Why a fabric stash doesn’t work for me

Over the last year I’ve been gradually whittling down my fabric stash.  Some of my lovely readers have bought patterns and fabric from me…thank you.  Some of it has been donated to the local charity shop.


Needless to say my stash is considerably smaller than this time last year.

As we’ve been packing up the sewing loft ahead of its conversion to a bedroom, I’ve also taken the time to sort the remaining fabrics into “summer fabrics I’ll sew now”  and “winter fabrics that can go to the storage locker”.  The majority of the winter fabrics are also fabrics that I want to wait to sew until I’ve got the new sewing room set up and all my tools and books out of storage and available to me for more complex garments.

This change of sewing venue has definitely had something to do with this new found love of a stashless state. My new sewing room will be about a third of the size of my old one. Necessity is the mother of invention, or, in this case, the mother of all stash clear outs!

Another impetus for permanently reducing my stash is the work I did with Wardrobe Architect and the realisation that a lot of the fabrics I had were unsuitable because of the changing needs of my wardrobe.  I had been buying fabrics with my head still firmly in the corporate wear camp, whereas what I actually wear on a day to day basis is jeans and a top. I need more of these in my wardrobe and all my planned upcoming sews for myself will be items I’ll actually wear.

But the main reason I’m determined not to build a large stash again is the two blouses I showcased in my last post.

The blue is a fairly recent purchase, definitely this year.

The yellow was a gift from my lovely husband in 2012.

In 2012 I was a dark brunette.  Now I’m very light blonde working my way back to my natural colour of badger grey.  Had I made this blouse in 2012 the strong colour-way would have looked stunning against my dark hair.  Now, its still a very pretty top, and I’ve had several unsolicited compliments from folk who aren’t family members and therefore obligated to be nice, but the blue is by far the better colour on me.

I’ve very little summer fabric left in the stash…one piece of which is another bold yellow piece that I bought whilst still dark haired.  The jury is out on that piece at the moment. I’m not sure if it will stay or go.

But the fabric I’ve bought since the change of hair colour is all differing shades of blue, because blue is definitely the colour for me.  And not only does it look better but I feel really confident in blue.  Which can only be a good thing, no?


I love how even after all these years of sewing I’m still learning something new with every item I create.

And whilst a well stocked stash might be just the thing for some sewers, for me I’d much rather keep it to just the next couple of projects.  Not only will this reduce erroneous purchases that I then need to sell on, but it will also, hopefully, help me build a coherent wardrobe of garments I’ll actually wear that work together to create cute, versatile outfits.

I rather like that sound of that!

12 Responses to Why a fabric stash doesn’t work for me

  1. So interesting, and I like your ideas about having a very small stash. I’m going to go through my fabric drawer today with this in mind. And I made the gorgeous blue jersey I bought from you into a skirt – will blog soon!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I can’t wait to see your new skirt!
      I know that stashless is contrary to what a lot of seamstresses like, but I’ve found it so freeing to get rid of all the unsewn fabric and patterns. It was squashing my creativity. And I was losing money on the whole thing…so ridiculous.

  2. Donna says:

    I know what you mean! I find that my taste has changed over the past years – both in fabric and in patterns – so that some things I have in my stash just don’t interest me. I think I could use some of the fabric for non-garment purposes, but it does get a bit overwhelming feeling “obliged” to use something when it just sits there staring at you, with no inspiration forthcoming! 😉

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      Feeling obligated to your fabric stash really squashes the old creativity, no? I felt exactly the same. I’m so pleased I cleared it down so ruthlessly.
      To be fair I’m doing this in all areas of our home at the moment. It’s liberating!

  3. I agree so much with what you say. Just back from Spain with some of my stash – a lot of what I left behind I know I’ll never use. Also, I’ve realised I tend to buy way too much of a fabric..need to stop doing that!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I was snatching up pretty fabric with no thought to what I would make with it. I’m making much better choices at the moment. I need to be very, very clear as to what it will become and what I’ll wear it with before I splash the cash. It feels good.

  4. Stash. Hmm, I can see where you are coming from on this one, although I think you look fabulous in both those tops. It is quite freeing just buying stuff you will use soon rather than just buying all the pretty fabrics that you still have in 20 years time (me). Even I am beginning to think that I have too much fabric. Never actually thought that would ever cross my mind. Blue does look fabulous on you. Definitely one of your colours. Xxxx

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      It’s an amazing swing from “buy all the pretty fabric” to “eeep…what the heck am I going to do with all of it!”. I never thought it would happen to me, either.
      I do love blue. I love how I feel in blue…..like the most “me” version of me.

  5. reducing your stash sounds like a great plan. I’m also trying to do that. This year I only bought one piece of fabric and am trying to keep it that way. Though having fabric for projects is fun…having too much and too little time is just a bit of a waste. As I never really changed my hair color very dramatically…I never realized going from brunette to blond would require rethinking your wardrobe! Blue is definitely a winner!

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      The hair colour is quite drastic but it was getting to be a joke keeping it dark! I ran the risk of ending up as one of those batty old ladies with unfeasibly black hair! It has changed everything. I need to wear different makeup as well as clothes. Very odd indeed. I may have added some more fabric to the “to sew” pile after a trip to Abakhan yesterday! 😉

  6. Kate says:

    I have naturally dark brown hair. For a while I had bright red hair. And then I died my hair blue, which I had been wanting to do for ages.

    And overnight, my whole wardrobe was wrong! I used to wear a LOT of blue, and suddenly that was no go! I started wearing a lot of red.

    Now I’m back to my natural hair colour with no plans to change that any time soon. I did a wardrobe clearout when we moved about six months ago and I got rid of a lot I don’t wear, and probably 80% of those were because of my change in colouring. It really makes a dramatic difference!

    I am working on whittling down my stash because, although I know I will always use basic colours, I have noticed how much what colours and patterns and styles I like to wear has changed over the last five years. I still like all of those same fabrics, but I wouldn’t wear a lot of them now. So I’m getting rid of them, sewing up the ones I still like, and resisting the urge to add more to my stash, to avoid having to do this again in the future. That means I get to sew up things i love a lot sooner! Hard to argue with that.

    • Pendle Stitches says:

      I’m glad I’m not imagining this! As the grey grows out I think things will change a little more, too. I picked up a coral coloured bag last week that I would never have chosen before but which looks great now.
      I can’t wait to finish this gown I’m making and get back to sewing up the stash. I agree that it’s great to finally see stuff turning from fabric to clothes.

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