Stash Stories – new season update

My Stash Stories for 2019 began in January when I set out some goals for myself to clear the seemingly bottomless pile of fabric in my sewing room.

The three key goals for my stash this year were:

  • firstly, sew my stash
  • secondly, sew what I wear
  • and finally, sew more

As we head into Autumn and the new school year, I thought I’d just check in with my goals and see how I’m doing.

Sew my stash

Getting organised

I really needed to organise my stash and see what I had. I did an audit at the beginning of the year and had 66 metres of fabric in stash.

Over this year I have introduced three tools to help me better manage/control my stash, and plan my projects to utilise the fabric I have.

The first is the Sew DIY planner, the second is My Body Model croquis and the third is a custom spreadsheet to track the ins and outs of my stash, plus how much I’m spending. I think I’ll save reviews of these for another day.

Additionally, whilst I’ve always used Ravelry to track projects, I’m now also utilising it a little more fully to track yarn stash and plan projects.

Between them I’m really able to get a good overview of what I fabrics and yarns I have, what I want to do with them, whether they will work for me, and how much I’m spending. It’s also not massively time consuming, once they’ve been set up!

Stash in versus stash out

I started the year with 68m of stash.

So far this year I’ve added 22.3m to stash and sewn 19.50 m. So I’ve actually increased the overall stash. Eep! I’ve put myself on a fabric purchasing ban for the rest of the year! I will reduce the overall amount of fabric I own by the end of this year. I’m already formulating plans for next year and my stash needs to be out of the way to enable me to do something new and fun with my sewing next year.

The 50% goal

I did say that I wanted at least 50% of what I make to be from the existing stash.

I’m happy to say that at the moment, I’m nailing that…72% of garments sewn so far this year have been from pre-2019 stash!

Sew what I wear

Whilst sewing up the stash is the main aim, it seems pointless to make things that are just going to sit in the wardrobe in the same way the fabric languished in the sewing room.

Thankfully, I’m nailing this too!

For Dylan I’ve made practice wear for dance. He’s worn both items between two and five days a week since they came off the machine. The trousers went to recycling last week, simply because he’d grown out of them. The top is teetering on too small. Practice tops for him are next but one on the sewing list. He’s wearing his old competition trousers for practice as they’re looking a smidge shabby for the competition floor! That saves me a job!

I’ve made 4 items for Summer, not all of them blogged, but she loves them all and is wearing them as much as she wears anything that isn’t joggers and a sweatshirt or a unicorn onesie!

For myself I’ve made 3 tops, a Burda , and two Avid Seamstress Drop Sleeved tops. They are all in weekly rotation.

Two yet-to-be-blogged Blackwood cardigans are also worn weekly. A third is on the sewing table as I type! I LOVE the Blackwood cardigan so much.

Sew more

I made 3 garments for myself last year.

I’ve made 5 so far this year.


Managing the budget

Whilst this wasn’t a specific goal, as the year progressed I felt it was something I wanted to add to the mix. I don’t sew because it’s cheaper than buying on the high street, but because RTW doesn’t always fit me well, and I would rather clean the cat litter tray than go clothes shopping!

Dave bought me the most amazing gift of the sewing weekend in London, but I worked out how much it cost for me to actually be there, and realised that I do spend a lot of money on this hobby.

This prompted the thought it might be interesting to calculate how much I spend on the hobby, and how much I would have spent on RTW for similar items.

So….so far this year I’ve spent £267.35 on fashion fabric, linings and notions and patterns (this is for sewing – my knitting expenditure this year was sock yarn for Dave….it counts as gift expenditure…run with me on this!)

Add in the cost of the hotel, train and lovely dinners in London and I think you can safely say £550 is the total spend so far. Ouch!

I’m costing out what I’ve sewn so far at average high street shops, such as Next or Marks & Spencer. I mainly shop for the kids at Next. Whilst I shop mainly at Studio 8 for myself, M&S is slightly cheaper so it gives a more conservative RTW comparison.

