Why I am not a "fabric snob".
A Fabric Snob!
OOH. I think the term isn’t necessarily very nice - however there are some who self-identify as one.
There are several reasons why I am not a “fabric snob”.
I guess first of all I should explain what my definition of a “fabric snob” is.
To me a “fabric snob” is someone who will only use famous name brand fabrics. To them, using something “less than” a Kaffe Fassett or Moda Fabrics or Makower or Hoffman, etc. brand of fabrics means that you do not value your time and take pride in your work because it shows you are not willing to put your money where your effort is.
Thus, to them, if you don’t use “quality=expensive LQS (local quilt shop), name brand fabrics” = you don’t take pride in your work by caring enough to spend the money. Maybe they don’t say it quite that directly. Instead they may say, “Because I value my time and energy, I will only use name brand, or quality, fabrics.”
I’m trying to be fair in my definition - but this is how I understand the term from what I’ve seen on Facebook.
Anyone who has been reading here even a week knows that I’m not.
I mean, it’s obvious.
Someone who is a fabric snob wouldn’t make something from second-hand fabrics - of which I have a couple of series of quilts/patterns!
They just wouldn’t do it. It would go against their sensibilities.
Here are at least some of the reasons why I’m not a fabric snob.
They assume that all your (my) work is “worth” a lot of money. It’s not. Every quilt I make is not an heirloom, nor is it ever intended to be one. (Every meal I make isn’t a banquet, either, let me assure you!) There are times, maybe most of the time, that the quilts I make are just that - a quilt. How does one know they are making an heirloom, anyway? I have no idea how a person can know what the recipient is going to do with the quilt he/she receives - whether they use it to tatters or store it in a cabinet.
Local quilt shop quality fabric is expensive. I don’t think that anyone can deny that. Yes, it may be cheaper in the USA than in Canada, Australia or Germany, but it is is pricey. When people are struggling to pay their electric bills and put gas in their cars and buy insurance, spending $100-200+ for a quilt for the fabric for the top alone may be just enough to keep them from quilting. And we do want people to quilt, right? Right! At least the “industry” should.
As a continuation of this idea - I’ve been poor - very poor. My husband and I hardly had any money at all when we worked for a children’s home in our early marriage. Then later, we counted pennies and were very disciplined when he worked part time while I stayed home with littles in our fifth wheel trailer while he was finishing up his PhD. Those who are living in their condos in NYC haven’t a clue, at times, what it’s like to really struggle. They think struggling is not taking a nice vacation one year. LOL. Sometimes it feels like the upper management in the quilting industry have no idea what it’s like for the people at the bottom.
I’m a strong believer that when prices get too high, there is room in the marketplace for something else, less expensive, which will fill my need. It happened here in Poland. There is some margarine that I like, but it kept going up and up until it is about 60-75 cents a cup (250 grams). I quit buying it and switched over to the local Lidl brand which is half the price. I haven’t noticed a difference in my baked products. So, kudos to new companies, even off brand companies who keep making fabric for us - a little less expensive to the end consumer..
I think that even the worst (well, maybe not - there is some pretty awful stuff out there!) of what you can buy at Joann’s or Walmart is as good as or better than what our fore-mothers had to work with when making quilts. Why are we so picky? (in a word - marketing!)
Our global economy/market means that fabric is produced all over the place so there is no one “standard” for all fabrics. While I am aware that there are really poor quality fabrics around - I am not suggesting that you spend your time making something that isn’t going to last - I do think you can find good fabrics in various places and sometimes without any name at all on the label! I think some people think that there is “one factory” out there is producing name brand expensive LQS fabrics and other fabrics are produced in other factories. I think that’s a simplistic way at looking at textile production. There are many places and steps to production and I have no reason to think that there is only one huge factory that produces, for example, one brand of fabrics.
One owner of a company we talked with who actually produces fabrics told us that they source their fabrics in various places. Some are made in Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, India, or South Korea, for example. This whole issue is one of the reasons I am doing my whole fabric science series, by the way. I want to learn more about it all, and share it with you!
Believing that you have to use LQS fabric means that you are limiting people to importing fabric in from the USA or western Europe in order to quilt.
What if you don’t live in such a place?
To my way of thinking, it is definitely a "#firstworldproblem” and one in which people from other parts of the world wouldn’t even consider.
It’s also a very “USA centered” mindset and I kind of resent that. Why can’t people make things from what they have locally?
I don’t want to go there. I live in a part of the world (Poland) where many people around me could not afford to use or regularly buy local quilt shop fabric on the salaries that they are paid. Their salaries are going towards rent, fuel, electricity and taking care of their kids! Hobbies fall way down there in the list of priorities of places to spend their money. Can I look at them and say, “You need to spend this kind of money or you don’t really value your work”? I can’t do it. I doubt most of you could, either, if put in that situation. Maybe even the purest “purist” reading this couldn’t do it either if they faced people from a different continent with different income levels and opportunities.
This last “reason” given is actually my driving force behind my upcycled series. To create something nice from possibly “not so nice” sources - now that’s a real challenge, isn’t it?
I do think that the desire to create in many of us is strong - and stronger than the “need” to care what the name is on our fabrics. I am an equal opportunity fabric user!
Am I the only one who thinks like this?
Simply put. No.
I watched a You Tube video put out by Leah Day and she addressed this issue part way into this video. It would be worth your time. Start about 18:41 minutes in. She deals with the idea of using bed sheets and big box store fabrics - and really fabrics of all types.
I must say I was amused by the fact that she was surprised that people reacted so strongly to her using big box store fabrics. - she must not have spent that much time on some Facebook groups. It seems like those who have strong feelings about certain fabrics are vocal.
I will admit to the fact that some fabric brands are super nice! There is no denying that! However, I find it a challenge to making something nice out of “not so nice” fabrics.
So there - I love a wonderful fabric - it’s a joy to work with some fabric lines! But I am definitely not a fabric snob - I will use sheets, curtains, fabric from Poland, from the USA, from South Korea and I have some wonderful stuff from Turkey as well! I like it all!
But I think you already knew that, though!
If you are a fabric snob, however, that is 100% fine with me. Be sure to check out all those name brand fabrics my sis has in the store!
Just click here!
She’s got a lot for you at fantastic prices! It’s what we recommend anyone who has doubts about using “Rachael’s picks” of fabrics in the store - we just steer people to the name brands they know and love. We figure they can’t go wrong!
So now…no matter where you get your fabric - I hope you get to spend time today sewing!
Have a great day wherever you are reading this!
Be sure to check out what my sis for you in the store!