Monday, 4 March 2013

The Great Stash cover up

So, remember a few posts back I said I love my fabric stash and that I had no intentions of curbing my fabric purchasing while there are still so many lovely fabrics out there? Well, that is still true but even I have to admit that my fabric stash is a bit out of control and whole lot messy at the moment.  I'm still going through my whole house having a major declutter and clear out before our intended house sale later this year, so it's only fair that my sewing room, and my fabric stash in particular gets some attention.

Once upon a time, my stash used to be on the smallish side.  Back in 2007 before I had kids and my sewing room was in what is now Toby's bedroom, the closet in that bedroom used to house most of my stash, scraps and projects in progress:



Shamefully most of those projects hanging up in the right hand side of the top photo are still languishing in my UFO box.... And this photo was taken back when my sewing patterns fitted into only one chest of drawers - now I'm busting out of two of them!  If you're interested, this post has the info on how I store my pattern collection.

And then in 2010 when we finished renovations and additions to our house I got my very own sewing room, by which time my stash had exploded thanks to inheriting my grandma's stash, lots of opshopping and garage sales, as well as a lot of fabric shopping in general.  At that time it was very neatly organised on open Ikea shelves like this (originally posted here):


Don't worry, I did hang curtains on that window straight after setting up these shelves.  But look how neat those piles are! And how much space there is on each shelf still!

Fast forward a few years to the present and I have added a little bit more to the stash, and it has become extremely messy from rummaging and pulling fabrics out of those piles for use (a good thing right?!):



To shield my eyes from such a mess, to reduce shock to non sewing visitors to my sewing room and to protect my stash from the sunlight I pulled some fabric out of the stash (how apt!) and using bulldog clips at the top of the shelf posts I hung the fabric across like a curtain:




Much prettier, except for those rolls of fabric standing upright in the corner and all the stuff on top of the shelves.  This is just some Ikea fabric I bought a few years ago to make some bedroom curtains but my husband didn't like the pink skeleton bird print so it has sat in the stash until now.

I've also decided to go through my fabric stash, UFO box and refashioning pile, one shelf at a time to weed out fabrics that are lovely but not something I'll ever sew something from, or just plain awful and shouldn't be sewn into anything, not even muslins of which I make relatively few anyway. I decided to apply this philosophy of William Morris as a rule to judging fabrics in my stash, as well as to any future purchases:

Have-Nothing-In-Your-House-That-Is-Not-Beautiful-Or-Useful
lovely print available to purchase from A Two Pipe Problem
Starting with the purple shelf, I weeded out fabrics that were cheap and nasty and should never have been produced in the first place, let alone be sewn into a garment.  I have been given a lot of fabrics from people, as well as inheriting stash from my grandma which is where a lot of those fabrics came from, but I am guilty of buying fabrics because they were cheap (either new or from opshops/garage sales).  I also pulled out fabrics that are lovely but I just can't picture them in a garment or they just aren't me.  These fabrics I'm going to bundle up and donate to the Fabric Cave to help with their fantastic fundraising activities.

The purple shelf before:


The fabrics that are on their way out:


And the purple shelf after:


A small start I know, but a start nonetheless! I have also started to photograph, measure and catalogue the fabrics I'm going to keep so I know what I have when the stash goes into storage at my parents house later this year when we sell our house.  This is taking ages but I just love fondling fabric so it's not an unpleasant task.

So for all of you that are overwhelmed by your stash, I hope this has eased your worries a little - I totally don't mind if you compare your stash to mine and feel better about yours.  For those of you with a stash of a similar size (I'm thinking about you Carolyn and Katie in particular!) I'm sure you're nodding along in recognition of a fellow fabric tragic.  And for anyone who is going to leave a snarky comment, which I have received in the past, I've been sewing for about 16 years so that's a long time to be collecting fabric, I've never spent money on fabric that I couldn't afford and my fabric stash makes me happy so that alone is worth it!

Is anyone else game enough to reveal their stash?

45 comments:

  1. There was definitely some nodding. :) We even have the same shelves! I think your stash is lovely, and it sounds like you have a great plan for keeping it tidy. Good luck with the house sale!!

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  2. I would reveal my stash but its nothing in comparison! Just one of those ikea wire drawer things. But my local fabric shop just announced their annual 50% off sale, and the hubby said "you don't have to hold back you know". Could be dangerous!

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    1. your husband really said that! If my husband said that he'd either be joking or planning to buy something very expensive himself....

