Saturday, April 25, 2009

Stash reveal and a fabric diet

I'm sure you have or know of people with large stashes of fabric. My mother had wall-to-wall shelves of fabric in the master bedroom of our house growing up. (They slept in the study.) But I have always been somewhat of a minimalist. That is until the past 6 to 8 months when I have been on a fabric buying frenzy. I try to justify the purchases by telling myself I'm getting a really good deal. And I usually always think about the fabric first and what pattern it would look good in so I don't buy too much or too little. However, I am now starting to panic. I feel I must get a certain amount of garments made monthly so I can reduce the stash. If something goes wrong or I have trouble with the fit and it takes longer than I think it should, I am super frustrated. And that is draining the fun out of my much loved hobby.

As a result, I have decided to put myself on a fabric diet. This is more of a dare to myself to see how long I can go without buying any more. If I tell myself I absolutely cannot buy another cut I will rebel against my own rule because that is my nature. I started this around the middle of this month. Let's see how long I can keep it up.

Would you like to see said stash? These pictures are taken in our spare/guest bedroom and closet. Don't judge the mess.

These first three (deep) drawers are filled with spring and early summer planned garments:

These next somewhat shallower but wider three drawers are filled with summer:

Here is fall piled on the floor because I'm out of drawer space:

Winter piled on a spare chair. I have no place to put these either. What I need are some plastic storage bins.

And although it doesn't happen very often, here is the stash of fabrics that I don't know what I'm making out of:

Anyone else stock up on notions when they are 50% off?

Not to mention the garments already made up that I have issues with and need some attention. Or a total over-haul. I'm guessing I have at least 2 years worth of sewing to do on this pile.


  1. You've got plans for most of your fabric - that's impressive!

  2. I love seeing pics of other people's fabric. It all looks very organized. I hope your "diet" helps reduce your frustration. Good luck!

  3. As the previous responder said, it's impressive that you have patterns matched with fabric. I tried that once,and failed misrably.

    If you feel overwhelmed, have you considered giving away a few pieces? My stash is out of control, and I would have to give away a few hundred yards to make a dent, so there's no hope for me. There is still hope for you! Join a 12

  4. Amanda! I LOVE SEEING FABRIC CLUTTER WITH YOU! :) I know... sounds silly but I'm such a crafty collector of projects I want to do and it's nice to know someone as polished as you has a stash.

    NOW THAT I GOT THAT OUT OF MY SYSTEM! Looks like you need to stop trying to justify it and start ENJOYING IT! This is your thing - there is no pressure... sure, a diet is good as you should use what you have and save your pennies in the meantime. But Amanda, here's the deal... get ready for some validation... :) Girl, you are a seamstress - and a MIGHTY good one!! This isn't just playtime for you - this is a hobby in the area of your GIFTING. You're the kind of woman who could design her own clothing line one day (and have seamstresses working FOR you). I wouldn't put it past you to still live out that dream after your little ones are grown.

    Now, I am butting my nose in your business but you put your stash out there so I'm going for it. :) Hee hee... I think you need to give into the dream, dive headfirst into it, and make your spare room a sewing studio. Now if you NEED it for guests who come over, they could sleep in there... but they'd be using your studio - not you using their guest room.

    I already have ideas because I saw a home show on this very subject - a sewing studio. They put empty frames without the glass on the wall - I think 3 large ones on one wall. Then a hook in the middle of each one. On that hook they hung whatever current project inspired them - something they were working on or a piece of clothing hanging on a hanger to display their work.... could be a simple piece of fabric hanging or a pattern image pinned up. (could even put foam board or cork in the frame with a fabric covering it. That way they could have it where they could see it but it looked artsy because of the frame.

    ok... you might not want anything like this but i'll tell you about it anyway cause i'm inspired. :)

    you could put some kind of clear plexiglass squares on the wall - like an office door pocket - and slip in the patterns you want to do next (as a display - not storage - something artsy like the frame idea) - you could even build some sort of fold up table over the bed (if you have a guest bed in there) - one wall of shelves with storage boxes neatly labeled for your upcoming stash.

