Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What does THAT have to do with quilting?!

Have you noticed how narrow the rolls of toilet paper are getting?  I was putting in a new roll before leaving for Alabama and was struck by all the extra room on the spindle right now.  (nice quilted pattern, though...)

There is room for one of Weasley's favorite cat toys (he always thinks he has to be in there with me anyway)...
There is even room for something else on the spindle...like this extra wide roll of masking tape.  I'm just saying...

Maybe it's going to keep getting narrower and narrower until it is no wider than this roll of tape.  Then it really could be called 'fanny ribbon.'

So what does this have to do with quilting?  I've been contemplating the plight of recent cotton crops and the reality that the price of 100% cotton quilting fabric is going up, as well as 100% cotton clothing.  New stuff in the shop where I work part time is being priced at over $10.00 a yard now.  (I realize that our quilting friends down under are already paying much more for a meter of fabric than we pay.)

I've already noticed that some fabrics are getting narrower on the bolt.  This was made painfully clear to me a couple of years ago when I was purchasing some fabric for a quilt backing.  I usually don't check the width and figure that I will get at least 42 inches of usable fabric from selvage edge to selvage edge once I wash and remove the selvages.  I figured if I made a vertical seam I could get by with two widths of fabric. 

I washed, removed the selvages, pressed and dropped off my quilt, batting and backing with my friend Marilyn for her beautiful custom machine quilting.  How embarrassing when I got the call that my backing wasn't wide enough.  I felt so bad that she had gone to the trouble of trying to layer my stuff and there wasn't enough there!

I went back to the store to purchase more fabric and measure the bolt.  It was little more than 40 inches wide!  Wow!  As someone who works to kit BOMs at the shop, we always estimate yardage needed based on 42 inches of usable width of the fabric per yard.

Are the fabric mills going to start making fabric narrower?  It is worth paying attention to, I think.  When I first started sewing as a teen, fabric really was 45 inches wide on the bolt.  I still have an old piece.  I think I will keep it intact for historical reference!

I look forward to getting home at the end of the weekend and catching up with all your blogs!  I managed to sneak on my Dad's computer long enough to post this draft.  Now it's back to work!

 In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

23 comments:

  1. I read something that listed fabric back in the '30s as being 36 inches wide. Let's hope we don't go back to that!!!

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  2. I'm surprised to hear the cost rises on cotton, my neice is in Korea and still can get direct from the mills/factories for under $2 a yard - all those wonderful pricey NAMED fabrics. So where is that extra price being tacked? I think I will have her pick me up a duffle bag full and have it sent via military shipping.

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  3. Same thing happened to me! On a named piece if fabric, I cut off the really wide selvedge and only had 39"! Makes me appreciate my scrap collection!

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  4. I have noticed the narrower widths on fabric bolts as well. It seems it will mess up a whole lot of patterns that tell you how much fabric you will need. I wish the companies would think about that.

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  5. hahah! the toilet paper had me chucklin....
    bummer on the cost of cotton...I never buy anything that isn't on sale.... embrace the sale rack! ;-)

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  6. Hey, Teresa, I know what you're sayin', but I'm a bit older than you are, I guess, 'cause when I first started sewing as a kid/teen, the fabs were 36" and then went up to a generous 39" a few years later. I bought one of those fabs you described a few months ago. Minus selvage, it was barely more than 39". Hello! Instant nostalgia. ;-p Well, so okay. I can work with 39", but I sure would like a corresponding price drop to go with it!

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  7. Fanny funny, huh? I love that you took all those pictures! Your blocks will go in the mail tomorrow! They've been done since the day they arrived, but I've really enjoyed them on my design wall!

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  8. Hmmm. We pay way too much for fabric in Canada so most of my quilting buddies do road trips to the US and we buy twice a year. We wouldn't be able to afford to quilt unless we did that. Even with the price increase, your prices won't come close to our $15 - 17 a metre. Still...I hear ya on the fabric widths decreasing. What's a quilter to do????

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  9. The TP review really cracked me up!! It's sad how we are getting less and less in everything these days.....like we aren't going to notice. I guess we have been too spoiled for too long....sigh....

    Crispy

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  10. My sister who works in cotton farming told me that the price the farmer is getting for their cotton is basically the same for the past few years. And as for a shortage - not really. The added price has to be with the middlemen! Or speculators who are bored with the stockmarket!

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  11. I have no brilliance to add here except that I think Fanny Floss has a better ring than Fanny Ribbon. And I too remember 36 inch fabric.

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  12. Grrrr! One of my biggest pet peeves is paying more while getting less! I'd rather they raise the price accordingly and keep things the same size. Like 1.65 qt. icecream instead of a half gallon! 4 lb. bags of sugar instead of 5 lb. It is hard to follow recipes with the new sizes and now it'll be tough to use patterns too! It's time for a consumers revolt!

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  13. I could live with $10 a yd, as we've been paying £10 a meter for quite a while, it's sneaking up to £12 or £13 in some places! And a Jelly roll is now £30 that's about $47! Still not as much as our friends on Oz!

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  14. Has anyone noticed how thin some of the cotton fabric is? I bought some Benartex fabric and it was almost see through.

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  15. you know it is sew true...I have noted that about tissue as well...Ohhh ladies price of fabric in Canada is just plain ridiculous...let me say $26-28 a meter is now the norm..which is why I purchase ALL from US...yes I do...keeps my friends very happy lol

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  16. who knew?
    You are a riot!
    have a safe trip back.

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  17. Hahaha, I love your pictures! h
    Hewre in Britain it is very expensive too.....so I often order from the USA....!

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  18. Wish all of the network of friends have a new start .

    hope you have a great 2011. Thanks for the link, sweetie!
    Titanium Necklaces

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  19. I was going to blog about this very thing - there is so much space left over on the spindle of 'fanny ribbon' that it's starting to look sloppy!
    ...and by the way, cotton fabric was 36" wide well into the 60's - I remember making skirts from a yard of fabric back when a yard went all the way around me with a couple of inches to spare! That's when we had the production in the US and the looms were 36" wide then. AND, cotton fabric was 3 yds for a dollar!

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  20. Cotton costs are tied in with gasoline costs as well as the turmoil in Egypt, when you're talking about the fabrics that use the Egyptian cotton. It'll just keep going up. :/

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  21. Teresa, Mary J's quilt is fabulous and fun. I love looking at the enlarged blocks. I made the Garden Song quilt last summer as a raffle quilt for our garden club.

    Gail :)

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  22. I guess they figure that if the food and toilet paper manufacturers can get way with "stealth price increases" they can too -- problem is, we're measuring what we're getting!

    I don't buy a lot of new fabric, and things like this make me less inclined to.

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