She had so much fabric she didn’t know what to do

I’m sure you’ll remember this recent post when I happily declared that I had worked through my stash, sorted and catalogued all the fabric, and was set and ready to sew.

And then I made blinds.

And looked at the crates.

And I sewed nothing.

And I looked at the crates some more.

And I flicked through the patterns.

And I flicked through the fabric catalogue.

And I sewed nothing.

Because, when you’ve got 176 metres of fabric in the stash, (I know!!!), and you haven’t really sewn properly for a couple of years, there’s a question that your poor, overwhelmed brain keeps coming back to.

“Where the heck do you start?”

I have a huge pile of fabric, and enough patterns to last me till doomsday.  But I simply couldn’t decide what to make.

Should I make this pattern in that fabric?  Or would the other one be more appropriate? What about this one?

Completely stuck!  Completely frustrated! And still not sewing.

A couple of weeks back I decided that I would start with jeans.  The rationale being that I really need some more jeans in my wardrobe.  And my favourite sort-of jeans, RTW, but made from a soft stretch chino, had finally given up their last fibre.

Also…I wear jeans pretty much every day.

Oh…and I already had the pattern printed off and ready to tape.  Perfect.

So I taped up the pattern. Got to love a big sewing table!

Then packed it away.

Turns out, I’m not quite ready to go from zero to jeans fitting.

So….I sewed nothing.

And then, I opened my wardrobe and realised that I’ve hit that point where everything is running close to shabby and I need some new tops. (I’ve still got a couple of pairs of jeans that have only just come back into rotation after losing a bit of weight. The jeans weren’t a priority after all!)

I was just about to suggest a shopping trip to the Hubby, when I realised that, quelle suprise, I do know where to start.

So, on Saturday, whilst he cleared the last of the boxes and assorted crap from the garage, I pulled out a length of fabric that I’d already earmarked for toiles, and a couple of patterns that I’d already made up before.

First up, Simplicity 1886, which I’d previously made up in a pretty floral poly and worn to shreds.

OMG…throwback to dark hair! I look soooooo young!

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll already know that I’m really glad I made that toile!

The fit was so very far off that I binned the toile, and the pattern.  I’d already hacked it to death and, quite frankly, would much rather start again from fresh.

I’ll admit to being quite shocked by this as, if you’d asked me, I would have told you that it would be too small!

I quickly moved on to Newlook 6217, which I’d made up, loved, and worn to shreds before blogging it.  This is one of the patterns that I’d like to be a TNT that I can pull out, pop on the fabric, and whizz up whenever the mood takes me.

It’s the kind of easy-to-wear top I love for day-to-day wear when you’ve got to get yourself together quickly in the morning, but don’t want to look like a complete schlep!

I knew there were some tweaks needed to the pattern, so did a quick toile, clarified the tweaks, and applied them to the pattern.

I’m pretty sure it’s good to go, but I’ll make up in some cheap fabric just to confirm. I’ve then got at least 2 or 3 other lengths of fabric that I can quickly whizz up and get out of the stash and into the wardrobe.  Whereupon I can recycle the tatty RTW.

And I’ll have my first ever TNT!

Once that’s done I can move onto the next pattern I want to sew.  Which will either be the Ginger Jeans or the Sew Me Something Imogen top.

image copyright:

Cue, the next of the TNTs.

The moral of this story?  Turns out there’s a couple.

First up, when your sewing room is in boxes and you don’t know how long it will be before it’s unpacked…..stop buying fabric.

When you’re so busy that you’re not sewing….stop buying fabric.

And when you’re so stuck you don’t know where to start….Stop. Buying. Fabric!*

Oh…and Just. Start. Somewhere. It doesn’t matter if its the perfect fabric/pattern combo. Or if there are 73 other patterns that a given piece of fabric can be used for.

Just.  Sew.  Something.

“Done” is better than “Perfect!”

*Obviously, if your lovely friend texts  to say that she’s popping round at some point in the week with a gift of free fabric, that absolutely, positively doesn’t count. 

Just make sure it’s stuff you love, or let it go to another good home!

19 Responses to She had so much fabric she didn’t know what to do

  1. Had to look up TNT! Yes, just go for it…you’ll be glad you did and once you get going there will be on stopping you!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Lol! I’ll admit I’ve felt like blowing it all up over the past couple of weeks, just so I can start afresh!

