Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dream Bolts

Bought my first bolt today at JoAnn - 20 whole yards of Pellon craft fuse aka craft-weight fusible interfacing. Used my 50% coupon so it was a steal. This is not the first bolt I've bought in my life, of course (tsk tsk), but it is the first I've bought since moving to the US. I felt like I had achieved the equivalent level of obsession that I had when I lived and sewed in Singapore. The cutting counter staff (my arch nemesis) drawled at me when I handed over the plastic-wrapped bolt, "You want the whole thing?" I told her yes and didn't roll my eyes (this was too solemn a moment for disdain).

Anyway, that got me thinking - 20 yards of 20" interfacing is hardly anything by way of boltage but wouldn't it be fun to fantasize about what I would buy by the bolt if I had the money and storage space at home? Here's my list:
  1. Natural canvas
  2. White duckcloth
  3. Black canvas
  4. Black 600 denier nylon-backed packcloth
  5. White blizzard fleece
  6. White 2 mm wool felt - the really good kind (that my mother claims is from Japan).
  7. White broadcloth
  8. Natural muslin
  9. White flannel - the good kind, not the sort you can peer through the weave of
  10. White knit
  11. Craft fuse (got it!)
  12. Heavy sew-in interfacing
I am almost afraid to go on. Everything on the list is black, white or natural. And solid, of course. Nothing worse than an entire bolt of print fabric, especially when that print goes out of style. No apparel fabric on the list, either. I considered white twill for a moment - it is an extremely useful fabric but a whole bolt? If the captain of the Love Boat hired me to make uniforms for his crew, maybe.

So, let's share now - what's your dream bolt? Or ('fess up - we're all friends here from the same support group) what have you bought a whole bolt of recently?


  1. I have to admit I have never bought a whole bolt... but gee, I'm thinking about it now! Hmm... so many options... but somehow the look of shock on my husband's face keeps intruding- giggle;-)

  2. I have never bought more than 4 yards of anything, but I inherited some of my great-grandmothers stash- and I forgot to go back and grab that full bolt I wanted for backing. It still haunts me... some lady turned it into braided rag rugs!

  3. White poplin. Love it - so easy to dye, crisp to sew.
    White knit and white ribbing
    White lawn (that would be a bit of an indulgence though - I can never quite bring myself to dye it)
    Killington flannel(ette) - I bought a bolt in the past to make nappy boosters for my son. It's nearly all gone and I only made a couple of boosters. But it became beautiful pinafores, romping trousers, coat linings, snowtrouser linings (mind you, they take forever to dry!) Must keep an eye out for some more.

  4. Hmmm... what a nice question to ponder!

    From your list I'm stealing (well, copying really, you can keep your bolt, I'll get my own):

    Natural canvas
    White wool felt
    Natural muslin

    And add...
    More wool felt (not sure what colours, red and green would probably be useful)

    Natural linen

    Some sort of plain (cotton, muslin) in each of blue, brown and green as those seem to me my most frequently used colours (especially for linings of bags, pouches, etc.)

    And that would keep me busy for quite a while! Especially with bits (fat quarters, etc) of print fabric thrown into the mix.

  5. A whole bolt? Well my dream bolt would be something novelty, like cinderella's castle printed on canvas so I can make Disney raincoats, and bags. I am all about the Disney. The practical answer would be the fusible craft interfacing. I am working on some amy butler bags and at 5-8 yards for each one I need a bolt...

  6. Good list I must say. I am affraid I have many of them. Is that pathetic? I come from a long line of fabric hoarders. I have to near bolt of my grandmother's heavy weight cotton prints in wild 60's colors that speak to me often to be cut into marvelousness. What I don't have though and would love to sink my scissors into is a bolt of wild print oil cloth, and maybe a whole bold of Japanese Indigo. Yea that would be my wish. Thanks for an early morning fabric dream. Those are the best. :o)

  7. Why blizzard fleece over antipill fleece? I tend to choose the antipill. I wonder if there's something I'm missing.

  8. Emily Louisa: no, you're right, the antipill IS better. I'd gotten it mixed up. The blizzard is thinner and does pill.

