Almost 31 years ago I managed a fashion fabric store in Peoria, Illinois. This is one of three I had worked in selling fabric over the course of 18 years. I was called by the local TV station to do an interview on air of the interest in sewing that was going on at the time.
The town had about 6 fabric stores and the surrounding towns had a couple of quilt shops. Not something that was that popular at the time. Then the name of calico was what they called cotton fabric for quilting. Back then the variety was mostly solids and small viney prints in either crayon colors or pastels.
We had a group that did quilting mostly by hand that would visit the store as a group and they had jewelers eye pieces to count the threads in the fabric to see if it was worthy of having it cut for them. I was fascinated that people were that vain over the types of fabrics they would purchase. I never saw any finished items they made. They wanted the fabric to be torn and not cut and then if it was printed off grain they wouldn't accept it. I guess I am fussy about this also.
In this TV interview the reporter asked if sewing interest was on the rise. We had a large amount of avid sewers in the store that were repeat customers. Most was around garment sewing and some deco sewing, Quilting was considered a grandma project at the time.
I have looked at several profiles of quilters in the blog and so many are in their 20's and 30's. I am pleased to see that the art of creative sewing is alive and well. More people make craft or quilts as their main interest. The garment sewer doesn't surface as much. With clothing so cheap in the big box stores and the lives of many families are so busy sewing is not a priority.
If you get a chance to observe with out stalking a potential customer in a quilt shop or your local fabric store see what they steer themselves towards. Color, texture and quality is the first to emerge. Price and the amount they need all play into the next phase of their purchase. Everyones' taste in design and color and quality are different.
One thing I like is plaids. Others like florals and some like mottles or jewel textures. This is how the same pattern can look so much different with every ones tastes being so different. Chris