Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fabric Use, Fabric Purchasing and Spreadsheets

At the December Sew Day/Party/Meeting I shared my spreadsheet at Show and Tell.

Cheryl's Spreadsheet of incoming fabric for 2016 - she uses this to keep track of recent purchases, with the intent of keeping a zero-balance of incoming/outgoing fabric. Photo by Diana Lubliner.

Although this may not be everyone's idea of a good time, I wanted to track incoming and outgoing fabric, with the goal of not increasing my current stash. Whether or not I have "a lot" of fabric depends on who you ask. Certainly there are folks with far more than me who find my paltry stash not enough to work with, but my daughter insists that I am a hoarder. All in the eye of the beholder.

Don't get me wrong, I like to buy fabric. I like looking at the tiny pretty squares of fabric swatches on my phone when fabric shop newsletters come in my inbox. I do not wish to deny anyone that pleasure! But I overheard someone in line at PIQF a while back saying she had more fabric than she could possibly use in her lifetime. And I just didn't want that to be me. I want to use what I have, and use it while I still love it. And then I want to buy more of it to continue the process. Fabric that excites us is what keeps the creative process going, amiright?

Jeni Baker of In Color Order has a post talking about her process, which is similar to mine. She tracks her use of specific fabric by projects, which I don't do. I have a simple IN (by shop) and OUT (by project) spreadsheet that tracks by month and adds everything up for a final tally. I was really just interested in a total number. I guesstimated yardage for projects and tried to be conservative about it. A finished baby quilt was 4 yards, for example. I did not worry too much about exact numbers just tried to get it close. Another bonus to this spreadsheet is it tracks what you make in a year.

Final tally for 2016: 116 yards of fabric purchased; 121 yards of fabric used.

So I did use more than I bought-which was a goal- no net increase! Hooray! I admit to making lots and lots of gift bags in December, both to boost my out-yardage and to make reusable gift bags for future use. It was eye-opening to me to see how much fabric I purchased (and won, and got for free, I counted it all) and also how much I used. If anyone had told me I bought and used over 100 yards of fabric in a year I would not have believed it.

One thing this process has led me to is less buying of fabric just because it is on sale or just because I am trolling around for interesting stuff on the internet. I know have another filter to run any purchase through: IS IT SPREADSHEET WORTHY?

Here is my spreadsheet, in case anyone is dying to see it. I can share the google spreadsheet if you really want it. Just let me know!

IN YARDSJanuaryfebmarchaprilmayjunejulyaugustseptoctnovdecYEAR IN TOTAL (should be negative!)
fabricworm/fabric dot com5.256213.25
fat quarter shop9312
intrepid thread37.2510.25
stone mtn88
restash (free!)224
fabric depot1010
birthday+prize; retreat, BAM free table, prize5712
PIQF, japanese fabrics3.53.5
moona (etsy)/cia's palette/nimble thimble 53.5210.5
2.5 inch purple4
21 12.5" squares7
rainbow top1.25
wheelchair top0.5
seal bag1
gift & zipper bags1.50.251
stash bee block0.
D2 donation quilt8
Harper's window seat2.5
charity binding0.50.5
CH for Aja4.5
Alison- bag0.25
Kath- +2 pixie baskets0.5
13 12.5" squares4
photo mini for BAM0.5
Eric and erin5
blue ombre charms4.5
wine/gift bags0.52
DT bag1.5
charity red and white, top plus binding 7
Steam punk 10
cargo duffle3
pot holders0.515
Amanda 3.5
Steve and margaret60.5
sew together bag1.5
pillow case, harper
scrappy 9 patch top to BAM3
grey strippy scrappy top5
8 zipper bags4
5 for Xmas5
fmq practice 1


Erin Metzler said...

Thanks for sharing! I just finished a sitting down trying to finish up gift bags for this Christmas. It is a tradition for me to make a few new ones each year to spread around to the family.

Jaye said...

Thanks for the GREAT post, Cheryl! I also keep a spreadsheet. I know I owe you a copy! You are braver than I am in posting your net and gross. Perhaps you have given me courage. Thanks for posting!

msalleycat said...

Ok, I think I * might * be interested in a google sheets version of this spreadsheet. And Cheryl and Erin, do you have a pattern for any sort of special fabric gift bags, or do you sew up 2 sides of a rectangle and hem the top?