Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 sewing resolution

I have to get real about sewing from my stash.  When I moved 2 years ago, I had 2 boxes of it, and I thought I was being so diligent in sewing from my stash!  It turns out it grew, so that now I'm moving again into a tiny apartment (about 200 s.f.) with 2 boxes and a giant Samsonite suitcase full of fabric (oh, there's other stuff too, not just my sewing supplies).  Speaking of the Samsonite suitcase, that puppy is heavy empty never mind completely stuffed with fabric!

As I was packing, I had to force myself to get rid of the larger scraps.  I don't know if you're anything like me, but I'll look at a scrap and if it's big enough to cut a facing or pockets I will squirrel it away.  This time, I asked myself if I could honestly use the scrap if given 2 more years and if the answer was NO, it had to go.  I filled an entire trash bag full of scraps!

I also took the opportunity to get rid of ridiculous fabric, like the extra yard of red poodle hair fur that I used to make Lee's Clifford costume a few years ago.  I am on the edge about getting rid of the left over tulle from the Bjork swan dress because I imagine making a crinoline.  Someday.

It's not like a hoarder... Oh, but that's probably denial speaking.  In going through my stash I couldn't help but feel that I am one step away from living in complete squalor or becoming a candidate for TLC's Hoarders show.
Not my house... but maybe soon?  EEK!
I really tried to cull the fabric stash, I did.  I also tried to organize it as I packed, but the only thing I could really separate out was coatings.  How do you destash?  How do you determine when a scrap is too scrappy to keep around?  How do you organize your fabrics?  Any ideas for living in a closet-sized apartment with a full-sized stash?


  1. There is nothing like a move to prompt a stash cleansing ritual. One and a half years ago we moved and I purged my fabric stash. My pattern stash however, I could not part with a single one.


  2. I almost never keep scraps. If it's not at least 1/2 yard...out it goes. They take up too much room and being realistic, I know I'll never use them.

  3. I am with KMQ, I don't keep under 1/2 yd. You will feel so good when it is organized. I have two rubbermaid containers (larger ones). One for winter and one for summer--I won't buy more fabric than can fit in the two containers. I need some kind of restraint! Good luck!

  4. I rarely keep scraps. It has to be something I love love love. I have not purged my fabric is years. My hope this year is to really sew from my stash. What does freak me out though, is that even if I sewed a garment a month, I would just barely be touching the top of the ice berg.

  5. For me, there are 2 kinds of scraps to keep: the ones that are so bland that they're sure to come in handy some day, like plain black which can be facings or pockets or bias or.. And the ones I truly adore. I tend to make underwear out of the knit scraps (just tossed one off tonight), and knit project bags out of the wovens. That takes care of most of the middling-size scraps, usefully.

  6. I did this about 2 weeks ago. I went through my scrap bags and sorted them. Anything that was at least 1 yard was trimmed to a rectangle shape (no weird ends), and folded and stacked with similar fabrics (suitings/bottoms weights, then dress/blouse weight). I then took all of the smaller scraps and separated those into bags. As to what to do with the small scraps, my local YMCA is offering sewing classes for both children and adults, so I was thinking of donating them for the kids to use. Kids like to sew little things like pillows and soft toys and scraps are good for that kind of thing.

    I also try to watch Hoarders every once in a while. It gives me the reality check that I need to throw more shit out.

  7. 200 SF?!?!?! Much admiration from me. I could not possibly get all my stuff into 800 SF, much less 200. And there would be no room for me in that 800 SF.

    I toss any scrap less than half a yard without thought.

    Between half a yard and a yard, I evaluate. If it's a solid, I usually keep it because I'm likely to use it as a contrast piece or a facing someday. If it's a print that I *love* or silk and goes with my usual color scheme I'll keep it. If it's just a regular print, toss.

    If it's a yard, I can get a skirt out of it (if woven) or a tee (if knit), and I make myself cut it out and sew it at the same time as the main garment. I just made a knit dress and cut out and made *two* tees at the same time, leaving myself with only shreds of fabric remaining.

  8. I don't think your stash sounds all that huge, but I can understand your space limitations as I live in about the same size apartment.

    I recently organized things and dealt with some of the same issues, hate to throw things out, have emotional attachments to some pieces, could imagine using it for SOMETHING... My stash in fact, is mostly smaller pieces and used kimonos, not a lot of garment-sized lengths. Since I've started making more muslins, I've been able to use up some sections, as the pieces need not all match.

    As for organizing what I have, I grouped things by fabric type first, then length. The biggest group are housed in a cardboard box and the smaller groups in sturdy shopping bags. All are labeled. I'd like to find better containers, but for now, it's all tidy and organized.

    Just organizing and trimming off odd tail ends and throwing out absolutely too small or pesky fabrics made a big difference in the space issue and how I perceive it all.

    I like your idea of using a suitcase to store fabric. Happy new year!