I just got back from reading a post on Pattern Review about Wal-Mart scaling back fabric departments and Hancock’s Chapter 11 filing (I know, this is not news from either company and the sewing forums have been buzzing about this for months.)
It’s fascinating to see that while interest in sewing is increasing, the traditional retail outlets for patterns and fabrics are decreasing. What does this mean? Is this really a result of retailers either speaking only to shareholders (Wal-Mart), or being unable to manage their business(Hancocks)?
Personally - I think the internet has a lot to do with it. Most of my favorite fabric stores are now virtual and internet based, and the best internet fabric sources work because of the expertise, trust and personality the owners communicate to their customers. And I suspect that as soon as pattern companies figure out how to deliver downloadable patterns in a way that won’t require me to tape together 48 sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch paper we might see where retail pattern trends are headed.
In the end I really believe that access to fabric and patterns is not going away – we’re just in the midst of a sewing revolution right now, and the future state is still out there.
I think this is an exciting time to be sewing!