  9. I found a steal at my local Dirt Cheap store. Bolts of t-shirt style knits were $2 a piece. I bought a few and plan to make t-shirt style dresses for all of my 4 grand-daughters. Granted I've never sewn this type material, but I have a new serger, so I'm game!

    On my wish list, canvas and duck cloth for sure, maybe denim or chambray, and white eyelet, OH, OH, I know red gingham in all sizes!!! Does that scream that I'm a country girl or what?

  10. Since I started making the Mei Tai's to sell ( Hawley Sacks on Etsy: turtleturtle), I have bought many a bolt of solid color cotton twill usually of the brushed variety. I have come real close in yardage on Jerseys, but never a full bolt. I would love to have bolts of my fav designer prints. I gravitate towards anything made by Kokka, specifically the Echino goodies, and now they are laminated. If I only had the money, I would have a bolt in every color and pattern!!!!!

  11. I would love to see Mike's face if I walked in the door with a bolt of fabric - particularly given his reaction to the remnants I occasionally buy.

    Your list is excellent, and I'm with you on the value of white and black fabrics. I think my first choice would be to buy a bolt of natural muslin - so many uses! Although fusible interfacing would also be lovely.

    And genius to use your 50% off coupon for this purchase!

  12. A whole bolt you say... Cotton denim(do they come in natural or white?). So many projects, so many possibilities ... ahhhhhh....

  13. Long time lurker here! I'll agree that a bolt of natural canvas would be pretty sweet, but that natural linen someone mentioned would be absolutely dreamy. I inherited a few bolts from my grandma - one of them an orange and burgundy ikat. I think of you every time I look at it!

  14. I could find some uses for the natural canvas and definitely the white wool. Nice stuff! Someday I hope to fulfill the dream of owning and using a whole bolt.

  15. I thought canvas and duckcloth were the same thing. Is there a difference?

    Hmm, dream bolt? Can't decide but I do like your list as a beginning.

    As for what I've actually bought -- tulle! A whole bolt! (Or was it TWO?!?) I got it super cheap during "employees gets a crazy-huge % off for one weekend" sale when I worked at a store and it sure came in handy during my time as a wedding coordinator. But when I was done with that, I still had some left over.

    It collected dust for years. And then I had three girls... : )

  16. Karin: your guess is as good as mine. In Singapore we called anything like it "canvas". Then here I discovered the undyed stiff thingy is labeled on the bolt as "natural outdoor canvas" and the colored, slightly-softer (probably cos of the dye) is labeled on the bolt as "duckcloth". Whoosh. I finally resolved within myself to call the thicker, stiffer, natural colored version canvas and the softer, colorful and more refined-weave version "duck" or "cotton duck". According to Amy Butler (see link below), they are different, but it's all about the cost. Who knew?



  17. i'd love to have several bolts of brocade - its so B-eautiful! and a bolt of faux-fur would be marvelous as well (think costumes!). love your blog!

  18. So, less about bolts of fabric (muslin, cotton duck,something wool and really good faux fur for me) and more about your choice of words:

    You said that the cutting counter people are your arch nemeses. Without getting geek all over your blog, in the comic world, those are often the most interesting stories.

    If my asking doesn't constitute prying, exactly how did the cutting counter people become your arch nemeses and how do you feel about capes?

  19. Chris: 2 reasons:
    1 They always ask me what I am making. There is no right answer to a question like that.

    2 They very seldom seem to know how much fabric to buy for a particular project. Especially clothes. They inevitably stop, walk over to the commercial pattern section, search for a garment pattern similar to what I asked about (e.g. child's bathrobe) and make me pore over the charts on the back with then, while holding up the other people behind me in line, and then finally reading off some random number. I no longer ask them this question now, of course! Especially when the three kids are with me. In other places where I have bought fabric, the cutting staff size me up (literally) and promptly answer, "two and a half yards. Buy three since this fabric has a directional pattern. Are you including a waistband? Then better buy a quarter yard more." Now thaaaaat's more like it.

  20. Ive been hoarding every tiny little scrap of a piece of Japanese linen. So beautiful but soooo expensive. That would have to be a dream bolt for me!


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