Monday, June 15, 2009

How To Buy Fabric With Small Children


I haven't posted in yonks, I know. Summer days are lovely for being out and about. The kids seem to not want to take naps much. Sewing is still happening, but photographing and blogging are slow.

So I'm cheating now and posting about nothing in particular. At least not a sewing project. But long-time readers of this blog will know what my blogging is like - absolute silence for two weeks, then 6 posts all at once about some insane thing I'd been working on. So that will come, that will come.

Today I want to share a silly sort of tutorial. The title says it all - it's how I go fabric shopping with three small children, all under five. I can count on one hand the number of times I've bought fabric online - it just does not appeal to me. But physical shopping with little ones takes some thick skin, and I'm always open to learn how other people do it. Want to share your tips? OK, I'll go first.

First, it is important that small children be trained from as young as possible to adore fabric stores. This means a few days after birth, they must be taken out in their car seats to the nearest fabric store to expose them to Important Life Experiences. When Kate was less than a week old, we went out in a blizzard to a remnant sale. Never mind that I bought nothing because it was a completely useless sale or that about 80% of the whole adventure was spent driving or nursing in the car (when stationary of course - what were you thinking?). It was good mother-daughter bonding. Plus it was good practice watching the clock and getting really good at the whole dashing-in-and-dashing-out-of-the-store thing, which leads to the next point.

Second, you must be focused. You must have a list. See mine in the first picture. You cannot just browse because you have a free morning. Small children = no such things as free mornings. You must write all your Must Buys down on paper or in your blackberry or on the skin of your arm. Do not trust your memory. Small children = no short-term memory. You may disagree and claim that you took a college course in remembering 100 things by thinking of colors of the rainbow or rhyming words that string together into a catchy little tune. More power to you but don't come crying to me when you've gotten home from your shopping trip without the yard of 1" elastic you had to stop sewing that skirt midway to go on said trip to buy.

Third, you must pack ammunition for the smalls. Every child will have different dietary needs but this is what I apportion into small ziptop bags when we go fabric shopping:


I will share this important tip: The larger the cracker, the more time you can buy before your child(ren)'s next request for "more". If your children are not germophobic, pack one sippy cup and make them share it. Otherwise you will have to carry all the sippy cups as well as all your non-walking children back to your vehicle because you don't want to risk having water leaking onto your new fabric in the shopping bags. Even if your children swear that they will hold their own cups, by the time the shopping trip is over, they will not. 

Also, if you have especially young children, you must pack suitable receptacles for containing snacks. I bring one of these for each child accompanying me:


Without these, you will spend all your time replenishing snacks in their limited-capacity little hands.

Fourth, always ensure you have a Secret Weapon in your purse. Mine looks like this:

Even if you are the most health-conscious parent on the planet, your children will somehow discover the existence of such things as candy. And they will want it. If you plan ahead and restrict their access to it to special occasions (i.e. fabric shopping), it will give you a lot of negotiating power. If you dispense it at home indiscriminately, then you cannot use it as a Secret Weapon when shopping for fabric. You must pick something else, or risk shameful failure in the fabric store. Also, the Secret Weapon is best used in small amounts and in immediate response to the first signs of an impending meltdown. Should you unwisely forget to pack your Secret Weapon that day and have to resort to, "If you stop writhing on the floor now and be quiet, mommy will give you (insert Secret Weapon name here) when we get home", good luck to you.

Fifth, a well-conditioned child is one who loves the fabric itself, not the other "craft things" that the store might also stock. This way, they will be enamored of the very things you are buying and will not clamor to "go and see the craft section now!" Sadly, my children are not well-conditioned. They think that part of the shopping trip is to buy craft items. To show that I am patient with their shortcomings, I usually make a short detour at the end of the trip to the craft aisles but only after all the fabric has been measured and cut. 

Sixth, if the staff at the cutting counter asks you what you are making, lie and say you are making a quilt or a tote. Unless, of course, you are in truth making a quilt or a tote. Any "unusual" project will cause the staff worker to either roll her eyes (and annoy you) or pause in her task and ask you more about it (thus wasting time). Worse, if your answer should come while she is manipulating her hand-held recording/printing device, she will be thrown off and delete all the transactions and have to manually re-enter them. Smile and act excited about your quilt/tote project and all will be well.

