget about it. you can hoard as much of that stuff as you want because you’re right! in a flash we will be back to scrounging bits of pink seersucker and random swatches of starchy denim.

  15. Kara says:

    Cute is cute – don’t feel guilty about buying it. You make good use of your fabric, so you know that you’ll sew it up eventually.
    It’s also a protection against some worst-case scenario where you don’t have access to fabric: what if you were trapped in the house without internet for years? Then you’d be really glad that you are stocking up now. :)

  16. jam says:

    You probably weren’t around yet when I was hording fabric from Marshall Field’s 2nd floor fabric dept on State Street. Was that the late 60s or early 70s? And good thing I did b/c they’re long gone now. I’m keeping some of the clothes I made just for the fabric.

  17. LizAnderson says:

    No one ever posts the same thing. Ever. Especially not about stash, hoard or yardage. Ever. Not possible.
    We had Cloth World, the Mecca of cloth, notions and those weird yardage measuring machines. Every girl who ever took Home Ec in high school wanted to work there. Sigh — I miss Cloth World. Jo-Ann’s is too trendy/crafty for a serious home sewer.

  18. Melanie says:

    Ok, well, I probably wasn’t buying fabric so much early on… but I do remember going to the H.I.P. mall and to the Minnesota fabrics in the basement, it seemed huge. Course that was my early 20s…. and I’m sure some of what I bought is still floating around.
    And, I always feel like I’m repeating myself. Must be a sign of age… all my family does it.. LOL.

  19. Paige says:

    I don’t even sew–I was taking art classes in high school instead of home ec. But with three girls, the youngest who is currently wearing the munki munki hand-me-downs of the older two, I confess to hoarding the Heather Ross fabrics as well. I know the sewing days are almost here–I am determined to learn! Hopefully before my youngest outgrows the dress stage, but if not, there is a beautiful quilt in my future!

  20. Jen says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I am convinced that the Country Calico glory that was Yardage City (which I took the bus to in Southern California – yes, I used “bus” and “Southern California” in the same sentence, compute the dedication) combined with the dowdiness of the available patterns was what sunk my first sewing career in junior high school. Hard to be creative and cool when the best options are trailing vines of ivy!

  21. Heather says:

    Oh that is so funny! You should see my mother-in-law’s fabric collection…she literally has multiple closets and cabinets filled to the brim, and not only at her house, but at their ginormous cabin too. My father-in-law refers to it as “her addiction” but it’s fine with me…she lets me “shop” through her fabrics for free whenever I want to! She says she’ll never live long enough to use it all up. Lucky lucky me! :)
    (By the way, I love your blog and designs…I’ve been a reader for about 1 1/2 years, but here’s my first post!)

  22. Lori says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with hoarding fabrics! Especially when they are as gorgeous as some of the latest collections have been. Sometimes they need to age before they can be used. Sometimes this process can last 10 years or more… but that way you have it if you need it.

  23. Lia says:

    I hear ya with the fabric shopping. Today I visited a bulk fabric store that I LOVED when I was growing up. Boxes filled with buttons and rolls of fringe, oooh. It was directly between my best friends house and mine and in junior high I’d take the bus and meet her there.
    This morning I had my girls with me and it was great to see it through their eyes. We left with yards of elastic and way to much fabric. Great finds. I’m not sure what it will become but that is half the fun.

  24. Marg says:

    Not only did I used to bike up to Piece Goods — I got a job there in high school BIG MISTAKE. There’s no such thing as too much fabric.

  25. fillyjonk says:

    I feel that way, too. Also the fact that many fabric lines only run for 3 months – so there’s the “if you even remotely think you might want it, get it, or you’ll never see it again” feeling.
    I also feel that way with yarn…I remember when acrylic was pretty much the only thing available, unless you were lucky enough to live somewhere where there was either a high-end or a stuck-in-the-1940s yarn shop.

  26. brooke says:

    I am with you, as I remember the “dark ages of fabric shopping” when the ONLY beautiful fabric to be found was vintage! We are QUITE lucky now methinks!

  27. Mishkat says:

    I found your blog through Sew Mama Sew – and I so relate to this post! I used to make all my own clothes, and I also bought fabric at Minnesota Fabrics in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s – in fact, I used to buy decorator fabric for clothing because it had the best prints available back then.
    You have helped explain a lot about my own fabric-collecting habits.

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