Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fabric Clubs - A Boom or a Bust??

Welcome to Sunday Stash over at the Splendiferous Molli Sparkles!!

This week I wanted to talk a little bit about Fabric Clubs, and whether or not they are the thing for you.

So, what makes a fabric club worth joining? In general, fabric clubs send out fabrics of their choosing, once a month, for a predetermined subscription fee. Most can be cancelled at any time, and many offer a discount over the retail price found in the online store through which you are obtaining your stash additions. I have experience with fabric clubs through Karen Lewis Textiles, Westwood Acres Fabrics and Marmalade Fabrics

I have to tell ya, it is super wonderful, addicting, fabulous, addicting, time saving, oh yes, and addicting, to have fabric show up at your door as if elves had read your thoughts and left it there. What is more appealing than coming home at the end of a long day, to happy mail filled with gorgeousness that you never knew existed, and which is curated by queen bees with an enviable eye for color??! 

Oh My GOODNESS! See what I mean??!

I chose to participate in Karen Lewis' (@karenlewistextiles) half panels club because she hand prints her own designs onto Kona cottons, and selects colors that really appeal to me. Now that I have been online shopping for awhile, ahem, I have seen the light and will be changing my subscription to a larger size as soon as it is available. Karen has clubs in 5" Charms, above, (Deelish!), Half Panel bundles, and Full Panel bundles. Click the link to check them out, if you like.

It is my opinion that if you can find an artist who is printing their own fabrics, and who is working their tail off to ensure quality and customer service, you should patronize them. I chose Karen because of her designs, her color selection, and her personality. I just adore her! Now, I'm not gonna lie, buying fabric from the UK if you're in America, is not for the faint of heart. But like I said, I am actually going to change around my subscription because I have discovered that it is more valuable to me as a stash addition than other fabric lines that I could buy, Stateside. I will be doing an entire post on Karen's work, but with MUCH better pictures. For now, here is a sample from her website. 


Next up is WestWood Acres Fabric. Now, I love me a mom and pop store, and this one just takes the cake. Amanda (@acraftyfox_amanda) and her husband run their shop from their home. I have yet to be disappointed with their product, their price or their customer service. And I have bought A LOT (Alot alot!) of fabric from them!! Their newsletter occasionally has an additional percentage off of fabric in their store, but be warned... once you turn that corner, you won't be able to go back!! 
I was a member of Amanda's Low Volume Club (Inside Voices club! Lol! 10 Fqs), 

and her Liberty Club (FQ, F8, F16th). 

Ohhhhh Yessssss!
Both were excellent. I am no longer a member because I have a limited budget (I know, gasp!) and I wanted to try out some other clubs featuring other styles of fabric not available here in AK.  Thanks to these clubs, my stash is now very nicely filled with fat quarters of perfect low volume fabrics, and fat eights of liberty lawns. No! You can't have any! 
I am booking through them at a very respectable clip, so I'm sure I will become a member again. In the meantime, I'm pretty sure they're naming their unborn child after me due to the sheer volume of purchases I make. Hey, any way I can support a child's education is good with me! ;)

Now, Marmalade Fabrics has been one of the best purchasing decisions I have ever made. And I'm no newbie to the Halls of Commerce! 
I am a member of their Around the Color Wheel monthly bundles. I like it so much, they are on perpetual auto-pay. Each month, I receive a FQ bundle of 12 FQs. My bundle is half solids and half prints. I love it because not only do I receive the entire new range of Kona cotton solid colors without having to hunt them down, but I also get coordinating prints from the latest hot trends and designers. And these are not your joe schmoe matchings. They are brilliant! I just made an entire quilt with 25 different solids in it, and all of the ones I chose were from my Marmalade Fabrics club! Man, they should hire me!! Lol! 
Another thing that they do is label each solid FQ with the name. So handy!! Then when you've gone to the stash and hunted up the perfect color for the background of your next masterpiece, you just look right there and the name is ready for ya. Brilliant, I tell you, brilliant. I have a Kona color card, and it is surely handy, but with the name right there on the fabric, I don't have any of those low light guessings to do. Know what I mean?
This year, I will up my subscription to half yards, as I find that a FQ is not enough fabric for my needs. I like to make a coordinating pillow or other doodad to go with my quilts, and my scraps look like squirrels chewed them by the time they get picked up off of the floor, put in a pile, spilled over onto the floor again, and finally put under the cutting table for later sorting into storage. I know you know what I'm talking about. 