Finally, the same rule for attire on airplanes holds for fabric shopping trips: dress your children adorably. Other patrons in line with you for the cutting counter are more easily charmed by a child in a well-put-together outfit. Remember that the other patrons are also there to buy fabric i.e. they know about coordinating and contrasting prints and colors. You will score even more points if your child's outfit looks professional-and-yet-unmistakably-hand-made because now you will be able to talk about patterns and tips and sewing tricks with the other patrons and make time pass even more quickly. Don't worry if you yourself look like a wreck - many of the same patrons are mothers or grandmothers and remember what it was like when they hardly pulled a brush through their  hair. People who buy fabric all have, at some point, chosen shopping over personal grooming. It is a fact.

Parting thoughts: when you return to your vehicle with your wonderfully-behaved children and vast amounts of fabric you know not the purpose of, you must hug them (the children, I mean; you can embrace the fabric at leisure when you get home) and praise them for their marvelous performance in the store. This is called positive reinforcement and will count towards more of the same lovely behavior on future trips and convey this powerful association to your children: Fabric Shopping = Happy Thoughts
I have found that this comes very naturally to me because I am so incredibly relieved to have survived the experience. One of our favorite fabric warehouses even rewards well-behaved children with fat quarter packs when we check out. How wonderful is that? 

OK, it's your turn now. How do YOU shop for fabric with small children?




65 comments:

  1. Yeah, you hit the nail on the head with this! I totally have to 1. take lots of snacks 2. bring stuff for them to do whilst I look (ie little drawing notebooks or my Ipod touch or....if I forget, I find something in the store to let them hold and play with till we leave or they get bored with it) 3. dress them VERY cute and a lot of times I get extra oohs & aaahs by dressing them matchy-matchy (which I NEVER thought I would EVER do) 4. Have some secret candy in my purse....but after a few times of magically pulling candy out of my purse, my kiddos LEARNED. Now, they dive through my purse right away so I now need to put it in my pockets instead. Sometimes I just have to let them play a little hide-n-seek in order to get my shopping done :)

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  2. All those tips are cool! I have a one year old daughter but haven't done proper fabric shopping with her as all the fabric shops I go to have their fabric either up or down stairs and I can't get there with the buggy! I did carry her into the shop once but my arms nearly broke off!
    The snacks is a good tip. I also go everywhere armed with snacks, even if I'm just doing the grocery shopping, or going for a little walk.

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  3. What a great post! I *HAVE* to know what store gives fat quarter packs to children. If that place is anywhere near me, I could take my 5 kids and clean up! I'm kidding, of course. (Sort of.)

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  4. This post is wonderful! My children like fabric, but it's not typically the fabric I want to purchase/look at...

    I need to get smarter about bringing snacks and Secret Weapons. And dressing my children adorably. Most days I'm just relieved they both have clothes on. I ALWAYS bring a list (definitely no short-term memory in this head) and the detour to the craft section actually has worked as a Secret Weapon so far - mainly because I was blessed (in this case it's a blessing) with cautious children who stay close to their mother in stores so they won't run off to that section on their own (yet, at least) and need my cooperation to go there. Their favorite part of the store is all the little stones and marbles that are in the flower arranging section.

    Thanks for all the excellent advice - and a good laugh :)

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  5. I MUST remember to bookmark this post for future (when N has siblings) reference. My strategy now is simply to let the salesperson in charge of following me around the store play/keep an eye on the child.

    :D

    *the fabric store I frequent has sales staff working on commissions, so I am never without a willing babysitter...hyuk! hyuk! hyuk!

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  6. Hallo all and thank you for the very helpful hints. Methinks a fabric shopping trip today (OK, tomorrow) is in order to try them all out!

    Emily: Notebooks are a very, very good idea! Never thought of that. I have one in my purse for ME but I think I can use it as Backup Secret Weapon now. Thank you!

    miss aine: I bring snacks to the supermarket too. And sympathies on the stairs in your stores. Which architect designed those? Must have been someone who never went fabric shopping with small children!

    mamalong: it's SR Harris, a local fabric warehouse. You have to measure and cut your own fabric which is lovely and saves time. And there are round stickers for labeling yardage and price, so extra playthings for the kids while you work. But it's huge and I am often depressed when I leave because I never seem to cover more than one or two aisles.

