As you know, Bob, my big indulgence financially is buying the fabric and notions for & paying dressmakers to sew clothing. I only have a a few patterns--4 dresses, 5 tops/shirts, 1 skirt, 1 trousers, 3 jackets (1 shirt also works over 1 of the tops)--because the dressmaker who is so great at adjusting patterns moved away after those were done. However, it's plenty, because the fabrics are so various.
Generally they are novelty fabrics for quilting: the only downside is they have to be ironed, but they have the designs I love. I have acquired mighty skillz in shopping for fabric and notions--eBay, Etsy, and online in general. (The best search engine is http://www.quiltshops.com/, much better than the others.) I occasionally get fabric at Spoonflower online, but it is very expensive, so I ask for it as a holiday gift.
My original goal was a few personal themes: celestial, esp. suns/moon/stars with faces; rodents (all but two fabrics and one kind of buttons were "mice" rather than "rats," but we know!); book and/or writing related; fairy tales and nursery rhymes, esp. the cow jumping over the moon; cows; Alice in Wonderland (surprisingly popular but, suddenly a couple of years ago, astonishingly expensive in eBay and Etsy, hadly available elsewhere).
I did do one dress for the International conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, but then came prep for DetCon1, and I really got into science-fiction designed fabric. Then DetCon1 got me really excited about con clothing, and, well, now I have enough projects for me to wear a new dress each day to four conventions a year (a generous estimate, given that my work is heaviest on weekends) for five or six years. I class them generally as horror, science fiction, fantasy, and comics. The ICFA just started a Fairy Tale interest group, so I'll wear some of that clothing that I had made anyway.
That's background. The main point of this entry is that I am amused by what I find in fabrics in each category.
SF fabrics are pretty good and readily available. Only one is SF per se, a UK-distributed collage of sf movie posters that I finally tracked down at a reasonable price. But lots of depictions of stars and planets, often with rockets and/or flying-saucer shaped craft. Perhaps because these are often classed as fabrics "for boys," if the faces of the spacemen are given, they are often actually space kids, which I just don't incline to; but usually no figures are depicted at all, or you get a spacesuit with a blank faceplate. Robots are also moderately common, inclining towards cute but not predominantly and/or not badly so. The main design that is almost always too cute for me is the aliens; many fabrics out there, but over 3/4 cute, goofy, or both. I wish there were more just futuristic scenes not in space, but there's so much in space that I'm not dissatisfied. And I just got a great circuit-board design that strikes me as very stfnal but not space. I've only been able to find one sf print with rockets and atoms, but it's great and I had it made into a comfy fleece coat.
Horror is abundant, partly because Halloween is a big theme in fabric. I love to look through the Halloween fabrics and find those that don't look too Halloweeny: no pumpkins, purple or green background instead of orange, no words like "Halloween" or "trick-or-treat." Some fabrics are not designed for Halloween, although they may also be marketed that way, especially having to do with moster movies, and there is a small line of fabrics based on The Walking Dead comics (a twofer for me!). Altogether, I have fabrics with ghosts, haunted houses, witches, zombies, vampires, motifs including rats, references to Poe, movie monster, generic hairy monsters, scary bare trees, ravens (with or without the Poe), headstones, skulls, magical potions, creepy disembodied eyes, spiders, and I'm sure some I've forgotten. Some of these also come in cute versions--especially the generic hairy monsters--but I can avoid them. I have not yet been able to find a Grim Reaper fabric I like--and I have searched and searched!--and the closest to Lovecraftian is a tentacle coming out of a cauldron in one fabric. Still!
Fantasy should be at least as diverse as horror, right? But it's not. Most of it falls into a few categories: fairies ("elves" are only Christmas elves and "gnomes" are virtually all garden gnomes), dragons, unicorns, and wizards. And all except for the last are rife with the cutesy! Finding unicorns that are not pink and/or rainbow sparkly is tough, although it can be done. Why not manticores, fire salamanders, nixies, valkyries-- The only Classical myth fabrics are the constellations! I have found fabrics with unicorns and flying horses, but it is too bold to make good clothing, imho; I've seen mermaid and Loch Ness monster fabric occasionally, but too cutesy. The most variety ever is in a fabric line including this, that same design on cream instead of black, and this--from which I'm getting made trousers, a skirt, two tops, and a kimono-style jacket. There is of course Alice in Wonderland, and a recent line did 1001 Nights.
Comics are mostly superhero-type, but I'm also getting Rocky & Bullwinkle, Peanuts (I got Snoopy-shaped buttons), and one romance-comic design and one of romance-comic panels with dysfunctional word balloons. Last year I wore a dress of Batman fabric, all moody monochrome except for the yellow of the insignia, that I am proud to say a friend deemed :badass." Next year will probably be an incredibly garish "girl power" fabric with Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman. I also have some fabric on the way that is weirdly Kirbyesque mythic/superhero/Eternals without being actually Kirby or any recognizable characters.
So, yeah, set for a few years of conventions.
Status: just as glad my yoga teacher cancelled so I can write this & still garden for hours