  2. I think that I might be in a similar position to you (although I might have just pipped you on the fabric front – too scared to measure it all. It now spreads over 2 houses). I am sat with the laptop on top of a sewing pattern I have been tracing. I have a box upstairs with ones traced and ready to go. Have I sewn anything – no. Will I sew something – maybe. Life has an awful tendency to get in the way. Fabric is something that is really hard to resist, especially free stuff. I admire your grit if you can resist buying more when you have such a perfect space for it now. I loved the ruffled top that you made and looking forward to seeing your take on the Ginger Jeans pattern. It looks like a really nice one. 🙂 Xx

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Life is such a pest! It spoils all our fun!

      I’m finding it soooooo hard not to buy. It’s too easy. I’ve put several lengths into online baskets and then stepped away from the button.

      I do think you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment, no? So be kind to yourself. And maybe just make a little simple something for the win!

  3. Tialys says:

    I’m sorry I thought you said ‘stop buying fabric’. Surely you can’t be serious 😉

  4. Liara says:

    Please send me these reminders EVERY SINGLE DAY. I have run into this exact same situation of having so much, I don’t even know where to start. I keep telling myself I could make so much progress on my stash if I just stop wasting time looking at more online.

    I can’t wait to see what you sew up. You are always inspirational!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      There should be an app for it. Or to block you shopping on sewing sites. We’d make a fortune!

      I do love “I’d make so much progress…if I just stop wasting time looking at more online”. This is so true.

  5. AnneW says:

    Sometimes you just have to go with your gut – or heart. I was supposed to be making a blouse for Daughter no2,but it just wasn’t interesting enough. I didn’t sew for a few days because I didn’t want to start the top, and felt guilty about doing something else instead. In the end I just went for it, cut and sewed the Morgan Jeans and now I’m happy to make the blouse! TNT patterns are a breeze, hopefully you sort a few new ones out so you can just cut and sew!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I wouldn’t feel guilty. You are so productive. Not just your sewing but your lovely allotment too. TNT patterns are my plan for the next few makes. I really need to get this stash into the wardrobe!

  6. Kim says:

    Well done. You have made stuff, got a couple of TNT patterns, and used up some stash. I’m in the same position – weight loss = refit all patterns/start with new – and it’s so easy to just procrastinate rather than jumping in.
    What’s next Evie?

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      It’s progress for sure. I just need more of it. I’ve got a resit for my wretched exam and then I’m planning to revisit the stash and cull that, and then sew like a demon. I need to get fabric into garments and into the wardrobe!

  7. Norma Hellon says:

    Thank you o much for your lovely bog, and a little glimpse into your life. I have nearly read, well skimmed your blog, because I was so excited to see your next post, so I will go back and read each post !!!

    What beautiful little people you have, a credit to you both. Cute little button but I have to say your little man has a very mischievous smile 😉

    Can I ask what your favorite easy ish jersey type pattern is !!! I am new to this sewing lark, one which does not cling to the tummy!!

    I am just down the road from you in Sunny Southport. Thank you again for you lovely blog XX

  8. Norma says:

    What a lovely blog, I have only managed to glance tat each post as I was too excited to get to the next !!

    Lovely children, your little man has a very mischievous smile, and Miss Button a delight !

    Thanks for the links to other blogs

    Do you mind me asking what you favorite dress pattern is, preferably one to hide the tummy !!!

    Thank you for a little glimpse into your lovely life

    Norma x

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Hello and welcome. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
      I’m loath to recommend patterns as I’ve no idea what you love to wear. But would recommend that you look at what you enjoy buying, find a pattern that looks the same and tweak to fit your measurements. The Palmer/Pletsch Fit For Real People is a really great place to start if fit is an issue!
      Good luck!

  9. Carolyn says:

    As long as you’re having fun with your fabric and patterns, it’s all good!

  10. Thimberlina says:

    OMG! I could have written your post!! I have definitely slowed down on making garments this years and it coincided with me downloading the cora app on my iPhone and logging all my fabric, over 200m, and that doesn’t include what I’ve bought since.
    I find choosing what to sew takes longer than actually making the garment. But in the last months I’ve made 3 garments in a rush for something in particular and it was a doddle choosing what to do. I need to go with my gut instinct i think and stop wondering too much what to make.
    Good luck with the Gingers. Jeans are somewhere on my to do list too!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Oh I feel so much better about my stash now.

      Although, to be fair, I had a complete cull last week. I went through every piece and asked if I could realistically see myself sewing it any time soon. If the answer was no, it went into a large Ikea bag. Yes…back into the crates. I cleared 2 large crates of fabric into 2 large Ikea sacks and took them to a friend who is learning to sew. She was overjoyed and so was I. I did a good turn and cleared some space in the sewing stash.

      Now, everything I have is something I want to sew, either for this winter or next spring. And it feels so liberating.

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