    MaryAnne: Most days my children are also not adorably dressed, and usually even mismatched-ly dressed. And sometimes even with breakfast on their shirts. Sigh. But once in a while we make it.

    J: How did you get so lucky with personal shopper assistance? Is this spotlight? Can we go when I next visit?

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  7. You have some good tips here. I never thought about dressing the kids in something I made - brilliant!

    The store I do most of my fabric shopping at has carts, so both kids go in the cart, and they know if they keep quiet, as I find fabric I like, I will put the bolts in the cart - two on each side, then two up top to make a fort for them. And they have to be quiet and not too bouncy in there, so they don't knock their fort down.

    We also play "I Spy". "Who can find a frog?" "Who can find a butterfly?" Who can find a typewriter?"

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  8. Oh, I loved this post! I actually cannot imagine to got fabric shopping with my daughter - and I only have ONE!
    I have to admit that I did my fabric shopping mostly on the internet. But I think that won't do for the future. I think it is much better to be able to feel the fabric and actually see what it is like ... If I ever have to go with my daughter I will definitely reread your post! THANKS so much!

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  9. You posted this right after I took my 2 year old fabric shopping--and of course, pulled out my secret weapons (dumdums...he never gets lollipops other than at the fabric store!). It helped that there were other kids there with their moms. Thank you for such a true post!

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  10. I don't like shopping online for fabric either. If I can't touch something, how do I know I will like it. The hand is as important to me as the color or design--maybe more. I've been known to buy something that wasn't a knockout look, but felt perfect.

    I don't have small ones, but I also don't have a fabric store here. (Dear Walmart, That is not a complaint. I bless you for your fabric department each week. Maybe though, you could think about bringing in some different styles. I've had those sunflowers in every patchwork thing I've made since, um, 1998. Thank you.)

    I remember when I was a kid, back in the 50's, going fabric shopping with my mom. I loved it, even then. She made all of our clothes, and we always got to pick our own fabric and patterns. IN those days, the dye in fabrics would burn your eyes when you were in fabric stores. I guess they've changed the formula, or my eyes got used to it, because it doesn't bother me anymore.

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  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I did not condition my daughter properly early enough, sadly, and now she bursts into tears at the very sight of the fabric section of a store.

    I must stock up on snacks and try again.

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  12. This post had me laughing. Loved it. I like to have my 4 year old write out my grocery list while I push her in the cart. It takes a long time to write a-r-t-i-c-h-o-k-e, plus I can spell it for her and shop fabric at the same time. I'm very talented that way.
    For my two year old, stickers do the trick.
    For my 3 month baby cakes-nurse proir, and keep pacipher close by.
    Usually I can get by with an hour of shopping fabric.
    I loved your table tent. It turned out beautifully! I loved how you changed it up. Can't wait to see all your projects!

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  13. You're far more prepared than me...I cross myself and head on in!

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  14. fabric shopping had never been too much of an issue for me before this year...mine are 5 and 2...problem is my 5 year old son LOVES fabric and for me to make him something...so there is a continual discussion as to what i am buying and whether or not i am making him something...my kids LOVE the buttons...so that is my secret weapon...button isle is very last and only if there has been good behavior....

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  15. I love taking my older kids with me, they both babysit and prevent me from buying fabric they know I will never use!

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  16. great ideas and funny too. must get to SR Harris soon - sounds wonderful!!!

    someone else mentioned one of my tricks -- some form of I Spy.

    But oh, when I forget snacks, that's bad...

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  17. hilarious!

    Molly's first outing was to buy fabric, too. I think my kids are well trained since they are generally begging for fabric or sewing notions, especially buttons. Better than candybars at the checkout?

    I must say, though, that I love shopping online. And, believe it or not, even that is not easy with 5 small people in the house.

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  18. I have featured you today on Today's Creative Blog! You are so inspirational.
    email me for your featured button that all featured bloggers receive.
    krjdemmon@comcast.net

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  19. visiting from todays creative blog! you are one talented momma!!

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  20. Over from Today's Creative Blog....love this. When I had three kiddos (oh those were the days) my oldest was 3 years old. My weapon of choice was fruit by the foot. Sticky, but effective.