With that in mind, a conservative cost for Summer’s garments would be £105, for Dylan it would be £100, and for me it would be £204. A total of £409. That means I’m only £141 from breaking even on the year and starting to “pay off” the money I’ve spent on fabric in the stash. Woo hoo!

That’s very achievable this year…if I stick to my fabric ban!

The Stash Stories continue…

This has been a really useful exercise. When I started writing this post I genuinely didn’t think that despite my seeming inability to refrain from buying fabric, I’m actually making progress in my Stash Goals for 2019. Thankfully, so far, my Stash Stories are, on the whole, happy ones.

It has also given me some real clarity for the latter part of this year. My last purchase was at the end of July. I’m aiming for that to be the last of the year.

I have plotted out what garments I’m wanting to make for the next 3 months. If I sew what I have in mind I should clear at least another 20m before year end.

Fingers crossed.

10 Responses to Stash Stories – new season update

  1. K-Line says:

    Oooh – I love this post! BTW – I don’t think you have spent “a lot” on your hobby. It’s something that brings you days of joy – just on that basis, I think it’s worth the cost. Of course, I know how awesome it is to find efficiencies. You know how I like to proclaim things “free” on second and third usage of remnants 🙂 Scott’s electronic music habit is absurdly expensive, IMO, and he’s all on about how cost-effective it is cuz he has a home studio (or 2) – not one he has to rent?! Where I think you will really save is with Dylan’s dance clothes. So many mums in Canada learn to sew to make skating costumes for their kids. That’s the basis of Jalie patterns.

    • Evie says:

      I proclaim things free after one use too! Patterns are always costed into the first use and not any after that! 😉
      And my sewing hobby is always sooooo inexpensive compared to the amount of money that gets spent in the Apple store…even including sewing machines! And Dave keeps muttering about collecting vinyl! Help!
      Sewing practice clothes for Dylan is so inexpensive compared to buying them. I buy his competition clothes at the moment….I’m hoping for sponsorship soon for clothes and shoes. Fingers crossed.

  2. Kim says:

    Excellent post Evie. I also loved your comment about rather clean the car litter tray than go clothes shopping 😂. Boy, that rings true!
    I hadn’t considered costing my makes – and not so brilliantly as to justify the cost of my hobby. You have done exactly that (and I think they would probably cost more than the places you’re comparing with – the dance stuff alone is probably way more expensive ready made and nowhere near as well made). I’m addition you are doing something you enjoy. What price can you put in that?

    • Evie says:

      It’s really cool that we can do something we enjoy so much, that gives us a break from ‘real life’, but which also has a fabulous end product. And that we can justify the cost!
      Also, it saves us from clothes shopping. And the kids actually do the cat litter tray. Win all around, I think!

  3. Lynn Hutton says:

    Very interesting 🤔
    I briefly thought about doing the same thing myself but then decided against it.
    I don’t think you do too badly at all – after all some hobbies are much more expensive and don’t have any end result.

    • Evie says:

      Dave loves tech! It’s ridiculous how much some of that stuff costs. His Apple watch was the price of a decent sewing machine and more than most! But when you look at the fabrics and patterns and yarn, not to mention the books and equipment, it’s nice to know theres something of the equivalency of “carbon offsetting” for these purchases. As well as all the fun to be had!

  4. Fiona M says:

    A thought provoking post Evie! Although I think you should factor in your enjoyment, self fulfilment and me time in to counter the costs a bit. My stash is out of control, but the prospect of hard Brexit caused me to panic buy some superb quality fabrics from the Netherlands last week … a result of the morbid fear of not being able to easily get hold of my preferred fabrics, and of course they’re soon going to cost a lot more!
    I have sewn up a few metres from stash recently though.
    Also want to say; those kids! You must be so proud.

    • Evie says:

      Brexit is enough to make you panic buy bottled water never mind fabric!!!!!
      I think you’re right about factoring in the fun aspects of sewing….but you can’t really put a value on them. Over the summer holidays, I was very glad to have a space to retreat to at times.
      And thank you….I’m ridiculously proud of my kids. They’re pretty amazing! *blushes*

  5. Loved this post. Really inspirational as I’m just about to start setting up my sewing room!