My first quilt guild sale two years ago was a bonanza. My second (last year), it was about three weeks after giving birth and the first significant time out of the house by myself. It was pouring rain, I was still delerious, so my memories of it are weird but good. No fabric, but I did get a serger. I looked all over for the lady who sold the fabric the year before, but couldn’t find her.
She was there this year, but only selling pre-cut feedsack squares for fair, un-bargain prices. Overall I didn’t find any fabric at the sale that I couldn’t live without. But I did score these books, all three about fabric terminology and technical aspects of fabric.
These two books are still in print, though they are both currently “out of stock” at Amazon (but available used from other sellers, or directly from the publisher). The third in the series is All About Wool … even though the books are an investment, I think it’s definitely worthwhile for any sewist or textile designer. I got the cotton and silk volumes for a song, so I can justify the wool book, right?!
These books provide a general overview of the fabrics’ production (from plant/worm/sheep to printing and finishing), history, and shopping and care information. Then there is a two-page spread devoted to each subtype of the fabric with more specific information, sub-sub-types you might come across, and then a checklist with difficulty rating, suggested fit and styles, what to expect when sewing, cost per yard, wearability, suggested care, and where you can find it. Most importantly, there is an actual swatch of every fabric type, so you can touch it, examine the weave or knit up-close, see its opacity, and so on.
See example pages on the Rain City Publishing site.
This book is an in-depth treatment of quilting cotton. It covers some of the same technical fabric production territory as All About Cotton but with more depth and photography of production steps. It also covers batting and thread.
I will absolutely be synthesizing what I learn from these books and reporting back to you here. I’m so happy to now know the difference between cotton poplin, broadcloth, and twill.