    And whenever those ladies ask what I'm making my answer is always the same: "I haven't decided yet." End of conversation ;)

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  21. I don't do snacks anymore, not since that time they were pelted across the store at each other. My son and his friend decided it would be funny, as I turned my head for one second to read measurments on a bolt, to "play army" in the store. That day became the day that I realized fish (though only goldfish snacks) could truly fly. Now, I "let Mr Z" play with a LeapFrog handheld game. It is the only time he is allowed to use it, while shopping. Now he begs to go shopping all the time, and if he is good for 5 trips in a row, he gets a new game for the system. Hearing those words, "Momma, when are we gonna go shoppin'?" truly makes me melt. Who cares if it is bribery? Not me! I have the kid that behaves like an angel, at least at the store.

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  22. Mmkay, see, I only have one small child. But he's a BOY so he automatically hates the fabric store :( It's a nightmare each time! i have to pack my tiny purse (reFUSE to carry a diaper bag anymore :P) with toys (which each have several noisy buttons) and cookies and a harmonica. It's like packing for a vacation. When I really get desperate I become frantic and start saying "do you see something blue?! red?! orange?!" Of course, it's always worth it in the end :)

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  23. When all else fails... grab two baskets. Put all the children all snacks/games/toys/phone and anything else you can find that will keep their interest in one basket. And the wonderful material in another. {and hope you remember the children on the way out}

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  24. This was hilarious!!! And you know, this too will pass. I shop for fabric alone - my teenager daughters are old enought to opt out and stay home. And once in a while I get a great treat, and my 16 year old actually comes with me and offers GREAT advice when I am trying to decide between fabric A-B-and C. A full circle sort of thing. The next dream is that at least one of them developes an interest in sewing.

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  25. Oh my gosh! I love this post! I also bring snacks, I also firmly believe children should be trained to love fabric stores (in my case the craft stores, too!) My 3 yr old daughter has asked to go to the craft stores on more than one occasion when we've been out and, one time, we arrived at the craft store to find it closed and she cried!!! That's my girl!

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  26. Oh that is TOO funny -- I especially love the tip about lying at the cutting counter! (: hahaha!!!!

    I must admit on the few occasions I have taken my (1) toddler along to the fabric store, it's gone really poorly. These tips are the perfect thing! Thanks so much!!! You are a genius. As usual.

    Oh I was also going to say thanks for the nice things you said about my hair and Octotunic. That was very sweet. I just found a Simplicity pattern that looks very similar to my tunic the other day so if you're needing to make one you could give it a try! Of course I haven't tried it so I have no idea if it's any good...

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  27. You are hilarious! I'm here from Today's Creative Blog. I have a tough time taking my one 2-year old to the fabric store. I don't know how you can bring three kids! I always bring fruit snacks, that's my secret weapon. Although it's not so "secret" anymore since she always asks for it as soon as we get there. She likes to hold fat quarters too.

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  28. Thank goodness my boys are in school now. I have one in kindergarten so I have a few hours every morning to run.

    When I was doing this with the three of them, though, I totally relied on snacks just like you. Snacks and lots of promises and bribes. It's really hard to concentrate!

    For some reason, sugarless gum kept my boys busy for a loooong time.

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  29. ROFLMAO! I was actually agreeing and crying halfway through this post that I had to stop reading and make a comment. This was hiliarious and soooo true at the same time. Glad someone else feels my pain. BTW, my i-phone always buys me an extra 30 minutes or so with my 2 year old. i have to shop with the baby strapped to me in her Bjorn and my 2 year old son strapped into a stroller armed with snacks and my iphone. It's the only way we get out -and- I get to keep my sanity. Now I have to go finish reading this post. Thanks for a great pick me up!

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  30. How did you photograph the contents of our pantry (and my purse?!) I laughed out loud and snorted so many times reading this post that my husband came into the room and asked me what I was doing....ha-ha!! I love it. Fantastic post, it's as though you have been secretly following me and the girls around g-street fabrics for years and taking notes!!

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  31. Ha ha, hee hee, ho ho! Thanks for the chuckle. I used the "secret weapon" a lollipop on mine the other day when I discovered a large amount of vintage fabric at the thrift store. This was a fun read, I'm glad my sister told me to check it out.

