One of the ways that we can bring intention to our creative space is by choosing to be a more mindful fabric consumer. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing fabric and projects. Sometimes we get so caught up in beautiful fabric collection releases that we buy without thinking (it’s understandable!). But by being more mindful about our purchases we can have an impact on our creative practice — and the earth. Here are some tips that can help:
Buy What You Need
Building a stash is a great idea — IF you work from your stash when starting a new project. Many quilters purchase fabric based on new project requirements and don’t shop their stash at all. Even if a fabric in your stash might work for a project, your stash must hold the right amount of that fabric for it to be useful. If you tend to purchase what you need for a particular pattern or project when you are ready to work on it, you might only need to stash fabric backings. Or you might not need to stash at all. Think about how you work and shop so that it supports your style of sewing — rather than accumulating and leaving you overwhelmed.
Skip the Sales
It sounds so simple. But sales can be hard to resist! Especially with the constant trickle of fabric shop marketing emails that make their way into our inboxes. But the truth is, there will always be another deal. And there will (almost always) be another fabric collection or project that we will want to make.
One way to avoid shopping impulsively is to have sales emails go directly into an email folder that you only check when you need to make a purchase. Another option is to allow yourself to appreciate and admire fabric and projects — without buying them all. We have a choice to bring intention to our purchasing habits. We can take back some of our power by saying no to sales and impulse buys.
Feel the Feels
Emotional spending is a way that we help ourselves to temporarily feel better when we are feeling heightened emotions (think: stress, sadness, exhaustion, or boredom). But emotional spending often results in us buying things that we don’t really want or need. In the long run, these emotional-laden purchases result in clutter and worse, feeling ashamed for having spent the money on something that we’re probably not going to use.
Instead of emotionally spending on fabric to feel better, try thinking about how you’ll feel if you bring more things into your creative space. Then come up with other ways to deal with the heavy emotions that wouldn’t involve purchasing fabric or projects. Having a list of ways to deal with emotions (taking a walk, practicing yoga, handstitching, making a cup of tea) will help you to resist urges as they arise.
Of course one of the best ways to be a more mindful consumer is to shop secondhand first. Shopping secondhand has a positive impact on the environment. It reduces carbon emissions, saves resources like water and energy, and prevents fabric from ending up in landfills. It is estimated that there are between 9-11 million quilters in North America. If we all made an effort to purchase 25% of our fabric secondhand, just think of the impact we could make!
Do you have tips for being a more mindful consumer? We’d love to hear! Drop us a comment on Instagram or send us a message! And if you are looking to shop for fabric, why not practice being a mindful fabric consumer right now — shop from another quilter’s stash!