Thursday, 6 October 2011

Ugly Fabric: shameful fabrics out of the box

Yesterday in this post I blogged about how our tastes are all different. I should probably clear up I was in no way offended by people not liking the fabrics I'd pulled in the scrappy swap. It's far better people are honest than end up with fabric they hate and maybe worse still they don't want to use in anything they make.

Now I've tended to view fabrics that people might call 'Ugly' as a challenge.  I've long tried to live by the ethos that no fabric is truly ugly. Projects can be ugly because of the fabric choices. But the right project for the right fabric and bingo - a match made in fabric heaven.  If you'd have asked me a few days ago to show you my ugliest fabric I own I'd have pulled this one:


I bought this back in the days when I used to make quilted cards and I wanted some fabric suitable for Easter and this was one of the options I came up with. I never liked the fabric if I'm honest. But unlike today when I can shop online at any number of stores both here and in the US, the time this was bought the options were limited to me. Not even sure the Internet was an option and bricks and mortar sewing/fabric shops were already becoming scarce.

But after the comments about those teddies, cats and butterflies.  I've realised I probably have more ugly fabrics - fabrics that just sit amongst the others rarely being used. Bought in a era where lack of choice was a big influence and the fickle fashions for fabric has changed most of our minds on what we call ugly.


Ok, so hands up who doesn't think this is ugly?  I'm betting there isn't one single hand raised right now.  In a different colour it might be infinitely more usable. In dark green, burgundy with a hint of beige it's pretty drab.

Talking of drab: Also bought for cards suitable for small boys was this:


I just hope now it didn't scare any small children. Mind I'm not always convinced the options for boys fabrics has got that much better in the intervening years. Because I'm mean I'm going to show you those teddies again - up close and personal. Again bought for card making.  Now you mention it they do look kind of creepy!


You won't however convince me these butterflies are ugly. I actually like them and I will not apologise for that.  I even put some on my reversible camo bag you can often see me using in pictures.


But at least if you all think they're ugly I won't have to share ;-)

So what fabrics do you have stashed that are so ugly you don't like them to see the light of day. You know those fabrics you just wish would go away and you'd never wasted your pennies on?


  1. I'm going to have to have a look through my stash and pick out the uglies as I can't think of any off the top of my head!

  2. Love this post. Gave me a chuckle, because, yes, I have some uglies. The kind that leave me shaking my head in wonder that I could ever have spent money on them.

  3. I have the whole matching range of that butterfly fabric! The little sprig looks cool for Christmas :-) I still have plenty of ugly fabrics lurking on my shelves too. this post made me chuckle :-)

  4. Oh, I have ugly. We all do! Apparently you can see many of mine in the Scrappy Swap photos, but that's OK :) We all do - and they may be great for a specific project, but for nothing after. I like your butterflies too. Don't back down there.

  5. One fabric that I think I still have that's not a favorite, was given to me as a lark. It's a light green/minty-ish background with corn on the cobs on it! :D
    I was going to make some boxers for a friend with it, but never did... :D

  6. Batiks - I'm sorry I hate them - I have sarongs bought from street sellers in Bali which are beautiful, but a job lot of fabric I bought to make something for the kids languishes, as I can't bare it!

  7. I'm with Hadley, I really don't like batiks! Isn't it funny (but great) how fabrics have changed over the years

  8. I don't have much in the way of truly ugly fabric any more. I gave it all away to blog people who saw hope for it where I could see none. Worked a wonder for creating space in my stash and nice to see them create something with it when I knew I never would.

  9. Great post- balances out the "favourites" post I did recently! I don't mind the second one- as a filler/background I think I could work with it- there are those who do Civil War reproductions who might make use of it!!! I have to agree though that the choice in fabrics years ago was minimal compared to today! I'm sure that's one reason why I sewing more than ever!

  10. *sheepish hand in the air* I like those wee sprigs! They're quite sweet in a Granny-ish kinda way. But, yes, I have a few howlers. Not too many since I'm a child of the internet and modern quilting age! But they're there alright!

  11. Being pretty new in the fabric world, I haven't got any shockers... yet! Scrapbooking supplies, now that's a whole other barrel of worms ;o)

    The butterflies actually look better now, they just looked so gloomy in that pile - was probably the teddy bears wot did it ;o)

  12. Great post Jan - working in our local fabric shop we have increased our stock of cottons in the last few years but we are going off the more traditional lines. Batiks are definitely not popular, I think they are difficult to use, tricky to mix with non batiks.It's a great big fashion led industry and we are all being happily swept along.
    Quite like the wee sprig too (for Christmas)and I will def have some ugly stuff hidden away.

  13. I only have one piece of fabric that I truly think is ugly - but I won it in a giveaway from Pat - who disappeared from blogland and I suspect either had serious health issues or old age issues. So it is special for that reason. Other fabrics may be "outdated", like some of those you show above, but that doesn't make them ugly.

  14. I'm going to be the one and only person in the universe who will admit to liking batik. BUT I'm very choosy about which batiks I like. They have to look more like a traditional batik and only one colour, not multi colored. I use them sparingly. I have some pretty ugly fabrics in my scraps. Mainly from years ago when there was very little choice.

  15. hehehe ahhh the uglies - I'm sure we all have some in our stash! Even me and I've only been quilting/sewing for 18 or so months...
    I did have a clear out a few months ago and rehome quite a number of mine. Felt fantastic and sure cleared up some room for some new stuff! :)
    If you want a chuckle you can check out my ugliest...

    I still have it. It's destined for Susan's Christmas present bahahaha

  16. I actually really like the little floral one, so my hand is up LOL... and I think the butterflies are sensational :)


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