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  32. Hi, I just found your blog and am enjoying looking through it. I laughed at you rule # 6 ,I think that was the #, "tell them you are making a quilt" when I am in line I always try to think what to tell them I an going to be making, (sometimes I'm just buying the fabric 'cause I love it), it's a lot of stress to put on someone! Next time I will take your advice, Thanks!

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  33. Wow - you totally summed up the experience. My kids - 3 and (almost) 5 - like to pretend they're fabric and squeeze themselves next to the bolts if there's some space. Then, they ask me to "pick them" by tagging or tickling them. They invented the game themselves. Also, they like to look through the catalogs if I'm picking up any patterns and tell me what I should make for them or other people we know.

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  34. This, by far, is one of the best posts I've read in a long time regarding dealing with children while shopping. I usually sneak off by myself as my three are never quite under control. My last adventure to the fabric store started off wonderfully. They walked with me admiring the different fabric textures and patterns. They even gave me suggestions on what I could use this one for or that one for. My problem started because I took 10 minutes longer than planned. A melt down with my three yo son ensued. My girls then took it upon themselves to run the isles touching as many items as possible.

    I felt like screaming!!! lol

    So, we regrouped. The sales lady held what I'd picked out to that point. I took them home and returned later that same evening to continue and make my purchases.

    If only I'd read this first! :D

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  35. My mom started taking us (three girls and a boy) to the fabric store as little bitty ones. Her rule was if we asked for anything then we would leave. And she kept that promise. It only took two times of her putting everything back and dragging us out of the store crying to make us sit quietly. If we were good we got a treat when we got home. This usually was getting to have boxed mac and cheese for lunch instead of PB&J.

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  36. ROFLOL!
    All this is SO TRUE! I have 4 girls, and I use food, bribery, positive reinforcement and dress them well!! Of course I learnt to do this the hard way, after chasing my eldest while heavily pregnant between fabric bolts in the shopping trip from hell. Now my big two [7 and 5] enjoy fabric shopping, especially if one of the things we're looking for is for them [ie, they get to pick fabric for a dress I'm going to make them].
    Thanks for an enjoyable post! I'll link to my blog if it's okay with you.

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  37. hahahaha... I love this!

    As for me, I bring along my darling husband, hands him the baby bag, handkerchief and leave him to control both children (3 and 1 right now). While I do my browsing around wait for the fabric to be cut, etc he'll be tagging along with the children closely behind me, his eyes working frantically trying to locate a place he can sit down but still within calling distance from me...

    I'm going to try u tips on our next trip. Wish me luck!

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  38. I try NOT to take mine, bc it's just too distracting, tho' I'll admit, I would spend far less money if they WERE with me! However all of yours & fellow moms suggestions are wonderful!
    Thanks, and I might just try some, but take only 1 at a time until I get braver, LOL!

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  39. That was so funny! I was laughing really hard!

    Our Joann's changed their layout to only have one cutting counter now (instead of 3), so the line at the cutting counter now takes AT LEAST one hour.

    And I have 6 children, ages 8 and under. I cannot fit a child in the back AND put fabric there, too! :)

    I have found that it's best to get a number for the cutting counter before picking out fabric. Then, I also try to go after 8pm (so the children are in bed). This ensures that I will not have to wait for so long.

    If I need to take a child with me, I try to limit it to 1 child, or I will CERTAINLY forget the reason I came and buy something else, but not that (even though I have a list). I usually just take the nursing baby. I totally agrree about how they are dressed. I think that applies anywhere, but especially at the fabric store, because I always get asked if I made the dress. I also make sure that said child gets to hold buttons or notions to keep them busy.

    Another thing that I do is look at the pattern books online instead of at the store. I write down the patterns I want when I know there is a pattern sale, and I can just go to the drawers and get the patterns immediately.

    And now, I am taking my grandma with me, and this is like taking a 2-year-old (except the 2-year-old walks faster); maybe I should take candy with me for next time!

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  40. You had me cracking up! I am only occasionally brave enough to venture into the fabric store with my two, I guess I had better get it together with the third on the way, lol. And definitely need the list - that would be a life saver. :D My girls do love the fabric store, but want to touch, touch, touch. But really, what harm is in that, with clean hands and faces. ? :)

    Perhaps a picture/list for each child - like a treasure hunt would help. hmm.

    THANX for a great blog post.

