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Tag Archives: in the sewing room
Back in June I catalogued my ridiculous stash, and then discussed how it was actively blocking my sewing mojo. This isn’t a new topic on the blog. Back in 2015 I chatted about why a fabric stash doesn’t work for me.
But, as you know, thanks to the generosity of friends, and fabric shopping but not sewing, my stash had grown again. And, I’ll be honest, it was making me uncomfortable. I know that having a fabric stash is a bit of a contentious issue, and that many people would feel bereft without theirs, but I find it, quite frankly, oppressive.
When I started sewing, back in the days before the internet, I didn’t stash fabric or patterns, but simply decided what I wanted to sew, and then bought the fabric and pattern needed for that garment.
My goal at the moment is to pretty much get back to that state of affairs. There are a couple of pieces of beautiful wool coating that will be the last things I sew, and some summer weight dress lengths that I’m not sewing till spring. But everything else is going to be sewn as quickly as possible, just to get them out of a crate and into the wardrobe.
I even have a list!
So, October has been a bit of a crunch month for me, stash wise. Not only have I been tweaking Newlook 6217 to perfection, I also decided to bite the bullet and go through the fabric book with a more critical eye.
I revisited each and every single piece of fabric, in a Marie Kondo fashion, and anything that didn’t “spark joy” was put to one side. I filled two of the large blue Ikea sacks with fabric that I couldn’t see what I would make, or how it would fit into my wardrobe. The friends who originally gifted it to me were happy for me to pass it on to a good home…so I did. Another friend, who is learning to sew, was the overjoyed recipient of 71.9 metres of fabric that was weighing me down, but which has buoyed her up. The gifting of this fabric sparked much more joy than the stashing of it ever did. I highly recommend it.
I used another 5.4 metres for toiles, wearable or otherwise, and binned 2.5 more when I completely ruined version 3 of the Newlook top by completely not paying attention to cutting out!
So at the end of October I had 99.7 metres left in the stash, and I’ve pulled out about 8 or 9 pieces that have been pre-washed and pressed and are ready to go. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll already have seen that November is shaping up to be a productive sewing month.
Stash Stories, then, is a monthly roundup of all things stash, where I’ll tally how much fabric I’ve used, what, if any I’ve purchased, and how much is left. Hopefully, I’ll get to the bottom of the crates sooner rather than later.
By the way, if you’ve not already listened to the Love To Sew podcast “How big is your stash” then I highly recommend that you do. In fact, I highly recommend you listen to all episodes…they are great!
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.
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.
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!
As the hoard of boxes were unpacked into the sewing room, it became more and more apparent that I had much more fabric in reality than in my head.
Much, much more.
There are 3 x 80 litre boxes and a Harrods hamper.
That’s too much fabric for my comfort. Quite a bit of it has been very kindly gifted to me, and there are some beautiful vintage wools that will force me soon to overcome my trepidation about coat making.
There are some bits and bobs for making things for the kids, which they’ve mostly grown out of as this stash has mouldered unloved, so will be used for cute pyjama bottoms for the winter.
But, lets be brutally honest here, most of it is stuff that I’ve bought on a whim over the past few years and has been scattered around the old loft and forgotten.
I was astonished at what I uncovered, so I took some time to catalogue and sort it all out.
I know there are several electronic options for curating your fabric collection, but I decided to go old skool.
A notebook and swatches.
I measured each piece of fabric and took a tiny snippet for the book. I’ve recorded what width the fabric is and how much of it I have
The beauty of this “system” though, is that as I leaf through the notebook, there is the tactile swatch that I can feel to remind me of the thickness and hand. Without the colour distortion that can occur with a screen.
At the back of the book is a total of the fabric I have at today’s date. It doesn’t include the 3 metres that are in the post to me. There’s currently 179.5m. I am mortified.
I’m going to track what goes in and what goes out. There needs to be more going out than in, for sure. I need to get the curtains and blinds sewn and then really dive into this stash and make some pretty things.
I’m off to sew curtains!