I first mentioned tracking my fabric usage formally on a V&S post a few months ago. Peg recently asked about it, so I thought I would write more about it.
First, if you are a beginner, stop reading and go sew. You are too young a quiltmaker to be worrying about fabric usage.
Second, if you are prone to anxiety, stop reading. Fabric usage is not something you need to add to your list of anxieties. Go sew and enjoy your quiltmaking.
Everyone else may continue reading with the understanding that this tracking system is not to judge, but to understand how much fabric my projects actually take and my fabric usage over the course of a year.
I have been tracking my fabric usage since 2015. I did it all last year as well. Having more of a handle on how to use the spreadsheet helped me to understand what fabrics I was using and how much. I made much better choices about fabric purchases and continue to do so. I am not perfect, but getting better and fabric is so yummy that sometimes it is hard to resist. 😉
I use a spreadsheet that I originally got from Pam of Hip to Be a Square podcast. I have modified to suit my needs. Pam has a blank copy of her fabric usage spreadsheet available on a post from a few years back. It is a good way to start tracking your usage as long as there is no guilt involved. Cheryl, a BAMer, wrote a great post about her spreadsheet for the BAM blog. She talks about her theories around it, why she does it and how she does it.
While there is no shortage of fabric at my house, this spreadsheet is not intended to keep me from buying fabric. That would be a effort in futility and acknowledging that fact feels like a victory. I started so I would know how much fabric I am using per year as well as how much I am adding to my collection. I have a good idea of how many different fabrics I purchase in a year based on the Fabric of the Year quilts, but quantities were always a mystery.
Knowing that I used:
2015: 107.16 yards
2016: 181.34 yards
2017: 62.48 (YTD)
There is no adjustment for how much fabric I have purchased and that changes the numbers a lot. The numbers above are gross, not net. I have to say that knowing how much fabric I used in 2015 spurred me on to sew more in 2016. Using a 100 yards is not out of the realm of possibility and if I made goals like that, that would be my goal. Less than halfway through the year, I am already well on my way.
I find the statistics interesting, but I don’t think you should track your fabric usage unless there is no guilt involved.