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  3. I think your stash is lovely too. Before I discovered sewing blogs I thought who else could have as much fabric / sewing stuff as me but of course I was totally wrong. I can not understand snark though. I get a lot of my fabrics as well from op shops - some of it I love much better than new material. I have documented my fabric as well about 5 years ago - took a couple of days but I am glad I took the effort especially to know how much of each fabric I have - makes planning sewing easier.

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  4. *LOL* Hey I admit that I'm President of the Fabric Collectors club but as you say I can afford the pieces I've bought, and I've been collecting since I was 18 - 36 years. I've now got fabric piled everywhere in my sewing room so I need to rearrange some things to get a little more space since I seem to accumulate fabric faster than I sew it.

    However, I think I'm a little neater when I pull fabric from the shelves to use. I really like pulling my curtains aside and seeing everything neatly folded so I work hard to keep it that way.

    I'm sure that the charity is going to be thrilled with receiving all the pieces you no longer want. Oh and I marked my bins by color when I moved...that really helped when I finally unpacked them!

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  5. Oh Kristy, your last sentence instantly made me feel better (seeing your stash size did also) as I have been sewing for over 26 years so on that basis I should have lots more fabric! I need to do the same thing but I think I will be living with my newly 'organised' room until my degree is finished in June. i think I need to take more notice of the philosophy offered above! I will take notice of that charity for when I clear mine as I know there are some fabrics inherited from my Mum's stash that are just not my colours. I was the same as Janine; until I knew of sewing blogs only three years ago I had no idea I was not just greedy. I can't believe anyone would make snarky comments!

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  6. I don't understand snark about stash. I do understand a "Holy crap, you have HOW much?" comment. My stash is getting slightly out of control in my too small flat, and I have a little too much now stored in the attic and in boxes, when it should be in the drawers I bought for it, but, like you, I could afford it and it makes me happy. A few years ago I thought I would love to have an absolutely huge fabric stash - but I've since realised that having too much fabric would just stress me out. Just looking at your stash (and Carolyn's) gives me the heebee jeebees - it's just too much (for me). I'll stick with my 400m(ish) stash, plus linings and muslin fabrics :)

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  7. I am beyond envious of the SHELVES you have for your stash! I have about 25 years of collecting to house and it is currently filling one giant shelf in our hall cupboard, in 5 large plastic tubs in the roof, in around 6 or 7 cardboard boxes in the roof, in uncountable plastic bags (mostly Spotlight ones) in the roof, and in a few bags next to my desk (which is in our living/dining room).

    In an effort to reduce it to something more manageable I'm making a concerted effort to sew from stash rather than buy new fabric. Unless I don't have something specific which I NEED. Or it's a really good bargain....

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    1. Yes I'm trying to sew from the stash as much as possible, but I just seem to find those really good bargains too often

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  8. My stash (spreadsheeted for many years now) has reached the tipping point into unmanagable (for me). I bought 4 single door cupboards to put in my storage room, though I really need to get the 4th one together and finish filling it with fabric. I got single doors cos I figured the shelves would be less likely to sag in the middle once piled with yardage.

    I'm so disappointed at missing out on the Aneboda drawer sets ... they're now discontinued in oz :( I think the Brimnes is the nearest in size. I need to take some patterns with me to check the drawer size.

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    1. oh no! I had planned to buy another Aneboda too, so I'm not too happy to hear that Ikea has discontinued them - they are the perfect size

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  9. It's indeed an impressive stash. A nice story about how fabric just tend to build up over years. I thnk we all suffer from the same disease of just wanting more. I'll be interested to hear more about how you catalogue. I may learn a few tips. Have a great day - byw why selling you house?

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  10. I recently revealed mine:

    http://www.funkbunnysgarden.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/my-sewing-space.html

    I've only been sewing for a couple of years so it's pretty big considering, but like you I never buy fabric I can't afford and most of it has eben gifted or op-shopped. Good luck with your organising!

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  11. I too can't understand the snarky comments, I’ve been subjected to a few as well. Sewing is my one and only hobby, to have another hobby would be crazy (for me)as I invest as much time and money as I can. I'm with you, I can afford everything in my stash and I'm not ashamed to say it, if that bothers anyone, it’s their problem not yours or mine. My husband has an expensive hobby (tools and brewing beer) so I don’t have to justify anything to anyone but myself.

    My fabric stash is 7 or 8 96L tubs, I have a full container 96l tub (no lid) of patterns. Looking at my stash, each piece was lovingly chosen by me for me, so I don’t care what anyone else thinks – they’re just jealous!! :)

    Since December I've given away heaps of both patterns and fabric as I felt my stash is getting a little out of control for me. This year I'm on a fabric/pattern ban with exceptions, it's going well so far but my progress sewing wise has been slow being so pregnant! I hope to have a very productive year sewing wise, and to use my beautiful fabric so I can wear it!

