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,