14 December 2010

Reflections on: fantasy personal shopper

Earlier this year, my stash was purged of metres of fabrics I will never use. I can’t remember why I bought some of these pieces in the first place! I have decided to prevent this happening again by hiring a personal shopper who specialises in advising quilters.

Does such a person exist? A personal shopper helps other people buy goods by making suggestions for purchases. Usually this relates to fashion items such as clothes and accessories, but also in other fields such as home furnishings. I can’t see why we couldn’t extend this to the quilting world.

Here is a job description for my fantasy personal shopper. She needs to have these attributes: empathy, tact, a sense of humour and patience. She needs to accept, without becoming frustrated, that often I will say I want green fabric when what I really need is pink. The ability to read my mind would be convenient for this purpose.

My personal shopper needs to understand that there is no such thing as too many blue fabrics, but one brown fabric is one too many. She has to accept that Sunbonnet Sue and yo-yos have no place in my world and that a look of horror will cross my face if they are accidentally encountered. 

I expect my shopper to have extensive knowledge of the current ranges of fabric and also the new ones just about to hit the shops. She should also have contacts in the quilting world that can help her track down an extra fat quarter of a specific fabric I bought in 1992. Knowing my habits so well, she will purchase a metre instead, so that when I finally get around to sewing in a few more years, there will be sufficient to double the width of the borders without panic. 

My shopper will have wide-ranging storage experience. She will be able to stack fabric on shelves so that I can remove a piece from the bottom of the stack without the whole lot cascading onto the floor. An understanding of creative chaos is important. I do not want her touching my carefully arranged piles of fabric on my sewing table unless I call for her help; in which case it will be because she has neglected to read my mind on this matter. 

Since my personal shopper will constantly entice me with purchase suggestions, she must have a firm grasp of budgeting principles. At the same time, she should know that exceptional temptations call for extreme action and that spending a week’s income on fabric that is 50% off retail price is sensible and is to be applauded. 

Wouldn’t we all love a personal shopper to help with our quilting needs? At the very least it will give us someone to blame for all those inexplicable pieces of strange fabric in our stashes. 

What guidelines would you give to your fantasy personal shopper?


  1. OOOOoooooo I love the thought of this fantasy personal shopper. I'd just show her the things that I use and where to purchase them and how to communicate with people....and I would just work quietly without interruption and make three times as many things. Whoopie!!!

  2. Anonymous1:40 pm

    Sounds good .... up to a point!
    I hate shopping for just about everything .... clothes, shoes food .... but I love shopping in quilt shops, so she would have to take me with her!

    Judy B

  3. She could just shadow me and advise and I'd utter some directions here and there... pick up this, do that... lol!!! And as she knows me so well, life would be a lot easier and perfect! Does she come with limitless funds to spend too??

  4. Shopping for fabric is one of my favorite parts (they're all favorite parts, except pinning the quilt) But I wouldn't mind having an inventory control specialist. Someone who would keep up with the fabric I have, figure out what I need more of and remind me that I already have three or four fabrics almost like the one I'm looking at.

  5. My shopper should have a flea market instinct and find worn-out, soft fabrics, vintage shirts and bed sheets, oriental cottons and unusual exotic prints. She should be able to avoid conventional quilting fabrics -- they are too stiff for my quilting method -- and spot old, loved, worn, enchanted matter that is otherwise seen as rags.

  6. LOL - you can be your own personal shopper by printing on those fabrics you think you'll never use again and cutting the rest into strips. Trust me -- they look different when you slice 'em up or overprint.

    Ha ha - I need to come teach my class, "Can this Fabric be Saved?"

  7. Does this job come with an Austrailan Work permi? Can I apply? I'd be good at it - especially the spending and creative chaos bits! I'd even buy up all the brown for my own stash so you are not troubled with even the possibilty of it.


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