    i told you i'm sticking my nose in your business - ha! :) only you know what that room really needs to be but i just would love to see you have a room that you could TRULY enjoy as a studio without the pressure of having to justify what's there just because it's not orderly. (i know - my nose in your business - i just had a whim of inspiration when i saw your pictures and couldn't help myself.)

    oh - if you DO want ideas there is a website called - they have a category that is called something like studio highlights or workspaces or something... they have photos of various crafters/jewelry-makers/seamstress workspaces. pretty inspirting. look for the category in their sidebar.

    girl - i LOVE your work and i love your stash... i think it's so cool that you have found your niche in what gives you joy and that you are sharing it here with us. you amaze us all with your style and skill. WELL DONE!

  5. Thanks for the peek into your stash. I did a similar type organization a few years back - patterns with cloth. In the end it didn't work for me. A new pattern/cloth combo would find its way into the stash and an old combo would be forgotten. Then there was the hunting for the pattern when I found an even more perfect fabric to go with it and I mean a hunt. Then when I looked at these combos I felt such guilt because I truly knew I would never get to them all as I was working more than full time at the time. I do like the way you have them separated seasonally. What works for me now is to separate by type and then color. I have them all folded according to that internet method that has been floating around so they pretty much match in size. If I want heirloom fabrics I can go right to all of them, etc. Just a few hints. I also agree that a seamstress of your quality surely deserves her own space with maybe a futon or such for the occasional guest. Heido Jo has some great decorating hints.

  6. How did you sneak into my sewing room and photograph my notions drawer??? Like Bunny said, it never fails that when I can't find a pattern, it's stowed with a what I thought was a perfect fabric (but I found a more perfect one!). Good luck, and don't forget to HAVE FUN! Hobbies are to be enjoyed!!!

  7. Oh Amanda, as somebody commented already before me, ENJOY your hobby - you MUSN'T sew a certain amount. The only thing you must is ENJOY it. It all becomes so frustrating, when pressure has its hand in it, from whatever corner it comes.
    Regarding the stash: well, two years ago I gave up almost all of my stash..... just to find myself with the same amount and even more now.... reminds me of yo-yo dieting :-)
    I 'diet' as well, but if I really see a piece I can't pass by - I'll take it with me.

  8. I understand you panic so I say good luck but also don't go too crazy. You don't want it to be a case of feast or famine either.

    Good Luck!

  9. Thanks for letting us see your stash. I usually have plans when I buy fabric, but the only time I really have to sew is on the weekends, so my planned outfits pile up more quickly that I get them done.

  10. I like the way you have your work planned out. You do great work.

  11. I just don't see a problem with buying fabric. People spend their money differently. Whatever makes a person happy is what they should do. LIfe is short. Have fun.

  12. Amanda, I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now. You are one organized and productive young woman. Thanks for the pictures of your stash. It makes me feel better to know others suffer similar addictions. I applaud you for having a focus for each fabric. Mine just lie in wait for me to decide to choose them!

  13. well - the ladies have said it all - ENJOY! when a hobby stops being fun for me i regroup... it's either disorganization, too many projects for other people and less for me to enjoy (you've been good about that one!), a messy house... or something... for me, too many 'things' for my collection of 'to do's' makes it less enjoyable because i feel like i have to finish all those things... and i instantly feel like a failure to see all i've NOT done.

    but if i look at your stash like a collection that doesn't HAVE to be finished or doesn't HAVE to be a certain project - but is more like part of my creative reservoir to pull from, then sometimes it is less overwhelming.

    you like to be a finisher so i can see why the stash of fabric with assigned patterns would feel overwhelming. i do get that... so whatever it takes to ENJOY it, do that. right? :)

  14. Hi Amanda,
    Wow, looks like my drawers in the guest room are all filled up now. I guess I will have to put my clothes in paper bags when I come to visit! :o)
    I had to comment on this....especially since you brought me into it. I've just always loved fabric and could never pass up a sale. A stash always starts small you know...and then it grows....and grows. But it's far from the worst habit you can have.
    I haven't been sewing in a while because of other interests and lack of room. But I do miss it and hope to get back to it soon.
    To be fair, I did run a sewing and craft business out of our home for 12+ years and needed room to work and store all my supplies. So acquiring all those things wasn't just for a personal hobby.
    Of course, it did give me a good excuse to haunt the fabric stores, and since I sewed for myself and my 2 daughters as well....anyway, it did accumulate. I guess my problem too was that I always loved the planning and designing of the projects more than the following through, though I do love to sew too.
    Well, I'm pretty proud of my talented daughter and all she has accomplished...always knew she would need to do something to express her many creative abilities. Actually I have two very creative and talented daughters...lucky me!!
    Love, Mom
    P.S. Why don't you take pictures of your shoe collection too? :o))

