I've been chewing on the inside of my cheek about this tension for a few months now, maybe longer. See, when I stepped into my own making life about 5 years ago, it was at the edge of a scrap bin at my favorite thrift store. It was a dirty wood bin of cast off napkins, as I remember.( I made this kind of stuff with it.)
And once I made that first out-of-about-to-be-trash fabric, I decided to stick with that plan: I would only sew with "rescued fabric": no retail fabric for me.
I knew from other creative tacklings that setting a limit can be terrificly helpful for getting rolling--plus I was dead broke and fabric stores stressed me out. These all seemed like a solid cocktail of reasons for saying no to retail fabric.
And I love making that way. Totally love it.
But five years into this process, I'm realizing that it's not about where I get my fabric. It's not about how much I pay for it. It's not even really about staying out of a store.
Get me here: I really like where I get my fabric. I really like paying handfuls of change and tiny stacks of single bills for it. And I really, really love staying out of a store.
It's actually about figuring out a way to keep me Making. I love thrift stores. I'm cheap. I don't like flourescent lighting and nearby store workers asking to help me when I'm up to my elbows in fabric and scheming to turn it all into something nifty and useful.
If I have to Make using expensive fabric that I have to find in a retail store, then I'll likely stop doing it.
And I really, really don't want to stop doing it.
A pal of mine recently read "Rescued Fabric and Working From a Thrifted Stash" (Which was originally entitled "Why I Don't (And Won't) Shop At a Fabric Store" #turnsoutiamjudgingyou) and said,
Her: Um. I feel judged.
Me: Ummmmmmm. Sorry?
Me: I didn't mean it.
The thing is, the way I do it's not the point.
I know lots of people doing truly beautiful things blending vintage and retail fabrics (Hello: Emily @ BlueCorduroy). I know people doing really smart things staying out of retail stores and macgyvering their way on the cheap (Hello to my old friend Deb @ WorksinProgress and my newly-discovered friend Jen @ MyMakeDoandMendYear) #ihavefriendsi'venevermetinperson. And I know really lovely people selling retail fabric (Hello to that really nice lady who just bought TheCottonBall from my friend Rob and who told me about wool batting which I never knew about.)
Finding a way to keep doing it is.
So I really mean it: Sorry.
The thing is, if we spin our wheels trying to decide where the best spot is to pile up the stuff we make with, we might use up minutes we could have used cutting up fabric and putting it back together.
And we really need those minutes badly. I swear that they're the minutes that keep my head attached to the rest of me.
And you can bet I'm going to say here: find your way. Go find your way. You gotta find your way.