April 15, 2013

A Rabbit Hole Lined With Liberty

Recently, I've allowed myself the freedom to buy the fabric I want.  I haven't felt the need (financially or emotionally) to compromise and buy the discount or knockoff prints.  I have obsessed over fabric that costs more than my car's registration fees--and I have placed it in my cart and checked out.

This is a rather new phenomenon in my house.  I'm definitely what some people would call thrifty (others would call cheap): I clip coupons, I research for the best deals, and I'm completely brand-disloyal, buying whatever's on sale or least expensive.  I wait for sales, I will drive to the next town for a cheaper price, I scour the internet for coupon codes.  I love to save money.  But as much as I love saving money, I really, really love to spend money on fun stuff.

Lately, fabric has been my main fun thing.  For the past couple months I've added some very expensive fabric to my stash.  Frankly, I blame Pinterest: I see a dress or quilt made with Nani Iro and then I have to have that fabric and that pattern.  $100 later, a package is on its way from Japan, and I'm making room for it in my closet.  It's a slippery slope.

I've been in a quilting slump lately, choosing to focus on apparel, but because fabric is universal I can buy a two-yard cut and make a skirt...or a lap quilt.  But how will I really know what to make until I spend all that cash and get my hands on some Liberty?

There's a lot of money in that stack.
The thing is, I truthfully cannot tell the difference between Liberty lawn at $37 a yard and a Freespirit voile I got on sale for six dollars per yard.  I know that makes me sound like a plebian and most people reading this are probably sad for me, but my hands can't tell the difference.  The difference, I suppose, is the print: Liberty florals are detailed, with perfect color choices and minute details.  But I fall in love with Liberty prints, with Denyse Schmidt prints, with no-name apparel fabric I buy on Denver Fabrics.  If someone perfected the knock-off Liberty print, I'd snatch that up, too.  

It looks innocent, but really, it is a bank-account-murderer.
So why do I keep spending the money?  If it really comes down to print, why not look for a knockoff?  Well, besides the fact that they really don't exist, it's kind of fun to buy expensive fabric.  It was a thrill for me to order Liberty for a coat lining.  That's right: no one will see the Liberty until I take it off.  It's a little "treat yo'self" gift for making it through another day.  And if I use it, all the better: the cost goes down dramatically.

I've never made a quilt with ultra-expensive fabrics.  I've honestly never quilted with anything but quilting cotton, and that is normally pretty affordable, especially on sale.  The Liberty Love projects made me rethink that, and I wanted to make a Liberty pincushion so badly--until my better sense took over: "you're spending lots of money...on Liberty...so you can stick pins in it."  Point taken.

Not only did I spend a lot of money on this fabric, but then the pattern looked awful, so I have to try to salvage it.  Fun times.
Am I going to stop buying expensive fabric?  Mostly likely...no.  I really do enjoy it, and it will go to good use.  But, while spending money is just buckets of fun, I think it's time for me to look at what I'm buying and try to decide if it's truly worth it or if it can wait until I have a project in mind.  For example, the Liberty lining is already cut and will be sewn into a jacket this week.  But the Liberty Wiltshire in that stack won't find a home in my closet probably for a while, until I'm absolutely sure I want to use it.  I could have waited to buy it, or avoided buying it altogether, but my impulsiveness took over.

Do you use expensive fabrics in your projects?  I'd love to hear Ariel's side--I wish I was as resourceful as she is!  Perhaps there's a challenge in here somewhere...