  15. My mother had wall-to-wall shelves of fabric in the master bedroom of our house growing up. (They slept in the study.)
    This is hilarious.

    Good luck making peace with your stash. Since the fabric/notions/patterns are not going anywhere soon, try to love them as they are rather than feeling like you have to make them into something else within a certain time frame.

  16. I'm just like you, just wish I had more storing space and more time to sew everything that I have planned out!

  17. I so understand your situation. But will say you are more organized than I am. Like Heidi Jo said dive into your dream and turn your guest room in to a bona fide sewing room. I did and don't regret it one Initially, I kept a bed in there for guests, but once I realized I needed the space the bed was taking up, I dumped that and bought a comfy chaise and was able to squeeze in more fabric.

  18. Sleeping in the study??? was never a study, but always a fourth bedroom from the time we moved in! Don't know if you remember, but one of the main reasons we bought the house is so that I could use the larger bedroom as a workroom for my business. We had no need for a study.

    Amanda, I would love for you to have your own sewing room, but you would have to get rid of the king size bed in the guest room to make the space for it. A sofa-bed might work, but don't know if you would want that. I wouldn't mind sleeping on a mattress on the floor...but that's just me. You know, you will have to get rid of the guest room eventually anyway to make room for future little ones. :o)

  19. I am on the same diet. At least you have patterns to go with the fabric! I am a minimalist too--I have a rubbermaid for winter and summer. I try not to exceed the is bulging right now!

  20. Hi, I just want to say I love your blog, I'm impressed by the beautiful clothes you make for yourself. I just started sewing, and I just took a basic class, in which we did a pyjama. This was an easy project in the class. I initially wanted to sew so I could make skating dress for my daughter, cause the ones in the store are really expensive, for something she'll wear 2-3 times. After a few tries...3 to be precise, I was finally able to sew a skating dress for her very first competition, I was proud of her, and proud of myself too... All excited about sewing, I then thought, why not make clothes for myself, since I always have problems finding the right size for my 38DD bust in Ready to wear...well I'm finding out the hard way, that patterns too only fit a certain type of body, which is not mine! So by myself (but I think I'll end up taking another class), I'm trying to learn sewing and trying to fit patterns to my body, which I find is not easy, a lot of waisted fabric, but great technique learning experience, I recently discovered there was such a thing as FBA, I bought a video online, and it was quite interesting, now I've got to try that... There's only one of the many (at least 15) that really fit me well, but I have to sew it again in a nice fabric. I've been sewing buying fabric on special, so I don't waist too much money "trying to sew". I'm reading as much as I can on sewing and reading blogs like yours, (yours is in my top list), to give me inspiration to continue, and seeing the clothes I see on the pattern on a human, it helps to see if the style will fit me. I know I will somehow get to the point, where like you, I can show proudly what I sewed for myself. Like you I have accumulated a lot of pattern, again in my quest to find one that fits me, and I have a lot of fabric, the difference is, I'm still not able to wear what I sew...I'm confident, and passionate enough about sewing, that I will eventually get there, and reading blogs like yours, is really inspiring. Thank you!

  21. Hee! And to think all the times I've stayed in that room, I had no idea your drawers were so full! I can't believe I never looked!

  22. You are a brave, brave girl to bear it all! When I read your post this morning, I went into my sewing room and organized my very few stash projects....all the while chanting to myself ( so that my husband could not hear me) "No more fabric, no more fabric, no more fabric...." What I'm very afraid of is that my fabric stash will compete with my yarn stash!

  23. I have one of those plastic set of drawers in my sewing area crammed full of fabrics as well. Its nice to know I'm not alone!