Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Evolution of a Fabric Stash

I equate having a perfectly organized fabric stash to a state of sewing nirvana that is unachievable in this lifetime. Maybe heaven is a giant room filled with shelves of fabric that are always perfectly folded to be the same size, and are somehow simultaneously organized by fiber content, in ascending yardage and also color order. Is this even possible? Don't you dare say that it is.

A few days ago, in an effort to make more room in my plastic fabric boxes and to get rid of some stuff I knew I was probably never gonna use, I set up a destash account on Instagram [@missmake_destash if you wanna follow!] and sold some things. It felt GOOD.

I love looking through my fabric stash. I'm a really visual person, and that's how I remember things. If we have a conversation, I might not remember all of it in a month [sadly], and I am TERRIBLE with names after people introduce themselves to me. But when I look at my fabric I remember exactly where every single one is from, why I bought it and the shopping experience of picking it out.  Maybe I should pin a piece of fabric to everyone's shirt when I meet them [although I still wouldn't remember their name, I would just be like, oh you're Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey in Pepper.]

In the midst of rolling around in my fabric stash pressing and folding the destash orders, I looked down at the stack of my most recently bought fabrics that were waiting to find a home, and they looked so different than the quilty rainbow explosion I was surrounded by that I had to take a picture of the contrast.

Here's some of what I'm destashing:

stash1

[Let it be known that there are fabrics in this picture that I still love, they are just too small to really do anything with. And also sometimes you just gotta let go and make room for the new.]

I think it's pretty easy to tell that quilting is what first roped me into sewing seriously as an adult ['murican flag calico, anyone?]. I liked picking and pairing colors and prints, and the fact that you only had to buy a quarter or half yard of something to use it. I've always felt like making a quilt was like making a big, pretty, snuggly collage.

Buuuut now I make clothes! Here's that new stack that was waiting to be put away, all things I've gotten pretty recently:

stash2

A leeeetle different, no?

And because if I were reading, I'd want to know, here's what they all are:

1. floral rayon challis for a TBD tank/shirt 2. gray stretch twill for a cigarette pant, possibly clover? 3. acid wash jegging knit(!!) for jeggings, duh 4. melon jersey for a tshirt 5. black rayon challis for a TBD tank/shirt 6. rayon jersey for a pair of anima pants 7. buffalo plaid jersey for a tshirt 8. floral rayon jersey for a tshirt 9. striped double knit from a pair of anima pants [from The Fabric Studio] 10. gold metallic woven fabric for a clutch [from The Fabric Studio] 11. striped tissue knit for a hemlock [from Britex] 12. motorcycle jersey for a tshirt 13. striped rayon sweater knit for a cardigan/wrap 14. striped jerseyfrom a myrtle 15. rayon challis for TBD tank/shirt [from Wanderlust, out of stock]

I like how these pictures don't look like the same person bought all the fabric, but when you see them side by side they still kind of make sense together on some level:

Print

Has your stash changed over time? What do you keep and what do you part with? Do you ever look at fabric you bought a long time ago and what what the hell you where thinking?

20 comments:

  1. You have so much pretty fabric in your stash! You clearly have a theme going on with your latest purchases, can't wait to see your makes :) And yep, I have some serious cases of 'wtf' in my stash too. Maybe I can use them for muslins...?

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    1. I have a lot of those wtfs that have moved to muslin status! lol

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    2. hahaha, yay for muslins! :D

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    3. i totally made a muslin out of the cat fabric in the top of the first photo!!

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  2. omg i want to steal all of your latest fabric purchases! and i want in in your fabric heaven...

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  3. Oh definitely. This year has been the year of sensible but awesome solids. Last 2 years were the years of the musthaveallthecoloursprintscheapbargainohmygodits$2/misthatabirdfoxmushroompolkadot fabrics.
    I'm more of a stroke the stash, rather than roll around in the stash kind of girl, but each to their own ;)

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    1. i still have trouble resisting the mushroombirdfoxCATanimals fabrics. but i allow myself to consider polka dots a neutral :]

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  4. I look at my fabric a lot and wonder what I was thinking. I still can't make myself part with it though.