    I think I am going to share photos my stash, if only to motivate myself and show the world how great my sewing room is.

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  12. OMG! That's not a stash, that's a small fabric store. I am so glad you are sorting and offloading some for fundraising. Seriously, you could sew only from that stash and reasonably take years (and maybe years) to minimise it. But maybe that's not the point? There is the thing about possessing things of beauty.

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  13. Why anyone that would read a sewing blog would make snarky comments about stash is beyond me. You will never see that bolt of fabric in the store again people!

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  14. Impressive. I feel better about my stash now!!

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  15. I think my stash competes with yours, so I can relate. I am trying not to buy more but I think the internet is my downfall.. so easy to push a button and buy. That being said I think about what other people spend on expensive clothing/makeup or going out; it's all relative. I just need to learn to sew faster!!! :o) And it is great feeling when you make something for your children and they love the end result. I think I have reached SABLE (stash accumulation beyond life expectancy) and need to cull the ugly/cheap fabrics I bought in the early days of sewing. Love your shelving; what a great idea!
    Ingrid

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  16. Plenty of people spend money on stuff, and they are miserable. How much better is it to spend on things that make you happy? It makes me happy just looking at photos of it.
    Some people spend heaps of money on going out and getting sozzled on a Saturday night. At least you have something to show for it, and you liver is fine!

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  17. Most impressive! I have pruned mine repeatedly, as people give me stuff all the time. Mainly I donate to the high school near me that teaches a quilting program. If I have more clothing related items than I can handle, I give it away on freecycle. I find my sewing mojo is overwhelmed by too much choice, so I have kept it to one set of shelves and a large bag...

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  18. Yep, Aneboda is definitely gone. Brimnes is the new Aneboda. ;) However, Brimnes only has 1 see-through panel and it's glass not plastic like Aneboda. I've been tempted to add some nice fabric to mine.

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  19. I wish I had as much space as you do for your stash! Its great and a glorious sea of colour and inspiration. I do not think sewers or quilters should ever feel embarrassed or guilty about their fabric. Its not like we can sew without it, and its never someone else's place to tell others how much they should or should not have. Its like telling someone how much they should earn or how much they should weigh, or for which political party they should vote!
    I'm hoping in my next house to have a larger studio with more space for fabric storage that makes it easier to get into it.

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  20. I am also a fabric addict :) Right now, it would be good if I go through again all the fabric that I have, and select some that I do not think I will ever do anything with it, and pass on to someone that might. It felt good the last time I did.
    However, I do not worry about the "collection" anymore... I do not care what other people say: each one knows what makes them happy. For me, is to look at a fabric and imagine what I can transform it into.
    I hope you are feeling ok to "clean a bit" the area. I can't wait to see all the things you will make, once you can have a better feeling of what you already have, or what is about to be added :)

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  21. I adore buying fabric and find it hard to prune the stash but I have taken out 3 pieces to give to sewing club friends. That's a start isn't it???

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  22. I love my stash too. Its so good to shop the stash rather than hope there is something suitable in the stores, particularly when you like in a fabric backwater like me!
    Thank you for sharing!

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  23. Wow. If only that stash were mine, I'd buy one of those pools that have all the multi coloured balls in it at kiddy play centres, chuck the fabris in a roll around like a pig in mud. That is awesome.

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  24. Buying fabric can be so much fun. Who says you have to sew it up? I can think of a lot of worse things to spend your entertainment money on :) It is looking very neat.

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  25. Enjoy what you have. I'd love to have a little more in my stash or just peruse through yours :)

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  26. I'd love to spend a few hours with you in your stash!! Patting and admiring fabric... My stash is getting big and fast but I only buy fabric I really love and fabric that is beautiful. I've thrown out all the cheap and nasty fabric so my stash makes me happy. I like to think of sewing as a hobby that keeps me out of the pub!!

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  27. I remember reading about your shelves when you first put them up thinking - I wish I had the room for those. Fast foward to now and we just sold our 3br unit on Friday and we are moving into a 4br house. I have only 12x 53L plastic tubs of fabric and that has been taking up a whole wardrobe in our current house. By the looks of your wardrobe above, your fabric stash expands to fill the space. I am nervous about what my 12 tubs will become in a couple of years. Thankfully our mortgage is so big, I can't afford to buy any fabric or even clothes for a LONG time, so maybe I will actually sew from my stash.