So, now that you know WAY too much about my spending habits, what are the downsides to participating in a monthly fabric club?
Shipping is sometimes additional. That may break your budget, as every little bit counts. 
You may find that you forget that you have fabric coming, and buy more, and then have too much. 
But who am I kidding?!
Check carefully to be sure that you can cancel at any time if your needs change and you no longer wish to participate. 
Every now and again, your taste does not match with the person's who is choosing the bundles. Shops should have representative pictures of bundles from the past, like you see above for Westwood Acres, but if they don't, email the shop and ask what the names are for the upcoming fabrics in their bundles. They should tell you and hopefully also send along a pic. If they don't know, choose another club. 
Sometimes having a fabric club come to your door, blunts the thrill of the chase of finding fabulous deals. If this could be the case for you, set aside a specific amount of money to spend only on fabric detection. The rest can go for chocolate. 

Check out Anita and Cynthia's fabric club suggestions in the comments. Excellent! What are your experiences or opinions about fabric clubs?? Weigh in below!! 


  1. I was in four fabric clubs last year and now I am in five. I might have to cut back on that in a few months but we'll see how it's going. I agree that sometimes you receive fabrics that you are not too excited about and sometimes you receive fabrics that you already have. That is a bit problematic. I guess that's the whole surprise factor though. I cancelled one club after a few too many fabrics I didn't like came in. Not that they were not good fabrics they just weren't to my personal liking. High quality quilting cottons are wonderful gifts though and I am in so many swaps that it's handy to have fat quarters that I'm not too attached to that I can add into packages as extra gifts. You can't go wrong with a Liberty club I find because Liberty is Liberty. Is it even possible to get one you don't like!? I am in a solids club and I'm finding the colors I'm getting are not colors I would choose but I have found uses for them (I often use them for binding) and it's actually a challenge thinking up ways to use them. Also, because I am in so many clubs it is cutting into what I have available to spend on my own choices so that is not so good. So yes, there are pros and cons. The ability to cancel if it's not working out (or if your income goes down) is important so people should make sure they have that option available to them.

  2. I just joined my first club and should receive my first shipment in February. It is a solids club and I went with half yards. We shall see if I like it!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
    I've never joined a fabric club, I don't necessarily have the funds each month (due to being self employed and a full time mum!), also being in the UK fabric is more expensive along with shipping costs. Those factors alone might make it ok but then there is the chance of a customs charge when the fabric is delivered (or actually you don't get the parcel until you've paid!), the charge is £8 royal mail handling fee plus 20% of the package value!! And anyway I have 'enough' fabric in my stash already bwhahahaha! I do however have some of Karen's fabrics in my stash.

  4. I was just contemplating joining Westwood Acres when I saw your post today! I'm thrilled to hear you liked them. Ok, here goes nothin'. I'm going to sign up today. But just one (yeah, right).

  5. Thank you Lori for that spectacular write up! I really appreciate your support and hope you will enjoy your latest Club bundle that is heading on its way to you today! x

    1. Anytime, Karen :) Your work is spectacular and I'm glad to share it here.

  6. I have found that when I get fabric that I already have or that I dont like I can trade with Lori hahaha!

    1. I need ALLLLLL of your fabric!! heh heh heh!

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      Check out this excellent series on color theory!!

  8. I love your style of writing and sense of humour! I can see the benefits of being part of a club (love some of the KLT fabrics!) but yes, you would need the budget to suit too.

  9. Great post, Lori. Thank you for sharing:)