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  5. What a cool comparison between your two stashes - I can definitely see the connections - but also the evolution to more garment fabrics. My stash has sort of three big categories from different phases I've gone through in sewing - doll clothes (lots of microprints and kawaii fabrics from Japan in very small amounts, home decor/special occassion projects - lots of trims, tassels, heavy fabrics, and fancy stuff like satin, velvet & brocade, and regular clothes - lots of lightweight cotton, more knit, and some wool & rayon. I'm still a sucker for bright colors and and crazy prints across all three, though :)

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    1. yes i always gravitate towards the prints! i think it's SO BORING to buy a solid gray fabric when you're surrounded by colors. but i grit my teeth and tell myself the solid gray will get worn a lot more...

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  6. This struck a chord with me as I have all sorts of colourful, patterned fabrics that I bought when I started making quilts and other homewear items. Having recently got back into sewing clothes, I found it very hard to step back from the florals and bright colours and look at fabric I will actually wear. I still make quilts but I do have far too much fabric so a bit of a destash is a good idea otherwise I will never attain sewing nirvana.

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    1. yes! i highly recommend a destash, it feels great!! [although probably in a week i'll think of a perfect project for one that i just got rid of...that's how it works, right?]

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  7. My stash is going through the exact same evolution, as I think you're aware of :) My quilt weight cottons are actually being reserved for quilts and my garment pile is a lovely stash of stripes, ikat, polka dots (which are totally neutrals BTW) and subtle prints. I've always gone for those, but somehow I ended up still with way too much in my stash that to me is unwearable. I see a massive de-stash in my future!!! And I'll admit, when I saw some of your de-stash images, I nearly went for them because they are lovely! But then I looked at my piles and stopped myself :)

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  8. I was all solids in rayon twill and challis for the longest time, heavy on the mustard and black. Now I'm prints and lawns in cotton and stripes. And those are the ones that I hang onto.

    I do a major destash every other year, and am scheduled for another next week (yes! on the calendar, my teen son is going to hand them to me one by one for vetting).

    It might be more useful for me to place what I have against the stuff I make up right away. (Prints, novelty prints, more abstract prints and POLKA DOTS to be precise). This might give me a better handle on what I really want to sew with now, vs my Aspirational Sewing (the wool boucle for the Chanel jacket I am just never going to make up because I will never wear it). Vetting it against what I'm wearing now doesn't entirely work, as it's summer, and that is a whole food group by itself.

    In either strategy, stuff has to earn it's way back onto the shelf, and it all has to fit in that cabinet. Or donated it will be.

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  9. So interesting! My husband did once say to me after I was complaining I didn't want to wear the things I made, "you could try buying the sort of colours you actually wear"! They look so boring in the shop, but I do now.

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  10. yep that pretty much sums up me too. I have a heap of fun patterned stuff but now i just use that for interfacings :)

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  11. So fun to see the two piles and I love that you gave sources for all of your new fabrics. I'm just starting to sew some apparel so it's good to know where to shop and what kinds of fabrics work for what!

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  12. I am just about to destash! I have way more fabrics than you (from your pictures anyway)—I'm somewhere around 75 and just ordered more (oops). But a lot of them I bought ages ago and just know I won't wear. My old picks are loud prints, lots of flowers, lots of bright colours etc. and my new picks are much more subdued. Apparently I really like blues, something I didn't realize until I was just looking through all my recent makes and realized 95% are blue. I also bought a lot of the older fabrics back when I was really into wearing girly dresses a lot—something I don't wear anymore, at all. I think it'll feel really good to finally de-stash and make more room for my exploding fabric pile!

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    1. I totally went through the same thing! When I first started sewing I was all about girly fit and flare dresses in bright punchy cotton prints. But now I just want subdued knits. Destashing your pile will feel amazing!

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