On Fabric

Over the last few months, I’ve spent a lot of time considering fabric. Fabric is normally a perfectly lovely thing to have on my mind, but lately it’s been the source of a bit of an internal struggle concerning my stash and my fabric purchasing habits and what’s gotta change.

After I had my baby, I wanted to get back into sewing AND I was in need of some clothes that actually fit. Having been sewing clothes for about three years I felt like this was something I was well prepared for. I figured I didn’t even have to leave my house and I’d be able to have a top or two made with a few days. But after raiding my stash I was disappointed to find that there was not one piece of fabric that would work for making a top. I had bought some fabric intending to make some woven tops before I got pregnant but every cut was just 1 yard, which might have worked for my pre-baby size (although it would’ve been cutting things verrrry close) but certainly wouldn’t work for my current size. As far as knit fabric went, I only had leftovers from other projects that also wouldn’t be enough fabric to make a shirt.

I was pretty frustrated at this, but I knew I’d be able to run to the store or order some fabric online. I’d still get my tops, I’d just have to wait longer. In the meantime, I had been intending to make myself a Fulton Sweater Blazer and I had everything I needed for it. It wouldn’t be filling a basic need, but at least it’d get me back into the sewing groove. I got out all the stuff for it and laid it out to cut…and…I didn’t have enough fabric. No amount of squeezing would get me all my necessary pattern pieces.

By now it felt like the problem wasn’t the stash but me! Well I mean the problem was the stash but it was BECAUSE of me. I am the curator of my own stash. So why was it failing me so completely?!

So I got out a critical eye and observed what was making up my stash. A big part of my stash was stuff that people gave to me. Not *gifted* me, mind you, but gave me because they had it for too long and knew they were never going to get around to using it. Some of it is totally usable, but much of it will only be used for muslins. Then there’s the portion that I bought. And through my own trial and error (emphasis here on error), I started buying everything in either one or two yard quantities. Spoiler alert: that doesn’t always cut it. Because I don’t have an endless budget for fabric and because I don’t love having scraps that are too big to throw away but too small to use, I think I was putting a lot of effort it getting the very smallest cut possible that would still (*hopefully!*) work. And obviously, this has turned around and bitten me in the butt. So jokes on me. Some changes are in order.

So, through some pondering, I’ve decided what I want my fabric stash to be for me. I am the curator. I get to decide what it’s made up of.

I want my fabric stash to:

  • help me feel inspired
  • have usable pieces of fabric in reasonable but usable quantities
  • have fabric that has a specific plan for when I get around to it
  • have fabric that has no plan for when an idea/need strikes
  • have a small amount of basic/cheap fabric that can be used for muslining
  • be mostly filled with good quality fabric

I don’t want to buy fabric just because it’s cheap or just because I’m paying for shipping so I might as well get all the things to make it more worth it (does anyone else do this? haha). There are things I know I need to use up sooner rather than later (for example the butterfly fabric that my girls won’t be into in a few years). But right now I’m not afraid of building my stash up and making it more into something that helps me feel inspired and excited to sew. I am trying to focus on good quality fabric because I’d rather have a little of that than gobs of lower fabric. There is always a little bit of risk when you’re buying fabric online but I’m coming to know sites or brands that I know I can trust to be good quality.

Recently I’ve made a couple of online fabric orders that I’ve been getting super excited about. Part of it is to fill that void in my wardrobe since I’m still carrying that baby weight, and part of it is to build a “healthier” stash. I know some people are embarrassed by their stash or work hard to not have a stash and everyone has their motivations and that’s cool. But for me, I think it’s reasonable to have things on hand to use for your intended craft. And in my mind, it will get used eventually.

Anyway, here are a few of the pieces of fabric I’ve bought and the intended patterns to use with them:

I love a good flowy shirt any old time, but especially after having a baby. So here’s to hoping this Simplicity pattern turns out. In any case, I’ll be able to use some stash fabric for this make.The cream and black fabric is a Cotton+Steel rayon I bought from fabric.com over a year ago (they have it in red, but I couldn’t find it in black anymore). And the solid black rayon is from Style Maker Fabric.

I don’t know why I loved this skirt pattern so much, but it felt kind of quirky and fun and I had to have it. Fabric.com was having a sale sometime before black Friday and this Liberty of London fabric was 50 percent off, which, I suspect, is the only way I’ll be able to buy Liberty of London fabric. I wanted to try it and see if it’s worth the hype. So far it is beautiful and soft but I have since bought a different fabric that I think I’ll use with the skirt instead. But when I do make something with the Liberty fabric, you’ll be sure to know!

I could not get over this beautiful coral/aqua/yellow floral poplin I saw from Style Maker Fabrics so I bought some and I can’t wait to use it. I think using it for this dress pattern will be a match made in heaven but I want to make sure the fit is right so I’ll probably make a muslin first.

I bought the light rose Telio sweater knit from fabric.com and upon seeing it in person I felt like I needed a comfortable, oversized and slouchy sweater out of it. I bought the Marlo sweater pattern and it’s currently on the cutting table (which, in truth, is just my dining table, so I better get on it). The mustard sweater knit is from Style Maker and I think it’d make a great Toaster Sweater or something similar.

A wonderful albeit unruly stack of fabric I’ve bought since having my baby, all freshly laundered.

So here’s to using or donating what I’ve got and building a better for me stash. I’m feeling pretty good about the new additions I’ve made so far. I’ve got many more ideas than what I’ve shared. Bring on the sewing!

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