    I know I should purge my fabrics before we move but I just don't know how to do this and I will just waste precious naptime fingering the fabric rather than sorting it and culling! Good luck in your attempt to clear-out some of your extra fabric. I hope you find some forgotten treasures which make the hard work worthwhile :)

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  28. Epic work on the sorting front! It is such a freeing feeling to pare things down to the essentials!

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  29. Oh my God!! Having lived for a fair while now with a picture in my head of your beautifully organised fabric, I'm now trying to stop laughing at being confronted with your more recent picture of your "wall of fabric". Quite a shock! I thought you would never fill those shelves. However, it's a perfect opportunity to go through everything and have a clear out, although personally I find it terribly difficult to part with any fabric, even the stuff I don't like much, so good luck there!! Maybe if my stash gets to your size, I might feel the necessity to shed a bit of fabric. Good luck with this decluttering project. Looking good. Lesley S

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  30. Very impressive! I love the fact that your sewing room is also a bit like a fabric store :D How are you going to deal with the absence of your stash between two houses?

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  31. Kristy...I know I shouldn't be saying it but you make me feel better about my stash size! Mine is smaller than yours but it's a lot messier... (I hope this will make you feel better too) I admire you for sorting things by color...All I managed to do was sort out dress fabric from homewear...but it's a mess nonetheless...any tips would be welcome...

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  32. Good luck with the impending sale of your house! I can definitely relate in terms of stash. Mine has recently exploded in the last year and I am quickly running out of room to put it all. I have been spying those Ikea shelves for about 6 years now. They are perfect! I started cataloging my stash a few years ago and it was a monstrous task. Best of luck!!

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  33. OMG I am stunned by your stash, but TOTALLY understand (perhaps I am envious!!). I too often buy fabric because it is a great deal or seems to feel good, etc. GUILTY. I admire you for working on getting it organized and donating some. Keep up the great work!

    Marianne in Omaha, NE, USA

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  34. I love your stash! Esp the ones on the bolt. How do one buy fabric by the bolt? Is it priced by the yard or cheaper per bolt? Hehe. I only have a small closet as my sewing 'studio' but i have quite a bit of stash arranged in 3 areas. I just technically been sewing for 2 years (but been collecting fabric for much longer than that), so im pretty sure my stash might grow... Hopefully not faster than my ability to.sew them, but you never know....

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  35. Kristy, my "fabric store/stash" is comparable to yours just not all in the same shelving unit!I have several other storage dresses/bins/display dividers etc to store more of mine on... If I could just get DH to make the inside of the closet nothing but shelves I would probably be set! Like you say, after inheriting from several people and coming across "great deals" (hard to pass up sometimes) it grows! Oh, and can I just say, that it seems that no matter how much I sew "from the stash" it seems to propagate like bunnies! LoL... wouldn't it be nice if our money did that!? I will leave you with this; something I posted in 2008 mind you! On reasons to buy fabric! Good enough for me!
    Since I sew clothes and make quilts.
    http://dougjean.blogspot.com/2008/12/good-reasons-for-buying-fabric-or.html

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  36. My fabric stash is relatively modest (but expanding) mainly because I don't live that near any good dress fabric shops, just quilting. My yarn stash on the other hand ...! But I've been knitting obsessively for a good 12 years during which I had some disposeable income (pre- daughters) and I'm reaping the benefits of it now. Clearly it was an investment at the time!

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  37. My cleaner knows to only vacuum the floor in my sewing room without disturbing the piles of fabric on the plastic tubs. And that's all I'll admit to.
    Signed, fabricaholic

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  39. No snark from me! It's gorgeous!

    I have running photographic documentation of my stash on my flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7573004@N06/sets/72157603783194487/), but I don't have any way to account for fabrics that are gone. I should probably take your challenge, though that would mean some tidying! I did a major stash cull a year or so ago, and do minor ones frequently. At this point I really am down to fabrics I like and will sew. I'm actually finding I was *too* zealous because I don't have anything left to make muslins with. I think I have about the same as you have--but like you, I've been sewing many years (decades, though stash accumulation didn't begin until I graduated college and moved into an apartment--making it about 16 years), and I've never spent the rent money on fabric.

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  40. Wow, I'm impressed, and scared, because my stash is getting out of control, and I have just started... But it's better to have the right fabric when you need one. You never know when this moment comes.

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  42. found your blog through monbouton. enjoyed reading this post. im a new sewist so my fabric stash isnt bad nor my pattern stash though im already a little annoyed trying to figure out how to contain those patterns.
    that said, ive been knitting for a while and my yarn stash might be a little out of hand. i recently culled it for a third time and i've gottne it down pretty much to only yarns i really want to keep. i totally get the way it gets out of hand lol

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