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  41. What a hilarious and oh-so-true post! I have 3 kids, aged 3 and under, so the fabric store is always an adventure. You have some great ideas that I will need to implement, thanks! And I really should start lying about my projects, because I always get the "oh, how interesting, how are you going to do that?" "Uh, I won't if you don't just CUT. MY. FABRIC.!" Ha!

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  42. Goood one! I have had to cut short a few trips back in the day of having little ones! I now have to bring snacks for myself I'm in there so long. And promise myself a stop at Burger King after wards!

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  43. I have to say that I take a totally different approach. I am blessed to have a husband that works 4 days on and off so when we all go into the city, hubby waits in the car with snacks and the DVD player. Fabric shopping bliss. This usually buys me about a half hour. Ahhhh....

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  44. This post made me laugh! I have three boys and I have occasionally taken them all with me fabric shopping. Luckily they were exposed to fabric stores at such a young age so they actually love to go. They like looking at the fabric patterns :) I do go with a list just like you and I try to zoom in and out of there as quick as possible. Thanks for sharing your other tips! I just found out about your blog today through a pin on Pinterest regarding your Kindergarten project. I'll following your blog now! :)

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  45. Loved all the tips in here. I have only one kiddo and I'm sure I can handle her now. Do you also have some tips for husband who gets crabby at the sight of fabric store but insists on driving you everywhere. No? I think I'm better off shopping online then.

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  46. I can manage short shopping trips with my 15 month old by strapping him on my back with my mei tai. :D He loves being face-height with other shoppers, especially the ladies who he loves to flirt with.

    I never thought of giving him a fat quarter! I will have to try that next time, he loves anything orange. :)

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  47. Thanks for some great ideas. I have not had much luck fabric shopping with my two littlies (3 yo daughter, 2 yo son). My daughter decides she needs to go to the toilet right about the time I'm loaded up with 5 bolts of fabric. My son runs up and down the aisles smiling at all the ladies. They think he's adorable, but I get a little frustrated chasing him up and down the aisles with said bolts of fabric!

    Blooms and Bugs - try finding a fabric store near a store he likes (eg adventure shop/ hardware etc). I find that works a treat!

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  48. All great tips!! I go with a little boy and a toddler girl so things are trickier. I always pick up something from another isle to let the little one hold and ask her questions like "ooh, Dollie, what do you think of these?" knowing damn well there will be no response. We ALWAYS match though! I almost always have coordinating outfits on each of us (daddy included) for outings. Yes, we are THAT family. I'm convinced I'll loose a child and won't know what color shirt to tell the police said child was wearing but if we are all wearing the same I'll surely remember. ;D

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  49. How I sooooo wish I had an sr harris fabric store near me. But mn is 12000 miles away from me :-( :-(

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  50. Great post. My 2yr old daughter has charmed the local spotlight staff by sitting on the cutting counter and saying "hi" and their names, and "helping" me carry fabric they are really lovely in there....they now ask where she is if I go without her! We haven't reached terrible twos yet though and the bribe of a fluffy/babycino post shop always works. Agreed re list. It's essential!

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  51. I took my grandson Austin, fabric shopping with me from the time he was two and a half months old--first times we took him out, as had someone stay at his home until he was around that age. I started babysitting him and off we went. He cost me A LOT more money as once he hit six months, he started picking his own fabrics. at age one, he requested his own fabrics for his 50th quilt. (I later donated most of his stash of quilts to the Phoenix Indian Medical Center, so they were well used.) The fabric cutters/measurers Loved to see him, and he told her one yard of each fabric would NOT be enough....told her he needed a least a yard and a half. I didn't really carry snacks, except water, as at first, he sucked a pacifier. He was a laid back kid and was just happy to look around at everything. When I worked on a project at home, he used four inch swatches of fabic and matched them, counted them, put them i color piles, and planned a quilt for me to do. He is now nearly 12, and still talks about how much fun he had, etc.

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  52. All my kiddo's are grown, and we were on the road a lot when they were little. So I didn't get to fabric shop or sew except to repair things. But I had to laugh about the Salesclerk asking what you are making, because I usually say a quilt or tote just like you do. But the last time I was in JoAnnes the clerk picked up the 1/4 yard of brown fake fur I had picked up out of the scrap sale bin and said what can you make with this? I answered truthfully "a monkeys tail" and nothing more.(It was for a prop for my Hubby's magic show). The clerk says I guess that will work, with a puzzled look on her face.

