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  • sabrinakampe sabrinakampe Feb 7, 2004 8:57 AM Flag

    fabrics in a fabric store?

    Hi! It's me, sabrinakampe. Some of you have been reading the JAS boards and are familiar with my ranting about the lack of fabric.
    I have worn out my welcome on the JAS boards, sorry to say. I never intended to get shrill. Some got the idea that I was upset becasue of the lack of rare or expensive fabrics in the store. It is just the lack of ordinary fabrics that I am bemoaning.
    I have posted here on this board before about he same lack of fabrics at Hancocks. I generally prefer the Hancocks store to Joanns because they stil have more fabric.
    I was really disappointed to get this costly flier in the mail promoting the new trend towards furniture at Hancocks. I have seen some of the "furniture" at my local Hancocks.
    It is not quality merchandise. Hancocks is the last place that I would go to buy furniture.
    Joanns is trying to sell craftsy and quilting things and Hancocks is selling furniture!
    IMHO, both of these merchants are on a road away from sewing.
    I have done home furnishings as a business. I had a workroom with a 4' x 8' table. You really need a large area to lay out large things like curtains and bed coverings. Most people don't have space the in which to do these things very easily. I cannot imagine a lot of people wanting to do these large things.
    Oftentimes, the amount of fabric needed to cover two windows or a large bed, involves buying so much fabric that it is easier and cheaper to just go to Bed and Bath and buy it ready made.
    The ready made market has improved greatly in the past few years, along with the more relaxed and less formal styles that have become popular. I am amazed at the price at which a pair of window panels can be sold as opposed to the expense of buying the fabric to make them!
    As I have said on the Joanns site, the sewers are flocking away from the fabric chains. Both of these retail entities have lost the serious sewing market. Unless they bring back the fabric, the sewers will not come back.
    Just go to any sewing list and you will hear the rumblings.
    For those of you who read both boards, you may have seen where I mentioned that todays postings on one of my sewing lists was full of recommendations about where to buy fabrics online. No one suggested going to either Hancocks or Joanns. That has to tell you something.
    A while back someone mentioned the assorment of Christmas fabrics that was being touted. I was in the store last Christmas looking for something nice to make a nice red dress and some nice holiday pillows. I found nothing!
    The Christmas prints were all silly snowmen and angels! The dress fabrics were all unsuitable for a winter dress, mostly polyester.
    I see that someone posted negativly about the Halloween prints last fall. The Christmas assortment deserves the same criticism.
    A few years back they had some very nice Christmas prints, some more sophisticated ones. I bought and made some nice pillows then.
    On the JOanns site I have been compared to an old woman who wants to make polyester pants and someone who is upset because Walmart does not sell buggy whips anymore. I am neither of these. I have been sewing for over fourty years. I have sewn since I was about ten years old.
    America has had a great tradition of women who sew for thier homes and for their families. I guess the dominate thinking is that it has gone down the tubes along with home cooking and raising ones own children.

    However, the independent pattern companies are giving the big three a run for the money. There are still people who sew. They are buying online, both independent patterns and yardage. They have taken all of their business to cyberspace, but not to Hancocks or Joanns.

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    • You may have answered your own question.

      It is possible that the people running Hancock and Joanns are sensing the shifting demographics and moving into other lines of merchandise that will be profitable in the future. I don't have any clue as to whether or not they are right.

    • I visited my local Hancocks this morning (smaller one which seems to have more home deco stuff than clothing and craft fabrics) and found they had done a very nice job of clearing all their holiday stuff out, and the store looked very inviting.

      I took a closer look at the furniture side and I have to say I disagree with you about the quality. I think it is very good! Except for the beds they are generally more accent pieces than what I'd call *furniture*, so being decorative by nature. The lamp selection is quite large and other deco items are of unique design and not to be found just anywhere. And the Waverly collection of course is of very high quality. This concept doesn't seem to be for those who just like to go out *shopping for furniture*, it's obviously for the real home decorator. I talked to the saleswoman and she told me most of the customers are working together with a decorator, not actually making all these heavy draperies and bedspreads and things by themselves!

      So while I'd like to see more clothing fabrics myself, I'm thinking there is a lot of potential on the home deco end here, but people in general have to start feeling better about spending money again. Once they do though it's cha-ching time for Hancocks since there is MUCHO fabric in draperies and bedspreads!

    • I would like to see more fabrics too.
      The good fabric selections seem to have gone away in both Joanns and Hancock's by the mid-90s in my perception.

      There are several Hancock's in my metro area, and one DOES have a decent selection. It is quite heavy on ethnic type fabrics such as the african prints and India cottons, which seem to sell very well. This store always seems to be lively and busy when I go, so this is the one I mainly frequent even though the drive is farther.

      The other stores are smaller and packed more with the home deco merchandise, but don't seem to be as busy. I always thought it was just the economy and people aren't buying these things right now.

      I prefer to work with the natural fabrics, linen, wool, cotton, and lately, the rayon/cotton blends since the colors are so rich and it drapes nicely. But I've been hard pressed to find salespeople who are familiar with the rayon so I had to learn to work with it myself. I have also made vests with the lighter upholstery fabrics and it works very well. I will work with polyester too as long as it's not the double knit type!

      I don't see myself ever buying fabrics off the internet since I have to feel the textures and see the colors. I am only one person though. Just some thoughts.

      I don't think they did an especially good job of merchandising the holiday fabrics, but it was there. I found some stunning holiday golds and reds in the bridal/formal wear section but they weren't brought to the front as if the managers didn't see that they could be used for angel skirts, tree skirts, table runners etc. One store finally got the idea a few days before Christmas but of course by then it's a little late!

      • 1 Reply to triscekara
      • It is my memory that the selection began to sink fast in the mid 90's, also. It is almost of no use to try to shop at either store, anymore. I have just about all but given up on sewing. The independents are just about all gone.
        If you are lucky to find a nice independent store, they are so rare that the prices are high on what used to be oridnary, everyday fabrics.
        But, the people who pay attention to the stock keep talking about having good sales figures. What gives? I can guarantee you that they are not selling good fabrics. I guess they sold a lot of that polar fleece. It was stacked in small mountains in the store. Polar fleece is alright but it is limited in use. It is almost the "craft fabric" of apparel fabric. It is easy to work with, doesn't ravel, can be cut without finishing, etc. A lot of polar fleece things fall into the crafty zone.

    • I appreciated your comments and take them seriously. Of course, the stock has been doing relatively well, for reasons I don't understand.

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