Sew Obsessed: An Addiction to Fabric

The moment I walked through the front door, arriving home from my sewing class, I saw it. There was no mistaking it, and I immediately felt the flush of anxiety rush up from my stomach and swallow my head in a fiery gulp.

On the side of the box, in bright blue and hideously large letters, its origin was declared.

"You got another box from Fabric.com," my husband said from the couch without looking up from his book.

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Fabricated

I nodded and fake-smiled, trying very hard not to betray my panic and remain as calm as possible.

It is essential at this juncture that I point out that boxes typically don't terrify me. I've been known to answer the door for a UPS man (who clearly drew the short straw when assigned my route) wearing camel-toe yoga pants and a "Workin' for the Weekend" headband because I was so excited to open the door and claim my prize. What does scare me are boxes with things inside that I don't remember buying, especially since I could clearly see just slightly past my husband's head to the four-foot pile of totes and boxes, all containing fabric, in Hoarder Corner.

I was justly horrified by the box. How could I be so far gone in my fabric obsession that a purchase had gotten lost in the mix to the point that I didn't even remember the delight of buying it? A hobby is only as good as its accessories, and sewing barely has any competition in that area.

After all, the reason I have so much fabric is because I love it. I'm not proud of it, but I will admit to making monkey sounds and flapping my arms like a heron when I encountered a particular brown-and-red-pinstriped wool for $35 a yard (a yard, by the way, is not enough to make anything for a person with an ass my size). I cooed as if it were the baby I gave up in order to go to college instead of going on food stamps. It was ridiculous and deteriorated from there when I bought as much of it as I could afford (a yard).

So when you take someone who loves something so much that her inappropriate emotional response to it nearly causes her to levitate, and then tell her she can make a dress out of it, the game is over. By the time I brought the pinstriped fabric home, both sides of the armoire and former DVD cabinet were full of wool, faille, crepe, challis, and silks. I had one box of patterns. Then two. Then three. I went to Costco on a cheese and wine mission one day but came home with totes for "storage." Boastful, foolish girls in my sewing class bragged about how they were making a dress out of a sheet they got at Goodwill for three bucks, but I had Vera Wang faille I scored on Fabric.com for $3.99 a yard plus a 30 percent off coupon code — eight yards of it (for two dresses, neither of which made me look like a sister wife who had spent three bucks on a dirty sheet from Goodwill when I put them on).

And then Fabric.com had the entire Ralph Lauren fabric selection on sale, and the totes filled up at the end of my bed. Herringbone. Taffeta. Plaid suiting. And on one lucky score, cashmere. One day, the UPS driver handed me several Minuteman missile-size objects as he averted his eyes. Bolts of Vera Wang satin. Buck-ninety-nine a yard. That's like putting cocaine on sale. Of course I was going to buy two 20-yard bolts! I'd be insane not to.

If that wasn't bad enough, I rediscovered SAS, a fabric remnant store largely exclusive to metropolitan Phoenix, and the glories contained within (despite the brusque, gruff Eastern Bloc women who work there and who, I suspect, have been kinder in cutting the throats of goats than in answering a question). While digging through the piles of fabric for $2.99 a pound (That's right: a pound. Cocaine for $2.99 a pound. Pablo Escobar never got it so cheap, and cocaine doesn't drape as nicely as a good dupioni does), I actually found a piece of fabric I had returned to Fabric.com two months earlier, the sticker still on it.

On one particularly fruitful trip, I bought so much cotton velvet, plaid wool, and high-end rayon ($1.99 a pound! That's cheaper than old ham from Albertson's!) I had to drag the bag to the car and wrestle to get it into the front seat as though it were a $32 corpse with great nap. I put the contents in the first tote that broke ground on Hoarder's Corner and began to spend so much time at SAS that on one memorable occasion, a woman who looked like she had lived through more wars than anyone else let me use her hand sanitizer. She cracked an almost-smile when I made a joke about the trim section's being a bigger mess than the country formerly known as Czechoslovakia was in 1992.

Hoarder's Corner grew to multiple levels, the penthouse being an enormous Fabric.com box, big enough that I debated adding a pillow to it and using it as napping box. But even when the corner began to crown above the couch with boxes and bags of fabric, reaching proportions that caused my husband to ask whether I was planning on moving somewhere, I wasn't that alarmed. It was just messy, I told myself, a problem that could be easily remedied when I cleaned out a "little shelf in my closet" to relocate the 25-cubic-foot fabric monument.

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4 comments
BimboKay
BimboKay

Heather...Phoenix area homes don't have basements, but usually the smallest home has a back yard big enough for a TuffShed or two...or more! (Kay in Tempe)

heather
heather

ha ha! You are so right about the sales clerks at SAS.

Fabric hoarding wouldn't be such a problem if Phoenicians built homes with basements....imagine the beautiful shelved possibilities!

BimboKay
BimboKay

Boy do I relate...especially to the packages (any packages from any company). They arrive and I wonder what-the-hell..... Happened moments ago while reading this article. Two boxes arrived from Amazon, one medium and one large. I had to look on their website to see what it was: 24 five-oz bags of coffee candy. Big Lots! continually runs out of this yummy candy and I found it for LESS on Amazon! I love every word Laurie Notaro writes!!

 
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