Ask Kat: Why Don’t You Include Fabric in your Kits


Here’s a question we hear on a regular basis.
They’ve seen a bag they like on our site and it’s either been made up in the colors they normally wear, or a print that really “speaks” to them, and they just can’t imagine being able to find any other fabric combination that they’d like any better, so they want to know…

“Why don’t you include fabric in your pattern + notions kits?”

Now I know that many other independent designers do in fact include fabric in their kits, but honestly, I have never felt inclined to follow suit and the FOUR primary reasons why are listed below.
(in no particular order)

Here’s a recent picture I took of our studio. I can’t imagine where I would find the room to store bolts of fabric!

1) Bolts of fabric require a LOT of storage space. 
I normally make up at least 5 different show samples for each pattern we design, and since that would involve an exterior, a lining, and sometimes even a contrasting fabric, that means potentially finding room for up to 15 bolts of fabric or the appropriate cut components!

2) Cutting & adding fabric to our kits would take a LOT of time.  Let’s face it, cutting fabric can be slow, tedious work. I would MUCH rather be sewing, or designing or doing just about anything else!

3) I could get “stuck” with a lot of fabric that I really don’t like or just wasn’t suitable for our bag.  Having to order most of the fabric I use online, sometimes I either don’t like it when it arrives, or it just isn’t suitable for my bag (due to the actual color looking different than it was on the screen, or the print size turning out to be inappropriate, etc). And you know what? Even if I fall in love with a particular fabric, there’s no guarantee that anyone else will like it, and if this happens, I’ll find myself “stuck” with a whole bolt of a fabric I can never use again. (Since I avoid using fabric twice.)

4) If I’m using fabric sample from a designer, the fabric might not actually be available for months–   I have a collaborative relationship with a few fabric designers and when they send me fabric to use in a sample for display at Market, it might not be available to the general public for many  months. For example, when I posted pictures of the Uptown Saddlebag I made with Pat Sloan‘s fabric back in April, it was to help her sell fabric (and in turn my patterns) to retail stores in May at the Spring Quilt Market. The scheduled delivery date for that fabric wasn’t going to be until August 2014, long after the pictures of this bag were posted, (and when folks would’ve been inclined to want the fabric in a kit from us).

So… in summary-

Adding fabric to our Pattern and Notions Kits would be tedious, labor-intensive work. It would also present serious storage issues and could potentially present a cash-flow problems for us, so I doubt you’ll be seeing us adding fabric to our Notions Kits anytime in the foreseeable future.

But here’s what we’ve chosen to do instead;

You might have noticed, (or just in case you haven’t), that whenever we post a picture of a bag sample, we ALSO include all the information we have about the fabric used in that sample at the bottom of the post. We also try to include hotlinks to either the site where we purchased the fabric(s) or to other online sources. My advice to you is… if you like the fabric we’ve used, do NOT put off your purchase. Fabric manufacturers today generally produce only ONE production run per design… no matter HOW popular a fabric is. They rarely go back and produce a second run. So this means when the first run is gone, you’ll be scrambling to find more, and then only if you get lucky with a google search!

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the fabrics we’ve lined up to use for our new bag pattern for Spring 2015!

And now it’s YOUR turn!

Do you have any follow-up questions or comments for me on this topic? If so, please feel free to post them in the space provided below.
And if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it via FaceBook or Twitter!

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  1. Mea on October 15, 2021 at 5:17 am

    I will mention that a certain fabric you use would be a favorite with your customers but some might want it in red or brown or blue, etc. That would mean you’d need multiple bolts of each print. Suddenly, you’re a fabric store having to live in a tent in your yard because you don’t have any room in your house. lol

    It’s completely understandable why you don’t sell the fabric.

    • Kat on October 15, 2021 at 5:46 am

      You are SO right and this comment gave me a chuckle today! Thanks! 🙂