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  53. This is just too funny! Now we need a post on how to keep a husband happy at a fabric store. :)

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  54. Too funny! Now we just need a post on how to keep a husband happy at a fabric store. *grin*

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  55. When they were small they were in a sling on my back and learnt the love of fabric , as they began to be walking everywhere I cultivated a love of buttons in them! Now we go into the shop, they spend the required amount of time searching through the 100's of tubes of cute novelty buttons for one to add to their collection. The shop ladies love having cute boys who collect buttons, I get to shop without small children hanging off me whining about how boring shopping is :) win win!

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  56. The tips are perfect for any shopping! Now I just need tips about how you find time to sew with 3 kids. I have three, too, and I miss my sewing machine so much...we barely see each other since my son was born (1 year ago). LOL
    Congrats for the wonderful blog :o)

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  57. Hey Ana,
    When your kids start school they will need costumes and accessories so you look forward to that - whilst panicking at the time cos the school only gave you 10 days notice again...
    My first home made costume was a Christmas Pudding complete with felt holly on the top and the next was a reversable 60s hippy outfit that switched to a long sleeve inn keeper. He only had 30 seconds between scenes to get changed so that seemed easiest - take it off and then put it back on again straight away. My next was a Tudor clergyman (not too hard because we alreday had the basics) and then a full Native American costume for my daughter. And yes, I've kept them all!!

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  58. hola, tienes un hermoso post no puedo creer tan lindas cosas hay para hacer le hare muchas de estas cositas a mi hijita y a mi hijo, gracias por ayudarnos con la creatividad.. saludos y besos pa tus niñas

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  59. I laughed the entire way through your post. Prepping for a fabric trip right now and was using your "Little Blue Table" post as inspiration for one of our own, and have a full sheet with sketchups and a full list of what to buy, as well as a basic plan for how to get through the store as painlessly as possible with my little one in tow. Feeling better about my own tactics as a shopping mother as I utilize so many of these on a regular basis with my preschooler. Thanks again for a great, humorous post!

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  60. Oh my gosh, how TRUE! Isn't it funny how you even think about the size of the cracker you take with you? My girls love goldfish but they're the worst for "more please" every 3 seconds. Sesame breadsticks (like a little pretzel rod) are good. I've also found that when a cute outfit is not an option, pigtails and a clean face are great secret weapons to earning goodwill from strangers. That will work pretty much anywhere. Great post!

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  61. True, oh, so true. The train-them-while-they-are-young routine really works! My girls (8y. old twins & 5 y.o.) just adore fabric stores (and bookstores).
    There is a snag however: they tend to make their own choices - such as bright orange velours-de-panne fabric (think crushed velvety polyester fabric). And charm the other customers and staff while pleading: "Please make us costumes from this mummy!!! PLEASE!!!!"

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  62. I just stumbled upon your blog (love it!) and I thought this was hilarious. I work in a craft/fabric store and its really funny to see how parents deal with kids in the store. I am known to hand out small candies to parents for use as Secret Weapons and I have an arsenal of pipe cleaners at my disposal, kids love to make shapes out of them! I find that it works for elementary age kids because they like the challenge of making something, and they are a fairly cost effective "distraction" to purchase.

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  63. I just found your post, and also have 3 below 5 (plus one on the way). I entirely agree about the snack, although since mine a all boys they do turn into projectiles sometimes. What I've found is the list is imperative...and a short one at that! It is better to return to the store tomorrow that outlast their patience. The other thing that seems to work best for my boys is to let them choose their own fabric for a project. They then get an entire bolt to carry around the store...filling hands...and can claim it as their own. Then they are constantly telling everyone about how it is their fabric for their project!

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  64. I am a grandmother of a soon to be 3 year old. Last year I taught him how to watch Alabama football. This year when I bought some fabric for a table cloth he yelled out Roll Tide at the cutting counter and the cutter responded delightfully. So when we went to pick out the felt for his jake costume, yes he got to pick, he was looking forward to the wait at the cutting table. Of course he will talk to everyone in line. He has a captive audience.
    Thank you for you blog, it is delightful.

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