The Life and Times of Fabric

Such a dramatic title, ha! Thought I would share the kinds of fabric donations we get and what we do with them. We get fabric from several different sources. Our main connection is Swavelle/Mill Creek in New York. They are awesome! We get dozens of boxes of beautiful fabric per year from them. Here in Colorado, one of my friends works for a fabric company and provides me with samples 4-5 times a year. These are usually 24x24inch pieces. Harmony is also a wonderful provider of fabric and, of course, generous individuals like you!

When I get an email about a fabric donation, I ask for a location and try to match them with one of our chapters. Sometimes, it works out that the coordinator for that chapter is able to get the fabric directly from the individual to save on shipping costs. We love it when that happens and one of the reasons we enjoy having so many chapter locations.

When fabric comes to my house, I stack it up into bins in my basement where it waits for helpers to remove the labels and sort it into stacks.
Really thin fabric is grouped together. Some of this is used to make produce bags or for pet bed stuffing.

These are some of the samples from my friend Jen. Most of these are too thick to be bags and will be sewn into pet beds.
We get very pretty embroidered fabrics. Some of them are thin enough to make into bags like the ones below.
However, if the embroidery is really thick, we can't make them into bags. When the embroidery is doubled, it jams and ruins the expensive blades on our sergers. Ugh. It's too bad because these would make lovely bags. They do, however, make some of the most gorgeous pet beds!

On the left are fabric samples all ready to be pieced together and sewn into pet beds. On the right is embroidered yardage for pet beds too.
You can see how thick the fabric gets when doubled. In some areas this can be almost 1/4 of an inch.
We love getting "plain jane" fabric. Why? It makes great bags for guys. Dudes don't usually like carrying around floral/funky bags. We try to serve that population with plain, sturdy bags. :)
Of course, I'm partial to the pretty fabrics that make me (and I hope YOU!) motivated to use and remember your bags each time you shop.
Often we receive large amounts of fabric samples cut into strips. We don't bother piecing these together for bags. Instead, we cut them in half and make handles out of them. They are perfect for that!
And, of course, we get donations from wonderful individuals like you! These donations are usually quilting cotton (that we use for freebie bags as they are less expensive to ship) and some home decor. The brown fabric in the upper left of the photo below are curtains that came out of Bagette Marianne's new house. They were in EVERY room and she couldn't handle that much brown. I don't blame her AND they make great bags!
We love getting fabric donations. We can't make bags without them! Teresa


MissesStitches said...

Thank you for a very interesting post, Teresa. I enjoyed reading about how you sort and use the fabrics.

Green Bag Lady Teresa said...

Thanks MissesStitches I know you would enjoy going through the fabrics as much as I do! :)