I've been taking advantage of some fabric sales this holiday. I don't really need the fabric but with the hot weather I haven't really felt like doing a lot of sewing and this is my way of getting a fabric fix.
A lot of my students ask me how much of each fabric I buy. Well how long is a piece of string? Firstly, these days I only buy good quality fabrics. I'll happily snap up a bargain but only if it is a genuine sale and not cheap, inferior fabric in the first place. If I'm not shopping for a specific project, but just browsing around for interesting and beautiful fabrics for my stash, how much to buy is really no more complicated than deciding on how much I like it, then how much I can justify to myself.
A fat quarter is a good idea if I just want the fabric but have no idea what I'll do with it (perhaps deep down I know already that I probably won't ever do anything with it, other than stroke it and play with it now and then). I often buy fat quarters at shows just because they are there. I usually try to keep a record of where I bought it from just in case I need more later, however my filing system isn't what it should be.
I've been known to buy the whole bolt if I really like it and think that I'll use it extensively. Realistically though, I usually only make small-medium sized quilts so anything from 1m to 3m usually satisfies me. Of course the backing for a large bed quilt can take up to 9 metres and I always use good quality fabrics for the back as well as the front of the quilt. I also like to cut borders in once piece from the length of the fabric, so if I think I'll be using the fabric for a border I'll buy 3m.
I only have to ask myself two questions about fabric.
1. Do I really like it?
2. Can my budget allow for it?
If I get two yes answers I buy it. Need really doesn't come into it.