Do you… stash?

Fabric Stash, rolled fabric storage

Well…;)?  I’ve been thinking more about my own fabric habits recently, and I’d be really interested to hear your take on the whole ‘stash’ thing!

It’s quite common now for bloggers and sewists to share pictures of their fabric stash,  sometimes a whole wall of neatly folded pieces, sometime ‘just’ a basket-full.  Thing is, even a basket can hold 50m of fabric…  It’s almost become the norm, if you sew, to have a ‘stash’ – in a time when for many of us, we could get anything we need by the next day.  What is going to be so urgent we can’t wait a day for it?

I haven’t bought any fabric for a while now – my recent makes are mostly with stuff I’ve had for a while.  I bought the fabric for this dress in 2014.  Which sort of makes the point; if it’s taken me months (or years) to sew it up, I obviously didn’t need it when I bought it!  I’ve always justified my past fabric purchases by mentally allocating them to a project, so I’d be buying with purpose.  I wasn’t just spending money on something because it was pretty, or as retail therapy, but because I knew I’d use it.  But honestly, when you can spend £30 and 15 minutes buying more fabric than you could sew up in a month, it’s likely that by the time you have time to make what you planned, your tastes or needs will have changed.  Or you’ll have bought more fabric.  Which is why ‘de-stashing’ is also a thing – sewists selling on lengths of fabric they no longer want to sew with, or have time or space for, often at a loss.  Basically paying to look at it for 3 years, then get rid.

I used to buy fabric whenever I had the opportunity.  Passing a fabric shop?  Pay-day and an online shop has lovely new stock?  Gradually, I built up a collection of fabrics – just a couple of lengths at a time.  But I don’t sew constantly – I have many demands on my time, and can’t guarantee I’ll even be able to sew every day.  So it built up…  To the point where I began to feel a bit anxious about it.  It’s just sitting there, and I know I ought to have made something with it, but I haven’t… so it just sits there, looking pretty and making me feel bad!

My fabric spend has taken a huge dive in the last year or so, because we’re either saving for a move, or buying campervans… whichever, I have almost zero disposable income.  But guess what?  I’ve still been able to sew as much as I want, but I seem to have barely made a dent in the fabric I already own!  I don’t feel too bad though, because I’ve reversed the adding vs using trend – if things continue as they are, I’ll eventually use it (as opposed to eventually suffocating under a mountain of pretty cloth…).  I don’t feel any pressure to sew it up immediately – I’m going to need it in a couple of years when the clothes I’m wearing now are worn out!  But I do feel good that I’m no longer building up more fabric than I can use.

And although I’m buying less partly for money-and-space reasons, it also ties in with a feeling that ‘stuff’ is the wrong thing to focus on in life.  Without getting too philosophical, I have felt a need to start considering the way we (as a family) consume, the impact we have on the world around us, and how it affects our outlook.

So how do you guys feel about the size of your stash?  Has being creative just become another excuse to consume more?  Do you find it comforting to know you’ll always have something in the cupboard to sew, or do you only buy what you need for the next project?  I’d love to hear from you!

Take care, and wherever you are, I hope it’s less rainy than here,

X

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10 Comments

  1. July 5, 2017 / 12:59 am

    So much of this rings true with me! When I started sewing again, I thought I’d be immune to the stash thing. I only ever bought fabric for future projects, never because it was pretty or cheap. But then those future projects failed to materialise and I bought fabric for different future projects, then changed my mind… and all of a sudden, I was running out of places to store the stash I thought I wasn’t going to have.

    Literally in the last few days, I’ve decided to put my foot down. I have almost enough fabric to stock a little stand at a market, so I clearly have no need to buy any more! All of my projects for the rest of the year will be based around what I have, not what I think I need. It’s not as though I don’t want to sew from the fabrics I have, after all – they’re lovely!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Lucy
      July 5, 2017 / 6:49 am

      You’re welcome! I’m feeling the same – yesterday I placed an order online for piping cord, elbow patches and a coat zip and didn’t add any pretty fabric to it! That would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago, but I’ve realised it’s cluttering up my spare room and my head… Here’s to shrinking the stash 😉
      X

  2. June 29, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    I know that feeling of suffocating under your stash! I have not been buying more fabric in the last few months unless there is a particular project to create and the fabric will be used within the month. Mostly I am trying to work through my lovely stash!

    • Lucy
      June 30, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Me too! Yes, I find once I have a certain amount of fabric it starts to feel a bit overwhelming – sewing should be relaxing!
      X

  3. June 28, 2017 / 6:11 pm

    I have been on a stash diet since January the 1st – no yarn, no fabric, no haberdashery (unless needed to finish a project) and I must say it has been mighty satisfying. I have posted projects twice a week for 6 months and I haven’t even bought a single thing. I think that speaks volumes don’t you! Jo x

    • Lucy
      June 28, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      I love reading your posts :). And I’m sure I could easily make 48 projects (or more like 480…) from my remaining stash, but it’d take me a lot longer than 6 months! I think it does say something about the normality of acquiring stuff beyond our needs, but there are worse things to acquire, I suppose!
      X

  4. June 28, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    I’m appalled at myself as well. There’s a huge stash up in my sewing room which has little or zero dent in it. What made it worse is that I used to work in a fabric shop (both amazing and bad at the same time) and had very little self control when buying fabrics. To be fair to myself I always have a pattern in mind and now since I have quit the fabric shop I don’t spend loads as I can’t! I’m making things out of the fabric now but I’m not a fast sewist nor do I have that time to really sit and sew. Thinking about a destash but that thought of getting rid of beautiful fabric is too harsh at the moment xx

    • Lucy
      June 28, 2017 / 4:04 pm

      I found once I slowed down buying fabric, and just started working my way through what I already had, I didn’t feel so bad… I don’t think I would de-stash anything unless I didn’t like it any more – you never know when it might just be perfect for something!

      I suppose now I’m broke, it’s actually quite nice to already have plenty of choice to sew with – feel better yet 😉

      Ps, I COMPLETELY understand about working in a shop – I worked in a yarn shop for 7 years, and it’s going to take me about 70 to knit all the yarn I bought 😥…

      X

  5. June 28, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Great post! When I returned to sewing 2.5 years ago I had no idea I would “stash” fabrics and patterns. I never even thought about it. When I started sewing in 1972 I never did that! I bought a pattern and the needed fabric and sewed it up. Now I have an ALARMING amount of fabric and patterns and some on the way and you’re right it makes me feel guilty, embarrassed and honestly wondering what the heck I’m doing. I see something pretty in a cotton gauze and lo and behold I’m buying the pattern and some cotton gauze. Meanwhile I have metres of beautiful silks, linens and knits with patterns yet to make. I’m appalled. I wonder if there’s a Sewing Anonymous? 🙂

    • Lucy
      June 28, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Thank you 😀. I know right! Sometimes.aomething is so pretty I tend to forget I’m not buying a finished article, and I actually also need the time to sew it up… I’m definitely aiming to one day get to the stage where I have little-to-no-stash, and just buy supplies as I go along, but it might take me a while!
      X

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